Water fasting – how to get started
So you’ve been thinking about doing a water fast but not sure how or when to get started?
For whatever reason you may have, if you clicked on to read this article, or searched for some water fasting information, maybe this deep, regenerative, restorative, purification process is actually calling you.
To fast with water means to abstain from all food and to drink only pure water for a set amount of time. The thought of this can bring up all kinds of different emotions, maybe excitement, fear, and maybe a question of whether you will even survive.
If I can do it, you can too. And if I can feel such amazing lasting life changing benefits from it, you will too! Of course each individuals experience will be unique, the detox process is different to all body types.
Much can influence the individual body’s response to fasting and detoxing. Such as your regular diet, body fat composition and weight, health conditions, exposure to toxic chemicals (both present and past), and your psychological/emotional relationship with food.
Despite all of our possible differences however, there are also fundamentals about our human-animal body, and organism, that is the same. We were all created by Nature and we all have the ability to heal ourselves.
In his book Rational Fasting, Arnold Ehret refers to the process of water fasting as “placing your body on Natures operating table”. Fasting is one of the most natural processes for self-renewal and for healing used by Nature herself. Animals in the wild will instinctively fast when they are sick or injured. So it really does make sense that this will also be a powerful process for the human-animal body, mind and spirit to heal.
Unlike the wild animals however, much of our natural human instinct has been clouded over with left-brain logic, reason, cultural conditioning and analytical overlay. Not to mention a further trillion man-made social beliefs that are flying toward us from the day we are born. For these reasons we have lost touch with much our intuitive knowing and insight toward what our body truly needs.
To assist you in reclaiming your natural instinct and intuitive guidance to heal through the water fasting process, here are some useful steps in the preparatory process.
1. Know your intention – your why
Abstinence from food can be a challenging process. We look to food for nourishment, emotional and physical comfort, pleasure and social sharing. Going without these daily perks, even for just one day, can be challenging, especially for a first timer.
Having an intention and knowing why you want to water fast helps break through some of these instant gratification cravings and deeply unconscious yearnings for that habitual familiarity.
2. Set a start date and an approximate end date
Setting a start date for a short fast like 3 days, I like to have a week or so psychological and emotional self-notice. For a longer fast, 7-10 days, I like a few weeks or even a months notice. As the days draw closer, I acknowledge the start date in an excited way! I think of the benefits, my intentions and actually look forward to it.
It is important to think positively about the upcoming experience. Think of all the clarity, energy, and healing you will feel, rather than the sense of lack or deficit that may accompany food deprivation.
There is no set protocol for water fasting, you might have great energy, you might feel weak and fatigued, each day can and will be very different. It is an unknown and therefore I recommend you set your water days for a time that you can rest and relax if needed, perhaps when you have time off work, or when work pressures, stress and tasks can be kept to a minimum.
Keep the end date open and allow yourself to be flexible with this. For my first water fast I set the intention for a minimum of 3 days and maximum of 10. Each day after day 3, I checked in to see how I was feeling, and whether I was ready to end. I fasted for a total of 3 days on juice, and 8 days on water.
3. Pre-cleanse with juices
This can make or break your commitment to your water fast. It is much easier to have juices all day that it is to have only water. With juice you are still receiving nutrition, calories and a sense of satisfaction in the belly. And at the same time coming of solid foods begins the detox process, and allows a gradual ease into the water only phase.
During the juicing phase for me life goes on as normal. I still enjoy productive work, walking my dog, and even my hot yoga classes. Once the water fast begins I must monitor my energy levels, as my usual expenditure just may not be so available!
If you have any food addiction, or habits such as consuming sugar, caffeine, or alcohol regularly, a pre cleanse will help you to ease into the detox symptoms. Coming off addictive substances like these can be quite a purge for the body, and that elimination process may feel uncomfortable for the initial few days. If this does happen to you, keep going, as your body is doing what it is supposed to be doing and it will pass!
By starting on a few days of fresh juice, you will blast your body full of nutrition, before moving into the water only phase, this can help soften the detoxification blow.
If your regular eating habits are really bad, and you consume caffeine, sugar and processed foods frequently, take a week off these foods before starting on juice, and then into water.
4. Make sure you have plenty of good quality water available
Get your water supply and make it plentiful. I have found fresh spring water to be the best available source as it is just as Nature intended it to be. Avoid any kind of plastic carriers, as the water will absorb in the chemicals.
In his book the The Miracle of Fasting, Paul Bragg also speaks of distilled water as a good source of purified water for fasting. So this might be another good option for you.
For each 20kg of body weight you should drink one litre of clean water (distilled or spring) each day of your water fast.
5. Share the experience
This is really up to you and I can’t say you will do better with or without a friend. I have enjoyed many water fasts in solitude, and in some ways it is my favourite way to fast. I also know many others who thrive on sharing the experience in good company, and I have also enjoyed fasting in this way. This can be your choice and personal preference.
The benefits of fasting go far beyond the physical healing and rejuvenation process. There is a deep sense of self-awareness that rises when we can sit with and observe the patterned thoughts of psychological addiction or habit, so common in our relationships with life and food today.
Water fasting can be a very deep and spiritual experience. A process of purification can open the channel and allow us to journey even further beyond the physical, psychological and emotional ways of being.
Your true self, your essence begins to shine as the channel is cleared. Wisdom, knowledge, profound clarity, intuition, knowingness and an experience of our inter-connectedness with all life becomes available and present.
It’s no wonder that fasting has been of main emphasis in the lives of many of our spiritual leaders and philosophers such as Jesus, Ghandi, Pythagorus, Plato, Socrates and Mother Theresa, just to name a few.
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