Water Fasting – An Introduction

From glistening crystals of snow to the multicolored hues of a rainbow, H2O takes on a myriad of shapes and shimmers. Daily, it is used to cleanse our floors, cars and toilets. Yet, the greatest value of water is that it internally cleanses our body.

Water Fasting Overview

Water fasting is a test of discipline. I do not enjoy water fasting; I do it for the results. Having a very fast metabolism, no excess fat and being muscular, my body demands a continual supply of calories. I live mostly on fruit and get hungry every two hours. About four hours into the fast, my body starts to feel the lack of calories. Twenty-four hours later, I am lying around with little energy to expend. From then on, I may get little bursts of energy but mostly I feel lazy, tired and achy. Occasionally there are peak moments where I feel amazing and faith burns bright but, for the most part, water fasting requires great resolve and determination for almost every day I fast.

Water fasting demands the maximum amount of calories and the body catabolizes as quickly as it can. The body is fully focused on burning up and clearing toxins, carcinogens, mucus, trans-fatty acids and other by-product of the North American diet. Water fasting is the speediest way to detoxify or lose weight but the other side of the coin is that water fasting will dump years of toxins into the bloodstream within hours and, once the process starts, eating cannot stop it. Eating will only make matters worse as digestion puts an additional strain on a toxin-loaded bloodstream and causes a slowdown of the clean up extending the period of discomfort.

Juice Fasting Overview

Juice fasting is just the opposite of water fasting, blasting the body with more nutrition than it has ever seen. Cantaloupes, oranges, carrots, beets and pineapples create nutrient-filled juices packed with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, cell salts and trace elements flood the blood with enough nutrition to get every cell zinging with energy. Fruit sugars keep the body supplied with perfect fuel. I get more accomplished on juice fasting than when I am eating. Except for a few dips, headaches and cankers, the detox is mostly painless.

Not so with water. You can feel the body scouring trillions of cells checking for dead, diseased or dying cells to be dissolved with micro-biochemical surgery. The dissolving, biochemical action irritates the surrounding cells. The more cells being dissolved, the more the body feels irritated. The effect is that the body, mind and emotions feel agitated and irritated. Not only do you have to endure the scouring action of catabolism at full intensity, but also the body and mind are subjected to years of toxic residues being drained from the cells.

If you put on weight easily, eat small amounts of food and have trouble losing weight, you have a slow metabolism. The slower your metabolism the easier water fasting will be. I have seen people with a slow metabolism who were terrified of juice fasting start out with juices and, within two days, go to water fasting because they did not feel the need for juice. One lady walked 5 miles per day, felt no loss of energy and bragged about how easy it was to fast.

When I ran fasting retreats, I often would fast with the folks who came. A new couple booked in and I said that I would fast with them expecting them to be juice fasting. They told me that they came to do a 10 day water fast. Inwardly I groaned but said sure, I will fast with you. I felt good for the first 5 days and even had some energy, but, as usual, I got a little crazy and broke the most important guideline of water fasting which is to rest, conserve energy not overexert. I had made the mistake before and was about to do it again. The day was perfect for water skiing, and I just had to show off with eight hard miles of skiing until exhaustion hit. The next day I could not even move. My two friends, Ron and Elaine, also were exhausted from the energy needed to drive the boat. On the eighth day, the retreat looked like an opium den. No one moved or even talked; only slow breathing represented life.

If you’re planning any other activity except lying around, forget it. A phone call will be exhausting. Holding a book requires determination. Brushing your teeth is a workout, and a trip to the washroom is a monumental feat. In this state of weakness, nothing seems to matter. The outer world becomes irrelevant. The job promotion loses its glamour.

Enlightenment is painful, touching you with deep sorrow for both the state of your heart and the state of this world. The taste is bitter indeed, yet, it cures the heart of pride and selfish ambitions. It is strange that in the deepest, most uncomfortable states of fasting, you can become totally aware of the pain and suffering in the lives around you. It is like dying. Everything you hold dear is falling away as dust, leaving a broken soul with the weight of the world resting on weak shoulders. The deeper the pain, the more profound is the change.

The benefits of water fasting come when you break the fast. I remember eating a juicy orange, groaning in pleasure and experiencing this amazing feeling of delight in my body. I remember breaking another water fast and bicycling for miles, at full intensity, just to burn off the energy. There is an incredible feeling of connection, faith, life and vitality that is difficult to put into words.

Breaking a water fast is more difficult than a juice fast. The body is completely at rest, and now, it needs to be gently nudged into action. The breaking period is not about stuffing nutrition into the body but using small amounts of food or juice to reawaken the digestive system. Overeating will cause pain and discomfort. All the incredible feelings of a toxin-free body will vanish within minutes of eating toxic food.

