Water Fasting FAQ

Curious about water fasting? Not sure where to get answers you can trust? This Water Fasting FAQ Guide will help you get started on your first fasting journey to better health!

How Did I get started fasting?

Before we jump into all the benefits of water fasting, want to give you a tiny bit of background on my journey that lead me to water fasting. My first ‘fasting’ experience began with juicing back in 2012. From there I evolved my type of fast from Bone Broth/GAPS Diet Fasting in 2015 and then to water only fasting in 2016.

I say ‘evolved’ because the one thing that I take great pride in is not becoming stagnate in my thinking or beliefs about healthy living. While juicing is a great way to consume highly concentrated vitamins from fruits and vegetables, I also found that it was way too much carbohydrate for my body and caused my metabolic issues to become much worse, not better.

Juicing wasn’t the holy grail that I was promised, I endured juice only fasts for up to 45 days with just minimal weight loss, weight loss that quickly came back no matter what I did. (that’s the problem with low-calorie diets I came to understand later and why water fasting is more benefial than juice fasting)

Let’s be honest, juicing sounds amazing, you can lose weight and ‘potentially” get extra nutrition, WHILE drinking awesome yummy juices! Sign me up. And Bone Broth fasting was the same thing, I could drink copious amounts of delicious, healthy broth keeping the hunger pangs away.

But now I understand that these were just ways I was trying to cheat the system. So much precious time wasted, when the best benefits come from completely abstaining from eat and drink (except water).

When I started reading about intermittent fasting and complete water-fasting back in 2015, something clicked. I’ll call it common sense and logic. I was way ahead of the curve when it comes to fasting, years ahead of many so-called fasting experts today.

Water Fasting is a part of our History

I just makes sense that “man” took  breaks from eating for intermittent periods of time in between when he had food available. Like nearly 2 million years of proven success with practically every organized religion historically require fasting!

It’s only been in the recent 10,000 years with the introduction of the agricultural revolution that we have had continuous, stable access to food. And in that recent time period we’ve seen such a dramatic increase in disease and illness, specifically in the past 150 years with the introduction of commercially processed foods.

Not only are we eating 24/7, much of what we are eating is faux foods. Packaged and processed food like substances, that have tricked us for so long that the vast majority of people no longer understand what Real Food is! Kids today don’t know where broccoli comes from and think pizza counts as a serving of vegetables.

Oy Vey, what a disaster we’ve caused!

Along my journey for health, we’ve transitioned to a 95% real food home over the past 10 years but the introduction of fasting has definitely stepped up our health.

After we shortened our eating window I started looking at longer fasts and extended water fasts. I read everything I could. I looked at fasting from a medical and spiritual perspective and deemed that it’s the single most natural part of human existence that we’ve forgotten. The easiest and most effective way to heal our bodies and utilize our stored energy reserves (aka fat).

Here’s how I look at it. My body is like a modern day prepper.. It’s hoarding food in the basement because it’s worried about a zombie invasion. And because I am a female, my body is even more worried just incase I need to feed an extra little one. But there’s not a shortage of food. Food is always available so I keep storing more energy…. but never give my body a reason to use it.

What fasting does is allows my body a reason to clean out those energy reserves. My body gets to do what it was designed to do, use stored fat for energy.

It’s fool proof in nature.

Following my first extended fast to lose weight, I was hooked. My weight only rebounded by 5% when I resumed eating and it was easy to maintain my loss when I paid attention to my body’s reaction to the foods I ate, eating a real food, lower carb diet, but I didn’t have to be drill sergeant strict.

5 Reasons I LOVE Water Fasting

  1. There is no way to quickly reduce your body weight or more consistently. And there’s no strenuous hours in the gym or complicated meal plans, included.
  2. Unlike eating a low-carlorie diet, where you body reduces your metabolism to meet your food intake, Water Fasting does NOT harm your metabolism.
  3. Studies have proven that a 72 hour water only fast resets your immune system.
  4. By incorporating longer fasts (7-14 days) regular are showing the ability to prevent cancer in healthy, fasting is also promising to aid in the recovery of cancer and reduces the symptoms of chemo therapy.
  5. Your body gets much needed time to run it’s routine maintenance that helps to eliminate symptoms, illnesses and disease. If you are always super busy, it’s nearly impossible to find time to clean your house – that’s how 24/7 eating affects the body’s ability to other things when it’s busy digesting food.

Should YOU try a Water Fast?

