Water Fasting Journals Day 1-10
Water fasting is when one abstains from everything except water for a determined period of time. There are a large list of pros and cons that can be found through out the internet with both sides backed by doctors. I choose to believe that water fasting can be healing and necessary for the body to reset itself. I have had experience as a young adult with juice fasts and some shorter term water fasts but was never able to complete a full 30, 40 or 45 day fast. I aim to change this time around and document my experience online for those who are curious as to how it effects me.
Some things to note are that I have a bit of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, but all normal levels of vitamins and hormones with the exception of having a high testosterone level. The hormonal abnormality is fairly consistent with a diagnosis of poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, which I have been diagnosed with since I became an adult and was obese. The reason I note that I have this syndrome in particular is because there is relatively new research circa 2014 indicating that PCOS may be a genetic mutation that originated in Africa, allowing women to survive famines better. In some way it may actually have been an evolutionary trait to survive. Does this mean fasting is easier for me? Let's find out.
Considering that many Americans have never skipped a meal, much less a day's worth of food, the idea of fasting is terrifying to the general public. There is a rampant amount of fear based on hearsay, beliefs, and a societal obsession over food that generally makes people very unhappy when you mention you're fasting. Due to these preconceived and false notions I am not mentioning to any coworkers or friends that I am fasting until the fast is complete. I believe that PCOS will assist me in completing this fast and that my symptoms of the syndrome will be brought under control as well. In essence this fast is a self experiment for entertainment.
In an effort to provide you with all the proper information that I myself researched I have included links above to where my information comes from. However, I am not a medical professional and I do not recommend embarking on a fast yourself. It is always best to speak with your doctor before beginning anything like this.
It is also important to note that fasting is a very personal experience and no two people fast the same. People have different rules and guidelines they follow strictly for their own fasts and for that reason I am going to note my own here: I am allowing myself to only drink water, black coffee, and plain herbal teas that contain no additives. Typically this implies green tea only, but there are some Chinese herbal teas I enjoy occasionally as well. I also allow myself a serving of seltzer water per day typically on work days but I do not always indulge in this. The carbonation helps silence my stomach during the first few days of the fast. Despite trying not to, I did end up including an electrolyte drink recommended by Dr. Fung into my fast later, as I was clearly showing a lack of electrolytes.
Many people seem to be capable of just not working during their fasts and enjoy a relaxing rest the entire time. I do not have this luxury as I have bills to pay. I work a desk job that requires little physical effort; I figure that is rest enough. I will be working 40 hour work weeks for the duration of the fast, with the exception of our holiday closures.
Day 1 - The first day is always the most difficult to me. I have to truly commit to the fast and remind myself why I am on it in the first place. This time is no different and I have to solidify the reasoning in my head as to why I'm doing it. I don't feel any hunger through out the day but this is probably due to my large consumption of water. Commence having to pee literally every hour on the hour. This is not fun when I'm busy at work and don't want to take that time to go. I remind myself though that this is part of fasting and that I need to listen to my body as well as be kinder to it. I do not offer my body enough breaks throughout the day on a normal basis. There are many days I skip taking my 15 minute break at work as well as my lunch break. I allow my work to get the better of me because I feel pressured to complete it. No one is actually pressuring me and today I remind myself of that.
No real physical issues to speak of, only the mental game of telling myself that while everyone is eating delicious food around me, I can not eat.
By the time I'm home from work I head straight to bed to sleep my way through the rest of this day. Often times, sleeping the entire first day sets me up for success. I can't go back once I've already done an entire day. It's no longer a struggle after that point for me.
Day 2 - Ensue chaos. The day is completed quickly enough and I hurry home to empty and clean the fridge out. This is a process I begin because suddenly how much food we waste is bothering me. I know my boyfriend will not utilize a lot of the vegetables and random things in the fridge so I make quick work of prepping and freezing them. Mushrooms cut and frozen, bread frozen, tomatoes chopped and frozen, shredded cheese frozen, and I fed the dogs the chicken that was questionable (it had been in the fridge a while, I didn't dare try feeding it to my poor boyfriend).
I had my first real vivid dream last night about weird stuff. Fasting brings strange dreams out in me. I was eating coconut caramel cookies in a haunted house. The ghost couldn't scare me away because I wanted my damned cookies and that was that. So I happily ate while this apparation tried to terrify me. I was indeed scared but.. you know, cookies.
