Water Fasting Tips for Success

The biggest downfall in water fasting is not being prepared. These water fasting tips will help you avoid the pitfalls, helping you to create the most supportive environment and guide you toward a smooth and successful fasting experience.

A water fast becomes a sort of "lifestyle change" as so many patterns and routines become disrupted. Hopefully, these water fasting tips, and ones you find on your own, will make that transition a bit easier. Every time you fast, you will gain more insight into the process, making it easier and easier.

  • Commitment
    Water fasting, as you can imagine, requires a great deal of commitment. Some people find it easy to make a decision and then stick to it no matter what. Others struggle with second thoughts and doubts, or are more prone to give in to the temptations. You know which type of person you are, and most of us are the second type.

    And there's nothing wrong with that. We're creatures of habit and when our routines and habits change, we usually feel discomfort. This discomfort can be turned into a sense of excitement if you choose.

    During fasting, it's usually just the first day that we feel the pangs in our stomach that we equate with hunger. And it's usually the first few days that we "miss" eating, even after those "hunger pangs" have ceased. If you're new to fasting, you might be surprised (and enlightened) by what you miss about eating. Just the action of chewing can become something you crave. Some miss the hand to mouth action of feeding themselves. But, for most, it's the full, satisfied feeling in the stomach, that not only feels good physically, but provides a level of emotional comfort.

    Each person will gain unique insight into their relationship with food and eating. That's part of what fasting is about and one of the many benefits of fasting. Don't ignore this aspect. Examine your feelings and responses around food and the lack of it, and use that information for greater personal awareness. This can truly be an exciting time of personal insight and expansion.

  • Rest
    It is highly recommended that you not work during a water fast, and most importantly that you not work during those first few critical days. If you work in a totally loving and supportive environment, it might be okay to work during the latter part of your fast.

    If you work in a non-supportive environment, particularly one that is highly charged with strict deadlines or difficult co-workers, just don't even go there. You may feel more emotional than usual during a fast, because your emotional and mental patterns will be undergoing a sort of cleanse of their own. (See Emotional Benefits of Fasting for more on emotional cleansing.)

    If you really must work during part of your fast, and this might depend on how long you're fasting, at least reserve the first 3-5 days to be away from those pressures and the pressures of being around the "eating public". This applies too to those who work from home. While fasting can be inspiring toward your work if you love your work, avoid the parts that are stressful. This time is best spent in partial seclusion, or full seclusion, depending on your personality.

    Just a reminder here that may tip the scale in favor of taking some vacation time: body odor and bad breath are quite often a side effect of fasting as your body eliminates toxins and wastes.

  • What to do with your time
    You might be surprised at how much time is freed up by not eating, time you used to spend cooking, cleaning the dishes, food shopping, and thinking about and planning your next meal. You may also find you need less sleep. We're not talking about insomnia here, but rather sleeping more soundly and so, requiring less. Not having to digest food, which is such an energy-intensive activity, frees up energy too.

    Plan ahead by at least having several ideas in mind for things to do. And have the supplies on hand for any activities that require them (especially for any activity you're planning to do in those first few days when you may not be able to drive safely).

    ~Treat yourself with a self-spa—take long baths, moisturize your skin with natural, chemical-free moisturizers, give yourself a manicure or pedicure, do a facial. Begin the practice of dry skin brushing to help eliminate toxins and stimulate the lymphatic system. Many like to sun or sit in hot tubs or saunas, but these can be dehydrating, so proceed with caution.

    ~Catch up on reading (only non-stressful, preferably uplifting). For the best book to read on water fasting, see here. Buy it or other books on water fasting, or check them out from your library.

    ~Walk or do yoga or mild stretching exercises

    ~Start practicing breathing exercises to help with detox and increase lung function.

    ~Spend more time than you usually do with your pet

    ~Take time for long meditations and prayer

    ~Pick up that neglected hobby or passion - drawing, painting, writing...

    ~Re-connect with friends that have fallen off your radar lately (but not any who will try to twist your arm into going to lunch)

    ~Keep a fasting journal, recording your feelings, impressions and insights. From this journal, you will discover your own unique set of water fasting tips to use for your next fast.

  • Support
    Having the support of those around you can be SO helpful, but not all of us are surrounded by people who understand the desire to fast. If you do have such friends, utilize their support and experience as much as possible. If you don't, at least tell one friend what your plans are; it's good for safety reasons to have someone objective watching your fast.

    Forums are a good place to find "fasting buddies" as well as a large group of people who are supportive of the process, but you have to remember, you are your number one and best advocate for what is best for you. Also, as addictive as such social media can be, don't let it take over your time or you'll miss so much of what takes place in your inner world. Fasting offers the most as a personal experience, not a social experience.

