What is a 3 Day Fast and How to Do it Safely?

Photo: NastjaPungracic (Getty Images)

The spring is back on the Northern Hemisphere and the nature and people are awakening from the lethargic winter sleep, doing their best to bring some beauty and order in their lives. Spring cleaning is on its way, so while getting ready to tidy your living and working environment you might as well plan some body cleansing or body detox too. Some people decide to try out various diets to shed some of those extra pounds gained during long and dark winter months, while others want to improve their health by fasting. One of the shortest and most popular fasts nowadays is a 3 day fast also known as water fast or juice fast, which is supposed to help your digestive system relax and flush out accumulated toxins in order to help your body heal and rebuild its defense mechanisms. Before you try it out, learn how to do it safely and avoid negative consequences!

What is a 3 Day Fast?

A 3 day fast in its most restricted form is a period of 72 hours in which you’re allowed to take in only water – it is recommended to get somewhere between 2 and 3 liters of water in 24 hours, according to the capacity of your body and outside temperatures. Many sources state that fasting on water alone is not recommendable as you won’t be getting any calories at all which can be dangerous for your system, so it is generally allowed to have some diluted fruit and vegetable juices as well, usually in combination with lemon water spiced with cayenne pepper for an enhanced cleansing effect.

How to Get Ready for Your 3 Day Fast?

3 day fast - get ready to fast by practicing healthy lifestyle

Photo: abluecup (Getty Images)

It is advisable to first consult your doctor and have a health checkup before making any sort of drastic changes in your daily dietary regime. While a 3 day fast should be safe for the majority of healthy adults, you definitely need to make sure that you don’t have any underlying issues that can be aggravated if you stop eating stop eating solid food even for what seems relatively short amount of time. If on the other hand you have chronic health problems (especially diabetes, blood pressure issues or hypoglycemia), you’ll probably need to be supervised by your doctor or you’ll be advised against fasting. Children, pregnant and lactating women mustn’t fast because they need a constant supply of nutrients at all times.

3 day fast: blended food

Photo: AndreaObzerova (Getty Images)

Once you made sure you can fast, start working on a plan that will help you get your body ready for the fast and minimize the shock your system is about to experience. Take your time, especially if you you’re addicted to certain types of food or stimulants such as sugar, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes – cutting them out cold turkey for 72 hours can do more harm than good, so make sure that you wean off of them slowly but steadily over a period that can last even up to two weeks. The same goes for all types of processed and fried foods, dairy products and meat – cut them out from your diet by reducing the size of your portions up until you’ll be eating only vegetables, fruits, healthy oils, nuts and seeds. Three to four days prior to your 3 day fast move on to blended food or boiled vegetables only – this type of food is technically speaking partially digested in advance and will prepare your intestines to receive only liquids in the coming days. One last piece of advice – if you’ve never fasted before, 3 day fast can seem too long and challenging to handle. You can try fasting for 24 hours on several occasions to see how it works or cut your fast short if your start feeling unwell – always remember that the goal is not to feel worse than before, but to ripe benefits if possible.

How to Do Your 3 Day Fast Safely?

3 day fast: water mixed with fresh juices

Photo: Wavebreakmedia (Getty Images)

It is highly recommended not to leave out juices from your diet during your 3 day fast, so divide your scheduled amount of water mixed with freshly squeezed juices into even portions and take them regularly during your day. Avoid highly acidic juices, chewing gums or any types of sweeteners to minimize heartburn and food cravings as much as possible. Schedule your fast if possible for the weekend or any other free days, because it may prove hard or impossible and even dangerous to expose yourself to strenuous activity and / or stressful situations on days when your body will get very limited supplies of energy. Your metabolism is bound to slow down in order not to use up all fat stores accumulated in the previous period, which means that you have to be particularly careful if you you’re already very slim. The best cleansing drinks should consist of water mixed with fresh juices made of apples, carrots, beet, celery and spinach, while your master detox drink can be a mixture of mineral or distilled water, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Drink regular amounts of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

What to Eat After Your 3 Day Fast

Once the fast is over, you’ll need to get back to your usual eating patterns, but the reverse process takes time as well. There is no easy or healthy way to jump right back to eating steaks once you’ve literally lived on diluted juices for three days, so use the same amount of time you spent preparing yourself for the fast to get back to your old habits. Start with blended and boiled food for the first several days, then slowly reintroduce healthy grains, seeds, various typed of nuts and various kinds of vegetables and fruits and when you get used to eating this way again, get back to meet, dairy and sweets as well. This can be an excellent opportunity to check for possible food intolerance as well – if you reintroduce one type of the food at a time, you are bound to notice some allergy symptoms when the allergen comes along and you’ll know for sure what caused your turbulent reaction.

Possible Detox Symptoms and Side-Effects of Your 3 Day Fast

Your body will be going through all sorts of changes during this short but intense period and the most important thing is to approach your fast in a calm and relaxed way. If you get overly anxious over the fact that you won’t be getting any solid food for three days in a row, your detox symptoms can get even stronger. They might include dizziness, fatigue, mood swings, skin issues, nausea, changes in your bowel habits and insomnia, to name just the most common ones. If any of these symptoms start bothering you very much or if you start feeling really unwell, stop the fast and consult the doctor if necessary. Symptoms are usually relatively mild and the majority of people report feeling really well and looking good after the fast, so it is definitely worth trying.

Have you ever done a 3 day fast? If you decide to try it out, come back and let us know how it went!

Want to learn more about the water diet? Read on: What is the Water Diet and does it Work?