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What to Expect From a 3-Day Fast

Published April 28, 2019 (Revised: February 28, 2020) Read Time: 8 minutes
Kate Sullivan

Written By: Kate Sullivan, MS

Kate holds a MS in Business Psychology and is currently a PHD researcher in Well-Being and Performance Psychology.

what-to-expect-from-a-3-day-fast
<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Kate Sullivan, MS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/02/3-day-fast-thumbnail-0149.jpg" } }, "headline":"What to Expect From a 3-Day Fast", "datePublished":"2019-04-28", "dateModified": "2020-02-28", "description":"Participating in a 3-day fast encourages autophagy, increased cellular regeneration, and numerous other health benefits.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2020/02/3-day-fast-thumbnail-0149.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How Do You Start a 3-Day Fast?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "To reap all of the health benefits that a 3-day fast can promote, you need to have a solid understanding of how to properly use water fasting for your own gain. Before you start a water fast, you should consult with your doctor first to ensure that it’s a healthy decision for you." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "How Much Weight Can You Lose by Fasting for 3 Days?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The amount of weight that you can lose by using water fasting can vary. Studies have shown that water fasting can help to reduce your body weight by up to 8 percent over a period of six months. Water fasting is a great tool for weight loss, but the exact amount of weight that you’re going to lose is dependent upon several factors." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "How Long Can You Safely Fast?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The length of time that you can safely participate in a long-term fast changes from person to person. It’s extremely important to get personal advice from your health care practitioner. Fasting can be dangerous for some. For example, anyone on blood pressure or heart disease medications could have complications with electrolyte irregularity. When experimenting with fasting, you should start out with a 16-8 fast, which is one of the recommended fasting periods for intermittent fasting." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">How Do You Start a 3-Day Fast?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Are the Health Benefits of Doing a 3-Day Fast?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">How Much Weight Can You Lose by Fasting for 3 Days?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">How Long Can You Safely Fast?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Recently, fasting has been the latest and greatest buzz-word in the health and fitness community. </p> <p>While it’s clear that this ancient practice has become increasingly popular, many people don’t know about the actual benefits fasting can bring to our health. </p> <p>Doing a fast means you refrain from consuming any calories for a specific amount of time. </p> <p>Participating in a 3-day fast encourages autophagy, increased cellular regeneration, and numerous other health benefits <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909(14)00151-9" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>. </p> <p>Today, we’re going to talk about what you should expect from a 3-day fast along with all of the health benefits it can provide.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-day-fast-preparation-0149.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-day-fast-preparation-0149.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-day-fast-preparation-0149.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-day-fast-preparation-LR-0149.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="3-day fast preparation"> </picture> <h2>How Do You Start a 3-Day Fast?</h2> <p>Fasting (also known as “water fasting” since drinking water is a key component) is a highly effective tool to induce <i>autophagy</i> which helps to encourage the regeneration of healthy cells but can also help to promote lower blood pressure levels and even increase energy levels. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106288/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup></p> <p>To reap all of the health benefits that a 3-day fast can promote, you need to have a solid understanding of how to properly use water fasting for your own gain. </p> <p><i>Before you start a water fast, you should consult with your doctor first to ensure that it’s a healthy decision for you.</i></p> <p>If you’ve done that, to keep everything simple, we’ve broken down how to start a 3-day water fast into a step-by-step process:</p> <h3>Step One: Before the Fast</h3> <p>There are a number of ways to prepare for a 3 day fast.</p> <p>Firstly, your primary care physician will have the most personalized advice for your body preparing for a fast.</p> <p>Working up to a 3 day fast is one thing recommended, like it is by <a target="_blank" href="https://www.whitneyerd.com/2020/01/i-did-a-3-day-water-fast-the-how-why-tips.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">this dietician</a>. A <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101/" rel="noreferrer">ketogenic diet</a> will prepare your body for being in fat-burning mode, so acclimating to a low-carb diet approach before a long fast may add ease to your fasting. </p> <p>Starting with a 16 hour fast followed by a 1 day <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/intermittent-fasting-and-keto-should-you-do-them/" rel="noreferrer">fast</a> can help you be successful also, as working your way up to a 2-3 day fast will be less jarring to your body and mind. