So I’d like to take you through my journey of my 2nd 5-day water fast. My first water fast was in early 2018, almost exactly a year ago. Now, I “decided” to go at it again, this time a 5-day water fast in 2019.
I was coming home with my pops from a college hockey tournament in Detroit and the thought of a water fast popped in my head. I figured, let’s do it again. Just a thought. A reminder. An itch. I surely didn’t plan it. 1st mistake.
We stopped and picked up pizza. It was about 5:30pm on Monday, Dec 31st. I had a few slices, par the course. I went home and then I really committed to the fast. I made a protein shake a little after 10pm and said that would be the last thing I’d consume for the next 120 hours. I finished the shake around 11:20pm. 120 hours from then was 11:20pm on Saturday, Jan 5th. Pizza and protein shake as the last substance before a water fast? Probably not recommended. 2nd mistake.
Luckily, I had the next day off work for the New Years holiday. And I couldn’t eat. The entire day flew by. Usually how vacation goes. And I was definitely hungry. It hit me the hardest around 8pm. But it was nothing compared to what I was about to experience.
Day 2, I went back to work. How f***ing boring. First day back from an extended holiday break (in the automotive industry, most corporate offices are closed the week of Christmas to New Years Day) , there was nobody at work and there was nothing to do. The hunger hit hard. Especially when you’re mindlessly sitting at a desk. On lunch, I was at hour 36 and it was horrible. I was hungry and the tiredness kicked in. I went to my parents house and took a nap. Went back to sitting at a desk just thinking about sleeping and, well, eating, eventually.
That night, I got home from work and took another 30 minute nap. Upon waking up, this strong voice in my head asked, why are you doing this? What’s the point? What are you trying to do? Trying to prove? I was at hour 42 or so. Doing the math - 42/120 = .35 - I was 35% of the way there. There is this thing called The Rule of 40. Not sure who championed this idea, maybe it was David Goggins (one of my idols). Anyways, it is the idea that you consistently live to 40% of your potential. In other words, when you get the sense of giving up, or that voice in your head telling you to quit, you’re only at 40% of your max potential! You have 60% left in the tank! Sadly, most of us don’t push hard enough to reach into the remaining 60% . I told myself that I am 35% of the way there, and I can most definitely push through to reach the goal. Only 65% left.
Furthermore, that same night, at hour 47, I diagnosed myself with the keto flu. This is common for humans to experience when they go into ketosis. Simply put, when the body runs through all of the carbohydrates and glycogen stores for energy, it turns to burning fat. This phase comes after hunger. And it hit me hard. I had a pounding headache with a high fever. Not sure how high because I don’t have a thermometer lol. It really sucked, I laid in bed and could not sleep for hours. But eventually I faded. (Side note: don’t do a 5 day water fast without someone accompanying you, like a medical professional. All of the resources that I have read state that any water fast over 72 hours should be done with medical assistance / attention throughout the process. Mistake #3)
Day 3, I woke up feeling pretty good. At least compared to the prior night. Unfortunately, it was yet another boring day at work. More of the same...sitting and thinking about doing or being somewhere else, I think they call that daydreaming. That just sounds like a bad thing to do at work so we can leave it at ‘thinking’. Now, to make things interesting, I had I hockey game on Thursday, Jan 3rd at 11:15pm. This would be at hour 71-72. So let’s jump there because nothing else really happened in between.
Day 4, technically, I am on the ice, playing hockey. I was exhausted after my first shift. Legs had limited power and endurance faded quickly. Kept the shifts shorter than usual. We got out played and lost, but somehow I had the assist on our one and only goal. 4-1 loss. I went home even more tired after driving. Crashed in bed and woke up for work about half alive. I sat on the toilet with my eyes half open and called in. I was not about to fire up for another day of caged boredom. I went back to sleep for a couple hours. In all honestey, I was just trying to get through the day. My hunger has passed at this point. My legs were sore. My body was tapped out of energy. My mind had glimpses of fogginess from exhaustion, but also extreme clarity at times. Short lasted. Not much happened nor did I do much. — I looked back at my blog post from my first ever 5-day water fast. I read that I should not exercise. Mistake #4. Also, I wrote that I should not go to work during the Fast. Mistake #5, although I did take one day off.
Last and final day, Day 5, Saturday, Jan 5th. I woke up tired once again. Mind and body. I don’t know if my body was ever going to recover from the physical activity of a hockey game. But, I was pumped that I had less than 24 hours to go. More so, less than 16 hours. And then it was less than 12 hours. 6. 3. And so on. The countdown lead to anticipation which gave me energy, focus, and determination to get to the finish line. That’s something that I think is very important when it comes to overcoming difficult times. When there is a defined timeline, you can process it and focus on that. No matter what, you will feel a sense of progress and that can go a long way.
What I found extremely interesting were my dreams. On night 3, I had a bad dream. I came home to my parents house with my mom and saw someone inside the house attempting to break into a safe. I’ll save you from my dilerious memories of that nightmare. On night 5, I had another one. Except it was much different. I was with my buddy Jake and we snuck into an all-you-can-eat buffet. It was f***ing amazing. There were all kinds of chicken: baked, fried, Parmesan, rotisserie. In addition to, there was a custom sandwich station, sushi, chocolates and sugary candies. And I ate it all. And went back for seconds. It was so real in my mind that I thought I broke my fast. I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t hold off the temptations. But a part of me was in Heaven. Then I woke up to an empty stomach and the final day of fasting.
During that day, my parents came over to help me with some minor home repairs. I had to pick, pack, and ship a few items for EBay. And let me tell you, it took me about 3x as long as it should have haha. I was drained mentally that my ability to package creatively and effectively diminished. And I was taking my sweet time going up and down the stairs for picking. To boot, the post office line was to the entry door and I probably stood in that line for 30 minutes. Everything felt like it was taking forever. But eventually I got back to my parents house for the night. My dad was cooking venison chili. I would end up breaking my fast with that. But, I had to smell it for 4 hours before I could have a taste. Talk about anticipation. My dad also felt the need to make some popcorn while we watched a movie to kill time. That smelt great as well.
When 11:20pm came around, I went on Instagram Live for the few followers that I had. I briefly described to them what this 5 day journey felt like. Showed them my fast-breaking meal - a bowl of venison chili with shredded cheddar cheese - and then took my first couple spoon fulls. It was GLORIOUS. I ended up having a 2nd bowl of chili because it was so good, and finished off the night with a Honeycrisp Apple. In some strange way, I was basically on the ‘no eating in 2019’ resolution. At least for 120 hours...and I bet that lasted longer than some new year resolutions out there lol.
The next morning, I had another Honeycrisp Apple and then waiting for a big sushi lunch with a friend who was in town. That was extremely tasty as well. But, I couldn’t eat as much as I used to. Following lunch, I went straight to lifting and moving furniture. I helped my cousin and his girlfriend move for a couple hours and she treated with pizza and cheese sticks. I couldn’t turn it down. And that was my next mistake. Mistake #5. Don’t eat like that, especially the day of coming off a 5-day fast. I was an idiot. But it taught me a good lesson. Not only taught me, but it showed me. I got to really experience the bloated-ness of the belly and utterly slowed mind. I felt like I couldn’t run if I wanted to. If I did, I would’ve probably puked haha. And after 30-60 minutes, my mind was slower than molasses. My body wanted to shut down and go into hibernation. It was quite eye openining. Unfortunately, without the fasting, or cleansing of my system, I would never have that experience because my body gets accostom to it. Like the pizza I had before the fast began, it was just another day. But now, I can tell what it’s doing to my body and mind. That’s not how I want to live!
All in all, I feel that the 5-day water fast is a journey that everyone should travel. It challenges you. Mentally. Physiologically. Emotionally. Take my tips and listen to others’. Will you pass the test? Or will you break at 40% of your full potential?
Below is a short clip of my progress photos. I have yet to mention the weight loss involved in a 5-day water fast. I started this fast at 155.6 lbs and ended at 144.6 lbs. I lost 11 lbs over 5 days! Now, take that with a grain of salt. I am, by no means, saying that my weight loss is healthy or something to be proud of. I believe most of the weight loss is water weight (you get 30% of your water from the food you eat). I also probably lost some fat and a portion of muscle. It’s just facts. Here was the impact to my body: