Some of you may know that I am struggling with an incurable (according to the medical profession), rare connective tissue disorder in my feet known as Plantar Fibromatosis or Ledderhose Disease. There are connections with frozen shoulder (which I have also had the distinct displeasure of experiencing, not once, but on two separate occasions a few years apart) and hypothyroidism.
I also recently discovered I have early stage Dupuytren’s Disease in my hands. I really want to try anything I can to halt or slow down the progress of this apparently irreversible disease, so I decided to attempt water fasting, an ancient practice that purports to give your digestive tract a rest to allow your body to focus on healing.
I undertook this experiment in fasting at the beginning of April. A purist would say that this was not a real water fast, as I did have some non-caloric, comforting warm drinks (mostly teas) other than water; however, I didn’t have juices or anything that would break my fast.
Fasting requires days without a lot of demanding work or appointments. You really need to be able to relax and focus on looking after yourself. Fortunately, I had a few days to do just that. Here is my experience:
Saturday, April 2
Weight 128.6 lb.
Didn’t do the lead up to my fast properly, in that I scarfed down a bunch of (sort of healthy) granola cereal with nut milk at about 10 pm last night. Ideally, you would spend a few days eating raw food, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies to ease into the water fast. Woke up with definite pain in my hands and feet.
Decided to have a couple of sips of organic decaf coffee (just because I had a moka pot ready to go) and gave the rest to my son. Made a pot of peach white tea which I intend to sip on today to get through the worst of any hunger pangs. The warmth and flavour is soothing and will hopefully help me stay on track.
I plan to go for a walk, take a sauna and then a hot bath and spend time with my cats and in my art studio.
My hope is that the pain from my Plantar Fibromas and in my hands from Dupuytren’s will decrease by the end of the week.
Sunday, April 3
125.6 lb. (Lost 3 pounds!)
Feeling kind of “hollow” and tired. A few moments of hunger. Decided to have something warm to drink.
Made some thin gruel with 1/3 bouillon cube (10 calories) as I am feeling so weak. Then had a “moka pot” coffee (sort of like an espresso) from swiss water-processed, organic decaf. I can tell today is going to be a bit of a challenge. Plan to do lots of reading and self-care plus a walk outside as it is sunny.
Had a pot of herbal tea with fruit flavour and oatstraw; then a gingerbread herbal tea around 2 pm. Not feeling good – maybe the bouillon was not such a good idea 🙁
My to-do list for the day:
- Coffee enema (important to clear toxins quickly and avoid headaches and other adverse detox effects)
- Infrared sauna (sweating is great for ridding our bodies of toxins as well)
- Bath (ditto on washing away toxins through the skin)
A little advice if you plan to do this – stay away from anything to do with food on Youtube and Periscope! I just tortured myself a little by watching a video of someone preparing a simple wild rice and chopped vegetable dinner – everything looks so yummy, fresh and healthy. Funny how the most basic food looks amazing when you are starving!
It is just after 7 pm and I had a little nap. I think I can make it through to tomorrow and beyond. This is the tough part. You really need to rest when water fasting, so choose a time free from outside demands, when you are able to focus on resting and contemplating life.
Sharp pains in my left side nodule on the bottom of my foot. Hope it is because it is healing.
Monday, April 4
Feeling rather weak today. Stayed in bed till after 11 AM. Only got up because I have to have a bath before my appointment with my Naturopath at noon.
Had an organic decaf coffee at 12:30 pm with pinch of baking soda to alkalize it, more for something to comfort myself than anything. Ideally I would not be drinking any type of coffee – next time I will wean off all of it before starting the fast. Also had a couple of tablespoons of fermented raw sauerkraut juice. That made my stomach feel a little better.
Around 3 pm had half a scoop of electrolytes with some lemon water. Hands really cold – I can tell my hypothyroid symptoms are present.
Drank a pot of detox tea and also a cup of lemon water. Watched a couple of Agatha Christie Detective Poirot episodes downstairs – now my lower back is killing me. Took some BCAAs as they are not supposed to break your fast. Feet and hands still cold.
Tuesday, April 3
The really good news – my nodules are almost flat and pain-free.
The bad? Hardly slept last night due to severe lower back pain. I think that detox tea was a big mistake as it accelerated the release of toxins!
Decided to break my fast around noon. Ate about half a slice of watermelon. The most delicious thing in the world!
Then did a coffee enema, which is really not that icky and has great benefits. This is a great way to detox your liver and increase glutathione levels.
At 3:30 had 1/3 chocolate smoothie (shared with two other people) made with 1/2 banana, 1 tablespoon cocoa, one scoop chocolate protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seed and 1 heaping tablespoon of flax seed plus a lot of ice and one cup of water.
After drinking that single tiny serving of smoothie felt terrible again, back hurting.
Decided to eat – had a scrambled one egg and butter with a dash of hot sauce. In retrospect, not the best choice to break a fast. With the first bite, my nose started to drip. I think I may be intolerant or allergic – it is the most common allergy!
Then I ate 2 Brazil nuts. Felt a little better.
May have eaten more food…..
Wednesday, April 6
For breakfast at noon (still really tired), a quinoa/chia veg burger, tomato, onion, mustard, one buttered slice of gluten-free bread, coffee with almond milk …. went a little crazy with the food.
Veggie Balls with mashed potatoes and Gravy, Broccoli, tomato sauce, parmesan at Ikea.
Pistachios, asparagus with butter and lemon …. you get the drift, food and lots of it!
Thursday, April 7
Wow, so you can lose 3 lb. in a day but you can also GAIN 3 lb. in a day! Good news is, I am still 3 lb. lighter than before the fast. Once you start eating again, you really need to be disciplined to not make up for lost time and over indulge!
Sadly, my nodules are back to being hard, prominent and painful 🙁
Feeling pretty energetic today, despite no sleep last night – I think I was up until 1:30 or 2 am. Went to step class and did half of it in a low key way then a few weights and stretching. After that, a little shopping, so energy is better than before.
Ate around 1:45, so fasted for almost 18 hours. Really not hungry. I think this type of fasting suits me better than an extended fast. Hope I get some benefits from it.
Post-Mortem on my Water Fast
Well, I lost some fat, which feels good and seem to have kept most of it off. I read that you can count on losing one pound per day on a water fast that will stay off if you do not over-indulge too much after the fast.
I really wish I could have stuck it out for a whole week but the back pain was so excruciating I had to cut short my plans to fast for a week. I plan to keep up the intermittent fasting and get back on a strict anti-inflammatory diet now that I have had a few indulgences to make up for all that deprivation when fasting.
Most of the benefits of water fasting kick in after the first few days. Interestingly, although you likely lose a little muscle along with fat right at the beginning, after the first day or two, the body starts to conserve lean tissue when it kicks into ketosis (fat-burning mode). Blessedly, you really do not feel hungry after a few days.
Most people are okay with an unsupervised fast of a few days but it is probably a good idea to have medical supervision for longer bouts, especially if there are pre-existing health conditions, so definitely check with your doctor before trying this. It was encouraging to see the improvement in my nodules after a few days of fasting, so I hope to give it another attempt in future.