Physically I found that I was in a great deal of pain. My lower back ached, many body parts had a dull ache that last all day. I'm unsure if this was the start of ketosis or not. I always assumed ketosis started around day 3. My breath is bad and my teeth and tongue continually feel coated and I brushed several times to try to remove it but it keeps coming back. Pretty heavy consumption of water again to dilute stomach acid and avoid hunger. It was successful and I didn't feel any desires for food. I did begin the weird desire to enjoy food with other senses though.
Upon arriving home from work I took a nap and then began a 2 hour process of making sushi rolls. Carefully rinsing the rice 5 times over, soaking it, then boil and simmer... by the time I was done making the rice, rolling the avocado and cream cheese (which both were going to go bad and don't freeze well in my opinion), and slicing it perfectly, it had been an entire 2 hours. I stored it all in a container as a surprise for my boyfriend. Typically I am unable to resist eating slices of sushi here and there while I'm making it. For some reason today I really am enjoying the smell and the process more than anything else. I just wanted to be in the kitchen making something and avoiding food going bad. I'm starting to obsess over wasted food.
My sleep ended up being dramatically broken into bits. I had to pee nearly every hour and would wake up and shuffle to the bathroom angrily fussing at my body for it's needs. Peeing every hour? Unacceptable.
Day 3 - I haven't really weighed myself because my main purpose of this fast is health related. I have noticed that my work uniform is fitting a bit more loose today though. I did have a fleeting feeling of lightheadedness throughout the day. A moment here or there, maybe lasting for about 30 seconds. Drinking more water or green tea would help stave it off but I definitely drank less fluids today. I think the hardest part of this endeavor is trying to continue walking my dogs. We live on the fourth floor of the apartment complex and getting down is tough but getting back up is a nightmare. I noticed it was easier this morning after a full night's rest versus this evening when I felt incredibly nauseated by the time I hit the third floor. I grabbed the rails for support and pushed myself to the top and then immediately came in, got water for myself, and then laid down. I believe the only reason I was able to manage was because I had taken a couple hours to nap today before walking them for their evening potty.
Another strange phenomena from yesterday continued in that I desperately wanted to be in the kitchen, avoiding the waste of food. I cut up some apples that were going bad and made cinnamon apples. The smell was absolutely intoxicating but didn't seem to persuade me to want to eat the food. I whipped it up in a container for my boyfriend to enjoy when he gets home from work. He also tends to enjoy ramen which I feel is one of the most unhealthy options available (not fresh, real ramen, but rather the preboxed garbage sold in America). I tried to remedy that by changing it around a bit for him. I cooked the noodles, cracked an egg over them for protein, added steamed mushrooms, sweet peas, and a bit of sriracha sauce. Instead of using an entire packet of the sodium infested seasoning that came with the package, I put in about half. This looked fairly appetizing when completed and I wondered what it might taste like. I left these in the fridge marked for him so that he would grab them. Fully exhausted and expended, I finally went to bed.
Day 4 - (Weight 268lbs) Today proved to be an entirely different animal than the last few days. I woke up groggy, confused (more on that later) and struggling with feeling my own pulse throbbing inside my skull when I stood up from bed. I reminded myself that now I would be in full ketosis and that I should be kind to my body and communicate better with it. In the spirit of doing so, I calmly reminded myself that I had set my alarm a little earlier just for the purpose of slowing down. Indeed, I took my time going to the bathroom and braced on the wall along the way. I then shuffled to the kitchen and filled my water glass. I definitely drank less water over all today. Time seemed to have slowed down drastically. I would feel that hours had passed and it was only 30 minutes. This helped me in productivity over all and I was able to use some spare time to print out healthy recipes and budget a new grocery list for when I'm off my fast.
My food spending had gotten outrageous. I realized this as I looked at my bank account the last few days while not buying any food at all. I spend an embarrassing amount of money on food each month. I know why I'm "broke" all the time now. I found a food budget online and a list of meals to prep with it that claims to feed 4 people on 70$/week. My boyfriend eats enough for 3 people, so this should cover us well. It included healthy but delicious looking recipes that I felt were easy enough to manage for myself. There's going to be a whole lot of Sunday meal prepping in this apartment come January.
On a completely different note my dreams have gotten insanely vivid and upsetting. I often dream of eating against my will. I've read that this is a common subject of dreams for a lot of fasters and it makes sense given the body's desire to eat and the brain's will not to. I also kept dreaming that I was late for work, and honestly I was so befuddled when I woke up that I believed it was 5AM (my usual time I'm already up and prepping for work by) and was terrified I was running late. After the fog cleared I realized it was only 4:30 and I had plenty of time. This confusion only stayed until I was fully awake and appears to have taken hold after I went to sleep. I woke up often during the night with various dreams and was in a state of confusion the entire time.
