10 Day Water Fast (Again. Because it works.)
I water fasted 3 days last year. Results? Not too exciting.
They say… persistence is key.
So I didn’t eat for 10 days straight this month. Just water and rest.
Unlike last time, this fast showed much more noticeable changes, especially that it fixed my digestion. Good news for eczema sufferers is – if you fast for 10 days, I guarantee your itches will be next to zero.
- How and Why Fasting Removes Eczema
- Why did I fast?
- My 10-Day Water Fasting Daily Journals (with pictures)
- Chronic Constipation Gone!
- Fasting Pros & Cons
- How to Water Fast (in 200 words)
- Special Note to Eczema Sufferers
Fasten up! (Sorry)
*Note: long detailed post. If you want eczema-specific information, please scroll to “Special Note to Eczema Sufferers” as this post is more health-oriented (which is equally important)*
Breaking Myths on Fasting
Because conventional wisdom is twisted by the sake of tradition and motive clashes, let me quickly give you the key points.
A) Fasting is not starvation.
Energy usage of the body comes in 5 stages:
- Directly from the food in your stomach.
- Glycogen from your liver.
- Glycogen from your muscles.
- Ketosis: from your adipose tissues (fat deposits).
- Starvation: from your vital organs and tissues.
We take 2-3 days to reach stage four and that’s when actual fasting begins. To reach stage five, it takes the typical person 40 days (depending on body reserves). And we would look anorexic from having lost our fats. Additionally, true hunger is felt by the throat.
B) Fasting is natural. Not unnatural.
Think evolutionary biology. I didn’t know of a tribe that had food when needed 24/7?
For those doubting the unhealthiness of famine sufferers. First, they were already nutrient-deficient to begin famine with, it’s not like they were prepping up vitamins and minerals before a famine strikes. Second, famine sufferers usually don’t engage in complete fasting because they would eat a little bit of this and a little bit of that, rather than to stay clean-cut at stage four.
Why Fasting is Necessary
- Cellular waste materials (there are actually scientific markers of waste rather than just calling them “toxins”)
- Modern dietary excess (various irritant proteins, GMOs, sugar, addictives, etc.)
- Frequent contact with industrial chemicals, environmental pollution
- Physiological stress burdens (stimulants, lack of exercise)
But we have an immune system.
The body is continuously dealing with the toxic load, as we are feeding it more. When the body is unable to fend off, and is weak up to a point, autoimmune diseases like eczema arise. Even if you don’t have a health issue or a seemingly minor problem, it’s just going to get worse if you don’t care. Trust me, it’s not worth dismissing your health. I’ve had conversations with many fellow readers and many of them exclaim “I’ve never had a problem in the past, but suddenly I have eczema, what do I do?” Then they are crippled by the problem day and night.
Don’t be the next.
Rapidly rising numbers of autoimmune diseases is no new fact. Implicitly, more and more of us are losing the balance and the body can’t keep up.
Fasting puts the body at proper rest for a focused recovery.
We fast during sleep every day, until we eat again during the day. When digestion occurs again, it disrupts the natural recovery process (plus, it never gets to ketosis). Energy is the body’s currency, and digestion takes up to 50% of the body’s energy.
Our goal is to halt digestion and thus divert this digestive energy directly into recovery.
Not to mention 80% of our immune system is our digestive system (i.e. alimentary canal: mouth, stomach, intestines etc.). Hence, the massive benefit of letting it rest.
How and Why Fasting Removes Eczema
No doubt fasting is an extended period of time where we let our body do its job of self-healing.
Here’s the concept.
The body has an order of preservation. By stage 5 starvation mode, we would’ve lost much of our fats and muscles. But it knows not to use the muscle tissue from our heart, or the fats from our brain. Because the body follows sequences of importance.
Likewise, recovery has a recovery sequence. If you fast for several days, your body heals certain minor injuries like skin abnormal growths, that weird spot of hair, and so on. Gradually, your body begins to repair increasingly deeper body damages.
First week, your itching will noticeably reduce. Then, your wounds scab. Your discoloured skin seems to be clearing.
But here’s the catch.
