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September 13, 2022 62 Comments
For a while, I’ve wanted to try a 3-day fast to see how my body responds. I understand the benefits of fasting and have done intermittent fasting and up to 36 hours in the past, but I was curious to see if there were any noticeable differences with a 3-day fast.
In this post, I’ll cover my experience with my first 3-day fast. I will break it down by my overall hunger, energy, ketone, weight loss, and waist size. I hope that those of you who’ve considered trying a 3 day fast will get some valuable insights by reading this article.
Note: Before we get into it, fasting isn’t for everyone! Speak with your doctor before starting a fast. If you want to fast for extended periods of time, 7 or more days it should be supervised by professionals. We don’t recommend fasting for the sole purpose of losing weight. There are better alternatives for weight loss.
Fasting is when you stop eating for a period of time. This might best be described through the word breakfast, where you didn’t overnight and then broke fast with a meal in the morning. People have been fasting throughout time. There are several reasons that people fast, including religion, overall health, medical reasons, and weight loss. One thing to make sure is clear; fasting is not starvation. Fasting is something you will choose to do for whatever reason whereas starvation is usually out of your control. These days IF or intermittent fasting has become a mainstream tool to aid people in losing weight and feeling better all around.
The main difference between intermittent fasting and a 3-day fast is that the 3-day fast is a consecutive time period of 72 hours, while intermittent fasting is based around the concept of seesawing back and forth of eating then fasting, then eating again.
A few of the most common intermittent fasting protocols that you might come across are:
Eat Stop Eat: This is where you will have a 24-hour fast 1-2 times a week.
16:8 Method: This might be the most popular IF technique as it’s easier to follow. You’ll simply have 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of an eating window daily. If you’re getting proper sleep, then this one should be easy to stick with. A tad more rigid version would be to switch up these times to 18 hours of fasting and 6 hours of feeding. Check out our 16/8 intermittent fasting 7-day meal plan for more information on this method.
The Warrior Diet: With this IF technique you’ll be fasting for roughly 20 hours a day and will eat one large meal at night.
12:12 Method: This might be the best IF programming for newbies to get used to fasting for set periods of time. The name describes exactly what it is, you can eat during a 12-hour period and then fast for the other 12 hours. If you get used to the 12:12, then you might want to gradually step up to the 14:10, where you’ll decrease your feeding by two hours and increase the fast by the same amount.
5:2 Diet: This isn’t technically a fasting protocol as there aren’t any set fasting time frames. With this one you will eat a regular diet for 5 days a week then drastically reduce your caloric intake for 2 days, only eating 1/5th of the normal amount.
There are multiple benefits of fasting, which is why it’s become so popular in the health industry over the past decade. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of fasting below:
1.) Reduces Inflammation: Fasting helps to reduce inflammation in the body by lowering the monocytes in the blood. Chronic inflammation can lead to many health-related issues such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. We tend to overeat these days which contributes to increased inflammation. Fasting can help to mitigate this.
2.) Supports Weight Loss: Fasting can help to lose weight and fat. By refraining from eating for lengths of time, it will make it easier to stay at a caloric deficit. Being at a caloric deficit is the same idea as following a cutting diet program. Studies like this showed how fasting can help to significantly reduce weight.
3.) Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Unfortunately, this condition has become commonplace in today’s society. Fasting can reduce insulin resistance which in turn, can help to lower blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting reduced fasting insulin levels by 20-31% while fasting blood sugar was reduced by 3-6% in pre-diabetic people. It should be mentioned that these positive results might not be the same across both genders.
4.) Boosts Metabolism: Fasting has been shown to increase metabolism which will help to burn fat and lose weight. With a heightened metabolism, the body will process food more efficiently.
5.) Anti-Aging: To avoid tissue aging and diseases, the body cycles through and replenishes its cells through the process of autophagy. This cellular repair is vital for us to live longer healthier lives. Fasting has been shown to extend the lifetime of people who consume less because of the reduced toll on their digestive system.
6.) Improves Heart Health: Fasting has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The positive benefits of fasting on heart health can’t be understated. This study suggests that people who incorporate fasting into their lifestyle for the long term can be more than 70% less likely to have heart failure compared to people who’ve never fasted.
7.) Regulates Blood Sugar Levels: Insulin production will decrease as you fast because the body will look to other sources of energy rather than carbs. When you fast, the body will turn to use stored fat for energy. Fasting can also help to lower insulin resistance which can aid in balancing out blood sugar levels, so you don’t fall victim to drastic spikes and crashes.
8.) Boosts Hormone Production: Human growth hormone (HGH) actually increases when fasting. HGH is a hormone that the pituitary glands produce to help with cell repair, metabolism, muscle growth, strength gain, muscle recovery, and body composition. This study showed that after 3 days of fasting HGH levels skyrocketed by 300% and after one week of fasting the HGH levels had exploded to a whopping 1,250% increase.
9.) Neurological Enhancements: Fasting can lead to clearer thoughts and better overall brain functioning. IF helps to increase the production of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a protein vital to a healthy brain. In fact, fasting may help to prevent and/or reduce risk of stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Fasting isn’t for everyone and it should certainly be taken seriously. Fasting drastically lowers calorie intake which can result in all those amazing benefits that I just mentioned but there are also some pitfalls to be aware of when making big changes to your diet.
Some common side effects of fasting can be:
Note: Long term fasts can bring a slew of other more serious side effects.
A 3 day water fast is almost exactly that. We say almost because many people would still consider it a 3 day water fast if water, black coffee or tea is consumed. You will abstain from consuming anything else for 72 hours straight. Diet sodas and the like are off the table when it comes to a 3 day water fast. In my case I bent the rules and consumed some coffee and tea.
Fasting delivers a number of benefits that were mentioned above but you may be asking, “why should I fast for 3 days if I can fast for 16 hours and get all those amazing benefits?”. Perhaps the biggest reason to try the 3 day or longer fast is to help unlock the full power of autophagy. This cell recycling process takes longer than the common intermittent fasting time periods.