Physically I have few symptoms today. A bit of a stuffy nose and fatigue but absolutely no feeling of hunger and no body pain. In fact, my posture in my chair at work today was markedly improved. Usually sitting up straight and holding this posture hurts my lower back but today it didn't seem to bother me much. I have a tendency to slouch and have for the past 10+ years at the very least-Not today! No issues getting up and down from my chair even though often times I did it rather quickly (not recommended at all, low blood pressure can cause black outs!). I also noticed that today the skin on my face felt very smooth and soft. I've been continuing to use lotion as I've had weird bouts of dry skin during this fast but I don't apply to my face so this is occurring naturally. At one point the skin on my hands was peeling (only the very first layer, it was almost like being post-sunburn) but this seems to have come to a halt.
I weighed myself today but I was wearing my uniform with all my gear so the weight was about 270 still. I did weigh myself again once home and unburdened and found that I was sitting at 268lbs. Considering I'm uncertain what I truly started at, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't take an initial weight to check against. I think it would be nice at the end to know the total.
Unfortunately today is a long day and I have to teach a class both tonight and tomorrow. Typically I enjoy the class greatly but my fatigue is dictating that it won't be as easy as it usually is. This means that this week I'm really only getting a one day break from "work". I should be resting as much as possible while fasting. I'm also overwhelmed by a great sense of anxiety I feel like I am inadequate to teach this class even though I have taught it before. As they say though, the show goes on.
Day 5 - Something I forgot to mention was that on my walk to the building last night, I noticed how crisp everything appeared to me. How the winter air felt good on my face, the smells bringing happiness. I live in the city and nearly in downtown. Only two miles away exactly, and the hustle and bustle of downtown flows into our streets. Usually this is discouraging and depressing to me. I noticed last night that the sky was flooded with the winter black birds and they circled in mass like some horror movie scene before all landing atop various trees. It looked ominous in some ways but I held warmth in my heart seeing them. My vision feels clearer, colors seem brighter, and I am noticing little things in life that I never paid attention to before. Everything is slowed down for me and thus I am able to properly appreciate it. This is a gamer changer.
Anyway, I had no idea what today would bring when I woke up. First, my sleep was restless and I was groggy. I'm hesitant to say that I felt nausea because I don't truly believe I ever thought I was going to throw up at any point. I made my boyfriend's breakfast and packed his lunch and made him coffee, something I rarely do. But I'm not eating for myself so I don't have to prep anything for me so I decided to do it for him. I pour a cup of green tea for myself. I know, absolutely thrilling. Take a seat, calm down. Don't get so excited... the sarcasm drips from my own head as the inner dialogue this morning is rich between me and my body. My stomach is uncomfortable, I keep visiting the bathroom and things just don't seem right. It wasn't quite pain, but it bordered it. I still have the film coming in my mouth every day so I go to brush my teeth. There is an awful feeling in the back of my throat, as if something is stuck there. As I am spitting out my tooth paste I start vehemently gagging, mucous comes out from the back of my throat. I have no idea why it's there or what caused it, but after a few minutes of gagging and spitting it is all gone and I suddenly feel a thousand times better.
I grab my service dog and head off for day two of being an instructor. The anxiety is gone today and I'm halfway into my walk towards the building before realizing I have left my mug of green tea at my apartment. Drat. My body almost weeps, it has come to love green tea now. I never cared for it before. I remind my body that this just means we will have green tea upon arriving home, and that the bottom of my bag always has my "survival kit" which includes a reusable k-cup and some bold coffee. I smile knowing that this will suffice to fill in for the green tea.
When I arrive, things take a turn for the worse. My intestines are suddenly angry (before I even get to the coffee) and the entire morning is spent back and forth in the bathroom feeling partially miserable. Not to mention there are fresh hot cinnamon rolls laying on the table in front of me for the kids this entire time. The kids don't partake in much of the rolls and the smell of them is wafting towards me all day. It's not that I physically wanted them. My stomach was most definitely asleep now. I felt overwhelming sorrowful that I couldn't partake in the rolls. I can't even explain why. I try to examine this feeling all day, even reminding myself that after the fast if I want rolls so badly, I can absolutely go to the store and buy myself some and I don't have to share them with my boyfriend either. He would totally understand me eating an entire can of cinnamon rolls alone after this endeavor. He supports and loves me enough to not say a word about it.
