Fasting is a lifestyle change that can have a profound impact not only on your mental well-being but also your physical and spiritual being. For these reasons, a significant number of people have been incorporating various fasting programs. One particular fasting program that has become popular over time is the 3-day fast.
The 3-day fast requires you fast for three days, depending on the method you have selected. Since most people hardly fast for 24 hours, they tend to struggle with such a program.
Read on as we explore more on what it takes to complete a 3-day fast both safely and effortlessly. We will share with you scientifically backed up tips, procedures, and meal plans advised when you fast for 3 days.
What Is Fasting?
Fasting has become a common practice in today’s society, perhaps due to its link to various health benefits. Initially, fasting was a part and parcel of various religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
However, over time, people discovered the health-related benefits of fasting. Therefore, they began embracing this practice for its health promises. Fasting refers to a period wherein you keep away from eating for a specified duration.
Usually, a fast is expected to last anywhere between 12 and 24 hours (4). However, this may vary as there are numerous fasting methods. They will tend to continue for different timelines before allowing you to eat.
Why Do It?
There are various reasons why you may choose to do without food for a specified period. In most cases, it has to do with religion. However, in other cases, fasting is merely done for its health-related benefits. These include:
Weight Loss Promotion
One of the primary reasons why most people choose to fast is to promote weight loss. Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the methods that some scientific research supports in weight loss promotion (8).
It refers to a pattern consisting of short-term fasts and then eating meals within shorter timelines throughout the day. There are various intermittent fasting methods that you can consider if you want to lose weight.
They include alternate day fasting, the 16/8 method, and the 5:2 diet. All these methods differ, and you must first seek professional advice before settling on any of the above.
Detoxification refers to the process where your body gets rid of any toxins stored in the body. You might have seen or even prepared some detoxification smoothies yourself to help eliminate toxins in your body.
Fasting is believed by some to help get rid of any toxins that are stored in the body’s fat (3). Fasting may help in the detoxification process by helping this fat be dissolved and removed while you are not eating. Your body would then process and remove the toxins through its normal processes.
Improving Your Mental Being
Like exercise, fasting too helps with improving your overall mental being. During this period, your body gets to release numerous endorphins. These are the “feel-good” hormones. They positively influence and boost your mental well-being.
3-Day Fast: Is It A Must-Do?
Some people come up with goals such as “must fast for at least 3 days.” However, after starting the program, they almost want to quit. You must know that fasting is like any other program, for example, your exercise program.
You may want to achieve it but the challenges may push you to the edge. The only way you can sustain a 3-day fast is by starting small. Experiment with other fasting methods that last for hours to determine if you can last for 3 days.
You can start by choosing through some intermittent fasting methods (7). If you can last up to the recommended duration without eating, then you can try the 3-day fast. Remember to always seek medical advice before you start any fasting program. Fasting is not for everyone.
How To Fast For 3 Days?
There are so many things that you need to consider when you decide to start fasting. Overlooking them may affect your fasting journey or results. The most significant aspects you need to consider to help you fast safely for the next 3 days are:
As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons why you may choose to willingly stay away from food consumption. They range from spiritual, physical, to personal reasons. You must determine your goal beforehand.
It will help in steering you to the correct fasting method. For example, if you want to fast for weight loss, the best method to choose may be intermittent fasting. Always have a goal as it may also help you stay motivated in your fasting window.
You also need to have a health assessment conducted before you start fasting. There are so many health risks that may occur during this period in addition to hunger and dehydration. Such risks may be fatal, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
So, consult your doctor before you start this fast for three days. No matter how healthy you feel or appear, you ought to get your doctor’s okay to start this program. You primarily require medical supervision and consultation if you fit any of the following brackets (5):
- If you are pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding
- If you are trying to conceive
- If you are diabetic
- If you have low blood pressure
- If you are underweight
- If you have an eating disorder
- If you have trouble regulating sugar
- If you are on medications
If you have never been in such a program before, then you will need professional guidance and supervision. Never rely on the little information you have to guide you through a fasting program. You ought to have an expert to support you.
Your Fasting Method
You need to consider what fasting method you will choose to implement for the next three days. Your fasting goals will highly influence the method you choose. If you have little knowledge on the best method to fast for three days, then seek professional help.
Onet way to fast for 3 days is by trying the water fasting method. It is very convenient and can help in the realization of any goal. This is a recommended method if you want a healing fast for 3 days.
Contrary to what you think, three days may look like an eternity when you go without food. So, it is important to look for a commitment to help you push through these three days. Dig deep and evaluate why you want to fast this long in the first place.
It will help in giving you a sense of focus. Such a focus might be all you need to stay committed to your three-day fast.
The foundation of a good fast is always being prepared. Since you are going for three days (or some other period of time) without food, you need to properly plan for your activities. You will need to do away with some activities in your schedule.
For example, your doctor might recommend you stop exercising or cease intense workouts during your fasting window. This is because your body needs energy from food to help in sustaining your workouts (6). Since you are not eating, exercising during such a period may tend to have some health risks.
You may also need to plan your schedule on when you are going to pray, especially if you are fasting for religious reasons. In this case you may need to allocate enough time to devote your time and prayers to your higher being.
You also have to prepare yourself psychologically in order to fast for 3 days. Whether you have done it before or not, you will need to spend ample time preparing yourself psychologically.
Again, you can prepare your mindset by aligning it with what you want to accomplish. For example, if you are fasting for religious reasons, there may be specific religious preparation you’ll want to do.. Similarly, if you want to lose weight, prepare yourself by being ready for the upcoming challenge.
Water Fast For 3 Days: What Does It Entail?
You may have heard a lot of benefits of water fasting and perhaps decided to try it out. If so, then you need to know what it will take you to complete water fast for 3 days. First things first, let us start with the definition.
