How It Feels to Do a Liquid Fast
What is it like to go on a liquid fast?
When I decided I needed to go on a diet I did my research first to figure out what diet plan was best for me. I read about fasting, water diets, soup diets, lemonade diets, and every crazy fad diet that was popular. I'm guessing if you are reading this then you probably are doing the same as I did. One thing that I didn't see in my research was what it is actually like to go on one of these diets. I could find plenty of information telling me why these diets were great and effective but no one was actually saying what it feels like to do a diet. Everyone wants to sell you on a diet but no one wants to tell you of the struggles.
That is why I decided to write this review and share a diary of my days so others can know how it feels to go on a fast and give up solid food. A liquid fast, if done safely and for SHORT periods of time, can be a good way of losing weight. I wouldn't recommend going longer than a week on a liquid fast because you body does need food to survive. The longer you go without food the more symptoms your body starts to feel. I detail everything I went through going through 10 days of liquid fasting. It can be hard and you will probably feel horrible at times.
My Own Diet Plan
One thing I really hate about a lot of popular diets is that there are aspects to them I like and aspects I don’t like. For example, I’m a picky eater and I don’t want to eat bananas or lemonade mixed with maple sugar. I’ve tried exercising and eating salads but I can’t stick to those diets. Being a picky eater makes it hard to eat a lot of healthy foods because I don't like them. I am too easily tempted to go back to my normal diet when I can't find healthy foods I actually like. I’m an all or nothing kind of girl so I either need to give up food completely or I can’t diet at all. I decided to design my own diet and figured out a liquid fast.
I drank only liquids on this diet. I drank mainly water, iced sweet tea, and milk. I know a lot of diets never even mention milk because of calories but I figured milk was beneficial for a few reasons. For me I knew I would feel stomach pangs from hunger and would get headaches. I knew milk might help me deal with those symptoms and was nutritious. Milk makes me feel full so I knew just half a glass to a glass would help stop stomach pangs which would be great late at night when I want to go to bed but can’t sleep due to being hungry.
I didn't just stop eating food to begin my fast. I gradually ate less and less in the week leading up to my fast to help my body adjust. I think if I just stopped eating without preparing myself I would have had lots of migraines and discomfort in the beginning. It is good to prepare yourself and get yourself mentally prepared to fast. A fast isn't easy but you can do it if you prepare yourself.
The One Bite Rule
When I decided to do this fast I did decide that I wanted to do it comfortably and safely. That is why I enacted what I named the “one bite rule.” In times of extreme discomfort or if I was feeling really horrible or sick from fasting I allowed myself one big bite of the food of my choice but had to drink and entire glass of liquid with it. It is amazing how eating only one bite of food helped me feel better.
I did have to enact this rule a few times at first. When you first start a fast the transition symptoms can be overwhelming. I did get lots of headaches. When I get headaches they turn into migraines and migraines make it impossible for me to function or even get out of bed because of the pain. A diet isn’t worth it if you have to be in constant extreme pain. The headaches from the first few days were so frequent that just eating a bite of food and a glass of milk was enough to completely stop the headaches. I was consuming so little calories those days that one bite of food didn’t hurt my weight loss at all.
It isn’t good to just give up food. Sometimes it is best to do this gradually. The one bite rule is a good rule to help you slowly transition into a no solid food diet. I didn’t need to enact this rule much after the first few days but it did come in handy.
Have you ever been on a fast?
Day #1: First Attempt...FAILED
I started my fasting today and so far it has been rough. Unfortunately my period began this morning and I am very uncomfortable. I am hungry but I am also cramping, my ankles hurt, my back hurts, and I am moody. I didn’t mean to begin dieting on the day my period began but I was dedicated to starting today. Dieting while on your period can be pretty hard because it makes you extra uncomfortable.
So far I have drank four cups of water, a few sips of sweet tea, and nothing else. I have had to go to the bathroom a lot from all the liquid. I am hungry but if I drink a glass of water then it soothes the hunger pangs. I was afraid I would get a headache but so far I haven’t which is great.
Update (Midnight June 22): Day #1 is a big FAIL! Because I’m on my period I am very hormonal which means I’m more emotional than usual. I either want to cry or yell at someone. I’m miserable and hormones along with not eating is a horrible combination. I cracked and finally ate a slice of pizza my husband ordered and a brownie. It’s amazing what food can do to sooth you when you are PMSing. My hormones stopped being an issue and I’m in a normal happy mindset again. I can’t diet while on my period. I will try again in a few days.
Day #2: Trying Again and Succeeding
Morning Weigh In: 147.5 pounds.