Why does this hurt so much? At lunch break we go down and there are sandwiches available. I love sub rolls, especially when I get to make my own sandwich. There is salad mix, tomatoes, turkey, cheese, and condiments. I would love to combine all of this and eat it. Instead I go upstairs and sit with Anna, away from everyone for a few moments until the sadness passes. I am becoming heartbroken and I don't understand why. My body isn't even insisting on having the food, it's just weeping. I keep trying to sit with this feeling and comprehend where it comes from, but I come up empty handed. I have nearly a month more to think about it, and perhaps in the coming days as the fast deepens I may come to a revelation. I sincerely hope so.
I remember the coffee, and go to find the k-cup machine. I fill my reusable cup with the rich smell of the grounds and begin brewing. Suddenly, this is all I care about. I hold the cup in both hands and sigh peacefully. The warmth feeds into my fingers and down my arm, and the smell seems to flow into my soul. Everything gets easier after this and the remainder of the day becomes smooth sailing. I get a ride home, and bring home some pizza, a sandwich, a chocolate cake treat, and some oranges for my boyfriend. If I can't partake, at least he gets to enjoy the leftovers that the kids didn't eat!
Once home fatigue and exhaust hit me very hard. It's only 5:30PM as I type this and I'm laying in bed, my arms feeling incredibly heavy just typing. I'm definitely going to bed early, more to come tomorrow!
|We re-use jars in this home. It's a Southern thing.|
Day 6 - (Weight 261.8lbs) I woke up this morning with the stuffiest nose I've ever had. I'm currently boiling some water to turn into a saline solution to put in my nettipot to rinse my sinus cavities out. Its really that bad. I now wonder if the mucous yesterday while brushing my teeth was actually from my sinus cavities, and if that is the same issue I'm experiencing today. I don't have any other "flu" symptoms like most people talk about, but it definitely feels like my sinuses are absolutely brimming with ick. It's near torture waiting for the water to be ready.
Speaking of water, I've done a terrible job consuming it yesterday and this morning. My lips are cracked and chapped and my mouth is dry but I still don't even want any. I force myself to drink just one glass for now. I figure if I drink one glass every other hour I am awake, I'll get in maybe 12 glasses today. That's 8 more than yesterday.
I end up ravaging the kitchen, everything about it makes me unhappy. The way it looks, the way we clutter our countertops.. everything is a mess. I spend the first 2 hours of my morning on an organization rampage. I end up finding old medicine bottles and all sort of other things we most definitely do not need. Those get tossed in recycle and by the time I am done I feel exhausted. I premake some jars of tea so that they're ready for when I really want them and don't want to bother waiting on the kettle. I don't necessary care if my tea is hot or cold, and I decide I will put these in the fridge when they cool off for a change of pace. I haven't drank cold tea during this fast yet.
I haven't felt very good most of the day after my kitchen extravaganza. The cold tea has helped a lot, but I generally spent the day in bed. I'm hoping tomorrow isn't as bad, because Mondays are my long days, I work 10 hours shifts on Mondays. This entry is fairly short as I have very little to discuss. There are no noticeable changes in anything with the exception of my feeling generally unwell. I may try to sleep early, despite having very little luck with getting full nights of sleep during this fast.
Day 7 - I woke up this morning having an especially difficult time. I was extremely tired, and took forever getting ready. I am grateful that I remembered to make some black tea and have it cold and ready to transport to work in jars. I grab two and head off to work. I struggle with exhaustion all day but manage to complete the work that is required of me. The biggest temptation comes when the yearly Christmas food gift comes from the group of ladies in one of the departments. They bring cookies and chocolate mini muffin looking things. It smells delicious, and they drop it directly with me.
Per my new routine, I wrap some up to take home and figure I'll store them until either my boyfriend eats them or until far after my fast when I can manage to consume sweets again. These sort of things don't go bad quickly anyway. Taking some home is the only thing that sates my temptation to eat them. I remind my body that there will be plenty of opportunities to eat food going forward, just now we have to wait a little longer.
The day passes fairly quickly and I arrive home struggling to get up four flights of stairs to my apartment. It takes about 10 minutes just to make it up, bracing on the rail the whole way. I've collapsed in bed as I'm typing this and am sure to fall asleep within the next hour. Tough day but I have survived. Onward to day 8!
