It must have been somewhere in february that I decided it would be a good idea to do a 72-hour water fast. I regularly do intermittent fasting (usually the 18:6 method) and I also do regular 24-hour fasts. But I had never done a 72 hour fast.

So in case you’re wondering, it’s not fasting from water as some people assumed. It’s that you only drink water, coffee (black) and tea during 72 hours. You do use minerals and add some salt to the water to make sure you’re minerals stay up to level. In those 72 hours you also check your blood sugar levels three times a day at least and optional you can check your ketone levels as well. It’s under guidance of a medical professional so it’s not something you would want to do on your own. At least not if it is the first time I think.

72-hour water fast
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Why did I consider doing a 72-hour water fast?

Well first of all, doing a regular fast is very beneficial for your health. It improves blood glucose levels, makes your body produce ketones as an alternative energy source and increases your body’s autophagy or ability to self heal.

Secondly, I felt I needed to get my eating habits a bit more in check. In general I eat really healthy, but sometimes I can overeat or eat too many snacks in the evening. I wanted to break the cycle of doing that.

Let me do say that I am not promoting this for anyone, this is just my personal account of how I did on my first 72 hours water fast. If you’re thinking of doing this yourself make sure to read up on the risks and benefits and if possible do this under supervision of someone who knows what he/she is talking about.

Day 1

The first day is actually not really the fast at all as the last meal is had at 6 pm. After that all foods are off limits. It’s a good idea to already restrict intake of carbs to prepare your body for the water fast. Starting that in the week prior to the fast is an even better idea.

Day 2

So the first day without any solid foods at all. I felt fairly ok. A little hungry at times but there was still more than enough glucose in my system to get me going. During the day we measured our glucose levels three times (minimal, you can do more if you want) with a simple drop of blood and a glucose reader. If anything, I found it very interesting to see what happened to my glucose levels. (which dropped to 4,2 (mmol/liter) in the first day. Measured just before going to bed) Keep in mind that glucose levels are highly personal so my values might not mean anything for you.

Overall, I ended the day on a good note. The daily zoom meeting we had with the other participants helped to ask questions and get a sense of community with other crazy people like yourself. Haha.

Day 3

The second true day of the 72-hour water fast and my favorite day by far. I slept very well and had loads of energy. So much so that I decided to drive to Tilburg (1,5 hour drive one way) to photograph some chip munks that only exist in a forest there. And I had already done a morning walk too.

My blood sugar level dropped to about 3,6 mmol/liter and ketones went up to 2.9 mmol/liter.

Day 4

I didn’t sleep all that well this night and I also kind of felt that I had enough of the not eating. It didn’t help that I spend the day working on recipes. Haha… Overall, I felt fine. A little light headed at times but I had enough energy to do the things I needed to do, work and have a walk around the neighbourhood. I did specifically make sure i did not have any photoshoots scheduled for those three days. I wasn’t sure how I would be feeling and a photoshoot can be pretty heavy in terms of physical activity. And I didn’t want to risk feeling faint or being tempted too much with all sorts of foods in front of me.

Walking in nature
Walking in nature also helps!

I did do enough work behind the computer and that all went fine.

At 6 pm the 72-hour water fast was over and it was time to have our first meal! I was soooo looking forward to that! Obviously reintroducing foods needs to be done in stages as well. So first I started with some bone broth, than I added some kombucha and kimchi (or other fermented foods) as that’s really beneficial for your intestines.

After that it was time for the real meal. I chose for baked cod with roasted broccoli. Super simple but so tasty! My bloodglucose was pretty low with 3,1 mmol/liter just before dinner and ketones 4.9 mmol/liter. Two hours after dinner bloodglucose was 4,9 mmol/liter and ketones dropped to 1,5 mmol/liter.

Was it worth it?

We’re now two days after the 72-hour water fast and I feel great. The first day on a normal schedule I was still a little less fit than normal. Obviously it is important to replenish the nutrients so I ate really healthy the whole day and felt good doing so.

72-hour water fast
Photo: Depositphotos.com

But now – two days after – I feel absolutely great. I have this renewed sense of my body. I feel like exercising again (and that had been a while) and eating healthy. I do strongly believe in a balance between healthy and the special foods that make life better, but it doesn’t have to be three cupcakes. Haha. So yes, I will still have to monitor my behaviour in what I eat and don’t eat. And that’s totally fine.

I have already signed up for the 2nd 72-hour water fast as I do plan to do this once every quarter. I don’t want to do it more often. I mean, it is still not the easiest thing to do when you live in the world of food.

If you want to know more about water fasting and what it could do for you or in general about living a healthier life, check out the website of Peter Attia.

Author

Hi my name is Simone and I am a food photographer and blogger from the Netherlands. I strongly believe in the power of good food and think that making good choices every day will definitely create a healthier future. I've recently turned 61 and now more than ever, realize that health is everything. Check the link below to learn more about my story. I'm a certified health coach and live in the Netherlands with my two cats Humhrey and Buffy.

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