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.whitneyerd.com/2020/01/i-did-a-3-day-water-fast-the-how-why-tips.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup></p> <p>Consuming the same amount or less calories than you normally do will also help your stomach prepare for your fast. <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://drvarner.com/what-to-eat-before-a-fast/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup></p> <h3>Step Two: During the Fast</h3> <p>We’ve mentioned this before, but hydration is the biggest key to a longer fast. </p> <p>Ensure that you’re drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Since you won’t be consuming any food for 72 hours, you won’t be receiving any extra water from the fruits and vegetables that you normally eat. Keeping your body properly hydrated will not only fight against hunger pains, but it will also aid your liver in flushing out toxins.</p> <p>It’s also very important that while you’re water fasting, you keep up with your electrolyte levels. You can maintain your <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-electrolytes/" rel="noreferrer">electrolyte balance</a> by adding in pink Himalayan sea salt to your water.</p> <p>From our own experience and other’s, things you can expect during the fast are:<sup><a target="_blank" href="http://www.executivestyle.com.au/how-a-three-day-water-fast-can-reboot-and-benefit-the-body-h0wsjr" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a>,<a target="_blank" href="https://dranthonygustin.com/my-four-day-fasting-results/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a>,<a target="_blank" href="https://ideapod.com/3-day-72-hour-water-fast/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup></p> <ul> <li>Feeling exhausted</li> <li>Feeling hungry</li> <li>Difficulty sleeping</li> <li>Difficulty concentrating</li> </ul> <p>However, some people also say they experience mental clarity and decreased appetite.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://dranthonygustin.com/my-four-day-fasting-results/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup> Everyone’s body is unique which is why discussing a prolonged fast with your doctor is so important.</p> <p>Because of the exhaustion that typically takes place, refraining from exercising is a good idea. Taking it easy, especially on day 2-3 is probably best practice.</p> <p>Most reviews of a 3 day fast on the internet agree that day 2 of the fast is the most difficult, so clear your schedule so that you can relax when you feel tired.</p> <h3>Step Three: Eating After Your Fast</h3> <p>What you eat and how much you eat as you break your fast is incredibly important, as properly acclimating your digestive system will help prevent digestive cramping and pain. Slowly easing back into eating normal, full-sized meals will make the entire process much easier on your digestive system.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.whitneyerd.com/2020/01/i-did-a-3-day-water-fast-the-how-why-tips.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup></p> <p>You should break your fast by drinking bone broth, since bone broth doesn’t contain any fiber and is easy for your digestive system to break down.</p> <p>After a 3-day fast, a full day of liquid foods to reacclimate is one option, followed by adding steamed and raw vegetables and healthy fats (like olive oil or avocado)<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.whitneyerd.com/2020/01/i-did-a-3-day-water-fast-the-how-why-tips.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>. Hold off on things like meat, eggs and dairy to let your body adjust slowly. </p> <p>Consuming about 50% of what you’d usually have is a good gauge according to some dieticians.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.whitneyerd.com/2020/01/i-did-a-3-day-water-fast-the-how-why-tips.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup></p> <p>While it may be hard, listen to your body and don’t overeat. Over the next few days, your body will slowly begin to normalize. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-Day-Fast-0149.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-Day-Fast-0149.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-Day-Fast-0149.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/3-Day-Fast-LR-0149.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="3-Day Fast"> </picture> <h3>Can You Drink Tea or Black Coffee?</h3> <p>Some people feel that drinking tea or black coffee during a water fast could disrupt the fast, but as long as you don’t add any products with a caloric value into your beverages, you won’t spike your blood sugars, resulting in a broken fast.</p> <p>Adding tea or black coffee into your water fasting can help boost your energy levels and keep the hunger pangs away, assisting you in your 3-day water fast!</p> <h3>Can I Exercise on a 3-Day Fast?</h3> <p>When you’re first starting your 3-day water fast, doing some light walking can help you burn through your glucose stores. But be prepared that while you’re fasting, you’re going to experience low energy and not want to do very much.</p> <p>We suggest that on the second and third day of your fast to take it easy and rest, especially if you’ve never before participated in water fasting.</p> <p>Taking it easy and listening to your body can help to ensure the success of your first 3-day water fast. Pushing yourself too hard when you’re exercising can cause you to feel extremely tired and lethargic.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>What Are the Health Benefits of Doing a 3-Day Fast?</h2> <p>While participating in a 3-day fast may be a bit difficult if you’ve never done one, there are numerous health benefits that accompany a 3-day fast.