Day 8 - (weight 258.5lbs) Today has been admittedly easier than yesterday but still difficult. Smells are really bothering me and are ridiculously strong. I completed all tasks at work but definitely dropped my water intake, I haven''t had much desire to drink which I know is bad. Definitely noticing in the mirror that I look a bit slimmer. Nothing major, but I'm happy with it.
My skin has always had a couple of ruddy spots on my face that felt rough. I never knew what they were or why they were there but had assumed they were scars from teenage acne. I notice now that they have disappeared. I run my hands all over my face and am shocked at how smooth and blemish free my entire face is. I can't feel any enlarged pores, rough patches of skin, or anything except velvet baby softness.
Today will be another "early bed" day. I really am getting to the minimum of being able to complete my work days easily but struggling once I get home. I think I have a maximum of 10 hours of energy in me.
Day 9 - (weight 256.5lbs) I woke up and was absolutely dying for water. I downed an entire glass before even standing up out of bed. My boyfriend has been walking my dogs because I have had a lot of balance issues the last few days. I can get around okay, but my dogs tend to be leash-pullers and we both know that could be catastrophic for me as I have no energy to brace against their pull. I mean, we're talking 125lbs of combined pull. He's been so kind and understanding of my fast, as well as my food hoarding.
Speaking of food hoarding- Today is the work Christmas party. They are having a bake off and ordering pizza too. I smell everything and am absolutely dying. Another day of hoarding! I fix a plate just as I would if I was eating normally, including 2 pieces of pizza and a serving of each item in the bake off. I know I have to vote on taste but since I can't taste, I vote on visual appeal and smell, as well as my knowledge of the ingredients. I end up voting for the overnight SGT's dish. He made what we called "dirt cake" as a kid. It's basically a pudding or other soft core with dark cookie crumbles on top and gummy worms, it's a cute way to look like worms in dirt. I see tickets in all the other bowls, but none in his. I vote for him because the dish makes me feel nostalgic and looks like he put heart into it as well. My coworkers don't realize I'm fasting, so they laugh at my plate of sweets and pizza, having been told I'm on a super strict diet. I had to tell them something to explain the weight loss, and the last time anyone there knew I'd gone 6 days without food, they tried to call an ambulance when I was sitting on the floor during a dizzy spell. I'd rather avoid that occurring again. They joke about me gaining all the weight I've lost back because of this one plate. I grin and shrug it off, knowing I'm going to hoard it in my freezer.
My freezer is getting very full by the way. As in, there's no more room at all. I had to rearrange and tetras the things in there and it is at maximum capacity now. We might be in trouble the next few weeks.
To top is off, a close friend of ours from the church is staying in town for the holidays, and his mother is coming here. He invited my boyfriend and I to a Christmas Eve brunch. I knew my boyfriend was working the holiday, but I explained that I would love the socialization since this is the first year I won't see my family for Christmas (it just wasn't feasible this year). I didn't have any plans at all that day except staying home. Thankfully most members attending my church are 100% on board with fasting and totally get it. So I explain that I'm fasting and can't partake in food but that I would love to bring a bento box to fill with food to enjoy when my fast is over. He said absolutely bring the box and get my fill. Thrilled!
Day 10 - (weight 255.8lbs) I had excretions all night and woke up with the expulsion of tons of garbage. Who knows what all has been brewing in my system. It seems that I've finally hit a form of normalcy today. I have some balance issues that I notice through out the day, a stagger here or there with a misplaced foot; something I wouldn't normally do. My largest temptation came when my coworkers ordered food from a favorite restaurant of mine. They asked if I wanted to order and despite how badly I wanted to order some chicken as well, I abstained. I reminded them of my "special diet" and suffered while smelling fried chicken and parmesan fries all through lunch.
I even dreamed of food last night. I dreamed I ate a donut and was horrifically sad that I'd broken my fast. Ridiculous right?
The only other things I've noticed going on is acid reflux all day, my stomach had a few hunger pains too. I think the high acid amount is causing me to think I'm hungry. It's been rumbling all day, I keep diluting it with water but it just comes back. I read a bit on acid reflux during fasting and it appears that some people just get it and some don't. If it continues for a few more days I'll think about some ways to try and minimize it. Right now my only cure is green tea, and it doesn't seem to be helping much.
I wish I had more to say about today, but it seems that some days go by quickly without symptoms or issues, and others are difficult. Going to bed early again, so that this day can be over fairly quickly. It's about 4 hours before bed time but my body does want sleep.
Day 11-18 is listed on a separate post, located here.