My October 31 Day Water Fast {Part 1 – Intro & Days 1 to 10}

My October 31 Day Water Fast - 2016

Well here it is. I’m putting it out there for all of you to know … admittedly, while I’ve completed many ‘fasts’ over the past few years, my decision to embark on my October 31 Day Water Fast still seems overwhelming.

What the HECK have I signed myself up for? 

I’m writing this post so that I have a place to answer questions that will no-doubt pop up. This post will be being a moving target, getting updates and additions throughout my journey (instead of a bunch of individual posts). So, you’ll probably want to check back to see what’s happening. And if you have questions for me about fasting or my experience, feel free to comment and I’ll either answer you in the comment section or add your question & my answer to the post.

And of course, your encouragement is always welcomed!!!!

My October 31 Day Water Fast

DISCLAIMER: I am not engaging with “experts” who want to ARGUE the safety of fasting. Everything has risks, fasting is no exception. As I have stated, I am not a rookie to fasting, nor am I jumping into something that I have not throughly researched. I am not encouarging anyone to embark on their own fast, but simply sharing my own fasting experience for your entertainment.

I do not have a eating disorder, I am not starving myself. I am simply abstaining from food for 31 days, my fast is no different than what humans have done for millions of years. I will be using common sense to guide me through this process.

Respectfully if you disagree with my choice to fast, you can simply leave this blog post and be on your merry way. Feel free to start your own space on the WWW sharing your own life experiences and you can connect with people who are like-minded. I encourage constructive conversations, however if you’re acting like a fool, it won’t be tolerated. 

Learn more about fasting through these books:

 

My Pre-Fast Jitters

It’s Friday, September 30, 2016 and it’s the last day of normal life before my October 31 Day Water Fast begins tomorrow. While I’m not bingeing prior to my fast, I’m certainly feasting. I had 2 giant cups of coffee with lots of raw milk for breakfast, will have a Grilled Maitake Mushroom Steak for my lunch, then going to a late dinner with my husband.

Am I nervous? Yes. Of course I am. Not really nervous about the idea of eating vs not eating (been there, done that) but of the disappointment of not completing the full 31 days is slightly overwhelming, having several glasses of chardonnay helped calm my nigh-before nerves.

My pre-fast feast was at a local favorite restaurant, where Ray and I split our appetizer & 2 entrees, giving me a big variety. Our appetizer was Spicy Tuna Poke and our entrees were Sizzling Ribeye Steak with steamed veggies & french fries and Hamburger Steak with fried onions, gravy and rice. It was all delicious.

My October 31 Day Water Fast Rules

Fasting is a highly individual event and while there are general guidelines no two fasts will be identical. Not all fasts are created equal. Many people refer to different ways of eating as fasting, and speaking from someone who’s completed several juice-only fasts and bone broth only fasts, I respectfully understand that it’s imperative to share the details so that you can fully understand my definition of fasting.

In order to give myself some clarity and less wiggle room, I’m establishing some rules from the very beginning.

Here’s the list of what I will be allowing myself during my fast:

  • Sole Water – One quart of room temperature water (filtered/purified) with 1+ tablespoons of sole water every morning, first thing. More later in the day to combat headaches, as needed. No restriction on quantity. I’ll be sharing more about Sole Water later in a separate blog post – it’s therapeutic salt water, which helps to keep minerals and electrolytes in balance in a quick nutshell – everyone needs Sole Water in their healthy diet!
  • Water (filtered/purified or natural spring) – Unlimited quantities, iced, chilled, cold, warm, hot, room temperature, etc. I do not have a minimum daily water requirement, only looking to drink what feels naturally satisfying.
  • Sparkling Mineral Water – up to 1 liter bottle per day, if needed, not required. It’s a great fizzy treat and full of minerals.
  • Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice – Warm lemon water is wonderful for aiding detoxification. I’m allowing myself the juice of 1 lemon or lime per day, if needed, not required.
  • Herbal Tea – While I don’t regularly drink herbal teas often, when fasting I typically get cold easily and warm tea is very soothing. Like water, they are fine in unlimited quantities. No sweeteners or anything added, just plain herbal teas steeped in filtered/purified water.
  • Ceremonial Grade Matcha Tea – One cup per day made with 175 degree water before 11 am, if needed, not required. There’s numerous health benefits to matcha and from my experience it will not interfere with fasting. Again, no additions or iced lattes (which I adore)
  • Black Coffee – Iced or hot, one mug per day before 8 am, if needed, not required. I am not addicted to caffeine and I do not consume it regularly. Much like matcha; there’s numerous health benefits to coffee as well and from my experience it will not interfere with my fasting. In addition to my allowed 1 mug of drinking coffee – I will also be including coffee enemas regularly – probably not daily but as often as I can talk myself into them. They are old news and not a big deal – however I suck at taking the quite time to myself in the morning.
  • Culinary Tasting – This is a tough bulletpoint to explain. While I’m fasting I will still be cooking at times and when I am cooking, it would be irresponsible for me to prepare foods for others without tasting it for seasoning. I will be doing my best to avoid cooking while fasting but I do have 2 events which my culinary skills are required. But this does not mean that I will be EATING by any stretch of the imagination, this means that I will be TASTING sauces only, like dipping a teaspoon into a sauce then touching my tongue to the spoon to ensure the sauce is perfect. Does that make sense? Again this is my fast and I have to establish rules that work in my life. In a perfect situation there would be no cooking and no food in my house.. but this is real life and I live in it. If there is a food I am preparing that I need more than a tongue touch to taste, I will consume only the very minimum needed.
  • Bone Broth – While I’m not planning specifically to include bone broth into my fast, I am listing it here as an allowed beverage. Here’s the thing, while I can pretty easily resist food and eating, I get very complacent when I’m not cooking or creating in the kitchen. And allowing bone broth MIGHT be key later in my fast to keeping me going – both for a savory flavor craving and my desire to just make something. Any bone broth that I make will be only made from chicken, beef or wild game, sea salt, black pepper and a splash of ACV – and maybe a little onion/garlic but no carrots or other starchy additions. No soup, just plain-jane clear broth.
  • Supplements – Ok another tricky bullet point. I don’t want to take any supplements and don’t feel they are necessary… HOWEVER I do know from prior experience that when in the midst of fasting you are so full of energy (I’m not joking) that you have a really really hard time sleeping. I want to stay up late and be busy, but I also want to still get my 8+ hours of sleep per night (and be asleep before 10 pm optimally) In the past I’ve taken relaxation/sleep encouraging supplements while fasting and they helped immensely. I will be using supplements as a last resort, after herbal teas and a strict bed-time routine (more coming on that in a separate blog post too)

Fasting Days 1, 2 & 3

Well, I’ve officially made it through the first 3 days of fasting, which are always the hardest. On Saturday morning (day 1) I woke up early with irrational anxiety about this whole idea, no doubt the aftereffects of the chardonnay from the night before.. We headed to the farmers market and for a 6 mile mountain foraging hike, when we got home I cooked until late at night prepping for the next day.

Sunday (Day 2) I was up early getting ready for our table at the church calendar party, our table theme was Farm to Table. I did the decor, food & drinks, it was a great day and while I was focused on serving food pretty much all day I wasn’t tempted to eat, only dying for a big glass of sangria! Everything I prepared was gluten-free, healthy-real food and mostly from local farms.

Calendar Party - Farm to Table Theme

Day 3 (today, Monday 10-3) has been uneventful. I throughly enjoyed a big cup of black coffee this morning but haven’t drank much else. Not hungry, not even thirsty. Full of energy and starting to worry about fasting sleep (or rather lack there of) – getting ready for a cup of bedtime tea after I publish this post. While I had hoped to initially share this post pre-fast, life got in the way!!

Fasting Days 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 – This shit is getting real.

The past 4 days haven’t been very eventful, so I haven’t felt very motivated to write. The only comment I can make is that I’ve been in a REALLY BAD MOOD. I’m trying very, very, very hard to not complain or agonize over not eating and I think holding it all in is bubbling over. My level of frustration is at an all time high. I can almost feel the angst in my throat.