</p> <h3>1. Encourages Autophagy</h3> <p>Water fasting is a great way to promote <i><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/fasting-and-autophagy-understanding-your-body/" rel="noreferrer">autophagy</a></i>, which is your body’s natural process of clearing out damaged or dead cells <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3106288/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup>.</p> <p>Even if you’re perfectly fit and healthy, the cells in your body naturally start to degrade over time. </p> <p>It’s entirely normal for your body to shed unhealthy cells to make room for all of the new cells that your body is going to create, and fasting is one way to kick-start this process. </p> <p>In the cells that are damaged, the <i>mitochondria</i> (the powerhouse of a cell) isn’t functioning at its normal capacity, which causes the cells to mismanage energy. </p> <p>By clearing out these damaged cells, and the body generating new cells that function normally, allowing your cells to start using energy more efficiently.<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6938162/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup></p> <h3>2. Improves Heart Health</h3> <p>If you’re worried about developing heart disease or you are looking to manage your heart health naturally without medication, using fasting to manage your heart health can be a step in the right direction.</p> <p>There have been dozens of studies that have shown how people who used fasting saw a significant reduction in their LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20300080" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>. Studies have also shown that using fasting can actually greatly decrease blood pressure <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17929537" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup>.</p> <h3>3. Boosts Weight Loss</h3> <p>It’s a well-known fact that in order to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. By participating in a 3-day water fast, you’ll be restricting your caloric intake and creating a caloric deficit, resulting in weight loss.</p> <p>Not only can you see a smaller number on the scale after participating in a water fast, but there have been some studies that have shown that fasting can boost your metabolism <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837292" rel="nofollow noreferrer">11</a></sup>! </p> <p>Fasting has also been shown to increase fat loss, while also minimizing the loss of lean muscle tissue<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21410865" rel="nofollow noreferrer">12</a></sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>How Much Weight Can You Lose by Fasting for 3 Days?</h2> <p>The amount of weight that you can lose by using water fasting can vary. Studies have shown that water fasting can help to reduce your body weight by up to 8 percent over a period of six months <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://ibimapublishing.com/articles/ENDO/2014/459119/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">13</a></sup>. Water fasting is a great tool for weight loss, but the exact amount of weight that you’re going to lose is dependent upon several factors, some of which include <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/factors-affecting-weight-health" rel="nofollow noreferrer">14</a></sup>:</p> <ul> <li>Your current metabolic health</li> <li>How much excess body weight you have to lose</li> <li>How active you currently are</li> <li>How much you’re sleeping</li> <li>Your stress levels</li> </ul> <p>So, while some people may have lost a decent amount of weight following a 3-day water fast (5-7 pounds in our own experience), you may lose more or less depending on the factors listed above.</p> <p>But don’t forget that while fasting is a great tool for weight loss, there are so many other health benefits that you can gain.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>How Long Can You Safely Fast?</h2> <p>The length of time that you can safely participate in a long-term fast changes from person to person. </p> <p>It’s extremely important to get personal advice from your health care practitioner. Fasting can be dangerous for some. For example, anyone on blood pressure or heart disease medications could have complications with electrolyte irregularity<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/not-so-fast-pros-and-cons-of-the-newest-diet-trend" rel="nofollow noreferrer">16</a></sup>.</p> <p>When experimenting with fasting, you should start out with a 16-8 fast, which is one of the recommended fasting periods for intermittent fasting.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Wrapping Up</h2> <p>There are numerous health benefits that a 3-day water fast can offer, but if you aren’t sure you’re ready to commit to a 3-day fast, intermittent fasting is an equally amazing fasting method. </p> <p>Intermittent fasting gives some of the same health benefits as a 3-day fast but allows you to eat every day and is a great way to build up to a longer fast.</p> <p>Water fasting is just one type of the several different fasting methods that you can look into. Key points to remember during your fast are:</p> <ol> <li>Work your way up to a 3 day fast, and prepare your body accordingly before starting.</li> <li>Don’t consume anything during your fast that contains calories. Coffee, tea and an abundance of water are allowed.</li> <li>When breaking your fast, let your body acclimate with bone broth and other fluids before consuming solid foods. </li> <li>It is important to consult your doctor before making a health change like introducing water fasting. </li> </ol> <p>The health benefits of a longer fast can offer anybody a boost: cell regeneration, weight loss, and improved heart health. If you’re looking to level up in your health journey, this may just be your next step.</p> </section> </article>

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