Water fasting is not recommended for a first fast, as toxins are released into the blood very quickly. This can be a problem if you are toxic and have never fasted before. For most people, water fasting will cause headaches, dizziness, weakness and nausea to the point of vomiting. A terrifying experience for a first-time faster. The faster your metabolism, the harder it will be to water fast. If your metabolism is slow, you usually will find water fasting easy, unless you are very toxic.

opt: henley

By Tom Coghill of Fasting.ws
Articles  may be copied or reproduced as long as the back links to fasting.ws are intact and the author’s name is included.

Posted on by Tom Coghill

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65 Responses to Water Fasting – An Introduction

  1. Joey G says:

    The website is under construction, so nothing is available there, yet, but it will be soon.

    As for my comment. Tom, I have read most of your articles on fasting, both juice and water, and I have decided to do it. Actually, I decided to do it before I even came to your site. I was brought up a semi-religious person, and have cultivated a deep spirituality over my few years. I am choosing to fast for the spiritual results. I believe I have “super-consciously” been preparing for this journey for the past couple of weeks, because my body has already began the process without me knowing it.

    In the mornings, I would wake up with the symptoms described in these articles, and I wouldn’t eat for hours. I would only drink water after going through half the day. However, I would have an evening meal (usually of medium proportion). Also, for the last seven days, my body has told me to stop smoking. Cigarettes have lost their lovely flavor, and each one is a chore to smoke more than the delight they used to be.

    So, after months of meditation, and famous fasting experiences randomly popping up into my life, I have decided that I need this journey. I am sitting here, writing this, with a glass of water, and my last cigarette about to be put out. I feel like I am at the door that leads to the rest of my life. That door opens…now.

    Due to tradition, both Christian and Buddhist, I have decided to take on a 40 day water fast, with a possibility of a three day dry fast after the first 20 days. I only work a part-time job, so stress will be kept at a minimum. Money is no concern, because I already have a water filtration system, and I live in an apartment, so water is “free.” Without the weekly grocery bill, I can actually save money for other things. Although, this, is a bonus, because it is not the point of my fast.

    I would be lying if I said I was not looking forward to the weight-loss benefits, but that is not my purpose. If I was to focus, solely on that, I would drop out in hours, never mind days or weeks.

    I plan on posting in my blog my progress, but I may also post here. In any case, this journey will be recorded. I plan to use the experience to help others as well as myself. There was a quote, and I do not know it’s source, that I grew up with, and it stuck with me. “The closer you get to God, the more your demons come to tempt you.” This is my 40 days in the desert.

    Love and Light,

  2. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Joey,
    Indeed, 40 days is a challenge. I always recommend a few practice hills before climbing Mount Everest. Joey your heart is in the right place but fasting can he a humbling experience. I would go for 3 day on juice first then 2 on water then break the fast correctly. If to make that, go for longer. Post your blog here if you want.
    I am glad to be of support.

  3. Ryan says:

    Thaks for all the info on fasting. I was looking for info on fasting for more that one day. Thanks again for all the information about fasting. God bless. 🙂 http://www.whatifcard.com

  4. austin says:

    Hi Tom,

    I have started to do a water fast, this is my second day, and I am afraid that since this is my first fast that I might be hurting my body. I am 19 years old, weigh 150 pounds. I am very skinny and have believe to have a fast metabolism. On the article about it says that water fasting will dump years of toxins into the bloodstream within hours and, once the process starts, eating cannot stop it. bolism. How bad is it that it dumps years of toxins into the bloodstream? I don’t need to lose weight, but I want to fast for spiritual and detox reasons.

  5. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Austin,
    It is very hard to hurt your body after 2 days of water fasting even with a fast metabolism. How bad is it. .. horrible to just irritating. You can always stop fasting. LOL If you are fasting for spiritual reasons “trust”.

  6. austin says:

    It’s not bad but when I stan up alot of the time my vision will become black for a couple of seconds and I can’t see anything. I’m still conscious but my vision just goes for a little bit. Is this normal, and what could I do to stop it?

  7. Chantelle says:

    I have really enjoyed reading the articles on your site, have found the information both helpful and motivational, and am excited to be starting a fast tomorrow that will last for about 7 days or so.
    I will be starting with juice for 1-2 days and then go to water for 4-5 and then back to juice for a day or two.

    I fast once a month for 24 hours, but have never done more than that until now.

    Although I don’t drink alcohol, coffee, caffeinated teas or smoke, and I work out 5 days a week running, cycling, snowboarding, with some weight training, I do drink soda on occasion and have been eating a lot of heavier foods and sugary/fatty desserts in the past months.
    I feel weighed down, sluggish and semi-out of control food wise.

    My goals are to: Feel better and healthier, take a time out to calm down mentally so I can make better eating choices, cleanse( I feel super backed up), and to slim down(10 pounds+). I would also love it if it helped my skin clear up (I have mild acne).