Fasting for 16 hours might not be enough to result in autophagy. This is based on the individual and their metabolism but it can take two to four days to achieve significant autophagy. In some animal studies there’s been findings that autophagy can take place after 24 hours of fasting while peak levels were noticed at around 48 hours of fasting. However, the exact science and timing still isn’t clear on the optimal length of a fast to trigger and exploit autophagy.
WHO SHOULD FAST
People who don’t have any health conditions and aren’t part of an at-risk group can give fasting a shot. It’s good to step outside our comfort zones once in a while. People who are looking to unlock some of the health benefits mentioned above should try fasting. Even skinny fat people will reap some benefits of fasting and should give it a go. Maybe a 3 day fast isn’t necessary for most people but at least some form of IF should be followed if you’re adamant about your long term health.
WHO SHOULDN'T FAST
We’re not medical experts and wouldn’t give medical advice but we can look to various studies to see what the science says about fasting. You should always consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your eating and exercise habits. People who have health conditions such as diabetes shouldn’t fast as it can cause dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Many people would also say that pregnant women or those breastfeeding shouldn’t attempt fasting. However, there are many pregnant or breastfeeding women around the world that do fast for religious reasons. There are multiple studies like this that show pregnant women who fasted during Ramadan resulted in no negative effects of fetal development. Generally speaking, a few other groups of people that shouldn’t fast can include people with chronic diseases, elderly and children.
Before you embark on a 3 day water fast you should take the proper precautions to ensure you stay healthy and get the most from it.
You will only be drinking water, tea or coffee over the next 72 hours, no other diet drinks or food allowed.
Next, you’ll need to decide when to start your 3 day fast. In my case, I started after dinner on Sunday night so it will end on Wednesday evening around 8pm. Choosing your start time for your fast is totally up to you and your lifestyle.
Many people that work 9-5 jobs during the week like to start on Thursday night and finish on Sunday. This way they can kind of just relax at home on Saturday and Sunday when energy levels might be low. I wish I had followed this little tidbit of advice. By my third day energy levels were low and sitting in the office for a full day of work followed by a commute home via a crowded metro wasn’t the best choice. Next time I do a 3 day fast I will make sure the second and third day are free from commitments so I can just rest up and binge some Netflix.
Try not to binge eat or eat a large amount of carbs prior to beginning your 3 day water fast. The goal of the 3 day fast is to get your body into ketosis. This only happens when your body has depleted its glycogen levels. So, if you eat a big pasta dinner with a side of garlic bread then cap it off with a nice fat slice of tiramisu it will take a longer time for your body to get to the ketosis point.
Eat a relatively small meal prior to you fast and limit the carbs. For example, I ate a simple chicken stir fry as my last meal before beginning my fast.
We also need to remind you that a final prep tip and precaution is to run it by your doctor before you attempt this 3 day water fast.
To get ready for my first ever 3 day fast I scoured the web, listened to a few podcasts and read a few e-books written by doctors.
Most advice was aligned with the fact that you should abstain from binge eating prior to starting the fast if you want to reap the most benefits. This wasn’t too difficult for me as I don’t overeat all too often.
I’d also consider myself semi-prepared for this short journey I was about to embark upon because I usually skip breakfasts and have a14-16 hour window between dinner and lunch the following day.
I woke up at a normal time for Sunday at 8:30am. I proceeded to read the news and check some emails. By 9:30 I made a black coffee, fed my dog and watched some Youtube videos. Over the next few hours, I began writing this post and did some research on scientific studies revolving around 3 day water fasts.
By 12 it was time for me to eat something so I met my friend for lunch. It was her turn to choose the restaurant so we ended up at a local Chinese restaurant that serves some delicious food.
I may have made a little mistake here because I ended up eating some carbs in the form of pork dumplings accompanied by some tofu and spare ribs. Usually, you should try to go into a fast by consuming less carbs so that your body can make an easier transition to depleting glycogen levels. I’ll try to keep the rest of the day carb free, more on that in a few hours.
After lunch I got back to research and writing plus a mixture of Sunday chores (laundry, sweeping, mopping and dusting).
In the evening I completed a gym session of push exercises following the 7/3 method. Without going into too much detail about what it entails. The 7/3 method is a workout protocol that is effective and efficient. This study described the 7/3 method and the positive results. In a nutshell, the 7/3 protocol is
Chose a weight around 60% of your 1RM
Perform one exercise in this way:
2 minute rest then repeat one more round before moving onto the next exercise
After my workout I made a simple stir fry, spoke with my parents then went to sleep after watching an episode of Squid Game. My fast officially began at 8 pm on Sunday evening and will finish at 8 pm Wednesday night, wish me luck!
Note: I took a multivitamin each day of my fast.
Woke up at 8. Slept well, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything that this week brings. Made an espresso, took the dog for a walk then got ready to go to work. Energy levels feeling normal and not hungry at all. This is probably because I usually skip breakfast anyways.
It’s now 3 pm about midway through the day as I’m sitting at my computer, I still feel full of energy and have no trouble concentrating on my work at hand. I’m experiencing a little hunger at this point but nothing I can’t handle so I made some green tea to help stave off my appetite. Back to work I go, will check in this evening.
24 Hours In
It’s now 9 pm on Monday evening and I’m about 24 hours into the 3 day fast, one third down two thirds to go. My weight is just over 195lbs so I’ve dropped 3 lbs since weighing myself after dinner last night.
I’d rate my energy levels a little lower than full and my appetite at 2/10. Will finish up the day with some more water, a few emails then off to bed by 11. Still no bowel movement.
Slept well, woke up at 7:45 with my energy levels still intact, sleep ring clocked in at 95%. I noticed a little stomach rumbling at this point but nothing too crazy. Still haven’t had a bowel movement since starting the 3 day fast. Overall, not very hungry at this point. Feeling productive, got ready and went to work. Browsed Reddit on the subway then grabbed a black coffee just before walking into the office. Co-workers trying to tempt me into eating some delicious pastries they had brought in but I had no desire to break my fast, let’s go!
It’s now 3 pm and I could go for a bite to eat. I’m beginning to feel lethargic and a little weak when standing up too quickly from my desk. I’ve been pounding water and even threw a little salt in my last glass. All in all, my mind has been clear the entire day but I have felt a little anxious.