Now, here’s the tricky part. I want everyone to experience fasting BUT it’s simply not the right decision for everyone. There’s folks that shouldn’t; like the obvious pregnant/breastfeeding mommas, folks with a history of eating disorders and those suffering with certain diseases/illnesses/on prescription medication SHOULD find a doctor who is pro-fasting to help them ensure their safety, etc.

AND I do NOT advocate for anyone to blindly embark on a water fast, it’s IMPERATIVE to do your due diligence; take a few days and become educated on the how’s & why’s, if for no other reason then to be able to speak intelligently and confidently on your decision to fast with others. (haters going to hate, expect to get back lash) A reason to fast is not because I have had success.

** I am not a doctor. I am not advocating for anyone to start water fasting, fasting is NOT for everyone. I am only sharing my experience and thoughts. There are links in this post that will allow you to research water fasting for yourself and decide it it makes sense for your uniquely wonderful body. For anyone with a medical condition like heart disease high blood pressure, etc. medical supervision is suggested for long term fasting.**

I also suggest having blood tests done so you can compare test results after your fast. And I encourage you to use glucose testing while fasting to watch your health improve!

My Favorite Fasting Resources

I’m going to say it again, it’s your responsibility to become educated on fasting. And I’m going to be honest that if are not willing to take the time to read a book about fasting, then you aren’t ready to fast. This is very serious business. Is water fasting safe? These resources will help you understand how it’s not only safe but also extremely beneficial to your health!

My Water Fasting Experience Recap

I’ve completed several extended water fasts ranging from 24 hours to 31 days and no I didn’t die, although there’s some haters circulating a post on the internet saying that I died during my 31 day water fast, but I can assure you I am still alive and not typing this from the other side.

During my first 7 days water fast I lost 20 pounds and this most recent (2018) I lost 17.6 pounds in 7 days (my weight was lower, so I lost less) and a total of -23.8 in 14 days.

Water Fasting Frequently Asked Questions

What is a water fast?

Water fasting is simply ONLY consuming water – no food, no meal plan. Please do NOT ask me what I’m “eating” – that question is old, tiresome and totally annoying.

I’ve completed several water fasts, I’m slightly more relaxed with my approach after significant research, however 90% of what I consume is just water. I also allow 1 small mug of watered down coffee, iced or hot herbal tea, sparkling water (mineral water, club soda, seltzer, etc), fresh lemon juice in warm or cold water and sole water. Can you drink water while fasting, yes!

I also have an occasional mug of diluted homemade chicken bone broth. And when I have a stagnate taste in my mouth or have a serious craving for flavor I’ll have a sip of fermented pickle juice or drop of hot sauce on my tongue.

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

The health benefits of fasting are numerous and difficult to include them all in just one post. Water benefits begin after just 12 hours and gain momentum as you continue. For me the main water fasting benefits that entice me to keep going is resetting my immune system, helping to prevent cancer and water fasting weight loss benefits.

What is the difference between Water Fasting and Anorexia 

Ok, I’m not going to mince words on this topic. Anorexia is a mental illness where there is a false perception of reality, causing someone to see their body as obese/overweight when it is NOT taking a compulsive and dangerous approach to weight loss too far beyond what is healthy.

Eating disorders are real and serious but they are NOT a conscious decision to abstain from food for a set period of time to allow the body to heal and utilize it’s stored energy by individuals above a healthy weight.

Will you regain the weight you lost after fasting? 

After you read the books I linked to above, you will understand WHY fasting does not damage your metabolism – HOWEVER ultimately your post-fast diet will play a huge role in your maintenance. I recommend maintaining breaking your fast with a ketogenic diet and paying attention to your body’s reaction to the carbs you add, using the post fast refeeding period as a way to create your own perfect way of eating.

How do you Break a Water Fast?

There’s lots of talk about refeeding syndrome (where when you resume eating you create a dangerous imbalance) but from the research and data I’ve explored, I have not found any proven outcomes with purposeful water fasting, Information regarding refeeding is focused on patients who were starved in prison camps or were fed intravenously – this is a new and emerging field of study.

My approach is slow and steady. I prefer to break my fast at dinner with 500-750 calories of ample vegetables, healthy fats and high quality protein. One of my favorite meals is a large tossed salad topped with wild caught sardines tossed olive oil/vinegar. Keeping in mind that you are fueling your now reset and clean body with nutrition, treat your body with conscious care. I will then increase my calories every day, but stick to plants and animals, again paying attention to my body’s reaction to how I am fueling it. Am I reacting to eggs? Does dairy cause bloat and gas? Are starchy carbs causing me to gain weight, etc…

What other questions do you have??

