Fasting for 3 days sounds absolutely crazy, but could it actually be beneficial for your health, and could it seriously aid in weight loss? Traditional fasting has been done for many years and is super popular for the overall health and weight loss benefits. But what are the benefits for your health of the 3 day fast, or the 3 day water fast, and what are some of the benefits and 3 day fast results?
Let’s dive in!
Why Do People Fast?
The main reasons why people fast is for the health and weight loss benefits. I have been doing the 16/8 method for YEARS now and I love it. It helps me with losing weight, but also with maintaining my weight.
See, when you’re doing the traditional 16/8 fast you usually have your first meal at noon, or for me at 2 PM. This means that there is very little time in between lunch and dinner so I’m feeling saturated throughout the whole day and never feel like I’m dieting.
When it comes to weight loss it all comes down to eating fewer calories than you burn, and when you’re feeling full the whole day you will eat less and eventually lose weight.
Another personal favorite benefit is that it has positive effects on my acne! Acne is often related to how healthy your gut is.
When I’m intermittent fasting I’m noticing extreme improvements in my bowel movement. This for me is a good indication of how well my digestive system is working!
A good digestive system can lead to extreme positive changes in your acne!
- Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning.
- Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
- Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
- Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.
- Reduced Inflammation
- Lower Cholesterol
- Boosted brain function
How Does 3 Day water Fasting Work
It’s very simple, this method restricts you from drinking or eating anything besides water for a period of 24-72 hours. However, in some cases, water fasts can lead up to 30-40 days.
There is no scientific way to start a water fast.
You’re allowed to drink water during a water fast, but only water! The usual amount of water that you should drink is around 2-3 liters of water per day.
Drinking less than that could lead to dehydration and could lead to dizziness and feeling weak.
If you are planning on doing a 3 day fast which is completely safe to do, it is recommended to do it under medical supervision.
Continue reading for the benefits and how to do the fast correctly!
Difference Between Intermittent Fasting and 3 Day Water Fast?
There are multiple types of fasting, the most popular is the 16/8 method. With all methods of IF you go through extended periods of fasting ( not consuming any calories) and short periods of eating (eating window). With 3 day water fasting, you go through the whole fasting period without eating or drinking ( except water). These are the most popular types of IF:
- The 16/8 method
- The OMAD diet
- The 5:2 diet
- Alternate-day fasting
- Eat Stop Eat
- The Warrior Diet
3 Day Fast, Why and Benefits
- religious or spiritual reasons
- to lose weight
- for “detoxing”
- for its health benefits
- preparing for a medical procedure
Water Fasting Benefits
Various studies have shown that water fasting has some amazing benefits, but also some downsides.
here are a few benefits!
May lower blood pressure
Theer have been multiple studies that have stated that water fasting can lead to improvement in lowering your blood pressure.
The results were amazing, 82% of people saw their blood pressure fall to healthy levels (120/80 mmHg or less). Additionally, the average drop in blood pressure was 20 mmHg for systolic (the upper value) and 7 mmHg for diastolic (the lower value), which is significant.
May improve insulin and leptin sensitivity
Insulin and leptin are super important hormones that affect your body’s metabolism. A slow-acting metabolism can lead to weight gain. Constantly spiking your insulin with high glycemic index foods can lead to food cravings, and that can lead to weight gain as well.
That is why breaking a fast is super important!
Research shows that water fasting could make your body more sensitive to leptin and insulin. Greater sensitivity makes these hormones more effective.
May aid in weight loss
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Increased lipolysis (fat-burning)
- Decreased leptin (better control of hunger)
May promote autophagy
Autophagy is the process where old parts of your cells are broken down and renewed.
For example, a study has shown that autophagy may prevent damaged parts of your cells from accumulating, which is a risk factor for many cancers. This may help prevent cancer cells from growing.
These studies of water fasting are mostly done on animals, and they found out that autophagy has the ability to extend life spend.
Very few studies have been on the human body so therefore little evidence has been found that it has the same effect on humans, but the possibilities are still there.
- Improved memory
- Better concentration
- Anti-aging effects
- Autophagy (cellular cleansing)
3 Day Water Fast Tips: How To Do it Safely
Water fasting isn’t for everyone and if you’ve never done it before then having some tips and tricks up your sleeve can be really helpfull! these are my top tips.
