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Water fasting - has anyone done it?

(29 Posts)
GatoradeMeBitch Sun 19-Jul-15 23:07:14

I read this article the other day (I think I found it through the Jermy Corbyn thread!) www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/11/jeanette-winterson-why-i-fasted-11-days and it has piqued my interest.

I am five stone overweight, and however good my intentions I will binge eat whenever I can. I have read many articles online about water fasting now, and it seems that it's actually fairly safe if you are obese. I haven't found any articles about people who have died from fasting as a weightloss measure anyway!

Has anyone done it successfully? I am in the "fortunate" position of not working at the moment so I am able to sit around the house feeling weak for 7-21 days!

Only complication is my thyroid medication. Would I continue to take it, or stop for the duration of the fast?

yumyumpoppycat Sun 19-Jul-15 23:51:15

You could try the fasting topic www.mumsnet.com/Talk/fasting_diet

Interesting, but I would imagine its one of those things that needs to be medically supervised which is why she went to a retreat to do it.

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 20-Jul-15 00:24:37

Thank you!

BigChocFrenzy Mon 20-Jul-15 20:25:31

Hi Gatorade I'm a scientist and over the last 2 years, I've examined a lot of the science published about fasting.

Some conclusions:
. Intermittent fasting, like 5:2, is safe and works very well for most folk.
BUT it can be harmful for anyone with a serious ED history, especially anarexia or bulimia.

. Prolonged fasting, of 3+ days, should only be done under medical supervision. Otherwise, it can be very dangerous.
This applies even to the "buffered" fasting where you have a few hundred calories per day.

. Water-only fasts, even for a full day, done regularly would lead to some loss of lean body mass, not just fat. Not good, because losing muscle reduces the amount you can eat to maintain.

. A human study by Varady found the optimum calories for weight loss and muscle retention to be 25% TDEE. For women, 500 cals on fast days works well. This is what 5:2 and ADF (fasting every other day) use.

Plenty of friendly advice and support on the main 52 thread
52Thread55
Come and post about yourself; we might be able to help.

BigChocFrenzy Mon 20-Jul-15 22:21:20

Just noticed you are taking meds. Definitely consult your doctor before doing any fasting diet.

liamharha Wed 22-Jul-15 11:59:03

I've done water fasting ,,tbh honest it takes extreme will power it usually takes me 4/5 tries before I complete 10 days ,,a lot of what u lose Iset actual fat but it does motivate you seeing the scales go down rapidly ,, you could try the 5/2 fast but I've found it difficult to fast one day then eat normally ,,,50% of the weight battle is where u r mentally ,, if you've got 5 St u want to shed I'd go for more of a long term plan like slimmers world cos with fasting you may lose a st or a st and half but when u allow your self to eat again you will binge and put it back on ,,trust me been there and done it ,,I'd say fasting was mor short term and good if you want to shift 10 lb or so ,, good luck grin

BigChocFrenzy Wed 22-Jul-15 21:30:39

People on our 5:2 threads have lost several stone. It's absolutely not true that fasting is just to lose small amounts

BigChocFrenzy Wed 22-Jul-15 21:31:53

Almost all on the threads have more than 10lb to shift

GatoradeMeBitch Thu 23-Jul-15 18:51:51

I'm going to give it a try, from tomorrow. I appreciate it sounds dodgy, but I have high blood pressure and from looking at fasting studies, it's very effective in reducing it. I'm aiming for seven days, just to give me a good kickstart into dieting, then I may continue, or I'll move into 5:2 if I'm struggling. I'll see how it goes!

BigChocFrenzy Thu 23-Jul-15 20:20:27

Seriously, don't risk your health fasting for 10 days without supervision. You might end up in hospital - and then have to delay dieting for weeks.
It is dangerous.

If you are this desperate to lose weight, get your GP to refer you for a medical VLCD diet, or give you a plan himself. These diets last several weeks and lose weight very quickly. You would get a few hundred cals from specially approved shakes, add some veg and receive regular medical checks.

GatoradeMeBitch Fri 24-Jul-15 09:16:10

I'm just trying seven days - though mentally I'm already revising it to five so who knows!

I'm the kind of person who panics when they miss one meal, so I am interested in trying this as an experiment as much as anything else.

achieve6 Sun 26-Jul-15 15:40:32

I just spotted this thread
are you still fasting?

I read that article too and found it quite interesting. I am on 5:2 and feeling oddly relieved on fasting days. I feel as if society is just geared up to constant eating and I have a feeling I am going to feel much better after this. I can see 2 days fasting becoming a normal part of life.

the only thing I will say is my concentration isn't as good but I am only in my second week. I expect I will get used to it.

I don't think I'd try fasting for a long period but I can imagine 3 days maybe. If you are on meds I presume you talked to your doc?

GatoradeMeBitch Sun 26-Jul-15 16:00:34

No, I didn't talk to my GP. He's a stickler for 'NHS guidelines' and I knew he wouldn't approve. I've done a lot of reading on the subject - and watched several YouTube videos - so I feel fairly prepared!