48 Hours In
Around 8 pm, just about 48 hours to the dot from beginning my fast I was sitting at home watching an episode of Billions when my heart started beating faster and I felt energized out of nowhere. I stopped watching the show to start writing a new blog post centered around abs and more specifically 10 packs abs and if that’s even a thing. I then went for an hour walk around my neighborhood, water bottle in hand. I continued to work on the computer until I my eyes started to twitch a bit. I figured this was my body telling me it’s time to step away from the blue light and try to get some sleep.
I ended up going to bed around midnight, as I laid down, I felt like my stomach was completely empty which gave me an almost hollow feeling. Another day without a number 2. I must’ve passed out rather quickly because next thing I knew I…
…woke up at 6am with some drool on the pillow. Rise and shine, I was now headed into the home stretch. I’m usually not up this early so I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my time before heading to the office. My energy level felt low at this point and I seemed a little slower moving around than normal.
Today was hot and wearing a mask didn’t make it any less pleasant but I soldiered on to the office. The subway ride wasn’t very an enjoyable experience today to say the least, I made it, sat down at my desk and then started my work.
It’s now 3pm and the work day seemed to drag on, at this point I’m ready to eat something Not sure I’m hungry or I just miss the act of eating, might be more of the social aspect I’m missing as my coworkers all came back from lunch with a boisterous energy. Anyways, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, only 5 more hours to go. One thing that I have noticed is that I seem to have exacerbated my foot tapping while sitting. I'm not sure if this was because I was nervous or excited to be coming close to my end goal.
72 Hours In
And, it's in the books I made it through my first 3 day fast.
As you can see in my before and after 3-day fasting picture above, I definitely lost some bloat. Most of the total weight loss wasn't fat, but I did drop 8 pounds in 72 hours and just a little over an inch off my waistline.
34 ½ inches
33 ½ inches
Post Fast 73 Hours In
For my first “meal” I had a bowl of beef bone broth, and let me tell you it was absolutely delicious! The saltiness and deep flavor really hit the spot. I felt reinvigorated!
To break your 3 day fast you should eat something light like a bowl of bone broth, miso soup or a piece of fruit. You can gradually start reintroducing foods as time passes. It’s generally recommended to take about half the time of your fast until you return completely to your old nutrition habits. In the case of a 3 day fast it should take 1.5 days before eating what you previously ate.
This slow reintroduction process will help you to avoid stomach problems. The key point here is to avoid shocking your system by over eating. Once again, the answer to this and many questions surrounding nutrition is subjective as everyone’s bodies will respond differently.
75 Hours In
The bone broth went down well and I feel almost back to normal. The next thing I ate a few hours later was 3 eggs and a natural Greek yogurt. It was nice to be able to finally chew some food again. A spent a few hours surfing the web then hit the hay at midnight.
I didn't sleep that well last night, it may have been because I ate close to bedtime after not eating for three days. Which reminded me that next time I do this 3 day fast to start earlier in the evening on the first night.
I skipped breakfast as I usually do then had a nice grilled chicken Caesar salad for lunch around 1:30 pm. Finished out the work day strong and resumed my normal schedule of hitting the gym around 6. Pre-workout I had a nice vanilla hydrolzed whey protein shake with a scoop of peanut butter. I didn't feel any loss of power or strength. It felt great to get a workout in while working up some sweat.
After returning home I made a simple baked salmon dish served with some cauliflower rice and roasted broccoli. Boy did I miss some good tasting food. Some people will say they didn't miss eating during their three day fast or was never hungry but that's not me. Growing up in a household with a first generation Italian parent means life is food and food is life.
Feeling recharged and refreshed I'm looking forward to tomorrow as it's Friiiday and I can resume my normal eating. By the way, I was finally able to use the bathroom but unfortunately no Earth shattering shit.
1.) More Discipline Than Expected: I wasn't too sure if I'd be able to make it the full 72 hours without eating. I was pleasantly surprised by my discipline and restraint from breaking my fast even when there were temptations all around me. Achieving this goal, I set out for myself reassured me that I'm able to pull off small feats with a little determination and dedication.
2.) Would Be Better To Do With Someone: Solo fasting while living with someone who isn't fasting can make it a tad more difficult to stay on the right course. I think it might be a nice thing to have if there was someone to go through this experience with me. It might've made me more accountable or motivated and I would've loved to hear from someone else in real time about what they were feeling like over the 3 days.
3.) Not As Bad As I Imagined: Before starting this 3 day fast, I thought it was going to be absolute hell. While I didn't love everything about it, I did find it interesting to see how my body reacted without food. I thought I was going to become irritable but I didn't have that feeling at all. The hunger seemed to come and go over the period of the 3 days but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I thought about eating a nice steak about halfway through.
4.) Will Do Again: Fasting provides so many amazing health benefits. I was already a fan of intermittent fasting before but now that I know that I can complete a 3 day I'll be sure to do it again. This extended fast almost felt like a detox. It also made it seem like there were more hours in the day for some reason. I think I'll do one 3 day fast every 3 months and one 24-hour fast once a month from here on out.
1.) Work Your Way Up: A three-day water fast isn’t the same as not eating for a few hours during the day. You should gradually build up your tolerance for fasting by following some of the IF methods above. For example, you can start with the 12:12 method for a few weeks and then move up to 16:8 for another few weeks. Once you’re comfortable doing these daily fasting techniques, you can try the eat stop eat fasting method where you’ll be fasting for 24 hours straight.
2.) Postpone If Unwell: Don’t attempt to pull of a 3-day water fast if you aren’t in the best of health. It might go without saying, but if you’re not feeling well or you haven’t cleared it with your doctor, then you should wait until you have the green light and are feeling 100%.
3.) Don’t Over Exercise: Don’t try to be David Goggins or Cam Haines on an extended fast. Even if you’re used to intermittent fasting, you should be advised that the 3-day water fast is a little more intense. Instead of your normal workout program, opt for some yoga or dynamic stretches. Tim Ferris recommends that you’ll get into ketosis quicker if you take a 3-4 hour causal walk the morning after beginning your fast to help deplete glycogen levels faster.