I’m typically the quiter one in our marriage, but find myself wishing (even more than usual) that Ray would just stop freaking talking. I feel like I’d rather it if we took a vow of silence all weekend or perhaps the rest of the month, I don’t need to talk and don’t need anyone to talk to me. Just leave me alone to wallow in my own misery.

Perhaps one of my biggest struggles while fasting is the lack of Grand Finale. Fasting is kinda like going to watch fireworks that are just barely going on and on and on, there’s not big grand finale to the day, to the week, to the anything.

Dinner is highlight of my day, going out for Friday-night-date-night-dinner is my favorite part of the week, big weekend breakfasts to ease into your relaxing day. All of them are gone.

 

My struggle isn’t not-eating my struggle is dealing with the parts of life that typically when I don’t want to deal with, I would sooth myself with food or even a cocktail, I can’t. and it’s hard.

I’m notoriously not an emotional person and I’m starting to realize that my defense mechanism against feeling has been turning to food/drink. I’m grateful to be on this path, giving me the opportunity over the next 22 days to break that vicious cycle, no matter how much I cry. Wish me luck.

Days 9 & 10

Day 9 started out with a quick hike where we found some great mushrooms. The highlight was a near perfect Lion’s Mane Mushroom that I cooked up for Ray’s breakfast. Isn’t it breathtaking? The rest of the day was spent drinking water and watching the big Steeler Win.

lions-mane-mushrooms_

Oh and I started making a headboard for our bed out of up-cycled pallet wood Ray salvaged from work – maybe I’ll blog about it? yes? no?

Day 10, I’m officially 1/3 of the way through my 31 day fast! Woot Woot. I still physically feel great but emotionally I’m still in my funk, fingers crossed it passes soon.

There is something else that’s happened; my hair is different. Basically I have lots of thin, fine hair – so it’s thick but just in number of hairs but not in the thickness of the hair itself. Generally my hair is a little wavy and rather flat, until now. My hair seems to have doubled in volume over night and refuses to be straight. I don’t know what is happening but it’s BS and I don’t like it. For a few days it even felt like there was a waxy coating on my hair, like I didn’t rinse or applied a bunch of product – only I did rinse and didn’t put on any stuff. We will see how this plays out.

Will I make it through until the end – I’m 99% sure. Despite my emotional challenges at the moment, I’m committed 100% and don’t feel like that will change.

Have I lost weight? yes. But I’m not critically weighing myself as I have done in the past. In fact I didn’t even weight myself on day 1, as a purposeful reminder that that is not the focus of what I’m trying to accomplish. However, my weight is lower than it’s been all year, probably lower than in the past 2 years, I feel lighter and thinner. Based on what I weigh now vs my general weight pre-fast I’ve lost about 12 pounds in 9 days. On day 20 I’ll talk about my weight again, but not sooner.

Follow my Journey–> My October 31 Day Water Fast {Part 2 –The End is Near!}

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30 Comments

  1. Amazing journey! I can imagine that it was an emotional rollercoaster for the 31 days you had your water fast. I did a 5 days water fast (which is nothing in comparison), and was already emotionally drained by day 4. So I understand that very well. But I have to admit that water fasting just isn’t for me. I love food and eating, so it was extra hard not to. Instead, I have been doing a good alternative for me. Right now, I am doing intermittent fasting for 5 days and 1 one-day water fast. I see it more as a cleansing and detox day for my body within 24 hours. The rest of the week, I am eating very balanced and healthy meals. For some extra help on tracking my times and motivation, I recently downloaded the app Yazio (https://www.yazio.com/en/foods/dishes-meals). They also have a good variety of recipes. I haven’t been able to try out as many of them as I want to, but I already have a few on my favorites list 🙂 How are you managing to get back to your daily life after your fast? Will you repeat your fast again?