Skip your work out
Working out during your fast is actually a good idea, but that would be with a normal 16/8 fast. Doing some fasted strength training is actually a great way to build muscle because you align some of the hormonal responses to allow your body to get more out of your workout later on in the day.
A 3 day fast could make you feel sluggish and tired due to the lack of energy (food) and water, therefore it’s not recommended to workout during your fast. A 3 day water fast could also potentially lead to loss of muscle mass.
For the sake of the health benefits, it’s recommended to not work out during a 3 day water fast.
Don't go all in
If you have never fasted before or only done intermittent fasting then jumping straight into a 72 hour fast isn’t the best idea. You should first get comfortable going long periods without food and see how that goes. After that, you can try the 5:2 diet first, and then attempt the 24 hours fast!
Monitor your progress
Look, your weight on the scale might have dropped quite a bit after your 3 day fast, but don’t you want to know how much impact the fast has actually had on your body?
That’s why I’ve measured my waistline and taken body fat caliper measurements.
Next time I schedule three days of fasting, we will be prepared to gather all the data with the following items.
Having a smart device that tracks your heart rate and sleep is a very comforting feeling. Knowing that my body is doing alright, and knowing when to stop or take a break! If you don’t have an Apple Watch or Fitbit, then this device will probably be the best $35
you’ll ever spent!
Eat high-energy foods before 3 day fast
You’re going to need your energy in your 3 day fast! Therefore it’s super important what you eat before doing your 3 day water fast. The foods you eat are the fuel that is going to get you through those 3 days. The foods you should eat are oatmeal, fatty fish, bananas, lentils, eggs, quinoa, brown rice, avocados, and so on.
These are all foods that sustain your energy throughout the days. High glycemic index foods release their energy quickly, and that is why you should focus on eating good nutritious carbs. Like, oats, quinoa, and brown rice.
When I’m making my pre-workout meal I’m always combining good carbohydrates with some fats, these two work great together because the fats sustain the carbs.
Let family or roommates know you’re fasting.
If there are other people in the house, let them know you’re fasting. While you’re hopefully not cranky, they should be aware and therefore prepare their food more privately while you’re fasting.
Drink lots of water during the 3 day fast
This is pretty much self-explanatory, but a water fast can actually lead to dehydration if you don’t drink enough throughout the day!
20-30 percent of the daily water intake comes from the food we consume, so when we take that away dehydration can occur!
You should aim for 2-3 liters of water a day to prevent dehydration during a 3 day water fast.
Plan it Wisely!
This diet could potentially make you feel dizzy or a bit weak, then doing the 3 day water fast on workdays, or stressful days might not be the best idea. Starting your 3 day fast on a Friday going through Sunday sounds better, right?
Downsides of Water Fasting
Altough water fasting has quite a few health benefits, it does come with some risk. Here are a few dangers.
You may lose the wrong type of weight
Because the water fast denies you to eat any calories for a long period of time you will lose weight very quickly! This has the same effect when following a keto diet or low carb diet.
You will notice that you will lose up to 2 pounds each day of the 3 day water fast.
Unfortunately, a lot of the weight you lose may come from water, carbs, and even muscle mass, and is not body fat.
Due to the lack of water and food, the water will get rid of all the left glycogen inside the muscle. Glycogen is – more or less – a stored form of glucose that your body holds in your liver and muscle cells for when it needs a quick fuel source.
And here’s the interesting part; each gram of glycogen stored in your body is bound to 3 or 4 grams of water.
That’s why when you’re following a low-carb diet you’re burning through your body’s glycogen storage and not replenishing. therefore you can lose up to 10 pounds in the first week of following the keto diet or a low carb diet.
Don't fast if you have these medical conditions!
People with the following medical conditions should not water fast without first seeking advice from their healthcare provider:
- Gout. Water fasting may increase uric acid production, a risk factor for gout attacks. Source
- Diabetes. Fasting may increase the risk of adverse side effects in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Eating disorders. There is some evidence that fasting may encourage eating disorders like bulimia, especially in teenagers
This is also known as nutritional deficiencies. Malnutrition occurs when your body does not absorb nutrients or get enough nutrients from food for it to function properly. Some signs of malnutrition include unexplained fatigue, dry and brittle hair, damaged nails, an unusually pale or swollen tongue, chronic diarrhea, mood swings, and a lack of appetite . These nutrient deficiencies can lead to multiple health problems such as digestion problems, skin disorders, or defective bone growth, and even dementia.