4.) Don’t Binge Eat Before or After: It’s better to start your 3-day water fast after a light meal the night before instead of pigging out to prepare for the foodless days ahead. The more carbs or sugar you eat prior to your fast, the longer it will take for your body to get into ketosis. The same goes for breaking your fast. Don’t overeat! You should break your fast by eating something light and easy to digest, such as miso soup, bone broth, or a smoothie. Gradually increase the amount of food you consume for the following 1.5 days after crossing the finish line.
5.) Schedule Properly: Don’t make the same mistake I did. Try to time your 72-hour fast on days when you don’t have many commitments. It’s smart to do this when you don’t have to be out running errands, going to work, or having any social engagements. This will also give you time to follow the tip of taking a nice long walk during day 1 to help burn the glucose in your system.
6.) Stay Hydrated: Adequate water consumption is key to a successful 3-day water fast. Besides being an absolutely necessary substance for your body to function properly, water will help to curb your appetite if you feel yourself starting to get hungry. At all costs, you need to stay hydrated, a common amount might be 8 glasses of water daily, but you might need more. Just be aware of how you feel, then make the necessary adjustments. If you’re thirsty, drink!
7.) Don’t Cut Caffeine*: If you normally drink coffee or tea, then you should continue to do so during your “water” fast, even if it’s not technically water. Trying to contend with a headache from caffeine withdrawal while completing your first three day fast isn’t ideal. Just make sure not to go overboard on the caffeine as it could make you feel dizzy or nauseous.
8.) Check Your Ego: If you feel like something’s not right or you’re not feeling well, then you should stop your fast immediately. Don’t jeopardize your well-being by completing the fast. You can always give it another go in the future. Visit your health care provider if you experience any issues during your 3-day fast.
9.) Track Your Progress: Next time I do a 3-day fast I will be more prepared. I did this 3 day fast on a whim, so I only had a tape measure and a scale. The best way to see how your body reacted to the fast is with real hard data. You might want to consider getting the following items ready to measure the results.
Will A Three Day Fast Reset The Immune System?>
Yes, a 3 day fast can have some profound effects on a compromised immune system. This study found that prolonged fasting of at least 48 hours broke down a substantial amount of white blood cells. This triggers the stem cell regeneration of new immune cells. The study also produced results that prolonged fasting lowered the enzyme PKA, which is related to aging and increased risk of cancer and tumor growth. It’s also important to note that the toxic impact of chemotherapy was reduced by fasting for 72 hours.
How Much Muscle Will I Lose During A Fast?
With IF combined with resistance training you can maintain lean body mass according to this study. In fact, IF and resistance training can maintain lean body mass while reducing body fat as long as there’s proper protein consumption and balance of energy.
Muscle loss during a fast is largely dependent on the individual’s body composition, starting point, overall health, pre-fast diet, and fitness level. For a 3-day water fast, muscle loss will be minimal because, during this relatively short period of time, the body will consume stored carbohydrates with associated water weight. For longer fasts, muscle loss could reach .4 lbs a day once full ketosis is reached around the third day.
How Often Can I Fast?
You can fast as often as is healthy and beneficial for you. Some people have been intermittent fasting for decades. IF can become a lifestyle with no end date in sight. We think it's good to mix up your nutritional plans just like your workout programs. You might want to try IF then mix in some longer fasts once a month.
Will Fasting Change My Bowel Movements?
Fasting may result in some bowel movement changes. Different people’s bodies will have different reactions to fasting. The effects could range from diarrhea to constipation to relatively no changes whatsoever.
It’s important to stay hydrated during your fast to help alleviate possible issues revolving around bathroom visits. Breaking the fast is where you need to be cognizant of what you eat, how much, and at what frequency to reduce your chances of experiencing stomach discomfort and/or diarrhea.
What Should I Eat Before Beginning My Fast?
In essence, you could eat your normal diet before you begin a 3-day fast, but if you want to reap the most benefits and make the fast a tad easier then you should try to begin with your liver glycogen partially or completely depleted.
During a fast, your body will enter ketosis, this is when your liver glycogen is depleted so that your body uses ketone bodies for energy rather than glucose. If you don’t want to follow a ketogenic diet that is extremely low in carbohydrates, then you should try to consume the following foods prior to your fast:
What Should I After My Fast?
There are varying opinions on what foods you should eat after breaking a 3-day water fast. However, there is a common guideline that everyone agrees on. You should never break your fast with a binge eating session. You should gradually introduce foods to your system as a large meal might cause some uncomfortable stomach issues. Some people have smoothies or smaller snacks in intervals through the hours following a 3-day water fast. The longer the fast the longer it may take until you will feel comfortable eating larger meals. It’s important to note that it’s vital to monitor post-fast eating for longer fasts because you could experience re-feeding syndrome, where the body is negatively affected by fast changes in fluid and electrolyte levels.
You can break your 3 day fast with bone broths or fresh fruit and vegetable juice made with no preservatives. If you want something to chew on, stick with simple raw fruits and vegetables for the first day after your fast then start introducing soft cooked foods and vegetables. You may also want to have some natural yogurt with probiotic enzymes to help get your gut biome re-balanced.
Will My Metabolism Slowdown From A Fast?
No, it’s actually the other way around. Fasting will boost your metabolism. This study showed that healthy men increased their metabolism by a whopping 14% by performing a 3-day fast. It’s thought that the increased metabolism during fasting might be due to the increase in the production of norepinephrine which is a hormone that promotes burning fat.
How Long Can I Fast?
Long-term fasting should be medically supervised as there are some risks associated with not eating for long stretches of time. If you plan on fasting for 7 days or more, then you should do so under the guidance of professionals. A fun fact about fasting: The longest recorded fast took place in 1971 by the name of Angus Barbieri who didn’t eat solid food for 382 consecutive days. He went from 456 pounds down to 180 pounds. We don’t recommend this course of action but thought it would be interesting to know about.
Should I Use Salt Or Electrolytes During My Fast?
With a 3-day fast your sodium levels will drop but probably not low enough to be dangerous, according to studies like this. However, longer fasts should involve electrolytes and other safety measures. To err on the side of caution, I started the mornings with a big glass of water with a pinch of salt plus a multivitamin.