Feel free to comment on this and I’ll either answer it in the comments or add it to the FAQ. Any rude or insulting comments will not be approved.

Keywords: diabetes, dehydration, muscles, headaches, autophagy, dizziness, sodium, cholesterol, eating disorder, fatigue, supplements, body’s needs

  • water intake
  • low blood pressure
  • nausea
  • short-term fasting
  • lower blood pressure
  • minerals
  • muscle mass
  • muscle loss
  • insulin resistance
  • health complications
  • triglycerides
  • water consumption
  • orthostatic hypotension
  • starvation
  • insulin sensitive
  • hypoglycemia
  • liters of water
  • low blood sugar
  • blood sugar levels
  • dietetics
  • magnesium
  • constipation
  • potassium
  • alzheimer’s disease
  • amount of water
  • alan goldhamer
  • truenorth health center
  • whole grains

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  1. Hi! I am seriously considering doing a water fast starting today for a week, I will come back in 7 days to let you know how it goes (most likely Wednesday morning)!

    1. Generally any required meds you should continue taking. Vitamins are a little different and I tend to advise against most.

  2. Hi, I’m really interested in water fasting, mostly for weight loss, but also because I’ve developed food sensitivities after stopping a medication. My concern is that I am a committed vegetarian, & I wonder how I will stick to a low-carb diet post water fast? Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. I’m not well versed on vegetarian diets but lots of people eat low carb and even keto while avoiding ‘meat’

  3. I’m so glad I came across this!!
    Almost a mirror image of how abs what I eat, yet I’m Struggling to get any weight off and am
    Slowly gaining 🤦🏽‍♀️

    One question- did you continue to exercise during this fast.
    I like to lift weight at the gym and am concerned about fatigue?
    Any advice there?

  4. Haley – I love your posts! I started a water fast this past Monday, Dec 13, 2021, and lost 14.3 pounds by Saturday December 18. I became alarmed this morning December 19 when my scale showed that I lost 12 pounds since yesterday. I came across your article on how you lost 20 pounds in one week and was immediately put at ease.

    Thanks for sharing your journey! I have committed to 3 cycles of 14 day WF only, and will take a few days between each cycle to focus on fresh fruits and veggies, veggie broth, and small amounts of protein. Ultimately, I’d like to get to primarily plant-based eating within a 4-6 hour period.

    I have 3 children, 13, 11, and 8, plus 2 jobs, so it has been a bit of a challenge managing their needs and maintaining the grit needed to do this. Your blog has breathed some new life into me!



    1. Did you experience any lower back and/or leg pain? I just had to end my 7 day water fast on day 5 due to excruciating back and leg pain.

      It’s been two days since ending the fast so I’m eating normally, and I’m still having the pain, although not as bad. Any advice?

  5. Any advice for dealing with caring for others while fasting? I have a 4 year old so I’ll have to cook for her daily? Also how do you handle the headaches and hunger pains? In the past I haven’t been able to manage more than 24 hours because I get extreme hunger headaches

    1. Stay hydrated and take electrolytes, that helps with the headaches. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic trick you just gotta tough through 🤣

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have found the information on breaking fast particularly useful. I have just completed my 2nd 72 hour water fast in 2 weeks. I don’t find fasting very difficult because I do this for religious reasons. The water fast for my health to reset glucose and cholesterol levels as well weight loss.

  7. hi ! i have been considering water fasting and done a lot of research and just curious as to how often you do it ?

    1. I suggest reading as much about fasting as you can before jumping in. Generally you need to space your fasts out with full calorie refeeding in between. 10 day fast, 30 day refeed as an example.

  8. my dear, it.s april 2021 and I just went through your post and I loved the way you explained each and everything.
    I always makeup my mind to start waterfast but the only concern is loose skin!
    I heard that losing weight by any fast methods can leave you with loose skin. so dear, have you faced loose skin in any part of your body?
    kindly reply, will be a great help!
    thanks and reagrds,
    stay healthy 🙂

    1. Nope! When you are fasting – ie zero calorie not juice fasting or a detox – your body actually will work towards shrinking loose skin! I have zero.