    I’m wondering two things:

    1) While water fasting would it be beneficial to take vitamin supplements and Essential Fatty Acids(3,6,9)? Or is it better to not take anything at all?

    2)Is a 7-8 day cleanse beneficial enough for me to see the kind of results I’m looking for? Would you recommend something else for me to reach my goals?

    Thanks so much for a great website and the support!


  8. Josh says:

    Hey Tom,

    I’ve started a water fast, today i’m just finishing day 7 and so far it’s pretty tough. I have never felt so weak in my life! I was orginaly going to do a full-out 40 day fast, but i’m having second thoughts now…
    I was just wondering how many days water fasting does it take to fully clean out the toxins of one’s system and are there any severe physical problems that can arise from a 40 day fast?

  9. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Chantelle
    I would skip the supplements while water fasting and use them during juice fasting.

    Hi Josh,
    You now realize just how hard this is. About the same a climbing a mountain. Without some serious discipline and determination prolonged water fasting is a very difficult feat. So one week is an accomplishment that few make.
    The only problems are extreme weakness, dizziness if you move too quick. If you kidney and liver are in good condition there are no problems. If you get prolonged kidney or liver pain then it is good to go to juice then wait one month before another fast and make is a juice fast.

    Hi Austin,
    Aways breathe deeply a few time before standing from a resting position. If you black out just get down on one knee.

  10. Sora says:

    Hey Josh,

    Just wanted to encourage you to keep going. If you have continued your water-fast and are on the 9th day, maybe you would enjoy this information I found.

    “Most fasters feel much more comfortable by the end of the first seven to ten days, when they enter the normalization phase; here the acidic blood chemistry is gradually corrected. This sets the stage for serious healing of body tissues and organs. Normalization may take one or two more weeks depending on how badly the body was out of balance. As the blood chemistry steadily approaches perfection, the faster usually feels an increasing sense of well-being, broken by short spells of discomfort that are usually healing crises or retracings.”

    I am on the 3rd day and feeling the effects of detox but it’s good to know that its not too long now before the more pleasant effects start outweighing the not-so pleasant.

    Take care and hope you hear how you’re doing!


  11. Josh says:

    yeah, just finishing up day 10 now and i have to say the past few days have been a great improvement! i feel like i have more energy, not so much hunger pains, and a much more positive outlook on the rest of my fast.

    thanks for the encouragement sora and i give the same to u as u have the thoughest 4 days ur about to go through!

  12. Josh says:

    Hey Tom,

    I’ve made it to day 21 now and I’m going to break my water fast and juice fast for a bit. I was wondering how slowly i should introduce solids and food groups back into my system, and if there was anything i should be careful of.

  13. Faith says:

    How common is hairloss during over after a long term fast? Would improper fasting possilby cause this?



  14. Faith says:

    woops…meant to say – How common is hairloss during over or after a long term fast? Would improper fasting possilby cause this?



  15. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Faith,
    I only ran into on case on our site over 15 years. And yes it only happens with long term fasting over 20 days. I never heard back from her 3 months later when the hair should have regrown. From what has been written on the web it seem to be cause by toxins disrupting the follicular growth. If you juice fasting and do periods of water like 5 juice and 5 water you should be ok.

  16. Ona says:

    Hi Tom, Hi All,
    Just checking in… I’ve had an unusual amount of hunger this time round. Strange, as my prep already resulted in moderate ketosis. Today I actually drank a cup of clear chicken boulion, though this is, in principle, a water fast.
    Other than that, all is well. A little achy, mild headache, occassionally spacey for minutes at a time – what you’d expect.
    But the energy! It comes and goes, but when it comes – wow!
    Last night, for example, when normally I would be winding down for bed, I was writing away (I’m a poet, by the way, Tom) – images just coming one after the other until 1AM – I’d put down the pen and then pick it up again. Fantastic!
    At first, at least for me, it can feel a little restless – and if I can’t sleep because I’m actively hungry, I find that unpleasant. It’s a balance… I have to learn to go with it – go with the flow. So if I’m in the middle of reading a memoir, for example, and I have the impulse to finish the varnish on the bedside table set (like I did an hour ago) – I need to just do it. If I fight my own impulses, they just back up until I need to sleep. Which is OK – but not necessarily what I want.
    Do I sound racy right now? Oiii.
    But it’s good to check in.
    Hopefully, I’ll be less hungry tomorrow.
    Thanks to you all,
    PS: Faith, I always lose hair during a fast – but it grows back… It can be a little scary in the second week, when every time you comb your hair *lots* comes out – but it’s never lasted. At least for me. I hope that helps. Ona

  17. Faith says:

    Really appreciate you taking the time to answer as time is valuble…especially up in the mountains!

    I do have another question….As I mentioned previously, I have ADD and the doc put me on adderall several years ago…I never abuse it and it does help me a ton (or so I think)…Hoping that fasting (which I’m doing right now) will normalize my body to where I won’t need to take it any more….If I take the adderall while fasting is that harmful? What would you recommend?

