Fasting has been an important part of human history for thousands of years. Originally, fasting served two primary purposes: religious and survival.
People would learn to fast for survival, in case they weren’t able to get any food. In terms of religious and spiritual fasting, people would stop eating food to prove that they had more control over their body than their body has over them.
There are a huge number of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of fasting. However, medical science is also revealing that there are some dangers associated with fasting, especially if you’re doing your very first 3 day fast.
The 3 day fast is very popular nowadays – a form of dietary restriction in which people avoid consuming anything except for water for 72 hours. It’s pretty hard, and most people aren’t able to make it the full 3 days without eating something. However, if you’re wondering how to lose weight and gain muscle, the 3-day fast will help.
In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of fasting and explore the possible drawbacks.
A 3-day fast is a dietary restriction that involves not eating or drinking anything besides water for 72 hours.
This is the rawest form of a 3-day fast. However, some people prefer to do a different type of 3-day fast which focuses on cleansing and detoxifying the body. These people allow the consumption of things like lemon juice, cayenne pepper, or certain herbal teas or spices to help the body rid itself of toxins.
While these fasts can be effective, they won’t target your body in exactly the same way as a 3-day fast.
Why on earth would you want to do this to your body, you might ask. Many people come to the three day fast when they’re wondering, “how much weight will I lose on a 3 day water fast?” Fasting like this alters your body’s metabolism, and can encourage fat gain without causing a serious deficit of muscle.
There are lots of other benefits that you can experience when you do a water fast, as well. We’ll go into detail about these benefits later, but the gist is that you can experience:
- Reduced risk of cancer and heart disease
- Detoxification from unhealthy compounds
- Weight loss
- Improved mental and emotional health
- Reduced risk of diabetes
- Increased autophagy (this is a process in which your body breaks apart old and potentially hazardous bits of your cells that are no longer necessary)
If you’re wondering about the power of the 3 day water fast weight loss program, a three day fast could help in the short-term. However, remember that muscle requires protein and calories. If you’re wanting to build muscle over the long-term, you shouldn’t fast too frequently.
If you’re going to be doing your first water fast, then you’re going to want to prepare your body for it.
To use an analogy, consider someone addicted to drugs. If they suddenly stop using these drugs, they’ll go through intense discomfort, known as withdrawal. The only way to prevent this is to slowly stop using the drugs before ‘dropping off.’
The same goes for food. If you’ve never done a fast, and come from a well-off family, then that means you’ve been eating food every day since you were born. Your body is highly accustomed to a regular intake of food, so if you suddenly stop eating, you won’t feel very good.
You can minimize the discomfort by spending 3-7 days before your fast reducing your overall food intake. You can eat smaller meals, refrain from snacking, and fast for a few hours (between 6-12) every day.
If you’re addicted to food or stimulants (which most of us are) then you’ll probably want to take care of those addictions first. Of course, you could go cold-turkey – but most people are surprised to find out how horrendous the withdrawals from sugar and caffeine can be if they’ve never experienced them before.
Irritability, headaches, depression, and anxiety are all common issues that arise when people suddenly stop eating sugar, drinking coffee, or eating refined carbs. Try to spend a week or 2 detoxing from these unhealthy foods and substances before going on a fast.
In addition to this, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor or healthcare provider before making any drastic changes to your nutritional intake. They can inform you if there are any issues that could create complications. People with health problems like diabetes or chronic high blood pressure will definitely need to be monitored by their doctor.
When it comes to safety, there are some things to consider.
One thing that comes to mind is that first-time fasters may actually want to bend the rules a bit and consume a bit of juice. This helps to ensure that their bodies don’t become nutritionally deficient, and that the absence of calories doesn’t shock them too much.
To be clear, when I say juice, I mean fresh-pressed juice – preferably made at home, from organic fruits and vegetables. Don’t drink tons of it, but have a glass of juice in between every 4 or 5 glasses of water. Make sure to avoid any acidic juices, like orange juice.
However, this recommendation is not mandatory. Plenty of people finish their first 3-day fast with nothing but water and feel great afterwards. The decision is up to you.
Some other tips include:
- Do your fast on a weekend, or at a time when you are free from work or school. A fast is hard enough on its own; many people find them downright impossible or even dangerous if they have to try to fast while attending school, work, or doing physical activity.
- Make sure you gradually wean yourself off of any addictive substances like sugar, coffee, and refined carbs.