  • Additional preparation
    The better your preparation in the days before your fast, the more physically comfortable you will be during the early part of your fast. In the 2 or 3 days before, eliminate any and all processed foods, sugar, white flour, and wean yourself off any caffeine products. Just like a cleansing diet, this will begin the process of your body flushing out, making the transition to water even easier.

    The best thing you can do for yourself is to follow a raw diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, during this pre-fast time, and longer than 2-3 days if you can. This will significantly reduce the uncomfortable side effects of fasting - the headaches, nausea, and flu-like symptoms that are so common in the first few days of a fast.

    If you didn't prepare sufficiently and find yourself having severe side effects, don't be afraid to slow things down with a small piece of a fresh juicy fruit. Trust your own judgment when this feels like the appropriate thing to do.

    While you won't need the sight or smell of food to remind you of food, do your best to clean up your surroundings and remove food items from sight and smell; little things like putting up the fruit bowl and cookie jar. If you live alone, you can tape the refrigerator door shut to stop the unconscious habit of checking its contents.
  • For those weak moments
    While this usually only occurs in the first couple days, you may find yourself having periods of temptation to quit, times you fall into self-doubt. "Why am I doing this anyway?" "What's the point?" "This is too hard."

    Don't beat yourself up over these thoughts. They're just a natural outcome of changing your usual patterns. It can be a lot like grief; you are grieving the loss of something that provided you comfort and was so much a part of your life--food. Quitting any addiction feels like this.

    You can get through these moments by distracting yourself with other activities, like light exercise or taking a nap. Or you can face them head-on by reminding yourself this was a decision you made clearly and intelligently, with all of the facts and information before you. Get back in touch with the energy and mental set-up of the person you were when you made that decision. Re-read those facts and pieces of information, read the Benefits of Fasting page again, or great fasting quotes. Is it still a valid decision to fast?

    Accept the now. Yes, it sounds very zen, doesn't it? It's actually easier than it sounds. Say to yourself, "this is the way it is." "This is just the way it is right now, tonight or tomorrow may be different, but right now, this moment, this is the way it is." "This is what I decided to do, this is what I wanted to experience." See if you can let go into that feeling that it is ok to be where you are. You're missing food. You're missing that comfort. And that's ok. Eventually, like all grief, there comes a point of acceptance. You are ok, even without that thing you think you want.

    Not everyone has these weak moments. Some people actually feel great relief in the act of not eating, finding freedom from some chronic pain or freedom from the social or personal pressures to eat a certain way.

    If you should give in to any temptations, don't fret over it later, just move on. A piece of food during a water fast won't "ruin everything", and quitting early means you can fast another day as a wiser, more experienced faster.

  • Colon health
    It isn't necessary to take enemas during any kind of fast; they're actually considered disruptive to the colon's rest period. It's perfectly normal to not have a bowel movement for the duration of your fast. Eating high-fiber foods directly prior to your fast, perhaps including psyllium supplementation or using this colon cleanse recipe, should help make the first bowel movement after your fast easier. There are also suppositories available for this purpose.

  • Dizziness
    If you should ever feel dizzy, immediately sit down; if there's no chair available, simply lie down on the floor. Fainting can happen and can, of course, cause injury. Dizziness is usually caused by the lower blood pressure fasting can bring about. Keep this in mind and don't stand up or get out of bed quickly while water fasting. Men are advised to sit down on the toilet should they ever need to urinate during the night.

  • Make it special
    Get out your finest crystal water goblet, or buy a new beautiful one, to use during your water fast.

  • After the fast
    Check out the recipe section of this site for ideas on cooking with whole and real foods. Processed and other chemical-laden foods won't taste good anymore, so many foods you were used to eating will be unappetizing now. Listen to your inner guidance for the foods that are appropriate for you to eat and be fully nourished by.

You've got this

Hopefully these water fasting tips will help you be more prepared for the changes water fasting creates in your life. You will come up with your own set of "water fasting tips". Write these down and save them to use as a guideline for your next fasting experience.

If you're new to fasting, get help in deciding how how long to fast. Rather than jumping into a long fast, start with shorter fasts so you can begin to experience and understand your unique reactions to fasting. Intermittent fasting offers more ideas for easing you into fasting using 24-hour plans. Using partial fasts, like fruit or brown rice, to prepare you for a water fast is a great plan as well.

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You may also like

Liquid Fasting lists some of the options for doing a liquid-only fast, including broth and milk.

Colon Cleansing helps you sort through the options, while this colon cleanse recipe can be used anytime it's needed.

Fasting Grace - read about an 86 year old woman's use of fasting throughout her life.

Dry Skin Brushing shares the many health benefits derived from this quick and easy practice.

Emotional Benefits of Fasting offers insight on the healing effects fasting has on our emotional and mental patterns.

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