Updated: Mar 31, 2019
I wanted to consolidate all the info I found, and give you some things that I did not find posted online. I did a lot of research and looked all over the internet for some of this information. I am also including my own experiences. Keep in mind that I am in no way suggesting you do any of the things I discuss below. I do, however, feel that the below information could be useful if you do.
I am not a doctor and am not giving out any kind of medical advice. I am also not encouraging anyone to attempt anything I have discussed below. If you choose to do any of this, you are doing so by your own volition, and at your own risk.
I ended my fast on day 11 because of a few mistakes I made. Here are the things I learned in detail:
1. I did not do a dry fast. I drank water. A LOT of water
2. Start your fast on a Friday night. Days one and two are generally bad. Day two is reported as being really bad across the board, and I can confirm this, so give yourself a break and take a weekend to enter the process. Relax, stay away from people and food, and just breathe. It does get easier.
3. Starting day 3 everything gets easier. The hunger pangs slow down. Your body runs out of glucose and has to start burning fat. You move over to ketosis which begins to power your brain so the fogginess starts disappearing. After that it gets easier and easier.
4. Your body does not eliminate the food you ate just because you are fasting. A lot of it stays in your system, and will continue to stay there until being forced to leave. Have no fear, The food will not just sit and rot inside of you. When your body is ready to clear it, you will have a bowl movement. I promise it will happen.
5. DO NOT do a Salt water flush (or any system flush for that matter. before or during a fast. It could cause a really bad case of SIBO. When there is nothing in your stomach, and your GI tract has shut down, all the nasty bacteria could easily migrate up where they don't belong. The food that you ate prior to the fast is what is preventing that from happening. A flush is rather important AFTER the fast to get rid of anything that did not leave on its own. Salt water flush is much better than any colon cleanse because it actually cleans everything from your mouth down. A colon cleanse will indeed clean the colon, but it will not touch the stomach, intestines, etc. If you choose to do a salt flush after your water fast I suggest you do it in the morning. I made the mistake of doing it at 9PM. That was a very long night. It is not a pleasant process, and it will release all the crazy toxins you have built up in your GI tract.
i. This process can take several hours depending on what has built up in your system, so just plan a day of doing nothing and ride it out. You may also want to set aside the next day to relax just in case it is harder on you than you expected, but this is not necessary.
ii. Caution: this is extremely dehydrating, so you have to be prepared to re-hydrate. You also need to be prepared to deal with the symptoms of extreme dehydration until you have fully re-hydrated. The salt flush will also cause increased hunger because your entire system is now empty and will start signaling you that reserves are gone. Don’t freak out, just understand what is happening, and trust, that your body knows what it is doing. It will switch to fat burning to take care of your calorie needs. I almost gave up on my 7th day of fasting (when I did my salt water flush) because the hunger pangs got so bad for a long time, I actually felt like I was starving. I was all set to go to the store and buy food when the hunger disappeared. I went from suffering to fine instantly, but it took a couple hours.
iii. If you do this successfully, at the end, what comes out of you is clear water. If you are not releasing clear water (essentially peeing out of your rectum), your insides are not clean yet. Some people do a second flush later that same day or the next day if the first one did not finish the job. Just know that as soon as you are releasing clear water you are fully clean.
iv. This is a great time to use some activated charcoal. I like the coconut kind. The charcoal will pull all the crazy toxins that release, preventing them from entering your blood and circulating through your body. Wait a couple hours after your flush to do this so it does not get flushed out with everything else.
6. Don’t go crazy on electrolytes if you are mixing them yourself. It is extremely important to stay hydrated, but too many electrolytes can have side effects. I learned that this past Saturday night. I did not realize how dehydrating the flush was so went to bed severely dehydrated. Sunday morning I woke up and started pushing electrolytes. I mixed salt, magnesium, and cream of tartar (potassium) myself, and drank glass after glass like I was going to die. Between the toxins that were released Saturday from the flush, and the electrolytes I mixed I broke out like a 13 year old teenager. The following morning my face looked like I had the plague. I know it is going to heal quickly, especially since I stopped mixing my own electrolytes, except a bit of salt, but it does not look pretty.
7. You will not starve. Seriously. Regardless of what your doctors and friends have told you, you will not starve. You will also not start gaining weight. Your body is a very, very intelligent thing. The whole reason you store fat is for times of famine. The cave people did not starve to death just because they went without food a few days. They needed the energy to go back out and hunt so they could eat again. If they started starving to death just when they truly needed the energy to go out and hunt, none of us would be here now. The whole “you are going to starve to death” does not pass the common sense test. What does cause you to go into starvation mode, and gain weight, is a low calorie diet where you are eating very few calories and many times a day. Disagree? Research this. Here is a great place to start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIuj-oMN-Fk
8. You will not burn muscle the whole time you are fasting. Again, just like with “starving to death,” this does not pass the common sense test. If cave men started burning muscle just when they needed it most, when it was time to hunt again, they would have died. They could not have kept hunting after the first few days without food. The fact that they did not, and we are still here means that this is incorrect. Our body has a mechanism that fiercely protects lean muscle in times of famine, specifically so that we can go find food and feed ourselves again. From personal experience I can tell you that I actually gain muscle while fasting.
9. Autophagy. This is one of the biggest benefits of fasting. Autophagy literally translates to “self-eating”. Yes, your body does actually go in and eat itself while you are fasting, and this is a great thing. It eats the fat that you have stored for fuel, it eats protein (but not the kind you think), and it eats harmful organisms living in your system. All your dead skin, worn out connective tissue, and protein plaques that are still sitting in your body are protein. Yes, they are unnecessary protein that is just sitting around gumming up the machine, but have nowhere to go. The process of autophagy goes in and cleans all these things so that they are not just accumulating and causing problems. Think of a drain pipe that is backed up. It is full of hair, dirt, etc. Autophagy is like the snake you send down to clean all that stuff out so that the drain works right again. The huge bonus with autophagy is that not only does it clean out the old stuff, it actually breaks it down for parts and uses what it can to make healthy new cells. You are regenerating your body using your own old parts.
10. Finally, and most importantly, know when to stop. I had hoped to do a 21 day fast. That did not happen. I am now on day 11 and calling it quits at the end of the day. That is fine. I know my body, and am taking steps to get through today, since I am working and do not have time to go shopping until this afternoon. I am listening to my body very closely. What it says takes precedence over my wants. Your body will tell you very clearly when it is time to end the fast. Don’t be a hero and push through just to prove a point. Your body knows best. If you ignore it, you will get hurt.
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