  9. I really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for your information on this. While you are on this water fasting, do you take any kind of vitamin supplements? I’m allergic to nickel which bothers my eczema really bad. What would you recommend for getting for getting heavy metals/metals out of the body in general? I know of DiatomaceousEarth and beta guard. Is there any other ones and can they be added into the water fasting? Thank you for the information!!!

    Mary J.

    1. Electrolytes and Magnesium at bedtime as a sleep aid, are the only supplements I’ve ever taken while fasting. I can’t offer any suggestions for heavy metal detox while fasting, sorry!

  10. Loved your posts and I have been on IF for 3 months now lost 10lbs. I am longing to do a 4 day water fast and all your tiny details are so helpful, I really appreciate the way you’ve been so clear and so much humor. I like the lingo too, more like thee Netflix Bridgerton type🙂. So I am starting today. I am wondering if it is enough to be active during the whole day like everyday chores and moving around with kids or do I need to incorporate an exercise regime like cardio or muscle training. I am open to suggestions or just an opinion would do, I would never hold anyone’s opinions against them because it was just opinion or personal experience that they are willing to share. There’s very few who should be open to sharing all this wisdom with the intent of helping out.

    1. When fasting, just do your regular daily activities, it’s not the best time to incorporate any additional exercise programs. Good Luck!

  11. Hello there,

    Can I ask you approximately how much water you consume during the day while you are on the fast.

    Thanks so much

    1. I never measured, I only drink to thirst. That being said I’m a water-drinker who normally exceeds 1 gallon a day. I don’t drink anything else, after my 1 cup of coffee in the morning.

  12. Hello l am on a extended water fast do you think drinking Zevia is okay is a carbonated water that kind of tastes like pop

    1. I personally feel sweetened drinks, even if zero cal, create an insulin response and defeat the purpose of fasting. That being said your fast is YOUR FAST and you need to decide the ‘why’

      From an absolute health perspective it’s no, if you aren’t worried about health just dropping weight a dirty fast with a stevia sweetened bev may be fine for your goals.

  13. Have you ever not lost weight on a water fast? Tomorrow will be day 4 for me and I am not feeling like I am.

  14. Thanks so much for posting this! I found your post by searching for how many pounds can I lose in a 2 week fast. I have lost 12 lbs so far in the past 2 months working out and doing low carb but the results are not drastic or fast enough for me when I have another 90 to go. Thanks for the inspiration and information!!!

    1. I have fasted both with and without. at this point, during another 31 day fast I feel electorates are beneficial and I encourage you to consume them daily.

      1. Hi Hayley,
        Do you recommend any brand of electorates during fasting?
        I love to drink water daily (all day) and will usually incorporate 1-2 8oz of Zero Gatorade. (0 sugar, 0 calories)
        Is that acceptable?


        1. Personally I was very careful to avoid processed artificial drinks like Gatorade * I prefer electrolytes from LMNT or Ultima

  15. Would doing an hour of cardio on the bike or elliptical be too intense on this? and when I break it would it be fine to have a smoothie do you think. Starting tomorrow and ending friday around dinner

    1. Do your normal activity, don’t add anything new. Listen to YOUR body to decide what feels right.

      No I do not think breaking a fast with a high carb food or drink is a good idea. Bone broth, balanced keto meals to prevent a giant flood of glucose

  16. I may be overthinking the water fast, but I am just starting mine. Do lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, or conditioners play any role in this? Should I discontinue using any of these until after my water fast? I am fasting for chronic pain reasons.

    1. I believe very strongly that toxic products need to be eliminated competently fasting or not. It’s a great time to ditch them and switch to safer, natural products.

    1. I always suggest (a) listening to you body while fasting and allowing restorative rest as needed however (b) once you are adapted to getting your energy from stored fat most of use are able to continue all normal activities, which can include exercise. I do not ever recommend adding strenuous NEW activity while fasting, if it’s not something you’ve done pre-fast.

  17. Great post! I appreciate the honesty and in sharing your experience. On Tuesday I began my first fast and I plan to end it on Tuesday. I’ve already seen pretty awesome results in my glucose to ketone ratios. My BP has dropped about 15 points since the start and frankly I have insane amounts of energy. This goes against all that I’ve been taught in the past.

