My Water Fast and New Year’s Intentions

Intermittent fasting, keto and other dieting fads have all become trendy over the past few years for people to lose weight, detoxify, reduce inflammation, promote mental clarity and improve their metabolic health. However, these plans rarely consider women’s health, specifically menstrual cycles. Fasting can do more harm than good if your hormones become imbalanced. That’s why I admire and respect Dr. Mindy Pelz, the “guru of fasting” for women.

I read Dr. Mindy’s book Fast Like a Girl right before Thanksgiving, and have been exploring the fasting lifestyle since then. Dr. Mindy’s work encourages women to consider their cycles when fasting. She also has several protocols specific to different health concerns. The two I’ve explored are for autoimmune conditions and thyroid/Hashimoto’s disease. 

In January, Dr. Mindy invited all her followers to try the challenge of drinking only water for three full days. At first, I was worried about being hungry and irritable, so I thought I was only going to commit to 36 hours, but once I started feeling great and learning what the fast was doing for my body, I became motivated to finish — so much that I ended the fast at 83 hours!?!?

Health Benefits of Fasting

Research suggests intermittent fasting can be beneficial for several reasons. I started experiencing these benefits 17 hours into the three-day period, and the longer I went, the better I felt. I’m now considering doing a water fast a few times a year. 

  • Detoxification: Though your liver and kidneys naturally detoxify, fasting allows these organs to rest and heal from within.
  • Improved focus and mental well-being: When you only drink water for 72 hours, your body will direct energy away from digestion, potentially leading to increased mental alertness and concentration. Restricting your food intake also affects dopamine levels in your brain. 
  • Reset your gut microbiome: Fasting can help the microorganisms in your gut thrive and produce essential nutrients for your body.
  • Increased intentionality: There was also an emotional component to this water fast, which was eye-opening for me. I learned to be more mindful about eating and appreciate the food that nourishes me. 
  • Mindfulness: We rely so much on healing our bodies through external factors like taking medications or eating specific foods. Fasting forced me to sit with the intuitive, internal intelligence that I believe we all have. 
  • Grow new stem cells: A growing body of research suggests that fasting for two days or longer can trigger stem cell regeneration in the immune system.
  • Reduced inflammation: Pain and inflammation go hand in hand. Fasting is a unique way to relieve the familiar aches and pains you may have from autoimmune disease or other health conditions.

Get Support for Your Fast

I know I couldn’t have made it through the fast without Dr. Mindy’s Zoom calls. Every day at noon, she would host a meeting where we could learn about fasting benefits and “fasting hacks” for dealing with hunger, headaches, etc. I have immense gratitude for those calls and the Facebook community. Those three days would have been so much more challenging without this information and camaraderie.

If you are thinking about taking back your health and wellness with a fasting regimen, talk to your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to go several days without eating. You should also consider lifestyle factors like your daily stress levels, nutrition, exercise, sleep and mindfulness practices before starting any fast.

Have you tried fasting? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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