    Thanks again,

  18. Faith says:

    Thanks Ona….Has your hairloss been noticable to others?

  19. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Faith,
    I have found that fasting does not help ADD. It will get worse and better during a fast but it seems totally affected by one factor… diet. The worst offender is any processed oil. The second is refined wheat flour. I have ADD and dyslexia. For that reason I did not go to University as my spelling and grammar was that of a grade 5 students. There are many techniques that help but you are probably using them naturally. With a good diet and some exercise I find these mental limitations do not affect my productivity. Let us know how it goes.

  20. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Ona,
    Great to see you back. The hair loss is of great interest to me. Could you tell me if you take any vitamin supplement. I am wondering if you have a deficiency and the fasting has to use the vitamin for more crucial activities. Hair loss during fasting causes great fear for beginners and I had one person with substantial hair loss a few years back. I am forming the team this week and will be looking for a hair analysis lab. It would be great to compare the two samples of one that is normal and one when you are losing hair.
    If you would be willing to keep some hair, date it and the loss rate, and the day and type of fasting it would be of great help in the research. We would be looking at the ends under high powered microscopes and looking for any toxicity or mineral deficiency.
    If you would do that for the fast then 2 weeks after a fast then send it to our clinic in Manila, I would be great full. If it is a toxin, we could look for a way to neutralize it, and a deficiency would be easy to correct.
    We would also need your medical history, past diet.
    As I have never done this before, “how” is our ideas in motion.

  21. Faith says:

    I will let you guys know how it goes….my question is still open, would it be harmful to take adderall during my fast?

    Thanks again,

  22. Tom Coghill says:

    Sorry Faith I miss your post. Adderall is a stimulant so it would be hard to take it during a water fast. It would be better to take it with juice fasting.

  23. Ona says:

    Hi Tom, Hi Faith, Hi All,
    Sorry not to respond right away, my wife was here for the weekend, so I haven’t been on-line much.
    First, Tom, I’d be happy to send you hair and whatever. I do continue my meds during a fast, so you’ll probably pick up a lot of pharmacuticals… but hey, I imagine everyone has something.
    I’m at day 5 now – Do you want a daily sample? Or once a week? Let me know, I’ll clean my brush & comb tonight and take some hair tomorrow morning. & no, I don’t take supplements, either fasting or otherwise, but normally I eat a lot of fresh fruits & vegetables, plus lean protein. I don’t really feel like I need anything. Sometimes I take Omega 3’s just because… And I’ve been known to take Calcium, Magnesium &/or Potassium if I get muscle cramps. Hasn’t happened in a while though.
    Faith, no, no-one except my lovers, (and in the last 12 years, my wife) has ever noticed my hair loss… It’s actually more just scary than anything else – running your hands through your hair and having them come out with strands between each finger as if you’re shedding! But no, even I can’t *see* it in a mirror or anything. (I *can* feel it when I clip my hair back… the clip is distinctly less full – but to see… no).
    Tom, I also notice that when I fast, my usually very strong fingernails become quite brittle and break easily. I’ve always assumed that was the lack of fat in a water fast. But perhaps the two effects are related… Nails and hair often are.

    Okay I’ll start taking samples tomorrow… Get in touch if I need to do anything special besides dating & placing them within the fasting period.

    Now, just to check in – for me.
    Day five.
    The first, Thank God, easy day. It’s now about 8pm, and I’ve been up since 7AM, and I’m a little hungry now. But most of the day I was was just fine. Lots of energy. My wife and I worked in the garden – pretty heavy work, but no problem. I didn’t need any extra rest or extra long breaks. No dizziness.
    These days are such a relief! And this particular fast had an unusually rocky start. I think I had a cup of clear bouillon each of first three days at least once. One day I had it twice. Just painfully hungry, which usually isn’t a problem for me.
    So it was a great relief today to wake up – finally – without hunger and just feel OK most of the day. (Naturally, I took extra care to stay hydryated in the garden… Lots of seltzer!)
    I don’t expect every day to be easy, but it’s important to appreciate the easy ones when they come.
    So I’m checking in… Writing it down. Celebrating it.
    Thanks to you all for being there…

  24. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Ona,
    If you are not experiencing hair loss then you would not need to take any samples. But daily during the periods that you are showing the loss and mark the groups that would be the days of the highest hair loss rates. Try taking essential oils about 2 tablespoons per day during the fast with the juice. A flax and hemp oil from a health food store are is my recommendation.
    We are at the clinic and setting up the computer network. We are being treated like gold with 5 star service. Should have the first research data on the web in a few days. I guess this is history, the first medical research on fasting since Shelton’s work in the 1900’s. It is long overdue.