    1. I’ve done several 30+ day fasts since my first one. However I no longer am incorporating fasting into my lifestyle.

  2. hi Hayley, I am on Day 34 of my fast , aiming at the big 40. have my own rules like you do. (not so strickt) I can soooo relate to everything you have written; (did not weigh myself for the frist two weeks). I, like you, am also no stranger to fasting have in started doing regular 3-4 day water fasting as a young adult. may years later I decided to try extended fasting and am on one now. reading your blog is just great!!! Thanks for taking the time to do it!!!

  3. I am so inspired by your experience. I have engaged on a fasting journey but is not yet certain about the duration of the fast because it’s my first ever water fast. I have decided to listen or rather pay attention to my body reaction and to stop when I feel I can’t continue. I am on my forth day on only water and green tea. I still feel energetic and after reading your experience and those of others, feel like continuing to meet higher targets. All that is disturbing me for now is that in the night when I sleep I have palpitations. But during the day I am ok and the craving for food has virtually died out. I need some advice on whether I stand any risks or need to add other things to the green tea and water. Thanks

    1. Beatrice, it’s so important to research fasting (including the books I link to HERE ) so that you understand how it works <3 -- I cannot assess your risk factors, I do not know your health history and I am not a doctor. Listen to your body and eat if you are under duress.

  4. Great blog, thanks for sharing your experience!
    I do a lot of fasts too and keep a detailed blog journal for it 🙂
    https://mydietwithdrbernstein.blogspot.ca/
    I’m now on a day #21 of combined Dry/Water fast…aiming for 40 days!
    Thanks 🙂

  5. Hayley,

    While I was reading that your struggle was not “not eating” but not eating in moments of your life when you need food beyond survival reasons, I could totally relate. I had to have my coffee right after turning my computer on at work! or had to have my snacks before a boring task. It was really difficult to break those habits. Your post was one of the few articles that inspired me to write mine. I actually cited yours.

    Here is my whole journey https://intuitivexploration.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/7-truths-i-learned-while-fasting/
    Feel free to leave your opinion… I actually wanted to ask: How were your attention levels when focusing on a single task? some of my biggest changes involved this area.

  6. I’ve been reading through a bunch of these old water fasting posts and some of the comments make me want to throttle people. Don’t know how you dealt with them. All super interesting info, thanks for sharing your experiences!

    1. When fasting there is less than 1% of re-feeding syndrome, as long as you are remaining active. Refeeding syndrome is much more common, although still not common per se, when fasting people are sedentary.

  7. thank you for mentioning sole water as I had never heard of it but have struggled to not drink sports drinks when I have been ill and need to recover. I had tried “natural” sports drinks but it seems like all use artificial sweetener and I am very allergic to Stevia. anyhow I think this could be the perfect solution.

  8. Is sole water ok to consume with my having high blood pressure? I’ve always been taught to avoid sodium. Please re-educate me!

  9. Hayley, THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge and experience! I’ve learned so much from you since I “discovered” you when searching for pressure cooker recipe. In comments on one of your Insta posts, you mentioned that fasting reverses insulin resistance. Back then I thought NO WAY could I do an extended water fast, I was barely making my 18:6 IF schedule. And yet here I am, just a couple months later, starting a two-week water fast (first day today). So inspired by your energy, thank you!

    1. Good Luck with your Fast Rita!!! Today is my day 18 and i’m feeling amazing. The first 3-5 days will be tough but once you make it through those first days it’s smooth sailing.

  10. Hi Hayley,

    have just stumbled across your blog and wanted to pay you a compliment; I really like the way that you honestly write. I started IF back in march this year after being fed up about the way that I felt (and looked) bloated. I didn’t want to diet and after researching soon found out that fasting was really the best for both weight loss and also health in general. Of course, fasting is something that has to be gradually increased and after building up my fasting periods I managed to do a six-dayer this summer. I could have gone on for longer but just really wanted to eat again. It’s not easy when doing most of the cooking for the family (and then ultimately watching them eat). Well now I decided for a big push before the holiday season arrives and am at day 5 of my fast. The initial target is to make it to 7 days but secretly I’d like to push for the 14 day mark. I feel great at the moment. A little background; I work full-time and have a wife and two boys (4 & 6) at home.