So today is the real day #1 to beginning my fast. This morning I weighed in at 147.5. I drank lots of water and tea and a glass of milk before bedtime to stop the hunger pangs. Honestly today was not bad. It was no different than any other day other than I felt hungry. I think I must have enough food in my system from the day before that not fasting isn’t really impacting how I feel yet. I really didn’t feel symptoms of fasting at all other than hunger. I did have to go to the bathroom a lot from all of the liquid. After a while though even the hunger pangs stopped for the most part. I went about my day normally minus eating meals. I did start getting a headache and a growling stomach around 2 AM so I drank a glass of milk and my symptoms went away almost instantly so I could sleep.
Day #3: The Symptoms Begin
Morning weigh in: 145 pounds
I woke up around 10:00 AM this morning and I was feeling kind of weird. I felt really, really tired. I felt dehydrated and had a really bad headache that pained me mostly on the right side of my head and the back of my neck. I weighed myself and weighed in at 145. I’m sure the weight I lost was all water weight though. I got out of bed and drank a large glass of water and took a hot shower and ran the water over my head. After that I drank some ice tea, took one big bite of some eggs my husband had cooked, and took a few Advil. My headache went away instantly. I’m thinking the headaches are correlated to not getting enough water because all day my headache would come back if I hadn’t drank in a while but would go away instantly if I drank a glass of something.
Around noon I was still feeling really tired so I laid down and slept until 4 PM. My headache had come back so I got up and drank a big glass of iced tea and the pain went away. I laid back down and slept till 7 PM. I didn’t feel any symptoms until around 7 PM when I got up. Before I just felt tired but around 7 I started feeling weak. I took a hot bath to soak my head in hot water to sooth a headache. The process of washing my hair and getting out of the tub took a lot of energy. When I got done dressing I could feel my heart beating and was winded. After this I got me two glasses of water and put them on the coffee table and rested on the couch so I wouldn’t have to get up and could conserve energy.
Day #4: Feeling Better
Morning weigh in: 143.8
So as I am writing this it is 5 AM. I have been trying to sleep but I am having trouble. I do have a bit of a headache and I am having stomach pangs from hunger. In order to sleep I might enact my “one bite rule” I explained earlier in the post to calm my stomach and head so I can sleep.
9:00 PM: So the one bite rule worked and I fell asleep soon after. My morning weigh in was 143.8. Today was a bit better. I was still really tired and slept off and off all day. I did have some lightheaded feelings when moving around a lot but at least I haven't had any headaches. I pretty much drank only water all day. Right now I’m enjoying my first glass of iced tea to break things up. A much better day overall.
Day #5: Feeling Cold
Morning weigh in: 143.0
Today I am feeling somewhat bad. I don’t feel hungry at all but I feel weird. I think not eating is making me a bit sensitive to cold. It is 95 degrees out today but I can hardly stand the air conditioner being on its normal temperature. My husband will be sweating and hot but I’ll be freezing.
I also feel only what I can describe as strange or maybe fragile? I can’t really put into words how I feel. I can tell I’m losing weight. Usually parts of my body like my stomach and my breasts and arms feel packed tighter…if that makes sense. Like after you eat a meal you can feel your stomach expanded and full. Today though my breasts and arms feel looser and I don’t have that packed feeling. I also feel fragile because I don’t feel like I can do much. I tried to vacuum the living room carpet but I got so tired doing that I decided to stop halfway and finish later. I really don’t feel like doing much and I don’t think I can do much. I don’t have the energy.
Day #6 Acid Indigestion and Cold All The Time
Morning weigh in: 142.8
It is 5 AM in the morning on my 6th day of fasting and I haven’t been to bed yet. My sleep schedule is messed up from fasting and I can’t sleep. I am experiencing a new symptom and that is burping up acid. This morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and I think it might be from acid indigestion. I burp up acid when I drink only water and a lot at one time. If I down an entire glass of water then I get a bit of indigestion. I’ve been drinking room temperature tap water. I’m thinking I need to sip it instead of drinking a whole cup at once. I do feel dehydrated and lightheaded sometimes and drink a whole glass to make sure I’m hydrated.
Update: So I finally got some sleep last night and it is evening on my 6th day of dieting. Today is the first day I actually feel really bad. Last night laying in bed I started trembling and today my hands shake a bit. I picked up my cat and held him for a minute and it was a lot of work. My heart was racing afterwards. I didn’t feel truly bad before today. Before I could act normally and do a bit of work around the house. Today I just don’t feel like doing anything. Today I actually feel like I haven’t eaten in days. I’m cold all the time. It’s in the 90s outside but the air conditioner is hard to stand. I’m wearing fleece pants and long sleeves.