  25. Ona says:

    Hi Tom,
    I’m doing a modified water fast – no juice, no sugars – with the primary purpose of long term weight loss and readjustment of my metabolism away from insulin resistance and the potential of later life diabetes.
    I’m experiencing “moderate” hair loss at day 6, so I took a sample this morning. I’ll take another one if the hair loss increases (which it usually does in week two). Let me know where to send them, and when you need them. Also do you want them all together, perhaps a month from now. Or do you want them as I go along.
    I can give you more detailed information about exactly what I’m drinking, what my meds are, etc. – but I don’t feel comfortable doing all of that on a public forum. If you want more info, perhaps giving me an email address would be a good idea.
    In any case, the first sample is taken and marked. It’s terrific to hear you’re being treated well. And you are absolutely right, this research, ANY research, into fasting is long *long* overdue. Congrats on getting it going. That’s a major achievement!

  26. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Ona,
    Just keep all samples to the end and then I will send you an address to the clinic. We need a new microscope as the one in the clinic does not have the resolution for scientific research and publication. So that will take a week or so.
    The clinic has many patients and the success rate is very high for every disease. I have an room and lounge with air con and and office over looking manila. Mostly networking computers for now. If you want to send confidential info … use coghill.tom@gmail.com.
    The medications may be a factor in the hair loss. Is your hair dry with split ends. It may be loss a of natural oils as the body is conserving them.

  27. Steph says:

    I am starting a water fast and I would like to know which is better for you. Juice or water. i am not real bad overweight but I would love to lose about 10-15 pounds. I was also wondering if gatorade juice would be good for you during a fast as well. This is the first fast I have ever tried. I am going to do it for 3 or 4 days but I would like to go longer depending on how I feel. I would just like some general info.

  28. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Steph,
    Gatorade facts….
    Gatorade was developed to help athletes quickly replenish depleted energy sources and as a result is packed full of sugar as well as calories. Unless you are performing at a very high level athletically, drinking Gatorade is only going to build your spare tire around your waste
    It is a marketing gimmick to sell sugared water and proof that advertising does work.

    Gatorade Nutrition Info:
    Oz: 12
    Calories: 170
    Fat: 0.8g
    Carbs: 39.2g
    Protein: 2.6
    Sugar: 31.7g
    Calories Per oz: 25.83

    Steph buy a juicer or at least by fresh juice for the grocery store.

  29. Steph says:

    So basically, a water fast would be the best option? Would it be okay to do a water fast and drink some juice and eat some fruit during the water fast?

  30. Yosef Abraham says:

    Can I drink decaf green tea while water fasting ?

    How long should I fast to lower cholesterol and blood prerssure ?


    Yosef Abraham

  31. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Yosef,
    A 30 day juice fasting will cure high cholesterol and blood pressure. Yes to the green tea.

  32. dimar says:

    Is a 10 day water fast still beneficial if one drinks juice/eats fruit or eats one meal ONCE in the middle of the entire fast? Or does this interrupt the entire fast?

  33. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi dimar
    Yes there is a benefit. But if you are fasting for health do a longer juice fast.

  34. Kelly says:

    Hi Tom,

    This is my first time fasting and I’m finishing day two of a water fast and it’s incredibly challenging but I’m still going strong. I definately have the high’s and low’s but it’s by the MINUTE! I think I have a very fast metabolism, I’ve already lost 7 pounds! What is the recommended number of days I should water-fast for?

  35. Kelly says:

    By the way, my goal is to lose weight. So what would be the LEAST amount of days I’d have to water-fast for to get the maximum weight loss benefits? I know that the longer the fast, the less you lose.

  36. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi Kelly,
    As water fasting come with some risks that are not associated with juice fasting, such as breaking a water fasting is more difficult, I recommend 5 days for your first water fast then break it correctly. Fasting is a life-long system of periodic cleansing so do not rush it just for weight loss goals. It is better to be fit and thin for life than thin for a few days because you failed to master the transformational power of fasting.

  37. crystalia says:

    Dear Tom,
    This is my third time water fasting. I started out juicing for 7 days then water fasted for three. The second time another week of juice and then a week of water. Now I’m hoping to reach my goal of forty days water fasting. I seem to have plenty of energy water fasting and very little dizziness. The only problem is that i am constantly plagued with dreams in which i am gorging myself with food i wouldn’t normally eat. Then when I am awake I am constantly thinking about eating and preparing food. I’ve been going out of the way to buy and prepare my boyfriends dinners (something i don’t do on a regular basis). I am hoping the longer i am fasting the stronger I will become and that eventually i will overcome this addiction to food.