What To Eat Post Fast
I always preach that breaking your fast is super important, but then we’re talking about intermittent fasting for fat loss.
When it comes to breaking your fast when not eating for 1-3 days it’s even more important.
Of course, you’re urging for a big meal, but eating a large meal can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Breaking your fast should be with a small meal or a smoothie. You can start introducing larger meals throughout the day as you feel more comfortable.
The post-fast phase is especially important after longer fasts. This is because you may be at risk of refeeding syndrome, a potentially fatal condition in which the body undergoes rapid changes in fluid and electrolyte levels.
How much should you eat?
Some say you should eat around 500-1000 calories on your recovery days. That is roughly the amount I ate, but I did spread the meals out and ate in small portions. It’s important to let your body get used to food again as it has gone a significant amount of time without!
Your recovery days should last about half the length of your fast, so I was careful for 1.5 days after our 3-day fast.
I suggest breaking your fast with something like soup, or bone broth. Bone broth is something I usually break my normal fast with.
Roughly an hour later you can introduce something like a smoothie or a small meal.
3 Day Fast Weight Loss and 3 Day Fast Results
So is the 3 day water fast good for weight loss?
Yes, it will make you lose weight, even though it is not the weight you might want to lose!
As mentioned, you will lose a lot of water weight and maybe even muscle mass in those 3 days.
What are the results of my experience and others?
How much weight can you lose in a 3 day fast
You will lose up to 2 pounds (0.9kgs) every single day of the 3 day water fast. As said earlier this will probably be mostly water weight and not fat. Although on a normal 16/8 fast fat-burning starts happening after 12 hours of fasting. Therefore you could definitely see some body changes!
My weight loss numbers per day:
Day 1 – Starting weight 170 lbs.
I began my fast after a good day of eating, I ate foods that I knew were going to give me enough energy for at least the whole next day. So you can think of oatmeal in the morning, eggs for lunch, and whole-grain pasta for dinner.
The fast began at 10 pm on Friday, and I decided to weigh myself that night, my weight was 170 lbs, so I would weigh myself every 24 hours. The next check-in would be on Saturday at 10 pm
Day 2 – Weight after 24 hours – weight 165 lbs
During the day I wasn’t feeling hungry at all, that isn’t so crazy because I practice intermittent fast every day. I was feeling very focused. That is one of the many benefits fasting has for the body and mind. The only time I was feeling hungry was when I wasn’t doing anything.
That’s why I kept myself busy for the most part. Doing work at home, or going for a walk. I noticed that I was getting a tiny headache and walks outside really helped a lot!
Evening weigh in and I was down 5 pounds in only 24 hours! I expected to lose some weight, but 5 pounds was more than I thought.
Day 3 – Weight after 48 hours 162 lbs (Down 8 lbs)
Woke up feeling quite well with a normal night’s sleep. Right upon waking up I drank a large glass of water to kickstart the day.
Kept me busy with doing work, and going for walks during the day. I did notice the headaches getting worse, but that could have been because of the lack of water that day.
Evening weighs in and I lost another 3 lbs. I could also see some visible changes in my belly area, even though that happens pretty quickly for me!
Sleeping started to get more difficult, as I was feeling restless and pretty energetic.
Day 4 – Weight after 72 hours 160 lbs (down 10lbs)
Didn’t have the best sleep in the world even though my smartwatch recorded a normal night’s sleep and heart rate.
During the day started to feel a little sluggish, but still not crazy hungry, I would say a 5/10.
Still got a good amount of work done.
Evening weigh in and I lost the final 2 lbs, and now weighing 160 lbs
Assuming that you’ve read the whole article…you have right? okay good!
Is the 3 day water fast worth it? putting all the plusses against the negatives, and I have come to the conclusion that if you’re doing it for the benefits it could be worth it. Several studies have shown that prolonged fasting has serious benefits for the body.
But you get most benefits from traditional fasting, so you don’t need to do 3 days of fasting to achieve those benefits.
Should you do it for weight loss?
My answer is no. Yes, you will lose a significant amount of weight, but it is not the type of weight you’re looking for. It’s mostly water weight, and you’re looking to lose fat.
I think it is a great thing to check off your bucket list, but to do this on a consistent basis, I don’t think you should. Neither is it a quick fix to lose weight because It is a serious thing to do.