About two years ago, my husband and I discovered the benefits of intermittent fasting, fasting, and the keto diet. Since then, I fast intermittently every day, and I have done a three-day fast twice in the last two years. The frequency of my fasts is totally off the cuff. I didn’t set out to do an annual fast or anything; it just seemed to work out that way. To be clear, the three-day fast was not an attempt to lose weight quickly, or heaven forbid some kind of Tik Tok challenge. The truth is there is plenty of scientific evidence to support that fasting is beneficial to your overall health and even your cognitive function. If you’re thinking of doing a three-day fast, here’s a first-hand account of what you can expect.
Disclaimer: Remember, though, that fasting is not for everyone. Please check with your doctor before you attempt it. To reiterate, this is not a quick weight loss plan; if your goal is to lose weight, there are far more healthy and sustainable ways to do so.
In my experience, day 1 is pretty easy. I stick to coffee and water throughout the day, but that’s the extent of my intake. While I’ll undoubtedly feel hungry around the dinner time hour, it’s not unbearable. The bottom line is the intensity of hunger varies from person to person, and it’s largely based on your lifestyle. For example, I fast intermittently every day, and that plays an important role in how I feel. I use the 16:8 method, which basically amounts to not eating past 7 PM and skipping breakfast.
By the time day 2 rolls around, I find that I feel tired and maybe even a little weak. And while I’m not bursting with energy, it’s not so bad that it interferes with my life or work. If this is your first fast, you may want to consider doing it over a weekend because, again, everyone is different.
Day 3 is perhaps the most interesting. By day 3, my body seems to take the hunger in stride, and I believe it or not, I don’t feel ravenous. Do I miss food? Yes. Do I think about food? Yes — frequently, (I’ll get back to later). Day 3 is also interesting because I tend to feel more focused and motivated. My productivity also seems to improve as a result. But perhaps the most important thing about day 3 is that I’m over it and done with the fast. And to be clear, it’s not about hunger; it’s really more about mouthfeel. Undoubtedly, by day three, the lack of texture in my mouth is really my biggest annoyance.
This should come as no surprise, but I’ll say it anyway. You will be hungry when you fast. Accepting that from the jump is probably your best bet for making it through. The more you fight it, the harder it will be. I’ll also add that I jumped right into the deep end the first time I did a three-day fast, and it was pretty brutal. So if you attempt a three-day fast without easing yourself in, you may have a tough go of it.
Remember when I said I think about food? So, inevitably when I’m fasting, somewhere around the end of Day 1, I’ll start flipping through my Pinterest boards. During a fast, I spend a good amount of my time looking at all the delicious foods I’d like to eat. I imagine this is something like the “if you were marooned on a desert island, what’s the first meal you’d eat when you made it back home?” kind of thing. Laugh all you want, but you’ll do it too. And is it a good idea to look at pictures of delicious food? Probably not, but it seems to be a nasty little habit I picked up.
For women who do the bulk of (or all) the cooking in their home, fasting is exponentially harder. Planning meals, cooking them, and serving them takes a lot of will power not to give in. And don’t get me started on the insult to injury when you have to clean it up too.
Undoubtedly, at the end of a fast, you would have spent the last three days think about your comeback meal. If you have a heaping of “whatever” in mind — don’t do that.
In this case, less is definitely more. I typically end my fast with bone broth. The first time I made it myself, and the second time it was store-bought (I highly recommend the former). But the point is that your stomach will shrink during a three-day fast, and you’ll be pretty uncomfortable if you try to resume eating with your normal portion size.
Again, fasting isn’t for everyone. The trick to doing a three-day fast is leaning into the discomfort and accepting from the get-go that you will be hungry, possibly even tired and irritable. In my humble opinion, the potential health benefits far outweigh a few unpleasant days.
Subscribe today for free to receive our weekly update and never miss an article.