- Take a few days restricting your caloric intake to prepare for the fast.
For anyone wondering how to lose weight and build muscle, female or male, the hardest part about a water fast is actually following through with it and finishing the fast. There are a number of things to keep in mind here.
- Remember your goals. It’s good to keep your intention in mind while you’re working through a fast.
- Consider clearing all the food out of your house before the fast to resist the temptation of eating. Leave your food at a friend’s for the 3 days of the fast.
- Consider it a willpower exercise, and remember that you have complete control over your body. Hunger is a bodily sensation, and can be overcome if you have enough willpower.
Once you’ve finished your fast, you don’t want to jump right back in to eating the same amount and type of food that you ate before. Your digestive system is going to be sensitive and unprepared, so you need to take it slowly. You can do this by gradually easing your body back into eating by consuming things like:
- Your first move should be to have a glass of hot lemon water. Hot drinks are easier on your digestive system, and citric acid from the lemon will help your body produce more gastric juices.
- Fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies are a great way to introduce your body back to vitamins and minerals. You can take a whole day after your fast just eating smoothies and drinking fresh juices.
- Blend any foods that you can, and if you can’t blend your food, boil the heck out of it. Start with light fare, like vegetables.
- Avoid carbs. After a 3 day fast, eating a lot of carbs can actually cause you to gain back any weight that you lost.
- After you’ve consumed light foods for 2-3 days, you can ease yourself back into eating foods that are harder to digest like meat and dairy. However, since you’ve made it 3 days without eating meat, dairy, and sugar, why not consider developing a diet plan which is completely sugar- and meat-free?
As discussed earlier, there are several different versions of the 3-day fast.
- Water fast. The basic water fast means that you consume nothing but water for the 3 days.
- 3 day juice fast. This means that you’ll drink mostly water, but can have some fresh-squeezed juices as well.
- 3 day dry fast. These fasts don’t allow you to drink any water, either. This is not recommended.
- 3 day cleansing fast. This is a water fast that allows for the consumption of other cleansing drinks and sometimes supplements to help your body detox faster.
If you follow the program properly, you’ll be able to expect some pretty impressive 3 day water fast results considering the short amount of time that you need to dedicate to the fast. Many males consider water fasting the perfect diet plan for men to lose weight and build muscle.
- You’ll probably get and feel more lean, however, this might be because of water excretion. A diet to lose weight and build muscle like this may cause adverse reactions.
- Your skin and eyes will be glowing. This is usually because the typical diet contains a lot of garbage food and additives (sugar, refined carbs, artificial colors, etc.) which make us look less healthy.
- You’ll feel better, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
- You’ll lose weight (though again, a good portion of this could be from water loss.)
- Increases autophagy. Autophagy is a process in which old and worn-out bits of your cells are recycled, which can help to reduce the chances of developing diseases such as cancer. Animal studies have shown that water fasting can help to increase the rate of autophagy, and also that increased autophagy can extend longevity.
- Helps manage blood pressure. There is a great deal of evidence that water fasts, especially the longer ones, can help to reduce blood pressure in people struggling with chronic hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Helps improve diabetes and metabolism. Insulin and leptin are two hormones that are responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. You likely already know that insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar, and that insulin insensitivity can lead to conditions like diabetes.
- Helps prevent disease. In addition to helping prevent and manage diabetes, water fasting can help reduce the chances of developing diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
There are quite a few scientifically proven benefits of water fasting. These are some of the most prominent. However, there are also some risks and dangers which should be addressed as well.
Insulin also helps the body preserve nutrients that are flowing through the blood, and leptin is important for making us feel full after we’re finished eating. Water fasting has been proven to make the body more sensitive to both of these hormones.
- The weight you lose might not healthy. If you’re wondering how to lose weight and build muscle, you might be disappointed. Most of the weight that you lose during a short water fast will probably come from retained water, stored carbs, and even muscle mass. You have to go on a longer fast to really start burning fat.
- You might get dehydrate. If you drink the same amount of water that you drink when you weren’t fasting, you might get dehydrated. This is because about 25% of the water that you get comes from foods.
- Medical conditions could worsen. Problems like gout, eating disorders, and heartburn could get worse during a water fast.
Water fasting might be able to help you lose weight, but it’s important to note that there are some adverse effects that can be caused by water fasting. If you know how to properly prepare before and after your fast, then you will likely be able to reduce these negative consequences.