We all know it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water, but my husband took it a step further and did a water fast for 10 DAYS! Whether you choose to do a 7 day water fast, a 3 day fast, or somewhere in between, read about his experience, what you can drink on a water fast, and how to safely reintroduce food again.
A water fast is a set period of time when a person eats no food, and drinks only water. Most people water fast to help detoxify from processed foods, sugar, and caffeine in their diet, for increased mental clarity, and to give the digestive system a rest.
Note: This is OUR personal story about water fasting. We’re not doctors and have never claimed to be. In no way, shape, or form are we stating that water fasting will cure anything, including chronic diseases. You should always check with your doctor before embarking on an extended fast, especially if you’re taking any medication!
WHY DO A 10 DAY WATER FAST?
Here are two main reasons my husband chose water fasting (and one he didn’t):
- To detoxify. Water fasts are generally the quickest way to detoxify. Some even consider this the only “real” way to detox your body and bring it back in check.
- Water fasts are the most difficult type of fast. He figured if he could complete a 10 day water fast, all future fasts of juice or smoothies would be easy in comparison!
- Weight Loss. Although my husband doesn’t struggle with weight loss, many people choose to water fast to shed a few pounds. I don’t recommend water fasting for weight loss because it’s not a long-term solution. Here’s why:
- Once you start eating again, the weight will likely come back.
- AND since this reason for water fasting isn’t health-based, you’re more likely to re-introduce foods too fast and possibly cause tremendous discomfort (see the section below on reintroducing foods).
10 DAY FAST HEALTH BENEFITS
There are several benefits to increasing your daily water intake in general. But based on my research, here is a summary of the benefits of a medically supervised water fast:
Fat Burn: After your body has used all the excess calories, it begins burning fat. By default, when you burn fat, you lose weight.
Lower Blood Pressure: Lower sodium levels in the body might contribute to this effect of fasting on high blood pressure.
Detoxify: Fasting allows the body to rid itself of toxins, so a fast should be viewed as a jump start to permanent healthy choices. Introducing and MAINTAINING a proper diet filled with real and nutritious food after a 10 day fast is what will benefit you the most in the long run.
Digestive Function: Your digestive system will love you for fasting. It takes about three days into the fast for your system to completely shut down. Liquids in, liquid out, so there will be no bloating from digestive processes.
UNSURE ABOUT EVEN A 3 DAY FAST?
This is OUR personal story about water fasting. We’re not doctors and have never claimed to be. In no way, shape, or form are we stating that water fasting will cure anything. You should always work under medical supervision when fasting for an extended period.
I’ve summarized our findings on the benefits of water fasting here, but if you prefer to see the research for yourself, we recommend reading “Water Fasting for Wellness.”
For a doctor’s viewpoint on water fasting, check out “Fasting and Eating for Health.”
I personally prefer not to do even a 3 day fast, at least not a full-on water fast like my husband. Instead, I take more of a “regularly scheduled maintenance” approach.
To regularly detoxify my body from the occasional splurge, I incorporate detox smoothies and detox baths into my weekly routine. If you’re not sure about doing even a 3 day water fast, you could start there (or try one of the other options for detoxing at the end of this post!).
WATER QUALITY FOR 7 DAY WATER FAST (OR MORE!)
Because you’re only drinking water (and most city water is highly chlorinated due to potential contaminants), it’s important that your water is the best you can afford.
- Berkey water filters are the cream of the crop, known for taking arsenic, uranium, aluminum, and fluoride out of ordinary tap water. While it’s on the pricier side, it’s definitely worth considering not just for a 3 day water fast (or more), but for improving the water in your home as a whole.
- The only downside is that Berkey water filters are really tall and can be awkward in the kitchen. We installed a reverse osmosis filtration system under our kitchen sink and we love it!
- You could also use a Brita water bottle with a filter or a refillable filtered pitcher if those are more within your price range.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DRINK FOR A 10 DAY WATER FAST?
Although there’s not a whole lot included in a 10 day water fast, you CAN add a bit of variety to your liquid intake with some of these beverage options:
- Add a slice of lemon to water.
- Electrolytes (I like these effervescent tablets).
- If you’re not a big water drinker in the first place and you don’t think water tastes good, consider an infuser water bottle. You can add slices of fruit that will flavor the water, making it more palatable.
- There are infuser water pitchers too, for making bigger batches of flavored water. My favorite flavor combination is cucumber + mint + lemon – so good!
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH DAY 10 WATER FAST
Note: These are written directly from my husband about his experience with a 10 day water fast!
- Days 1-3. The first few days were rough, and my detoxifying symptoms (i.e. hunger, headaches, etc.) were the worst, probably because of caffeine withdrawal.
- Days 4-6. Much easier than the first three days… These days were relatively easy – at least compared to the first three! My appetite waned. I started losing weight, 1 – 1 ½ pounds per day, but there was no problem going to work, playing guitar at church, or performing any other daily physical functions.
- Day 7. I will never forget this day – ever. This was the most miserable day I have ever lived on planet earth. I came home from work feeling great, not hungry, thinking clearly… And then my wonderful wife pulled a freshly baked loaf of Rosemary Olive Oil Bread from the oven. I wanted that bread, but it wasn’t even possible at this point. Why? Once your digestive system shuts down around day 3, it takes a few days to bring it back up to speed after your water fast is finished (see below for more info).
- Day 8-10. These days were almost an exact replica of days 4-6. By the end of day 10 water fasting, my body weight had decreased by 15 pounds, and I was ready to eat again.
WOULD I DO THIS 10 DAY FAST AGAIN?
All in all, I enjoyed my 10 day fast. It was challenging, but the benefits (post-fast) were well worth it. All in all, I enjoyed my 10 day fast. It was challenging, but the benefits (post-fast) were well worth it.
