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.
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.