Can I Exercise While Fasting?
If you’re doing a 3-day fast, then it might be a good idea to avoid anything other than light exercise. Because the body is relying on stored energy, you might not have enough in the tank to power through a normal workout. If you feel like you need to get some activity to try a nice walk, yoga, or dynamic stretching session.
How Much Weight Will I Lose During My Fast?
Everyone’s body will react differently to fasting but generally speaking, yes you will lose weight. IF is a sustainable method of losing weight and/or fat. We don’t recommend that you turn to fasting for the main purpose of losing weight. Weight loss from fasting is one aspect, but there are more health-focused benefits of fasting than purely the pursuit of losing weight. With a 3-day fast you will lose some weight, but it will most likely be put back on once you begin eating again.
What I learned about my first 3 day fast
The 3 day fast wasn't easy for me, but it opened my eyes to life. It wasn't exactly a spiritual awakening, but it did give me some mental clarity around some issues that have been bothering me.
With all said and done, I would recommend trying a 3 day fast.
If you're thinking of trying a 3-day fast or any other type of fast, leave a comment below. Or if you've just finished completing a fast, we'd love to hear about your experience.
May 26, 2023
On hour 33 of 72 hour fast….first day was a challenge for sure. Hunger pains and weakness most of the day….drinking tons of water to help. This is definitely not for the faint of heart…or someone thats used to eating like a horse.
May 23, 2023
I am starting my first 3-day fast. Thank you for the article and details. I am only in my 7th hour…time to sleep :) Will post my thoughts when I complete this.
May 05, 2023
I am in at 44hrs of my 72 hours ever first water fast, i have been doing 18-22hrs water fast in the last 12 moth trying to minimise a brain inflammation (right hand brain tumour to which i refused surgery)
Right now I am feeling in, my stomach feels hollow, feeling weak, no energy luckily working from home so i can take as many breaks as i like. the 1st 24-32 were walk in the park… I am hoping that things should be better by the end of today.
Thank you so much for the article it really helps and I feel i can push through for over 72hours
I am a group Fitness instructor and i have to teach a HIIT class and a Dance class on my 3rd day (in my 68hrs), and don’t know if this is a good idea… :-)
what i know is that i will be doing this more oftern
May 01, 2023
Great article. Will definitely follow up on this.
April 26, 2023
Thank you for your information. I’m just completing 24hrs. Felt hungry once during the day. Only drank water and tea. Hoping this sparks my metabolism.
April 19, 2023
If you want your 3-day fast to be kinder on your intestine / bowels, you follow your light dinner with a piece of fruit and a small pot of natural yoghurt for each breakfast and lunch on day one.
While this adds half a day to the schedule, your bowels will thank you
April 13, 2023
I also found it easier than I expected. Serious energy drain day 3, good sign. Light headache much of the time… Probably Herxheimer reaction, which is good, means I’m ridding myself of toxins Will definitely do again. Must workout to not loose muscle. Burned calories
April 06, 2023
Thank you for your post! I am on my 3rd day of my 3 day water fast and stumbled upon your article when looking for how to break my fast this evening. I think i will also do a bowl of bone broth and then some eggs a few hours later so thank you for that – it sounds perfect!
i am a 48 year old woman and have done this before years ago and will definitely do this more routinely going forward. My mind has been sharper through this and i was still able to workout each day – although last night i just did 30 minutes. One thing i don’t see anyone else has mentioned is lack of sleep. for me, each night of sleep got worse as last night i hardly slept at all- my mind was just going going. I need to research how to help with that. Thanks again for your post!
April 05, 2023
I just finished my first 3-day fast today at 4pm. I stumbled across this site last night and started reading it but fatigue got the best of me and I didn’t finish reading it until today. A lot of what is talked about, I actually did … no big meal before I started and a salad as my first meal post-fast. I resonate a lot with what was said. I did have a bad episode this morning though with dizzinees and low blood suger to the point of having to lay down for about 15 minutes. My vision got blurry and I felt very disoriented. It passed and I drank some water and felt much better. Next time, I will definitely plan it better to be at home for 2 of the 3 days. I did this for 2 main reasons 1) to see if I could, and 2) the health benefits that come with it. I’ve been doing the 16:8 IF for 6 months, and a few months ago I did a one-day fast just to test the waters. I don’t know that I’d ever want to attempt a longer-day fast but I would definitely do another 3-day fast in the future. Thank you for sharing your experience.
March 31, 2023
Very well Written and very informative post. I learned a lot about fasting along with your experiences. I really appreciate you sharing all of this information with us. I am currently 48 hours into my fast! I can’t wait to eat tomorrow lol.
March 12, 2023
Have done a 36 hour fast, as I type this I am 42 hours into 48 hour hmmm might see how I feel and push on to 72hr
Loved your blog very helpfui and encouraging.
March 12, 2023
I started getting into IF on my return from vacation and the results have been mind blowing. Currently I do an 18-6 on a daily basis and then a 48 hour which I start after dinner on Saturday night,
Your article has inspired me to have a go at the 72 hour fast and will definitely apply all your tips
March 12, 2023
I started getting into IF on my return from vacation and the results have been mind blowing. Currently I do an 18-6 on a daily basis and then a 48 hour which I start after dinner on Saturday night,
Your article has inspired me to have a go at the 72 hour fast and will definitely apply all your tips
March 05, 2023
I am 60, a competition runner, fasting to address joint issue in my feet and detox from Covid jabs.
I am doing an 80hr fast once a month, now at 55hrs of the 3rd fast.
Each fast is getting easier. The first fast instantly fixed a very weird nerve issue in my right knee (probably Covid jab), and it never came back. The second fast helped plantar fasciitis heel pain and knocked it down about 50%.