  11. This is fascinating- I’m so glad you’re sharing your experiences! I started IF 7 pm – 11 am a few months ago, and I like it. I’m going to try a full day fast today (black coffee only until tomorrow morning, I didn’t eat after dinner last night) and maybe will go longer depending on how it goes.

    It’s weird how daunting this seems, yet logically I know I could go without food for a while and be just fine.

  12. Here’s wishing you good luck with your fasting. I did a water fast, which lasted for more than 30 days. I don’t recommend that at all, but in my case, it resulted in a weight loss of over 75 pounds. During that time, I spent much time in bed, feeling ill because of the toxins released while losing weight. I didn’t do this to lose weight at all, but that was the result. After this, I spent a few months regaining my strength and stamina and now I’m feeling better than I ever have. While on the fast, I only consumed water, nothing else. Once the toxins started flowing, I had no desire to eat and mostly slept. Needless to say, I don’t work and haven’t any family to take care of, so I had the time to spend doing it. I would never urge anyone to fast longer than 1 month, but you might find it enticing to go a little longer once you get there.

    1. Thanks for commenting Nancy! Congrats your your fast! I’ve done several other fasts so I’m not really expecting much dramatic detoxification at this point and my fasting experience has always included an abundance of energy. This fast I’m capping at 31 days and my sights set on a 40 day fast in early 2017. (my longest water fast is 13 days, bone broth/water fast 30 days, fresh juice fast 47 days)

  13. Thank you for sharing your fasting experience. I have read and know the benefits of fasting. Currently, I eat between the hours of 1pm and 6pm only. This really makes my body feel better. I have Hashimoto’s as well as gut and adrenal issues. My body prefers low carb, gluten free but too low and it causes me issues. I have been discussing with my husband, “US” doing a 3 day water fast. (We never have). He’s not on board yet but I keep filling him up with info about how healthy it is. He will come around. I want him to do it with me because having to cook while fasting is more than I think I could handle. Kudos to you for the work with the church while fasting. Best wishes!

    1. Thanks Carolyn!!! Keep up your IF’ing and fingers crossed you can talk your hubby into a 3 day! It’s funny, people always mention fasting being bad for adrenal health HOWEVER after my most recent 12 day fast (with severe adrenal dysfunction) it seems to physically reset all feelings of fatigue for me. I’ve have not retested myself but will after this fast.

    1. While fasting I continue on with all of my normal activities. I am not a world class athlete by any means but do very strenuous long mountain hikes, a little HIIT and yoga, even while fasting.

  14. Interesting. I started a 40 day fast and after praying, felt led to soups and bone broth only. I have some health issues…okay, a lot of heath issues so at this point no food at all would set me into a tail spin. However, settling on organic soups found me at peace so to me it was confirmed. Mine is an act of faith and obedience. Today is Day 8 and I’m more alert and sensitive to the spirit. I’ll be keeping you in prayer. I cannot imagine 3o days without food at all…but thankfully it’s not my journey right now. Blessings!

    1. Cindi – Best of luck to you on your 40 day fast! It’s really interesting to learn about the religious/spirituality history of fasting, and how despite the historical significance of fasting in most religions, they’ve abandoned incorporating the practice in modern day. What makes you feel fasting would set you into a tail-spin?

  15. So so inspiring! Thank you for sharing all of the wisdom & your experiences – can’t wait to hear more as the days go along!

  16. I have followed your for some time, enjoying food ideas and even was reading along for at least one of your previous fasts. I am pretty sure my doc, a naturopath, wouldn’t approve of me doing something this intense, my gut says hmmm, very interesting. I will be watching with interest and I hope you are willing to give us really honest updates. When it’s hard, euphoric, annoying, everything.

    1. Will do!! You can always start with small, intermittent fasting to get some of the benefits of fasting and see how it works for you. Everyone needs to fast for a minimum of 12 hours every night, between dinner and breakfast 🙂 and then try extending that 12 hours a little longer every day…..

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