  18. Thank you for sharing your fasting journey & tips, Hayley!
    I am new to this lifestyle and have battled with my weight for years- eating paleo & being pescatarian & also not having a sweet/junkfood desire- I often would get upset/frustrated when my hubby or friends could eat bread, takeout etc and not puff up or gain weight. Where my body went into ‘store it up for the famine’ mode!
    I very much related to your story and am grateful to have found a lifestyle that finally burns fat & heals- body, mind & soul 🙂

  19. This article is very helpful, inspiring and well written. I’m on day 2 of my water fast and plan to continue until day 14. I’ve done juice fasting, spiritual fasting etc. previously. I’m excited for the outcome as I’m looking forward to resetting my body mind and spirit entirely.

  20. I did a three day water fast with the first one I lost 6lbs and two days after I measured and I had lost 2 inches around my entire belly area and an inch from around my hips. I did a second water fast same three days. However, I lost the same 6lbs but gained an inch in the same areas. The only thing I did differently was to drink soda water do you think this interfered with my body size

  21. If I do a 5-7day water fast, and do an OMAD right after will I be able to maintain the lost weight from the fast? Thank you!

    1. I wish there was a guarantee but our bodies are all unique. For some people yes, others no. I personally cannot eat high carb without gaining weight, even Omad.

  22. Hi Hayley, thank you so much for your thorough and insightful information. Your site is a terrific resource. Question: how often do you fast? How often is too often (if you have weight to lose)? I’m thinking of fasting for a few days, refeeding, and then fasting again. Thank you!

    1. I fast daily, a minimum of 12 hours 😜 then rotate in longer fasts as they feel good. The general rule is to refeed for 2x the length of the extended fast, so if you fast for 3 days refeed for 6

      1. Hi Hayley, really appreciate your blog especially reading some of your comments.
        I did an 18 day fast, lost 20 lbs and gained about 10 back but I have realized that although i have not necessarily been eating the worst and have been fasting ever since (2 months) even did a 5 days, or 3 days, and regularly doing about 16-18 hour fast- I also dont do well with carbs. sadly but I am looking at this past fast as a learning experience and planning to be more mindful and pay attention to my eating and also watching my treats.

        Thank you!

        1. How were you able to lose 20 lbs in 18 days. I want to do that in 14 days. Please let me know. I need to prepare for Christmas.

  23. Hi Hayley,

    I want to do a 10 day fast for myself also.
    But what interests me most is that I’ve got vitiligo too and it is something I’m very body conscious about. Is there a way you found to control it or make it less visible?

    Warm wishes,
    Anna x

    1. Eating real food, with intermittent fasting has allowed mine to continue regimenting. I am not super worried about covering mine (right side, elbow, armpit, ribs, wrist)

  24. Thank you for writing what you have on fasting.
    Which I completely agree on,
    As the only time I’ve lost weight in my life is when I was in a new relationship and I was too embarrassed to eat and just drank water🙄
    Now at 55 and I’ve tried every diet.
    My doctor wants me to have a gastric sleeve due to my health etc..
    I weigh 20st 1lb and I’m 5.8 plus a young 55. Lol
    I did have a extensive saddle
    pulmonary embolism and had to have Iv thrombolytics to save my life in 2017,
    Which I was told they had only ever seen the size of my blood clot post-mortem.
    But it has left me with damaged left lung due to scare tissue.
    I really do not want to have the gastric sleeve.
    So reading what you wrote reminded me how I have lost weight years ago.
    I believe you are 100% right and I am starting today, hopefully the first step to me new life.
    I would like to say thank you for all your information and I have ordered the books I could get on amazon too.
    Warmest wishes
    Liz x

    1. My vitiligo has been slowly repigmenting. Fasting helps but so does eliminating inflammatory foods which create the auto immune response.

  25. Worried about not having a bowel movement after my ten days of only water? Also worried about cramping without potassium

    1. If you are not taking in food, there won’t be any thing to pass after your system is cleaned out.

      I will take electrolytes or sea salt/sole water occasionally while fasting. Some need supplementation some have enough stored.

  26. I’m only asking for reference, because I know it is easier to lose weight when you have more to lose, so when you say you just 20 lbs in a week, what percentage is that of what you’re total planned weight loss is/was? I only have about 20 lbs to lose in total, but I would love to lose even 10-15 lbs before next week when I have a xmas party to attend, and I’m wondering if that’s possible.

    1. Saying you only have 20 pounds to lose is subjective. When you fast the only thing you gain is HEALTH regardless of how much your weight reduces. The rate will be different for everyone.
      Likewise weight/height is a big factor too. 150 pound woman at 5 foot tall vs a 6 foot tall. same weight but different conversation.