I also have trouble getting into ketosis for someone who never eats bread, cereal and rarely touch grains at all. I think it might be caused by higher glycogen storage due to commonly cycling/running 2-3 hours on empty stomach. So I have to run on day 1 to push it along (12-15km@4:30min/km). This time I had day 2 off. On day 3 (today) I did a very easy run and noticed high HR so walked if it got over zone 2 (135BPM). Seemed to work. Felt a lot better when I got back. Significant changes in torso fat levels, and about 2kg lighter (more like 1kg after water intake). Max Ketosis on fasts (day 3) is around 4 mmol/L using Keto sticks. True North methods got me through to successful 3.5 day fast. Oh, the reason I do 80 hours is because I start at night, do 3 days, then re-feed the next morning. I like to get that extra benefit of the 2nd autophage sleep – you really notice it. Sleeps are only 4-6 hours though LOL.
February 11, 2023
57 hours into my 1st 3 day fast .. my fast has included water and homemade chicken broth. It has been easier than I had expected. It helps me to keep busy .. as I eat out of boredom. I feel really good for this accomplishment. Nothing to note for side effects. Was thinking about a big meal for dinner tonight, after reading this post, I’ll probably have a bowl of soup or a salad.
I have also been doing 18 hour IF a few times per week for the last 8 months. Down 28 pounds since than.
Thanks for your insight, greatly appreciated!
February 10, 2023
Thanks for your valuable information.
This week I did my first 24 hour water fasting followed by 16:8 IF.
It went very well, slight little headache in the last couple of hours but in general I felt good.
My aim is to do loose the fats in my liver (I suffer with fatty liver disease) and I read that a 3 day water fasting can do that.
However, I don’t think I can do the 3 day water fasting but hoping the 24 hours water fasting with 16:8 IF for few weeks can help 🤲
February 07, 2023
Thank you for sharing your experience. I just started my 3-day fast after doing a 10-day detox, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to see it through. I’m attempting to reverse autoimmune issues that have been getting worse over the past few years. I’m 47 and sick of my body feeling so much older than that. Hoping to see some benefits.
February 02, 2023
I’m currently on day 1 of my second 3.5 day fast. I did the first one 3 years ago to help boost my immune system. I’m 55 & have had chronic lung disease my entire life with dozens of hospitalizations, some up to several weeks. I had read the USC study & became intrigued with the idea of doing something so simple that might help me to stay well. Day 1 was easy, day 2 was exhausting and day 3 I was ready to eat the wallpaper off of the walls lol. But I felt empowered in a way that sustained me through. I caught a couple colds in the year or 2 that followed (MANY less than usual) and I was sick like a normal person! I didn’t do my usual of staying sick and only getting sicker that would last weeks, months & a few times…years. I literally went 3 years without having to be on 60mg a day of Prednisone for the duration of my illnesses. It was magic. I got sick last September and spent the last 4.5 months using my nebulizer 8-12 times a day, 60mg Pred, antibiotics, 2 ER visits, arguing with doctors because I did NOT want to be admitted to what could be yet another long term hospitalization. I have been well for almost 6 weeks and I planned this fast and discussed it with my doctor and pulmonologist. I feel like this is a gift that I can give my body, my life and for my family. I plan to make this fast an annual event from now on. I loved your article detailing your experience, thank you :)
January 04, 2023
I’m so glad to have found your article!
You have inspired me!
I’m about 32 hours into this 3-day fast and am surprised at my dedication to see this through. I think the hardest part for me so far is having to break the habit of shoving something in my mouth every time I feel hungry, bored and watching tv! I’m excited to reach the end of this and am planning to do more. Thank you for sharing with all of us and thank all of you for your comments!
January 04, 2023
Man I wish I read this before hand.
I did everything the opposite of what I should.
I usually eat healthy and don’t drink that often, but in the two weeks before this fast I was on a carb and Old fashion bing over the Holidays.
I also quite my 2 pot a day coffee love affair with the fast
I’m on the evening of my second day.
Ketosis has not kicked in yet its been pretty brutal I’m starving every minute of my waking hours have a constant headache and weak as a kitten.
My wife is doing it with me she always eats very few carbs, doesn’t drink coffee or boozeal and barely increased her consumption during the Holidays.
She’s going through it like it’s nothing.
She’s tougher than I am (that whole giving birth thing) but dang I was getting frustrated at how easy she was doing it and how wimpy I am being.
Thanks for the post and the research.
if I do it again hopefully following your guidelines will make it easier
December 29, 2022
I am a 54 year old female who has only dabbled in intermittent fasting. I’ve been trying to eat an anti-inflammatory diet for the past several months because of joint pain – it has definitely helped! I fell off the wagon in the two weeks leading up to Christmas with so many treats everywhere, and by Christmas morning I felt terrible. Decided to attempt a 5-day water fast (although I had no idea that’s what it’s called) to get myself back on track after recalling a documentary my husband and I saw a few years ago. Wish I had read your post before I started because I absolutely violated the no-carbs-before-starting rule! Day 1 was a piece of cake – barely felt hungry at all (probably my body so happy that I wasn’t filling it with junk!); Day 2 wasn’t horrible – stayed active and busy. Today is Day 3, and it’s a bit rough. Definitely feeling very hungry and have a bit less energy. Still planning on going on a walk. The documentary said that Day 4 is the worst, so I’m feeling more anxiety about what is to come. However, I feel hopeful and encouraged by your experience and all the research you provided. I appreciate hearing about everyone else’s experiences too!.
December 01, 2022
I’m 47 I started my fat last night about 10:30pm but I did eat a lot thinking it would help me since I wouldn’t eat for three days I had some cashews a handful a piece of cake 🤦🏾♀️ two bites of a sushi bowl and water. I bought 1 liter bottles of water to drink through the day. I normal fast until noon daily or sometimes a little longer depends on how busy I am. I am doing this for spiritual reasons and found your blog wonderful information. I got to have a very successful experience and receive mental clarity from God. Thank you so much because I was scared to try this now I’m confident that it will benefit me a great deal. Have a blessed day 😊🙌🏾
November 21, 2022
Thanks for the great article. I’m 53 and have done 16:8 for 10 years most of the time as well as a few 24-48 hour fasts. I’m 36 hours in on my first 3 day fast and feeling good! I combined my fast with a personal retreat in nature. I’m learning so much about myself, and the self discipline I am building as I learn to tolerate the absence of good distraction (it’s not really even hunger I feel at this point) will be a game changer. Thanks to everyone who commented. It’s fun reading about others’ experiences. Cheers!
