I’m always experimenting with things in effort to reach Optimal Performance. Often instead of listening to what people say I like to just simply experience something for myself before making a decision. Fasting is something i’ve always been interested in but as most humans I was severely addicted to unhealthy foods. The addiction caused me to procrastinate on fasting for a long time. I had finally had enough and decided to give it a serious go with a 72 hour 3 day fast with water and celery only.
Before we get into my thoughts on it. Here’s what you need to understand about intermittent fasting and how it affects the body. Once you know how it affects the body you can determine if fasting is the right thing for your goal. Not all of us have the same goals so to simply say that fasting is good for everyone would just be incorrect.
Fasting in general has been a growing trend for a while now. It’s not as much a what you eat kinda program as it is a when you eat kinda program. It doesn’t follow the traditional 3 meals a day structure. There’s many ways to do it, here’s one daily plan you can follow. This is actually what I follow now, only I eat between 2pm-9pm daily as this is what works best for my training regimen.
To understand how intermittent fasting can lead to fat loss you must understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is processing food. The fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food. It’s hard to burn fat when your insulin levels are high, which is what you get when you’re in the fed state.
After that fed state window, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state, which is simply a fancy way of saying that your body isn’t processing any food. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you begin to enter the fasted state. It is much easier for the body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
When you’re in the fasted state you allow your body the ability to burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.
Because we don’t enter the fasted state until 8 to 12 hours after our last meal, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be health conscious of what or how much you eat. Fasting, combined with proper nutrition will get you results more efficiently, and “faster”.
Also, Intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean. The main reason people fast is for fat loss.
WHAT ABOUT THE 3 DAY FAST?
Right, so now that you understand the basics of how fasting affects the body, and why you’d want to do it. Let’s talk about doing it for 3 straight days. Why did I do a 3 day fast? To test, and cleanse myself. You see, during a 3 day fast, one gets to observe the mind closely. It helps to understand of our food habits and cravings. This understanding helps us control our nutritional decisions after the fast, thereby helping in weight loss.
A 3 day fast and intermittent fasting will do a few things:
- A 3 day fast can essentially reset and balance your immune system.
- It helps flush out toxins, which cause diseases.
- It tests the mind and develops better mental discipline.
- Fasting has numerous health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
- When the body has used up glucose stores during fasting, it burns fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.
Another thing to understand is the differences between physical and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is what happens when we feel like we’re hungry. Emotional hunger is what happens when we think we’re hungry.
In an effort to be in better control of my life and specifically my nutrition. I wanted to do this 3 day fast to prime myself to take on this new lifestyle with a clean slate, and better grip on my mindset. A 3 day fast for someone addicted to bad foods is not an easy task. Depending on how badly addicted you may be can cause a few unpleasant experiences during a 3 day fast.
Much like trying to quit smoking or hard drugs, you experience some withdrawal symptoms. Sugar is a terrible drug. Arguably one of the worst because it’s readily available and highly marketed. Cutting out most sugar alone will transform your life on it’s own.
I did my 3 day fast with water and celery only. A lot of people say to just do water. I added celery for two reasons. It’s 90% water, and burns more calories to process it than it provides the body. I also didn’t honestly think I could handle not eating anything whatsoever. The celery made for a good mental snack. Although it’s basically like chewing water, my mind thought I was eating, and that’s all I thought i’d need. Also, being my first time doing a fast of this duration I wanted to ensure I completed it.
I’m 100% confident that i’d be able to go water only for my next 3 day fast. Adding celery is a good way to do this for your first time though. It also has a somewhat delayed hydrating effect. Prepare to pee multiple times per hour after consuming it.
Another thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the quality of water you’re drinking. This is a whole new blog post for another day in itself. Here’s a good post to help you understand alkaline water and why you should or shouldn’t drink it over your more common options.
MY 3 DAY FAST RESULTS AND TIPS
- I trained only on day one of the 3 day fast and lost a total of 6.4lbs. You can argue that some of it was water weight, but not much water weight because of the simple fact of being perfectly hydrated the whole time. Even overhydrated at times.
- When coming back off a fast of this duration ease into it with a healthy lightweight meal. Smaller and healthier than what you’re going to want to eat. You will get sickly and have the diarrhea if not. You’ll probably still have diarrhea for a bit, and it will stink…very badly.
- I felt a little worse for about 10 hours after the first post fast meal than I did throughout the fast itself. The fast was indeed rough, but the combination of being that depleted and then eating just makes your body feel weird as your body starts it’s digestion engines back up again. Energy was very low till I had a couple meals and got some electrolytes processed. 15 hours post fast and my energy was just about back to normal.
- My cravings were not nearly as bad as they were before and It genuinely feels a little easier to make the healthier choices.
- Mental strength, and avoidance of temptation during the fast will make it easier. Unfortunately on day 3 I had to sit directly beside the family as they cooked out on the grill and had to endure it. I managed, but it certainly wasn’t easy. Avoid this kind of stuff. Try to isolate yourself as much as possible, but stay active with work or something to keep your mind busy on anything other than food.
- You will get very irritable very quick. You may want to avoid people during this time too. Everything will piss you off. You’ve heard the term “Hangry”, right?
- Don’t do this without a clear goal and understanding of why to fast in the first place. It’s not something you should do just to do.
It’s in these tough times when tough decisions are being made in my life when I rely on our brothers and sisters in our Warrior Tribe to keep me strong and motivated to stay the course. Think a 3 day fast is for you? Give it a try. Let us know your results, and most importantly. Get your ass in the Tribe so we can help you achieve your fitness and preparedness goals!
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