    1. I don’t feel there is ever a reason to call people names, but apparently you do.

      I provide this site for you to read for FREE and if you don’t like what I am saying or the way I am saying it, please move on.

  27. Hello, I started my fast yesterday and was wondering if it is okay to still take prebiotics and probiotics in capsule and powder form at night? Thank you

  28. Hi Hayley,

    Thanks for your detailed and very helpful article! I’m a newbie to fasting, and I have a couple questions for you if you wouldn’t mind!

    1) have you consumed beverages like La Croix during a fast? I’m still not sure what really matters- ketones/blood sugar/calorie wise- and want to know if this would be an option for me, or have any affects on overall weight loss/maximizing the effects of my fast.

    2) when you say diluted coffee, how diluted?

    3) some people say fasting without an incredibly thorough cleanse before is dangerous as your digestive system can shut down while toxins (aka poop) is still inside. I’m eating high fiber tonight in preparation for my fast starting tomorrow, is this enough?

    4) people also say sugar free gum can trigger insulin response as well as toothpaste, how do you feel about these claims? I’d really like to have some gum when I’m around people, just to keep from bad breath, but again don’t want to compromise the affects of the fast.

    Thank you again for your help, really looking forward to hearing back!!

    1. I don’t drink laCroix, choose sparkling mineral water in glass bottles.

      For a true fast you was 0 calories and nothing artificial.

      Diluted coffee, weak coffee. It’s jot important to dilute yours. I’m caffeine sensitive and at the time I wrote this post I was transitioning to black coffee

      “People” say all sorts of things. Your digestive system keeps moving as long as there is food in your system and you stay hydrate. When in doubt take magnesium if you want to clean things out quicker.

      I never chew gum. Chewing activates digestion. You chew, it tastes sweet, the body thinks food is coming, it starts the process regardless of food d is coming.

      Likewise, any sweet food triggers a response. Even sugar free, only three no sugar to process only toxic chemicals. Even stevia provokes a response.

      I use a toothpaste powder that’s not sweet, so my body doesn’t break a fast when i brush my teeth. Most find no objection to toothpaste. Scraping your tongue helps to fight bad breath too.

  29. Hi Hayley,
    Thank you so much for taking time out to answer these questions! I just completed a three day fast and it was amazing (both spiritually and physically). I however was quite constipated… did you take anything during your fast for things to run smoothly? Also, can I still workout (I usually use the elliptical) while fasting?

    1. I continue all my normal activity but listen to my body. If it needs rest, I slow down. I’ve never been constapated while fasting. I will take magnesium at night which can help keep things moving.

  30. I have tried fasting in the past, but found food cravings virtually impossible to resist. I even found that I was sleepwalking down to the kitchen and grabbing chocolate chips, crackers….anything that I could easily shove in my face.

    Any suggestions on how to stop these intense cravings?


    1. Hey Susan – I suggest getting off the sugar-train before fasting if your cravings are too hard to overcome. Look into a Keto Diet or at the least reducing your carbs gradually. When you body is dependent on sugar/carbs/glucose for fuel it can be hard to quickly switch, especially if it’s been a long term lifestyle. Becoming fat adapted with a keto diet makes transitioning to fasting so much easier!

  31. If we’re trying to be all natural and fast the way that our ancestors did when they ran out of food, wouldn’t that mean that we’re not supplementing with minerals? For instance when they were short on food they certainly didn’t have magnesium or potassium supplements they can take in order to feel better. I’m just thinking this through I’m wondering if we’re over complicating it still.

    1. Our food system is drastically mineral depleted so we don’t have as much in ‘reserve’ as we should for fasting periods but I 100% hear what you are saying. I’ve fasted without any supplements and felt perfectly fine but I also eat a very nutrient dense, high quality diet regularly.

  32. What about ginger ottumeric tea? I read your reply about coconut water and live in Jamaica where I can get cpj it’s stright from the tree. Wondered about young coconuts. The ones with far less sugar. We recommend them in Jamaica for hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc. I’m starting my fast tomorrow. Thanks

    1. Less sugar is still sugar. Many things are suggested for ailments but not necessarily beneficial. I would not suggest consuming ANY sugar when fasting, it negates the benefits. The tea, if it’s just turmeric and gin we steeped in water sounds fine.