November 08, 2022
I think a food sensitivity test should be done for all people could clear up a lot of aches and inflammation beforehand
October 27, 2022
On my third day.
On vegan diet for 3 months now.
Few years ago, I did occasional 24 hour fasts and one 3 days fast to cure my middle ear infection – it worked!
I wished I did IF before doing this 3 day fast now.
Today I can feel the ketosis kicking in as I feel a lot clearer in my mind and with better energy. Surprizing, more energy in third day compared to first two.
Walking feels good, and drinking mineral water, if I drink just tap water, I have brain fog.
Thanks for the informative article, it helps to prepare my re-feeding.
October 14, 2022
I intented to try a 3 days fast since today morning, but I postponed it after reading your article, to be better prepared. I ate too many carbs yesterday and I will have a busy week-end, so it is better to do it next week-end and maybe to do a one day fast next week before that.
Thank you very much for your helpful testimonial and advises!
October 06, 2022
My body must be throwing of some junk, as at the start of day 3 I have quite a bit of diarrhea. My energy level is good and I am not hungry. It was a little difficult to sit around with some friends who were devouring pizza, but only a minor temptation. I am actually feeling quite good at the 3rd day AM. I am debating whether to end the fast this evening or in the AM of day 4.
October 03, 2022
I am 55, I am slim, and look healthy, but have a lot of joint pain all over. I have always been active, lifted weights, worked out, yet….I feel 80. I am going to give this a go. I have been doing iF 20/4 or 18/6 most days for the past 4 months. I am doing it to help me feel younger by decreasing inflammation, and….my father passed away from dementia so maybe it’ll help stave off this possibility….we all have.
September 28, 2022
If doing 20 hour fast and eating just one meal a day, (Just one form of intermittent fasting) DO NOT have that one meal just before bed.
September 09, 2022
Did a 3 day fast still feeling light headed and dizzy few days after, is this normal?
August 30, 2022
Your first long fast should be done when around other people. Tell them you’re fasting in case you pass out or get sick.
August 23, 2022
Iam 60 lbs overweight. 70 year old male. I have been eating as few carbs as I can than 100 grams a day for a month. My A1C is 6.4. I am a male 70 years old. I can’t walk much do to very recent total knee replacement. 3rrow to make it a full 72 hours days ago I ate a bacon and cheese 3 egg omelet for breakfast. I was not hungry the rest of the day, so I did not eat. The next day I was never really hungry either-so I did not eat. Today I am not hungry, but stomach is rumbling, so I am drinking lots of water. I am going to continue this until I get to 72 hours of no food.
August 01, 2022
Hi @JULIE – You can do them as frequently as you’d like. Perhaps try doing a 3-day fast once every 3 months, and see how you like those results. You can always adjust as needed.
August 01, 2022
3 days on, how many days off ???
July 26, 2022
I am 90 years old, and have used 3 day fasting for all of my adult life. some times for health, and sometimes to seek the will of God with a problem I am starting a 3 day fast today. I was healed several times, praying and fasting. i really do recommend it.
July 19, 2022
I’m on Day 2 and because (like you) I never eat breakfast — I don’t feel all that different this morning. I will say that there is NO WAY I would be able to delete black coffee (elixir of the Gods) from my day.
It’s not so much the feeling of hunger I’m experiencing (thus far) but rather missing the way healthy food tastes. One “Pro” of note for me is:
No Cooking = No Dishes :)
Thanks SO MUCH for your post! :-j
July 07, 2022
I am a 71 year old female and am on the 3rd morning of my 3 day water fast…I have done some IF in past and this is my 2nd 3 day water fast in past 6 months. Fasting helps get rid of the bloated gut feeling and seriously helps me feel better all over. I did indulge in a cup of black coffee this morning (slight headache last night) but nothing but water to this point. Fasting helps me “restart” a more nutritious eating habit as I “slide” with time on sugar, carbs and salty foods. I lose that “craving” for those foods after a good fast. I loved reading your blog and perspective on your fast and appreciate you sharing. Although I lose about 7-8 lbs during a 3 day fast, it’s more about how much better I feel when I complete it and thats the motivation I get to continue fasting as needed. I like your idea of a 3 day water fast every 3 months and 24 hour fast once a month! Finally, I am a praying woman and prayer gets me through any temptations I have during the fasting🙏🏻
June 29, 2022
I am a 24 women on the second day of water (only) fasting and feeling amazing. I can resonate that these things require preparation and for the first time I would recommend a 24 hour water fast or intermittent fasting. Once you get used to it, go for 3 days water fast. Even to this day I feel light head time to time during a few days fast but I am not hungry and like the feeling of an empty stomach. I can really feel how it helps with my sleep, building stamina, being less dependable on food to be happy, having less cravings for unhealthy food that it’s not so beneficial for the body and minimising the portions once the fast is finished. I am looking forward to day 3 and of course day 4 to feel the delicious fruits which taste like heaven once you break the fast. I definitely recommend it. Good luck, you got this!! 💧🥰💪
June 29, 2022
I am a 24 women on the second day of water (only) fasting and feeling amazing. I can resonate that these things require preparation and for the first time I would recommend a 24 hour water fast or intermittent fasting. Once you get used to it, go for 3 days water fast. Even to this day I feel light head time to time during the a few days fast but I am not hungry and like the feeling of the empty stomach. I can really feel how it helps with my sleep, building stamina, being less dependable on food to be happy, having less cravings for unhealthy food that it’s not so beneficial for the body. I definitely recommend it. And
July 02, 2022
Thanks for the info..Right now..I am just passed 44 hours fast…Now confident enough to try push to 4 day / 5 day fast
June 29, 2022
Thanks for the info..Right now..I am just passed 44 hours fast…Now confident enough to try push to 4 day / 5 day fast
June 13, 2022
I did 36 hour fast last week and I felt like I can still extend it to a few more hours. I am on my first 24 hour of my 3-day fast when I came across this article. I think this have prepared me on what to expect in the coming days, thus I would not be alarmed nor quit my goal that easily. Thank you very much.
June 09, 2022
I am encouraged to start water fasting after reading your blog. Thank you for putting up this writing.
May 20, 2022
Thank you so much for this very detailed and honest experience with water fasting, it answered all my questions and I feel very inspired and determined to accomplish this fast! Wish you all the best!
May 11, 2022
68 year old woman here. I am on morning 3 of a 3 day fast. Day 1 & 2 no problem- even took a 3k walk yesterday. Today I am feeling rough, hollow feeling in the gut, headache, dry mouth and weakness, maybe will pass as day progresses. Will stick with it as having fasted before albeit many years ago I know and appreciate the benefits and look to restart a weight reducing regime with a reduced appetite.
April 29, 2022
I am a 66 year old man and I have no problem doing a three day fast.so when you said that older people should not fast I disagree with that statement.O agree that one should be in good health, but other than that anyone, young or old should benefit from fasting.
April 19, 2022
Happy to read your experience. I am 12hrs in and can’t wait to finish. Simply tired of being fat at 51. Had to try more discipline!.Thanks again.
April 16, 2022
I am 40 year old female that has had psoriasis and shingles since I was 27..I am praying this 3 day water fasting will help reboot my immune symptoms. am on my 2nd day (started it Thursday night and it’s Saturday afternoon) of the 3 day water fast. The 1st day (Friday) I felt great and had very little appetite, my energy level was the same as any other work day, towards the end of the day I did feel bit slower and less energetic. My blood sugar level at 7pm was 78 which is pretty low but it made sense. On the 2nd day, (todaySaturday) I woke up at 7am alert and feeling well, my blood level was at 94. I think my body is in autophagy mode, since my sugar level went up. I stepped out and while at store felt a bit dizzy and nausea and came straight home.
I feel confident that I will make my 3 day fast and I praying that I will reboot my immune system.
I am so glad I found this post and to see others in their own journey.
March 14, 2022
60+ long covid sufferer hoping to help reduce inflammation and brain fog.
First 24 hours over without too much difficulty but drinking more water.
I’m only drinking water so slight caffeine headache.
Let’s hope the next 48 hours are as easy.
March 07, 2022
Good information & I enjoyed your prospective.
I’m doing a month long cycle of three day fasts , fast for three days , then eat in 3hr window then repeat the cycle.
I just approaching the 3rd cycle , it’s very interesting to see the weigh rise & fall.
Blood pressure is also falling a tad.
February 07, 2022
I just finished my 3 day water fast last night. I have several positive outcomes, MUCH more than expected. Mind you, I was not intermittent fasting before this fast. I also was not following any type of low carb diet and I was suspicious that inflammation may have been related to some health issues are starting to crop up.
1. I lost weight.
2. My appetite has been reset. I’m full and energized 5 hours after eating 120 calories.
3. My eye sight improved both in sharpness and in color.
4. I have tons of energy after my tiny refeed fast break.
5. My post-covid brain fog is gone and my brain is functioning super fast like I’m a teenager again.
6. My mood has improved and stress has decreased.
7. During my fast I had several revelations about changes that would improve my life and my every day approach to life.
January 19, 2022
A big thank you to everyone that read and commented on My 3 Day Fast post. It’s great to hear about people’s experience with their fast. I had no idea this would’ve inspired anyone to attempt their first 3 day fast, this was truly a pleasant surprise!
January 18, 2022
Am 23 hours into a 3 day fast….never have done a fast before….have thought about it & here I am.
Currently feeling a bit lethargic as I’m always ‘on the go’ as friends and family comment! Am no chicken in age but keep good health except for arthritic fingers which seem to be getting worse..yikes, old age!
Is Black tea or coffee or herbal tea allowed?
48 hours to go….will I make it.
January 03, 2022
I am half way through a three day fast and found this article. Thank you very much for the insightful work you have done :)
will take your tips on for next time !
January 02, 2022
I’m starting today, and I appreciate this article – it helped me to feel informed and ready. Thank you!
December 16, 2021
Didn’t read about 3 day water fasting prior to doing it. Now on my 3rd day was wondering when do I break the fast, should I be waiting for tomorrow morning or have something to eat already tonight. After reading this I know I could have eaten already few hours back, but I still don’t feel hungry. My mind is clear. I want to do this again. Not sure if once a month is ok but I’ll look into it more. Thanks for your blog, very informative.
December 11, 2021
Thank you for inspiring me to try a 3 day fast, I have done intermittent fasting for a couple of years, now I will try taking it to the next level.
December 03, 2021
Found your site in the search for guidance on starting a three day fast and I feel like I am well prepared now. Can’t wait ! Thank you !
November 20, 2021
I’ve just read your blog and I am definitely going to give it a go.
November 20, 2021
I have water fasted numerous times over the past 4 years. I just finished up a 5 day water fast as I use water fasting as a way to get back on track and lose a couple pounds of fat. The first day is always painful and the second day is not much fun as there are physical and emotional ramifications from not eating. The great news is that I have never felt better than when I make it to day 3 and I am in ketosis. I am not hungry, my energy is good and my mental clarity is excellent. I do lose a little strength and my legs are quite heavy when doing cardio due to the lack of glycogen. I do not change my workouts at all and I found it is needed to add salt to my fasting vitamin regime. Once I come off my fast, my strength and cardio are restored but my body composition is always much improved. I was in the Health and Fitness business for ten years but I still have always struggled with my weight. I have pretty much tried every diet in existence and waster fasting has by far been the best weight loss protocol for me. BTW, I am 61 and feel that water fasting has been one of the factors in me keeping my youth.
November 20, 2021
I am enjoy a life style decision of IF for 18hr for time. After reading your story on a 3 day I am on board & started already from 8pm last night 🤞
November 20, 2021
Congratulations on your fast!!
This has definitely inspired me to give it a shot. I’ve thought about doing it in the past, but that’s as far as it got… a thought, haha. (:
I’ve wanted my fasting to have more of a purpose, I suppose that’s one of my reasons for never following through. I will be doing it for more religious reasons than anything. But, whatever benefits do come along with it, I pray I’ll learn something important.
I’ll let you know when I’m starting, if you’re interested. And, I’ll post a comment everyday for those 3 days.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
June 02, 2023
June 02, 2023
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