Over the past several posts we have introduced the concept of fasting and different ways to fast, researched the scientific benefits of a 3-day fast, gave tips on how to prepare for a fast, and then shared my experience and video journal of a first-time, 3-day anti-aging fast. This post will summarize key lessons learned from my first 3-day fast and provide some final tips before you begin a fast of your own.
UPDATE: 4-Weeks Following My Fast
My first lesson learned has to be a reflection of what the 3-day fast changed in me as a person. What eating habits, hunger, weight, or other effects are lasting? Here are a few personal observations:
- Skipping a meal is okay! Prior to the fast my schedule revolved around mealtimes. It still does now, but I am more tolerant of skipping a meal or eating a bit later than scheduled.
- Water is important! I have always believed in drinking water first thing in the morning, but the 3-day fast made me realize how much water is in the food we eat. I am currently developing a new habit based on drinking half of my body weight in ounces of water every day.
- Eating habits effect your weight more than exercise. If you want to lose weight, changing what you eat will have a much larger effect than lots of exercise. More on weight later.
What Went Well in My 3-Day Fast
One thing I really expected from my fast was to have my willpower and resolve challenged. Frankly, I expected it to be hard to skip meals and that my days would be consumed by overwhelming hunger. To my surprise, I was not uncomfortably hungry even once during my 3-day fast. I believe this was due to how I prepared for the fast and the fact that I allowed coffee, tea, and MCT oil versus a strict water fast.
It is hard to tell if the fast provided me any of the scientific benefits I expected, including resetting my immune system, killing pre-cancerous cells, and delaying aging. The visible improvements to my skin after fasting for just a few days were positive, though not long-lasting.
The weight-loss benefits of the 3-day fast will be important to many people. The below chart shows how my weight has changed over the past several years (as recorded by a $15 Bluetooth smart scale).
My weight has fluctuated (due to noise) at around an average of 170 pounds. When I first bought the scale and focused on my weight it dropped from 172 to 168. Then the COVID-19 pandemic began and, like many in the Personal Kaizen community, my weight increased to an average of about 171 pounds.
Here is a more detailed view of how my weight changed during the fast and in the 4 weeks following the fast. I don’t think I need to label the dates of the 3-day fast! My weight began dropping a few days prior to the fast simply from cutting down on carbohydrates.
What is exciting is that my weight quickly jumped back up once I began eating again but then settled out at about three pounds lower than my average weight prior to the fast. I exercised during the fast and didn’t really lose any muscle mass – I think what I lost was all fat!
What I Will Change for My Next 3-Day Fast
My first 3-day fast was successful on multiple levels. My prep went well and I still have leftovers of all of the products. I had very few negative effects during the fast. With the lessons learned from my 3-day fast, here are the few items I will change next time:
- Drink more water: I will probably get and use a one-liter water bottle so it is easier to make sure I drink enough.
- Shorten prep: I started my first 3-day fast a day early since I was already nearly in ketosis after two days of cutting back my carbohydrates. I can probably prep for just one day next time.
- Use MCT oil earlier: The MCT oil seemed to help me get into ketosis more quickly. I will begin adding MCT oil to my coffee a day before the fast begins and continue during the fast. While this is cheating on the fast, I believe it increases the anti-aging benefits.
How Often Should I Schedule a 3-Day Fast?
I researched how long the benefits of a 3-day, anti-aging fast last and when it is beneficial to repeat the fast. A few of the benefits are worth repeating at least on a quarterly basis. That means I will plan on another fast sometime in May of 2022. Come back to this page in the future for an update on the results and lessons learned of my second 3-day anti-aging fast. We suggest you subscribe to receive the update in your inbox.
If any of our readers have tried a 3-day fast, or fasts of other lengths, please share your results and lessons learned in the comments below.