      1. Awesome, thanks for your reply. On day two now and so far so good. Even had a hard workout yesterday (my usual but amped up a notch) and felt no different than if I had eaten. So all good. Been tracking my journey in my journal. Main thing that comes up is how much eating dominates my mind. Didn’t see any change in the scale last night and am thinking I’ll not look at it again until the end of the 7 days. I’m not doing this solely for weight loss anyway, more for all the other benefits and enlightenment. Thanks again

  33. Hi Hayley!

    I want to try fasting, and I’m good with just water, my question is, is one gallon good per day? Also, I have some cleansing tea, can I add water, cucumber, lemon, and mint? Orrrrrr should I just stick to water?

    1. Drink the amount of water you need to satisfy your thirst. Don’t force or restrict water. Herbal teas are ok, but personally I would avoid solid foods.

  34. Hi Hayley,

    I was wondering if after the multiple water fast you gained any weight back. Would you mind sharing wether the pounds stayed off?
    Thinking of embarking on a water fast and then eating keto.


    1. You always gain some weight when you start eating, my experience has been 25% regain. I’ve kept off 25% of my fasting weight loss.

      I don’t cheat, I live a balanced life. If I indulge on vacation or as a celebration, I balance it with fasting.

  35. I’m just finishing up my second five-day fast. My husband and I did one back in January and one now (April/May). It’s nice being able to compare our experiences and symptoms while we’re doing it together. He never gets the stagnant taste in his mouth, and he never seems to struggle with heart palpitations or nausea. I get all those. And I’ve learned that heart irregularity can be an indication of potassium deficiency.

    I did use Natural Calm several times during this fast, which helped immensely, but during my last 24 hours (which I’m still in) I was so nauseated that even one sip of water (or mineral water) made me feel like I would vomit). I think my body has a hard time staying hydrated with just water, like the water is flushing my system but not hydrating it, even though I was making myself drink 100 or so ounces each day.

    Then my mom (who is retired from the medical field) suggested that I drink some coconut water to help me hydrate quickly and get my potassium levels up. I felt the positive results immediately! The nausea disappeared and my mental clarity returned. What a relief. The coconut water I’m drinking is not zero calorie because it has a little fruit juice added, so I’m not sure how that effects the water fast. I was just wondering what you think about it as a viable method of hydration. I was putting Real Salt in my water several times a day and drinking plenty of mineral water, too, but I must have needed that potassium. Do you know of another way to get it in a better form that would still be zero calorie?

    When I broke my last fast, I didn’t know about the potassium issues (though I’m sure I was having them then, too). It took me a week or so to get over my slight nausea and yucky taste in my mouth. I’m counting on this coconut water to help me re-acclimate more quickly. Since I’m on my last day, I’m not too concerned with the 60 calorie in my coconut water, but I’d like to know a good source of potassium for next time. The Natural Calm helped some (and I would take it every time I’d feel the heart palpitations), but the coconut water was far more effective in helping those and eliminating my nausea (which I’m assuming was from dehydration).

    Thanks for your post! It’s very helpful.

    1. I personally wouldn’t use coconut water (of any kind) since that essentially fuels your body with sugar. I’d try bone broth instead. What most likely happened is the rush of sugar (coconut water) spiked your blood glucose, which is not optimal, but would make you feel “better” – your body will need to adapt to being fueld by it’s fat stores, adding sugar will only prevent the process. I’d rather you eat an avocado instead of coconut water, honestly if potassium is your concern. But seriously make homemade bone broth with LOTS of veggies and sea salt. I suggest reading Dr Jason Fung’s books and blog (google him) to fully understand the fasting process!

      1. PS most mineral waters have almost NO minerals. The only brand that I drink is Gerolsteiner from glass bottles, it has significantly more minerals than brands like San Pelligrino.

    2. you could use “No Salt” …its potassium and no calories. I mix a little of this and pink Himalayan salt in my purified water to help with these symptoms.
      Link of No Salt below:

    3. Besides sodium chloride, put *potassium chloride powder* in your water! And maybe a tsp of bicarbonate of soda: good for your kidneys during a water fast.

      1. When on water fast, is it ok to have 1 zero carb Powerade? Do you advise no artificial sugar cuz it spikes insulan or for increase in cravings? Thanks in advance

  36. Hi Hayley,
    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and I appreciate your balanced and no nonsense approach to health and the body. I too have come to appreciate fasting as a way of balancing weight control without feeling like I can never get on top of my weight or enjoy occasional treats.
    My question is, how have you seen your pre-fast diet affect your overall fasting experience? Do you need to pre-cleanse with raw/smoothies/vegan etc? Much material has been published about this, but honestly, one of the benefits of fasting for me is a new appreciation for clean eating that diminishes between fasts. How bad is it really to just start “cold turkey”?