Day #7 A Review of My Week and How I Felt
I made it 6 days without food and on the 7th I decided I need a break. After midnight last night I felt pretty bad. My hands were a bit shaky and I felt cold all the time. I finally decided that I had put myself though a lot of stress for 6 days and that it was time for a break. Today I gave myself a free day because I really felt like my body needed to recover. I plan on continuing my fast and one day of eating what I want is needed to give me the energy for next week. Earlier today day my husband, without me asking him, had bought me a hamburger and onion rings at my favorite place because he thought I needed to eat. It was the most awesome tasting thing I had ever put in my mouth and I appreciated my husband so much for knowing I was ready for a good meal. You have no idea how good food tastes when you haven’t had it in a while. I also snacked around for the day but I didn’t overindulge. I felt so much better after I ate. I finished vacuuming the house and did laundry. Before I just didn’t feel like doing anything and felt tired all the time.
I lost around 5 pounds this week though it feels like more. I can tell a difference when I touch my breasts and my stomach that some weight has been lost. I didn’t think I’d notice as much of a difference as I actually do but I did get significant results in only 6 days. Honestly making it this far wasn’t too hard using my methods. The worst were the first few days when my body was adjusting and I had the headaches and stomach pangs constantly. After that it was really easy. Even when my husband brought me food I didn’t feel hungry until I started eating. You get use to not having food. At no time during the first week did I ever fall over or feel so weak that I couldn’t do anything. I could walk around the house normally but I did get tired if I overexerted myself with high energy activities. I think milk is the key to making it through my solid food fast. Milk is filling and takes away any feelings of hunger and also provides nutrients you may need. I did start taking a multivitamin though since I am going to keep going.
It is midnight now and I have cut off food again and will fast for as long as I can again and will keep you updated as I go. I think 6 days is a good time frame before taking another break but we shall see how it goes.
Morning Weigh In: 142.0
I haven’t eaten since early yesterday and it seems like my actually eating a meal didn’t hurt me weight loss wise. I weighed 142 this morning so I didn’t gain any weight with binging a bit on my break day. I was afraid taking a day off and eating would make me start from scratch in terms of fasting symptoms but I surprisingly haven’t felt any. I have felt really hungry but I haven’t had any headaches. I’m no longer feeling cold or shaky or weak which is wonderful. I have more energy now and can do a bit of work around the house. I really am glad I took one day off to eat what I wanted because it helped me feel so much better. I’m sure after a few more days I’ll start feeling symptoms of the fast again but for now I am enjoying not having them. When I began my diet I feared taking a break and eating because I thought I would gain weight but it didn’t. I think I lost so much weight by not eating that by eating again I didn’t effect my weight much. I was just giving it the nutrients it needed. So far I am a fan of the diet I am on because it is working and as long as I do it intermediately and take days off it’s not so hard to do.
Day #9 Jaw Pain a Symptom of Fasting!?
Morning Weight In: 141.8
So I did not know much about joint pain being a symptom of fasting but I am starting to feel it. My jaw has been aching all day. My jaw feels like I have been talking for hours non-stop but in reality I have barely talked at all. I also have a bit of lower back pain and some stomach pain. When I woke up this morning my stomach hurt a bit and my back aches in the lower part of it. I looked this up and others have had this symptom along with other various body aches. From what I’ve read feeling aches and pains is a normal part of fasting for long periods of time.
Another new thing is that I have some bumps in the back of my mouth. They hurt if I touch them with my tongue and I have read you can get sores in your mouth as a normal part of fasting. They could be from acid reflux. I’m also experiencing some light dizziness. I don’t have a full on headache but my head does feel sore. I don’t feel hungry at all but I do feel really tired. I might break down and use the one bite rule and eat a few bites of something with a big glass of milk. I don’t like these new symptoms, especially the jaw aches and the of dizziness.
Day # 10: Got The Flu and Ended My Fast
During the last few days of my fast my husband was sick with the flu. I stayed away from him as best I could but I unfortunately caught it and that was the end of my fast. I'm not crazy enough to starve myself while I'm sick and my body really did need the nutrients to get better. When I started getting sick my jaw was still hurting me and my body aches got worse with being sick. When you get the flu you feel completely drained of energy and I really needed food at this point to have the energy to get better .
Overall I do feel a lot better having gotten down to 140 by day 10. Even though I am still overweight, having lost just a little bit of weight has made me feel a lot better. I can tell that my pants aren't as tight and my stomach looks smaller. I also feel healthier. I got all the soda and junk food out of my diet and I feel so much better after detoxing.
What I Learned and Would I Do It Again?
Doing a fast was a huge learning experience for me. If I ever considered doing a fast again I think I would only do it for up to 6 days. Anytime past that could be dangerous and very uncomfortable. The jaw pain and stomach pains that started on day 9 kind of scared me. I've never had pains like that before. Up until day 6 I was fine though. Once my body adjusted after the first few days the fast wasn't so bad to do. I did feel some discomfort and weakness but I didn't feel horrible or unable to function. I'd say only 6 days is enough. After that you need to give your body a break and eat normally for a while. You can always do another fast after your body has recovered but you do need to let your body recover. Remember do a fast safely. I know losing weight is addicting and attractive but don't harm your body trying to diet.
© 2014 Casey White