A water fast is a practice whereby you do not eat or drink any beverage except water (1). So, in addition to not having your favorite meals, you also do not get to enjoy drinks like soda. You may be tempted to overindulge the day before you start this fasting program.
Although it sounds realistic to you, it will not help as much. So, do not think eating everything you want before this fast will help you push through the three days. It may not. So, take it easy and do what your doctor recommends.
While it will be challenging at first, eventually, you will get the hang of it. No specific guidelines exist detailing how long your water fast is supposed to last. However, medical experts recommend it last somewhere between a day and three days tops (1). As such, it makes it the best method to consider when you want to fast for 3 days.
Benefits Of A Water Fast
Trying water fast for 3 days can help you tremendously. Some of its benefits include:
- It may help people with various conditions, especially when conducted short-term and under medical supervision. These conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and overweight/obesity.
- Helping with weight loss. Since you are not eating during the water fast, your body does not have access to carbohydrates. It is forced to use stored fats to attain energy. Getting rid of this fat helps in promoting weight loss.
- Improving your mood and mentality. During these 3 days of your water fast, your focus tends to shift to things that matter. You tend to reflect on your accomplishments, goals, life purpose, and other valuable things. Such reflection can help in boosting your mood and focus.
Risks Of Trying A Water Fast
Although some experts recommend it, it is not to mean that it does not have various health risks. It has some considerable health risks, especially if you extend the practice for more than 3 days. You ought to seek medical and professional advice if you want to increase your fasting window.
Do not also try a water fast if you:
- Are under 18 years old
- Are underweight
- Are a senior
- Have any underlying medical condition(s) without discussing first with your physician
How To Start A 3-Day Water Fast?
The most integral thing you need to do before such a program is consulting with a professional ad physician. You need to know what to do before, during, and after such a fasting program. A fasting professional will help you prepare yourself leading up to the fast.
These professionals will help you prepare physically and mentally. Similarly, they will also give you advice on the dos and don’ts leading up to your fasting program. For example, they might advise you to focus on specific foods or meal plans.
Since the entire process is both physically and mentally draining, professionals tend to suggest the following (1):
- You consume multiple foods high in energy before the fast.
- Consider preparing yourself for the fast, perhaps by reducing your food ratios and portions. It could help in building you up to the 3-day water fast.
During The Fast
You might be comfortable during the first few hours or day. However, after some time, you may find it challenging to go for another hour or so without food. During such a period, experts recommend that you take heed of the following:
- Do not undertake any demanding exercise. In some cases, doctors may also tell you to stop exercising during the fasting program.
- Stop fasting when you fall sick or become very tired. Remember that your health comes first and therefore have to stop indulging in any activity that may compromise it.
- Fast during the period when you are free. It will give you ample time to rest and reflect.
After The 3-Day Water Fast
The first thing most people want to do after completing their fasting program is usually eating. It is understandable given that you have not eaten for a couple of days. However, the problem is that most people ignore a lot of things when it comes to eating after a fast.
There are numerous factors you must consider while breaking a fast. However, since most people do not know these aspects, they end up breaking their fast in an unsafe manner. The aspects to consider after your fasting program include:
Your Diet Plans
The first thing that most people will forget is what they are expected to eat. You cannot start 3-day water fast for weight loss and thereafter eat everything and anything. Similarly, you cannot just eat meals back-to-back as a means of compensating for the days you were not eating.
What Can You Eat?
You are expected to eat balanced diets containing all the nutrients. Therefore, you need to consume more fruits, vegetables, lean protein, legumes, and whole grains. Keep away from processed foods such as chips as they may tamper with your fast results, especially if they involve weight loss.
The calories you require will be influenced by factors such as your age, fitness level, and gender (9). Consult with your healthcare provider if you do not know your daily calorie intake. The other thing you must take account of is your food portions.
Stick to your recommended food measurements if you want to maintain your weight. Otherwise, you might end up gaining all the weight you lost during your 3-day water fast.
Your Water Intake
You might be bored with water since it is the only thing you were having during your three-day water fast. However, remember that water is vital in your body. You need it just as much as you needed it while on the fast.
So, hydrate as much as you can. Do not drink water only when you are thirsty but instead drink water frequently. Experts recommend you try and consume at least two liters of water daily (10).
Your Eating Habits
Now that you are back to eating, the last thing on your mind could be the recommended eating habits and patterns. You cannot break from your fast and start overeating or eating large meals. Such portions will put a strain on your digestive system.
It is better to break your fasting program by eating small meals. Again, pay attention to how you chew your food. Chew it thoroughly and slowly to avoid swallowing large chunks that also strain your digestive system.
Eating your food slowly also keeps you from overeating (8). You get to enjoy your food and feel full after these small meals.
In most cases, you will be forced to change your menu after you break from your fast. It is because you will have to eat more cooked than raw foods. Therefore, if your menu had more raw foods, you ought to temporarily adjust it.
Cooked foods are easier to digest, making them more recommendable to eat right breaking a fast. Again, do away with experimental menus. Trying new foods after a fast may be not the right time.
You may end up picking menus that are difficult and harder to digest while your body wants easier foods. So, avoid experimenting until you get a go-ahead from your nutritionist.
If you were on some medication, you may be tempted to continue with your dosage after you break the cycle. However, you are advised not to do that before asking your healthcare provider (2).
They will need to advise you further on your dosage, especially if you had stopped taking them during the 3-day water fast.
The Bottom Line
Fasting is a common practice in today’s society. You might have done it in the past unknowingly. However, if you willingly decide to fast for 3 days, then you need to know what it will involve. You will need to consider your health, goals, commitment, schedule, and mindset. Most importantly, look to your physician and nutritionist to give you the go-ahead to start this program.
Remember that a proper diet is not everything you need.