    I also have a question for you. When water fasting is it absolutely necessary to apply a douche. And if it is important to release the bowels could I possibly perform shankapraksalana, which is a kriya in which you drink about thirty cups of warm saline water, doing twisting exercises between each third cup. eventually this causes you to dispel your bowels. I’ve done this several times in the past but it is a very tiring process and you get horrible stomach pains by filling it over capasity. I don’t know if because i am fasting and my stomach has shrunk if that would cause any problems or perhaps reawaken the digestive system and cause me to have hunger pains for days afterward.

    hope to hear what you have to say about it


  38. Tom Coghill says:

    Hi crystalia,
    It is not crucial to do flush the colon during water fasting but the fast feels better. A hard thing to explain.
    Drinking salt water to flush the colon during a water fast is a bad idea. You entire body is overdosed with salt. I think the result will be bad. Better to do nothing. Your dreams can break a fast and cause gorging. You need to visualize yourself eating fruits and vegetables and feeling good about it. I have seem many people break a fast acting like a robot eating what they were dreaming of. It becomes a deep programming at a subconscious level awaiting a trigger.

  39. crystalia says:

    thanks for the advice. I am glad that I did not do the salt water cleanse. It’s just that I heard that if you did not do some sort of colon cleanse that the toxins building up in your colon would reenter your bloodstream and disrupt the detox. I’m glad to hear this isn’t so.

    For the past couple of days I have been doing much better. I love whole raw foods and have been craving them so I just picture myself making smoothies and eating fruits and nuts. To help with that vision I keep pictures of fresh fruits and vegetables around the house and my homepage on lovingraw.com. Although this hasn’t helped my dreams I don’t feel the urge to gorge when waking up. It’s just like a jolt of self anger when I wake up and truly feel that I broke the fast.

    The further I get into this water fast the more and more I become more attuned to my body. It’s as if I can feel the blood moving through my veins and how each breath effects me. The dizziness is minimal for now, just happening in the mornings. This may be because I don’t take enough time preparing myself to stand up.

    another question. Is it better to drink more or less water during the fast. Right now I am taking in about 16oz of vapor distilled water and I only feel a little dehydrated in the mornings


  40. crystalia says:

    dear tom,
    it has been the hardest couple of days for me. For one I slipped and fell down the stairs three days ago hitting my tail bone and both of my elbows.
    secondly, I got terribly sick yesterday. I had a sore throat, runny nose, weakness, etc. This broke late last night and I was finally able to get some sleep.
    This morning I started menstruating. After waking up, realizing this and taking care of it I fell back asleep. About an hour later I turned over onto my side and got the sharpest pain in my right back side. I thought it was probably a muscle spasm so I jumped in the bath and soaked in hot water. Once I got out of the bath though I started to experience the worst cramps I have ever had. I was practically paralyzed on the floor in tears.
    After deciding I couldn’t handle the pain anymore I took two ibuprofen and a shot of juice. The pain receded almost instantly but came back after an hour. I got back into the bath and stayed there for quite some time but the mixture of pain killer and juice on my stomach that hasn’t taken in anything but water for so long was horrid. I became very nauseous and ended up vomiting the contents of my stomach.

    I am worried about the location of the pain, being in the back right side. is there anything you can tell me about this?

    • Tom Coghill says:

      Hi crystalia,
      Just keep taking hot baths to sooth the pain. If the pain persists for more than 2 weeks then you have damaged your spine.
      There are some exercises that can help in the recovery at that stage. Taking medications on a water fast is a trip to hell.
      You need to take juice for about 6 hours before taking any pain killers. Tylenol with 7 mg of codeine is easier on the system and very effective and can usually be take with juice with out complaint on a prolonged water fast.

  41. crystalia says:

    dear tom,
    So the pain which started in my back moved into my abdomen on the right side. I was in agonizing pain for the entire day before I decided that I had to go to the hospital.
    The first hospital I went to was horrible. I was there for four hours crying in agony and they finally told me it would be another six hours before they could see me.
    The second hosital admitted me amediately but drugged my up so much and didn’t do everything they should have to diagnose me. From the symptoms we were pretty sure we were looking at kidney stones but the ultra sounds and other tests all made me seem perfectly healthy. The doctor who was against me water fasting said that because i had not been applying the enema that I was probably experiences serious constipation. he perscribed me for percs which i did not take and magnesium citrate.

    I could hardly hold down any water during this entire process because i had been so drugged up at the hospital. I felt like my entire body was in shock. The magnesium citrate was so painful to ingest and made my cramps unbearable. it was supose to pass through me in a half an our to six hours time and by the twelth hour i was in such agonizing pain i had to go back to the hospital.

    i decided to go to a diferent hospital. At this one they gave me a gentle pain killer that did not make me nauseous. The filled me with water and had me take a catscan. They diagnosed me with kidney stones, go figure. I could have spared myself all the pain that came with having the take the heavy pain killers and magnesium citrate if i had gone to the right hospital in the first place.

    my family is extremely worried, they seem to think that the kidney stones are related to the fasting and believe that i shouldn’t fast anymore. Right now i am just juicing and drinking broth

    • Tom Coghill says:

      Hi crystalia
      It is impossible to form kidney stones by fasting. Kidney and gall stones need uric acid to form a cellular byproduct and also caused by meat eating. Calcium is uses to neutralize the blood ph that is acidic after eating meat. Calcium and uric acid in an acidic blood tend to aggregate (look up “zeta potential”). They take years to form. For that reason you never see them in younger people or even in the 20s, those affected with kidney stones are mostly age 30 and up. The formation time is generally several years on a uric acid forming diet.

