Back in 1994, I had this bright idea to move to Las Vegas to go to college. I studied a lot for the first time ever, but I also have never eaten so friggin’ much in my life. I mean I’ve never been around such food! The Mirage buffet. In-N-Out Burger. Jack in the Box. $1.99 steak and eggs with all you can eat pancakes at the Rio. Las Vegas was a poor, hungry college kid’s dream! But by the first two months of living there I gained a considerable amount of weight.
Them Jack in the Box tacos, tho. Don’t even judge, bruh. They were 2 for a dollar, and this broke ass college kid ate like a king for $5. Also… drunk food.
Lamenting my “freshman fifteen” belly, I was watching some TV show featuring a high school wrestler who was asked by his coach to do a water fast so he’d lose enough weight to fight at a lower weight class. I thought that sounded like a cool idea so I tried it for a week and lost all that extra weight, once again looking like a dapper young man. I did it twice more after that during college. It wasn’t too hard back then. I lived completely by myself so I had no distractions, no one to tempt me with food, and no one that I had to cook for.
But fast forward to 2019. I’m now well past my physical prime (but in denial). I’m married and have two kids. It’s not like I have anyone to impress in my tender age of 45, so I no longer care about my weight and looks. However, overall health is still important to me since I want to live long enough to play with my future grand kids. So when it comes to nutrition, I’ve completely shifted from external looks, to internal well being.
Flailing through life in the past 20 years since college, I’ve become increasingly sensitive to certain products (such as dairy, sugar, and sodium), even to the extent of developing an autoimmune disorder called Celiac Disease, where wheat gluten has become very dangerous for me to eat, causing me major inflammation. Fortunately, my symptoms aren’t as severe as a lot of other people’s so far. Some people experience severe abdominal pains as well as blood in their stool for weeks. For me, I simply (for now) retain fluid as an inflammatory response, but that water bloating is incredibly uncomfortable and causes me a lot of pain and discomfort. I estimate that the 30-35 lbs I’ve gained since college is mostly this inflammatory water retention due to the combination of all the products that I’m sensitive to.
Over the years I’ve tried several nutritional healing methodologies, but the only ones that would work were fasts. Over the past couple months, I decided to go all-in with Intermittent Fasting (first with the 16/8 and then with the 20/4), but intermittent fasting did nothing for me. I was losing no weight.
Without getting into Traditional Chinese Medicine theory (which I mostly use for pathology), accumulating excess water weight despite my careful watch over my ingredients and portion sizes was a clear cut sign that my body was over-inflamed. I also have been experiencing body pains and violent mood shifts — also due to internal toxicity. That’s when I decided to channel my 20-year-old self again and go on a straight up water fast for a week.
Water fasts are an intense but amazing way to reset your entire body. Normally when you’re eating, your body sorts out the useful and not-useful from the food. But in fasting, the lack of food intake forces your body to sort out the useful and not-useful from itself. It’s housekeeping. During a fast, toxic material is being kicked out of the body, cleansing your cells, bringing your body closer to homeostasis.
I honestly don’t feel like getting too deeply about the medical theory, pros, and cons about water fasts right now, so more on the subject can be found here.
What was really important was that I took the week off work to do this water fast. There was no possible way I could give my energy to my clients while I was doing this fast. So I decided to schedule time off to take it easy and do this healing regimen for myself.
I started fasting on Wednesday evening at 10pm so to not have to worry about food for the rest of the evening. Nothing drives me crazier than going to bed hungry. The next day wasn’t bad at all. Some hunger pangs here and there, but nothing a little bit of qigong can’t fix. I spent the day doing qigong, relaxing in bed, reading, and taking naps (I know right?). On Friday morning I weighed myself and discovered I dropped 4 lbs overnight. That’s a lot of inflammation to pee out after my first full day of fasting. But Friday was my worst day of the fast.
Friday was when things got really bad, though. The weather was shifting, so the barometric pressure shifts were destroying my head, giving me the most insane headaches. I’m sure some of that headache was also due to food and coffee withdrawal. I had scheduled a massage in the middle of the day, but I was in so much pain that I had to take an Uber to and from (which costed me about as much as the massage itself). The massage helped with my head and body aches, though, which was rad.
Over the remaining days, it was challenging but manageable. Again, the hunger pains were pretty intense at times but they always go away. I used the qigong techniques of visualization and intent to use energy as food. There was once during a qigong session when I visualized Qi as a sort of “energetic pizza” which I called “Qi Pizza” and that helped. During qigong sessions I ate Qi Tacos, Qi Pizzas, and Qi Burgers. I made sure those were all “Qi Gluten Free” too! Womp womp!
What was really interesting after the third day were the jolts of energy I’d randomly get, but annoyingly at night when I’m ready to go to sleep. I had to take two doses of CBD oil just to wind down. On day five, I decided to do some cardio a few hours before bedtime, which really helped me with the evening energy surges.
Again, over the entire week I’d spend most of the day doing qigong, taking care of the kids, stretching, doing some light strengthening exercises, and read.
And finally, when the time came to break the fast on day seven, I slow-cooked some green veggies and cabbage in the crockpot. By 10pm on day seven, the fast was over, and I ate.
Cabbage stew never tasted so damn good. Too bad it smelled like death.
Right now (a few days after), my body feels great. Whatever lower back, knee, and heel pain I was going through before the fast is now gone. I had peed out several pounds of pure inflammatory water weight from my body. I no longer feel like I’m running a constant fever anymore either. It’s been four days since I broke my fast and I actually lost another half a pound, so the healing effects are still continuing.
For the record: starting weight 184.4; Ending weight 173.2. I lost 11 lbs. I lost almost a gallon and a half of water weight due to inflammation. By no means am I done, I still have plenty of water to shed.
That’s really about it, lol.
If you’re planning on doing a water fast, or any kind of fast, it’ll be best to consult your doctor first.
And yes, there is an app you can use. You don’t need one, but I found out about it and said “what the hell” and fired it up. It’s called “Life.” What’s cool about it is that you can set the amount of hours that you’ll be on the fast, and it’ll give you how much time you have left, as well as medical benefit landmarks. Check it out, it’s pretty rad. Screenshots in the gallery below: