By Rosie Main
Your immune system is your body’s defense system against bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, and other harm. To function properly, your immune system needs your support through a healthy diet and lifestyle – including fasting. According to research, embarking on a 3-day fast can reset your immune system and make an enormous difference in your health.
Periods of fasting are natural for your body. If you think about it, our ancestors went through periods of famine when food was simply not available for a few days. In our modern world, we are used to everything being readily available. If our fridge is empty, all we have to do is go to the nearest grocery store, go to a restaurant, or order in.
When food is so easily available, we need to do intentional fasting to reduce the stress on our digestive system and body. A 3-day fast allows your body to rest, repair, and renew.
While a 3-day fast will certainly bring many positive changes to your physical, mental, and spiritual health, a 3-day fast is also new and stressful to your body. You may experience some unwanted symptoms associated with your fast.
I want you to know that some unpleasant symptoms are normal and natural. This is what you may expect on your fast:
Day 1 – Unless you are already keto-adapted from practicing a keto diet and intermittent fasting, your body is used to using sugar as a primary fuel source. During your 3-day fast, your body will adapt to using fat as fuel, resulting in an initial rise in your ketone levels during the second half of your first day, with a period of adjustment. Don’t worry; becoming keto-adapted allows higher levels of cellular cleansing.
On your first day, you may experience some fatigue, mental lethargy, hunger, cravings, mood changes, increase urination, headaches, and sleep disturbances. This is nothing to be concerned about. These are all happening because your body is adapting to burning fat instead of sugar, detoxifying and cleansing, and beginning to repair months or years of damage.
Day 2 – Going on a 3-day fast helps to de-weed your gut flora. It gets rid of bad bacteria, helping to balance your microbiome. By day 2, there is increased cellular cleansing, autophagy, a rise in human growth hormone (HGH) to preserve muscle mass, and a stem cell rise to help cellular repair. This 3-day fast also helps to reset your DNA turning off ‘bad’ genes that may increase inflammation and chronic degeneration. It also helps hormone optimization and detoxification.
On day 2, you may continue to experience similar symptoms as on the first day. Your hunger levels may diminish but emotionally you may have a more difficult time. You may experience more fatigue, brain fog, and mood changes. As your body is cleansing itself and getting rid of bad bacteria, fungi, and toxic substances, you may notice a white, yellow, or even black tongue, or skin rashes.
Your body will also begin to down-regulate your thyroid hormone, resulting in feeling colder than normal. This simply means that your 3-day fast helps to rest hormone sensitivity. Your body is learning to need less thyroid hormones and insulin to function well.
Day 3 – On day 3 you will have a large rise in ketones. There will be a further rise in autophagy, HGH, and stem cells. Your blood sugar levels become more balanced. What does this mean for you? You will be feeling better!
You may notice pain reduction and more energy. Your brain loves using ketones for energy so you will be feeling mentally better, sharper, and more alert. If you were not keto-adapted before, you may still experience occasional tiredness, brain fog, or other unpleasant symptoms. By the time you will be ready to break your fast, chances are that you will be feeling better than ever.
How to prepare for a 3-day fast – While going on a 3-day fast is beneficial and healing for your body, it can also be a huge shock and stressful if you don’t prepare your body and mind well for your fast. To prepare for a 3-day fast, I generally recommend going on a ketogenic diet and practicing intermittent fasting for at least 2 to 3 weeks before your 3-day fast.
This will help you to become keto-adapted and put your body into a fat-burning mode, which will reduce your negative symptoms and ramp up your benefits. Trying one or two 20- to 24-hour fasts the couple weeks leading up to your 3-day fast may also be beneficial.
Here are more tips:
- Create a low-stress schedule– During your fast, your body will be cleansing and repairing. Stresscan be incredibly draining on your body, mind, and soul. A 3-day fast is time for healing. Find ways to reduce stressors in your life. Meditate, pray, journal, and relax.
- Do your best to avoid negative people– Negative people in your life can increaseyour stress levels and drag you down. During your 3-day fast, try to distance yourself from people who bring you down. Surround yourself with supporting individuals and practice the attitude of gratitude for the loving people in your life.
- Get plenty of filtered water– Hydration is key when you are fasting. As your body uses up stored sugar from your muscles and liver and your insulin levels drop, you may experience dehydration. This is why it’s crucial that you drink at least an ounce of water per pound of your body weight.
- Have some good salts available– Using good quality salts, such as Himalayan sea salt, Celtic sea salt, or Redmond’s real salt, helps to maintain electrolyte balance while fasting. If you feel tired or dizzy during your 3-day fast, mix a pinch of salt with 4 to 8 ounces of water or simply put it under your tongue.
- Schedule a spa day– During your 3-day fast, you will be saving money on food. Use this money to pamper yourself. Get a massage. Go to a sauna. Relax.
- Avoid the kitchen if possible– The kitchen can be a tempting place and remind you of all the good food you are not eating. Avoiding your kitchen is the best way to reduce emotional cravings and temptations. If you have cravings or feel hungry, drink some water orherbal tea. If you are normally in charge of cooking for your family, ask for help for three days or cook for them ahead of time.
- Drink strategically– During your 3-day fast, the most likely time you will feel hungry is around your normal meal and snack times. Make sure to drink plenty of water or herbal tea during these times.
- Try a sweet drink– If you are missing flavor or feel deprived during your 3-day fast, try a calorie-free lemonade by adding organic lemon juice and a bit of stevia to your water. A bit of sweetness can make your 3-day fast much easier.
- Get grounded daily– Grounding has many benefits, including more energy, relaxation, mental clarity, and feeling of connection. Stand or walk barefoot outside. If it’s cold outside, try a fewminutes in your socks, as long as you can tolerate it.
- Get sunshine each day if possible– Sunshine helps to stimulate vitamin D, enhances fat burning, and boosts your mood. As long as the sun is out, make sure to get some sunshine. You may combine this with your grounding practice and walks.
- Move your body– While I recommend that you stay away from serious exercise during your 3-day fast, going out and taking some easy walks can be helpful. It stimulates your circulation and lymphatic system andboosts your mood as well. Aim for 10 to 15 minutes 3 to 5 times a day or whatever feels best for your body.
- Give yourself permissions to rest– Our society puts so much emphasis on productivity and hustle. Give yourself permission to take it easy during your 3-day fast. Take naps, take a warm bath, try some essential oils, journal, meditate, and simply relax.
Rosie Main, D.C., owns Main Health Solutions at 2300 W. Everest Lane, Suite 175, in Meridian. She is also the host of Maximized Living Radio on 94.1 The Voice and KIDO 580 AM. For more information, visit MaximizedLivingDrMain.com.