- My digestion improved.
- My blood pressure was lowered.
- And my body was able to detox.
- My long-term plan is to fast at least once or twice a year from now on.
Note: My wife likes food too much to do a water fast, but she’s committed to doing a smoothie fast with me whenever I water fast. That might be an option for you if the idea of water fasting is a bit daunting!
WHAT HAPPENED ON HIS SECOND 5 DAY FAST…
His second fast was a 5 day fast, and he called it “quick and painless.” He did it shortly after we moved to Georgia, and we were living in a one-bedroom apartment. Cooking was hard and minimal, so he fasted during the week, and the kids and I just had sandwiches for dinner.
.. AND HIS THIRD 10 DAY WATER FAST…
His third water fast was for 10 days and was a bit trickier, and we were thankful that he was under the supervision and guidance of a friend who is also a Physician Assistant. It’s hard to pinpoint what made this third 10 day water fast so hard, and I, unfortunately, have no other details to offer, but it was a good reminder to not make any serious health changes without first consulting your doctor.
… AND HIS FOURTH WATER FAST…
His fourth water fast was also a 5 day fast and very similar to his second – quick and painless. He had switched to decaf coffee, which eliminated the caffeine withdrawals and made Day 2 MUCH easier. He started talking about food on Day 4, which we took as a signal that his body was on target to finish the fast on Day 5 as he had planned.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT AFTER A 7 DAY WATER FAST ENDS?
My husband ate very light, healthy, and nutritious real food. Once you are ready to begin eating food, it takes a few days to bring your digestive system back up to speed. You do this by very slowly introducing food to your digestive system – gradually building back up to solid food, in steps. For example:
Days 1-2. Drink fresh juices and clear broths. (Listen to your body. Drink them as often as you feel hungry.)
Days 2-3. Add in fresh fruit and/or pureed fruit like applesauce.
Days 3-4. Add in steamed and soft, easy-to-digest vegetables. Think broth-based smooth soups, like butternut squash soup (minus the spices), and veggies like well-cooked carrots. Try plain mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes.
Note: Save cruciferous veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage) for the end of your food reintroduction – once your digestive system is completely up and running. The same goes for foods like nuts, seeds, beans, and meat. These foods are harder to digest, and you want to go easy on your digestive system.
Days 4-5. Continue to increase your foods slowly, listening to your body, and eating according to your digestive comfort.
Note: The process of reintroducing food can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days before your digestive system is back up to fully operational. Eating any solid food while in a fasted state can lead to severe discomfort and even hospitalization!
7 DAY WATER FAST FAQS
What can I drink during a 7 day water fast?
Most people drink plain water during a 7 day water fast (or 10 day), but you might also consider herbal tea (such as ginger, peppermint, or chamomile), green tea, lemon water, or black coffee (regular or decaf).
The answer is that it’s really about what you’re comfortable with doing. My husband did not drink coffee because he was using the fast to help detox his body from caffeine and sugar. It’s best to ask your medical professional if you can still drink coffee while water fasting.
Is it beneficial to water fast for less than 10 days?
Yes. Some people might start with intermittent fasting, which is found in studies to be a healthy choice for some. Intermittent fasting might be one day a week, or alternate day fasting, or one day a month. Other people may speak to their healthcare professional and decide to initially try a 3 day fast, then move to a 7 day water fast.
My husband has done a few water fasts, from a 3 day fast to a 10 day fast. But when I fast, I choose to drink real food smoothies. Lots of approaches exist when it comes to water fasting. It really depends on what you’re comfortable with, and what you decide with your health care professional.
Regardless of how long you fast, it’s VERY important to know how long you’re going to fast BEFORE you start. This is more of a mental commitment to anything, but it’s also easy to keep going for “one more day” once you’re in a fasting state, which isn’t always a smart move. Have a known end date and always be under a doctor’s supervision.
How much weight can you lose during a 7 day water fast?
It’s true that you probably will lose some weight during a water fast simply because you’re not taking in any calories. However, I don’t think it’s something you should do. Your body is smart and when you cut back calories, your body adjusts.
A better way to control weight is by switching to eating real food. Focus on nutrient-dense food, instead of the latest fad, and your body will naturally have the nutrients it needs to be healthy!
OTHER WAYS TO DETOX
Water fasting is definitely on the more extreme side of detoxing your body. However, there are many other ways to detox on a regular basis to keep your body functions optimal.
- An Apple Cider Vinegar Drink is great for a daily boost to your digestive and immune system.
- A Detox Bath is an easy way to relax and allow your body to heal from the everyday toxins you encounter.
- Drinking a Detox Smoothie from time to time will boost your body systems and keep it running smoothly.
- This DIY Detox Face Mask with Charcoal and Clay can help to clear your skin and improve your complexion.
- Using a Detoxifying Salt Scrub is a wonderful way to clean your skin and exfoliate.
- Everyday Detox and No Excuses Detox are cookbooks each with 100 recipes for healthy eating. Eating a real food diet is an excellent way to keep your body free from toxins.
Several of those detox methods use Bentonite Clay. It’s so good for your body in many ways (more about that here). If you’re just starting out, try one of these smaller containers of Bentonite Clay. But if you’re like me and use it for all sorts of things around the house, buy it in bulk!
7 DAY WATER FAST
Whether you choose to do a 7 day water fast, a 10 day water fast like Mr. Crumbs, or even just a 3 day fast, be sure to do so with the supervision of a medical professional and listen to your body. Low blood sugar, muscle loss, dehydration, and loss of minerals can be a concern. However, in our experience, a short-term 7-day water fast is very beneficial!