      I theories that they were in the kidney but not in the urinary tract. The fall caused them to became loose and entered the urinary tract causing intense pain. Although fasting can break down break down smaller uric acid crystals such as those of gout or arthritis the larger crystal compounds found in gall and kidneys stones are not affected by fasting.

      The first choice is ultra sonic vibration. It may or may not work. The send is endure the pain. Juice fasting can lessen the chance of infection and increase healing as the tear the lining of the urinary tract in passing. The size of the stones will determine the best procedure. If smaller, then suffer the passage. If the kidney stones are larger then ultrasonic vibration if the first choice and if that fails surgery.

      Kidney stones consist of a center that consists of crystal-like substances, and a surrounding region that is composed of layers. Kidney stones are composed of different chemical substances. Each of the major types is named for its main chemical ingredient. They are calcium stones, uric acid stones, cystine stones, and struvite stones.

      Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones, accounting for 75 to 85 percent of all stones. Most of these stones consist of calcium oxalate, or a combination of calcium oxalate and phosphate. Their formation is linked to high levels of urinary calcium, or a combination of calcium and uric acid, in the urine.

      Uric acid stones are relatively uncommon, accounting for 5 to 8 percent of all stones. A high level of uric acid in the blood and urine can cause this type of stone. They can form if a person’s urine becomes concentrated with certain dissolved substances that may make it more acidic.

      Cystine stones are rare, accounting for less than one percent of all kidney stones. These stones result from an inherited condition that causes an increase in the amount of cystine (an amino acid) in the urine. Because cystine cannot dissolve easily in water, it cannot be reabsorbed from the urine into the blood. This increases the chances that a stone will form.

      Struvite stones make up 10 to 15 percent of all kidney stones. Because these stones can be quite large, they can cause serious symptoms. Struvite stones are formed because of infection by specific bacteria, which throws off the balance of acid in the urine. These stones are mainly composed of ammonium and magnesium phosphate and resemble hard crystals.

      You need to be active in your treatment. Research before making any decision. If you do not have health coverage surgery is cheap in Colombia and has quality care.

  42. Hayes says:

    I am new to fasting, and will have to work my way up to it, but my ultimate would be to water fast for 40 days. I’m quite sure I have the stored energy reserves (aka FAT) to support this, as I am about 70 pounds overweight. I was wondering though, having a full time (not labourious tho) job, would it be possible to persue 40 days of water without taking that much time off?

    Also, I would just like to express my gratitude for the work you do here.. this site is very informative… and awesome! Thanks!

  43. Hayes says:

    I’m certain it’s pretty slow… Something I forgot to mention/ask about was that I am also on SSRI’s… what impact does that have on fasting..? Im a 29 yr old male, if that means anything…

    Also, thanks for the quick response! : )

    • Tom Coghill says:

      Hi Hayes,
      SSRI’s will not affect the fast. If you are taking them for depression, a 30 day juice fasting combined with a massive infusion of positive though can cure depression.

      For the readers: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor[1] (SSRIs) are a class of compounds typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and some personality disorders.

  44. shonn says:

    Hey tom when doing a water fast, are doing enemas necessary. What if don’t do it sdo the toxins still come out of your body. Shonn

  45. IYANLA says:



  46. TEE says:

    Hi Tom, i just have a quick question for u… How often should u or can u do a water only fast ?? Ok like say i went on a 40 day water only fast and today is my last day of that 40 fast, when can i do another fast, maybe not as long maybe like just 10 to 21 days but when could i do another one ???


    • Tom Coghill says:

      HI Tee,
      You need to let your body rebuild nourishment for the next fast. Listen to your body.
      But these are fantasy questions. Do a 10 day juice fast first. Do you have any compulsive eating issues. They will destroy all benefits of fasting. Remember, you can hurt yourself breaking a long fast wrong.

  47. cameryn says:

    Hello, i was just about to start a shorter fast as well 7 to 10 days, but i am an addict to caffeine. I usually drink a diet coke in the morning and at least 2 more throughout the day. If I don’t I get headaches. I know the addiction to caffeine is bad, but I feel that if I get rid of both caffeine and food, I wont be able to last. Would taking some sort of caffeine on a water-fast minimize results? I’m figuring a water/diet coke- fast is not the way to go 🙂 Thanks so much! Camryn

    • Tom Coghill says:

      Hi Cameryn
      Yes coffee fasting is a bad idea. I did it once during traveling south America. Really hard on the body. Juice fast and have one coffee in the morning. Cut the diet coke as it is health and teeth destroying.