    1. The worse you ate pre-fast the worse you feel while fasting. I’m not a proponent of raw/vegan/juicing in general. To make fasting easier, I suggest a ketogenic diet to become fat adapated.

  37. Hi Hayley!

    Great post, thank you.

    I’ve read Fung’s book and tried a few 1-3 day water fasts since around 2009 (5:2 fasting also), now doing 4 days (day 2 and it’s going well!). Hoping to work up towards a 30-day fast – more for giving myself some time and energy towards releasing undigested emotions than anything; also 20 pounds to lose but it gets too stressful trying to count/control, so just focussing on mental health for now. I feel oodles calmer already on day 2 without my blood sugar going all over the place.

    Some questions –

    1. Do you think it’s a good idea to trial run a 7 or 10 day fast first before doing the 30 day one, or does it not really matter – could one jump right in and adjust as it goes on?

    2. You mentioned you had done some serious gut healing protocols incl GAPS etc – what are your thoughts on starting with fasting with a somewhat damaged gut (like we probably all have)? Is it less effective? Or would fasting, rather, be a great precursor to clean out some gunk before letting it loose on the fermented foods and broths etc?

    3. Supplements. You mentioned taking magnesium for sleep. I’ve bought the Natural Vitality one you recommended – can’t wait to get it delivered! I’ve heard in keto forums how important electrolytes are to avoid keto flu etc etc – what about for fasting? And what of all the other micro nutrients we usually need daily / that cannot be stored – B Vitamins etc? Fung writes a scathing article on vitamins – https://idmprogram.com/vitamins-and-calcium/ whereas I note that Natasha Campbell Mc Bride recommends several supplements in GAPS, as do Jon Gabriel, Dr Andrew Saul, Mercola, Chris Kresser and others…although I guess none of these latter folk specifically have guidelines for actually fasting with these vitamins/minerals…I suspect I’m probably deficient in a bunch of things, but again, wonder if fasting might be a better way to reset insulin resistance, clean out the gut, then heal it and THEN start afresh once my body actually has the capacity to absorb the micronutrients – thoughts?

    4. Night time. This might just be me, but all that water + herbal tea is sending me running to the bathroom all night long, so I usually get a poor sleep (haha the hardcore bedtime teas + magnesium don’t stop a bursting bladder calling its alarm!). Did you experience this? If I stop drinking a couple of hours before bed on a normal day, usually that’s good enough for avoiding running to the loo all night, but on fasting days, my head feels too terrible if I don’t drink consistently (and even during the night I get a bit thirsty sometimes). Again, might just be because I’ve only done shorter fasts and maybe the headacheyness stops after a while and I can get away with less water in the hour or two before bed? Thoughts?

    I’ve read many of your posts on fasting and am indeed inspired!

    Much love and look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!!

    1. First of all – 3 day fasts generally reset MOST of what people are looking to achieve.

      1. We’ve been fasting using different methods and varying lengths for YEARS before doing an extended water only fast. I encourage you to listen to your body and decide what feels right.
      2. I NEVER had any intestinal permeability, but I did them anyways looking for my own answers to WHY I can’t easily loose/maintain a healthy weight. I feel that fasting heals the entire body, perhaps faster than while digesting food.
      3. Studies show that when fasting you won’t become deficient but do what feels right for you depending on the type of diet you eat pre fast and how you feel.
      4. Typically we don’t feel the fasting high until day 5+ — all days up to that are variable but not fun. During those first 10 days of fasting our sleep isn’t great, but the longer we fast the better we sleep. Lots of it is mental too, which goes back to magnesium to help sleep.

      You may need sea salt in your water, to help with headaches. It’s referenced in The Complete Guide to fasting.

      1. Wow, Hayley, thanks so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions – means a lot to me. You are an inspiration.

        On day 6 of fasting now, and feeling really calm, no headaches, Natural Calm helped a lot (THANK YOU for that recommendation ^ ^), and added some sea salt, all working great. Just plain spring water and herbal teas otherwise.

        No weight/blood glucose/ketone readings, but skin is clear, panic attacks gone, stomach flattening out, no hunger pangs or obsessing about food, which all feels great.

        Thank you once again!

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