The book I'm reading now points out that animals naturally stop eating when they are ill. I have several health issues and I'm hoping that giving my body a rest from digesting might help me. I'm halfway through day 3 now, and doing alright. I've lost over four pounds though I'm sure a lot of it will be water weight. Apparently it's around day 3 that the digestive system starts to rest and the body burns fatty acids, leading to an average weightloss of a pound a day.

It's very important to read up before you start. They all recommend distilled water. I invested in a distiller and I'm enjoying the process. You don't drink much - 1 to 1.5 litres a day, as you aren't taking in any salt/minerals so drinking a lot could be dangerous. Also, a good nutrition packed diet helps in the run up - and to break the fast you should take small amounts of high water content fruits - watermelon seems to be most popular. Also it's important to read up to ensure you are aware of any danger signs, and of when to break the fast. You have to do it properly too - a woman on one forum (curezone) was drinking a small amount of tomato juice every day for lunch and ended up in the hospital as she was essentially on a starvation diet instead of a fast!

luckiestgirlintheworld Sun 26-Jul-15 16:12:17

So have you not eaten anything for 3 days? Just water? (Just curious)

achieve6 Sun 26-Jul-15 16:21:40

Gatorade, thanks for that. It sounds like maybe I wouldn't do it then - I don't want to do anything wrong by mistake and 5:2 seems to suit at the moment.

I take your point about not eating when we are ill. I often think that's a good idea.

why did that woman end up in hospital, did she pass out?

I take you are feeling fine?

GatoradeMeBitch Sun 26-Jul-15 17:32:48

Yep, just water, though tbh I am a bit concerned about my thyroid medicine. I'm trying to take it sublingually, but if anything ends up in my stomach I'm worried it would just be enough to keep the digestive process ticking over, which could make for a very short fast! I'm considering cutting it down over the next two days then stopping for the rest of the fast. I think it will be safer, plus it's not like no thyroid medication for 3 and a bit weeks will kill me, I'd just start feeling tired.

But yes, I'm feeling fine now. A bit like the day of feeling well after an illness, a tiny bit light headed, but supposedly that goes away once the digestive system is at rest.

GatoradeMeBitch Sun 26-Jul-15 17:35:38

The woman who went into hospital started feeling very weak and her eyesight was going blurry. Once the digestive system is not providing fuel, the body switches to using up its fat stores. If a slim person is fasting and not doing it right, they starve themselves, something I'm keeping a careful eye on!

Breadandwine Mon 27-Jul-15 10:52:40

Hi Gator

When I was casting around for a sympathetic IF forum (before I found Mumsnet!), I came across The Fasting Connection.

These guys are extremely serious about fasting - 30 days is common - and it's run by a doctor who is extremely punctilious about answering any medical questions.

I'm pretty sure he'd tell you to continue to take your thyroid meds - but have a look anyway.

There is a board on the forum specifically for fasting with medical conditions, so it may well be that your concerns are addressed on there.

Good luck!

GatoradeMeBitch Mon 27-Jul-15 20:05:59

Thank you, I'll look at that!

GatoradeMeBitch Thu 30-Jul-15 21:50:15

Little update - I've been vomiting bile for four days so am pulling the plug. It's meant to be a good thing, your liver detoxing, and I have lost 14 pounds in 6 days, but it's so exhausting I just can't carry on. Juice fast next smile

Breadandwine Thu 30-Jul-15 22:07:51

Sorry to hear that, Gator!

You'd be better off on 5:2, I reckon.

GatoradeMeBitch Thu 30-Jul-15 22:13:09

Yep, I need to 're-feed' on juice and then fruit and veg to get my system back in working order, but I think some kind of fasting diet that lets me still be a functional human being would be good!

yumyumpoppycat Fri 31-Jul-15 10:41:42

Hope you manage the refeed ok, and settle into 5:2, would never occur to me that it would cause vomiting shock

GatoradeMeBitch Fri 31-Jul-15 10:51:01

Thank you! I've just finished a glass of warm water with lemon juice and it tasted beautiful! It's not a proper end because apparently you can fast perfectly well on lemon water but it's a gentle way to ease back. Lime water for lunch and an orange for dinner. Yes, I didn't realize how rough it was going to be and I feel so weak. I think a healthy diet is by far the more painless approach!!

BigChocFrenzy Fri 31-Jul-15 12:33:56

4 days vomiting is dreadful shock and shows clearly your body was overstressed.
Prolonged water fasting is very dangerous without supervision.

Build up very gently to small healthy meals. If you have problems recovering, don't be too proud to consult your GP for help, before you do further damage.

Do give yourself a few weeks recovery afterwards with sensible healthy eating, before trying any other WOE.

Also, avoid alcohol and junk food for those weeks. And don't binge:
your system is probably in no condition to handle any of that.

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