  48. Tara says:


    First of all, what an informative site! I’m enjoying it.

    Secondly, I have a question. I’ve juice/water fasted before, but usually just 3-4 days at a time. This time, I’m on day 4 of a 7 day juice and water fast. I’m experiencing horrible hip and leg pain! The pain is not new to my life–I have it at least once a week, in the evening, after a long day. But this is all day long and keeping me up at night since day 2. I’m so miserable. I’m at the point of either quitting the fast or taking some ibuprofen (my usual relief). What should I do?


    • Tom Coghill says:

      Hi Tara,
      Your body enter a deeper state of cleaning and is rebuilding the damaged tissue of a past injury. The pain will come and be very intense to yes take the ibuprofen and wait it our. I have had it last from 3 to 7 days from damage that was several years earlier. After the fast you may be pain free of it will be greatly reduced. Try hot baths or cold compresses.

  49. donna says:

    Hi Tom, New to the sight I have R.A. and have have a bad flare up lasting 3 months so far, no meds just vicodin for pain, I want to rid myself of this disease, can it be done with Fasting?

    • Tom Coghill says:

      Hi Donna,
      I am not sure if fasting will totally remove all pain and symptoms are Rheumatoid Arthritis will have cause permanent damage. But I can guarantee, a huge pain reduction, greater flexibility without flair ups. For that result you will need to complete a 40 day juice fast.

  50. Pingback: Fasting FAQ « Ayunando

  51. Nikki says:

    I love this post! It is so insightful & accurate. My first fast was a 3 & a half day water fast. My body did a painfully amazing job releasing decades of toxins in that short time – & boy was I toxic! I grew up in a big city. I was raised on sugar cerals, McDonald’s & candy & soda. All my liquid for decades came from soda or alcoholic beverages. I never drank water. So yes, it was a painful experience! After the first couple of days, my entire body was in agony. The pain in my legs was unbearable. It radiated up into my back & throughout my body. I didn’t get out of bed beyond day 1. I already had a headache & was weak & dizzy before my first day ended. By the end of day 2 I was vomiting. By the end of day 3 I just kept a bucket next to my bed, so I wouldn’t have to get up anymore. I was so dizzy & weak, sick & in pain. Day 4 I actually thought I was dying – it sounds terribly dramatic, but oh I never felt so awful. I called my uncle to take care of my kids & he took me to the hospital. There ended my fast. The good news is I didn’t die, my body was just cleaning house. As soon as I got home (my uncle made me stay with him a couple days to make sure I was eating), I started over. I fasted off & on for the rest of the year on water, even a couple dry fasts. I never had a cleansing crisis like that first one again! So my body worked really fast to get the bulk of those toxins out. It was no walk in the park, everything Tom said in this post is very accurate. It gives an excellent picture of what to expect on a water fast!
    For all the ladies out there, I do NOT recommend beginning a water fast while mentruating. It is way more than you want to deal with. You won’t want to make many trips to the bathroom & showering really is a monumental feat! It may just be me because I was so toxic, but do try & go easy on yourself!

  52. angelap says:

    Hi everyone!

    I am currently doing my first water fast and am on day 3. I have a couple questions. One: Is there any way to tell when your body has gone from eating muscle glycogen to eating diseased cells, and then fat? (Not sure the order, or whether they happen in stages)

    Also, should I focus on cleaning my colon out or anything? I have not gone to the bathroom (no.2) since day 1. Day one was just my normal morning BM. Then nothing.

    I am also wondering why this is going so well, or why I feel so decent. I have lived my whole life on fast food (literally my parents fed it to me breakfast, lunch and dinner), cigarettes, alcohol, and every toxic environmental chemical known to man. Also, 5 years ago I breathed in 200 pounds of Freon gas – 5 times the fatal amount – at work during an accident. With so many toxins in my body, why is this not more painful and why am I not really noticing any signs of toxins flushing from my body?

    I am drinking distilled water throughout the day, not waterlogging myself or anything, but plenty of water. My last meal was Sunday afternoon.

    Any ideas on these questions – thanks!

    PS – I also quit smoking the same day I started the fast – haven’t even thought about them at all and I’ve had a pack sitting right here on the counter the whole time. Don’t desire one at ALL. 🙂

    • angelap says:

      Oh – and I also started menstruation on day 1 of fast

      • angelap says:

        Tom help! 😉 I thought I had to end the fast late last night because my two year old wouldnt go to sleep and I was getting so weak from being tired …I thought to have a small piece of watermelon. But now I woke up this morning regretting it and wanting to continue water fasting… But will my body be starting all over now with ketosis or what? What happens in a situation like this and what should I do?