One of the most popular fasts that is currently trending is the 3 day fast, also known as the juice fast or water fast. This fasting process is said to help your digestive system relax, and flush out accumulated toxins in order to help your body heal and rebuild its defense mechanisms. But before you jump into it be sure to consult your doctor, and also learn how to do this safely to avoid some of its negative consequences.
What is a 3 Day Fast?
A 3 day fast is a more restricted form of fasting for a period of 72 hours in which you’re only allowed to drink water, in accordance with the capacity of your body. This fast is generally taken up by those who are already well versed with one-day fasting methods. A 3 day fast is much more intense than a 24-hour fast, and it’s always good to have prior experience with the short one-day fast. This experience will give you the confidence to be able to do the more extended three-day fast, which can give you much more physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
In the case of a 3 day fast, it is recommended to get somewhere between 2 to 3 liters of water in 24 hours. However, some sources state that fasting on water alone is not a good practice as your body does not get any calories, which can prove to be dangerous for your system. So, it is advisable to have some diluted fruit and vegetable juices in combination with lemon water spiced with cayenne pepper for an enhanced cleansing effect.
Benefits of a 3 Day (72 Hour) Water Fast
- This water fast provides much-needed rest to the entire digestive system to repair and heal itself. Toxins are removed and you will feel fresh and energized throughout the day.
- Fasting can improve immunity and gives longevity.
- Fasting is probably the easiest way to lose weight. One may lose anything from 1 – 3 kg during a 3-day fast. But remember you will gain back most of this weight once you return to normal food. Following a controlled diet after the 3 day fast can help in maintaining weight reduction.
- During the fast, you get a chance to observe your mind closely. It helps you to understand your food habits and cravings, and this understanding will help you to control your diet after the fast.
- All popular religious faiths in the world have encouraged the practice of fasting. Fasting is a time of introspection and emotional cleansing, and helps you to release trapped thoughts and emotions of the subconscious mind. During this period, blocked energies are released and negative mental impressions can be brought under control.
How to Get Ready for Your 3 Day Fast?
It is always advisable to consult your physician before starting with any sort of daily dietary regime. While a three day fast is usually safe for a majority of healthy adults, you need to make sure that you don’t have any underlying issues that can be aggravated if you fast for three days consecutively. On the other hand, if you have other chronic health problems like diabetes, blood pressure or hypoglycemia, you probably need to be supervised by your doctor while you are fasting. Also remember that children, pregnant and lactating women should not fast because they need a constant supply of nutrients.
Once you figure out if you can fast, start working on a fasting plan that will help get your body ready. Take your time to do this as gearing up your body to the fast is a very important step; especially if you’re addicted to certain types of food like tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar, and smoking. Suddenly cutting out things your body is used to for 72 hours can do more harm than good, so make sure that you wean yourself off slowly and steadily over a period of time.
The same logic holds for all types of processed and fried foods, dairy products and meat. Slowly cut them out of your diet by reducing the size of your portions. A few days prior to your 3 day fast, move on to only eating boiled vegetables. This type of simple food is easily digested by your system and will help prepare your intestines to only receive liquids in the coming days.
One last piece of advice – if you’ve never fasted before, a 3 day fast can seem too long and challenging to handle. You can try intermittent fasting or fasting for 24 hours on several occasions to see how it works or cut your fast short if you start to feel unwell. Always remember that the goal is not to feel worse than before, but to instead reap the benefits of the 3 day fast.
How to Do Your 3 Day Fast Safely?
In a 3 day water fast, you must only drink water for 72 hours. Experts recommend that you should not leave out juices from your diet. Divide your scheduled amount of water mixed with freshly squeezed juices into even portions and keep drinking them at regular intervals during the day. Avoid chewing gum, highly acidic juices or any type of sweeteners to minimize heartburn and food cravings as much as possible.
It’s a good idea to schedule your fast for the weekend or during a week that you have free days. This is because it can be dangerous to expose yourself to strenuous activity or stressful situations on your fasting days when your body is getting a limited supply of energy. Your metabolism automatically slows down as the limited accumulated fat in your body is used during this period.
The best cleansing drinks during your 3 day fast should consist of water mixed with fresh juices made of apples, carrots, celery, beets and spinach. While your master detox, drinks can be a mixture of distilled water, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Try drinking regular amounts of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
What to Eat After Your 3 Day Fast
Once your 3 day fast is over, be extra careful with getting back to your usual eating patterns as the reverse process will take time as well. There is no easy or healthy way to jump right back to eating regular food once you’ve literally lived on diluted juices for three days. So use the same amount of time you spent preparing yourself for the fast to get back to your old eating habits. Start with simple, boiled food for the first several days, then slowly reintroduce your regular diet. This could be an excellent opportunity to check for possible food intolerances if you have any.
Body Reactions and Experiences During a Three Day Fast
If you are attempting a 3 day water fast for the first time, you will notice a few new types of reactions within the body which you should be prepared for. When there is a sudden lack of food intake, you may feel weakness, nausea, dizziness etc. which are all quite normal. Sometimes you may even feel very energetic and the very next moment you may feel weak. These fluctuations are common and normal. You might also experience a drop in blood pressure and slight headaches. Don’t be frightened but rest or lie down when these symptoms become intense.
One may even feel a sudden bout of hunger. To overcome it, just drink a few glasses of water. The hunger should go away in a short time. If the hunger keeps recurring or you find that the hunger is unbearable, consult a doctor. Food cravings are another common reaction of the mind, one may start to think of different types of delicious food. You might even daydream about preparing and eating all sorts of food that you like. This is the part where you have to stay determined!
Fasting is a process for intense cleansing of both the physical and mental being. The body has a natural mechanism to release toxins during this healing process. These toxins are mostly released through your digestive system into the intestines. During this time, a thick white coating forms on the tongue, which is a sign that the toxins are being eliminated. The toxins can also be removed through the lungs, a sign of which may be foul breath, which may last a couple of days.
Feelings of nausea during your 3 days fast may be caused by acidity in the stomach, which can be removed by drinking a liter of saltwater and vomiting it out immediately. This is a type of yoga and is a common practice in both Ayurveda and naturopathy to cleanse the stomach.
These are a few of the very normal reactions that may occur during your 3 day fast. Try your best to continue this fast courageously, and keep your mind as peaceful as possible. Maintain a positive attitude during this time, and practice slow deep breathing to help bring the mind to a steady and equanimous state.
Possible Detox Symptoms and Side-Effects of Your 3 Day Fast
Your body will be going through all sorts of changes during this short but intense 3 day period. And therefore the most important thing is to approach your fast in a calm and relaxed way by positively handling the situation. If you get overly anxious over not getting any solid food for three days in a row, your detox symptoms can get even stronger. You might experience dizziness, fatigue, mood swings, nausea, skin issues, changes in your bowel movements, insomnia and more. If any of these symptoms start bothering you more than you can handle or if you start feeling really unwell, stop the fast and consult your doctor. Symptoms are usually relatively mild and the majority of people report feeling and looking good after the fast.