Most people think when their eczema no longer itches (with decreasingly smaller patches), they mistake it for seeing eczema as completely healed like a task ticked off the body’s self-recovery to-do list.
Recovery is not black and white, much of the time is in grey-zone. Eczema heals up rapidly during fasting because:
- You’re giving more rest to your immune system to repair itself (from more sleep and halted digestion).
- You no longer consume irritant dietary particles that were damaging your system.
If you immediately eat some irritant food after fasting, it’s going to damage your digestive system again, and eczema is bound to reappear.
Key: Your goal is never to heal eczema because eczema is not a problem you can directly tackle. Your goal is to let your body repair its immune system so it does not manifest damage, like eczema.
Why did I fast?
As some of you might know, I stopped updating CES since last August because I was turning Year 12, in heavy-homework mode and exam preparation. And like how my eczema returned in Year 11, it did so again in my exam preparation period. I would have 3 coffees a day just to function. In short, I’ve graduated now and have time to update CES and respond to emails. I have much more to update especially in a change of the healing philosophy (as I’ve been reading a lot) and begin to understand eczema at a deeper level. This water fast was a kick-start to healing the damages I’ve done over the last school year. If you are still here, thank you for staying along. I’ll continue to make my findings as useful as possible.
My 10-Day Water Fasting Daily Journals (with pictures)
*Feel free to skim the journals. They are just records of how I felt each day.*
Note that people feel very strong withdrawal symptoms (i.e. feel like crap) if they have been eating a poor diet prior a fast. It should be known that I’ve always eaten a diet low to absent in chemicals, gluten, dairy and sugar. Hence, the transition period was fine for me.
My fast actually started since noon yesterday (July 13th). Family dog (Jing Jing) woke me up at 7. Took her for a walk and slept until 12. Went for a walk. Been reading stuff on my laptop. Had a headache since yesterday, but it seems to have reduced. Hunger-wise, only slightly in the afternoon. Drank around 6 glasses of water today. Can feel some weakness in the arms. Easy to get pins and needles if I sit on one leg over the other.
Slept at 10pm last night. Woke up at 6am by JJ. Went to the toilet but I felt extremely nauseated I almost threw up. I suspect it was due to different blood pressures from a sleeping position to suddenly rising up. Anyway, as I hastened back to my bed this feeling subsided. Slept for a few more hours until 11am. Feels general fatigue. The headache is lighter but remains. Not much appetite, and the body feels warmer than usual.
Took a 1-hour nap in the afternoon. Felt tired still. Took a walk with JJ. Suprisingly, didn’t feel too tired to walk her around. Bad breath since yesterday, despite brushing my teeth – it’s detox. Also, my younger brother infected me with chickenpox, which let me realize my strong headaches (which have stopped by night) were symptoms. But my chickenpox is mild. Slept at 12.
Woke up at 4:48am and couldn’t fall asleep. Read for an hour and slept until 10 something. I didn’t get more chickenpox blisters. I seem to be pretty healthy after all! My legs feel a bit weak. Urine these days are quite yellow. Eczema-wise, my chapped lips and patches on my face are smoothening. My energy levels seem to have risen up. Weakness is only physical. My brain is still on rapid fire. Slept at 1am.
Woke up at 10. Breath gets better. Napped in the afternoon. Hunger feelings from the stomach seem to have resided. While I miss food, it’s more of a mental habitual thing rather than actual craving, so that’s easy to ignore. Since I napped in the afternoon, I fell asleep at 3. My sleeping pattern is really messed up.
Woken up by JJ as expected, resulted in me waking up at 9. I noticed my heart was thumping a little harder than usual as I woke, but it later subsided.
Slept at 3 and woke up at 9 and napped again for 2 hours. Hunger feelings are very slight. The only downside is my body is generally physically weaker.
Slept at 2 and woke up at 11. Noticed the elephant texture on my arm crease patches are slowly smoothening; the discolorations are fading slightly too. I also noticed my tongue had a thick white coat. Probably had it days before too.
Slept at 1, woke up at 10:30. Had slight diarrhoea last night and this morning. More phlegm than usual. Thick white coat on tongue remains. Diarrhea periodically throughout the day.
Slept from 1 to 12. Still have a thick coated white tongue. Phlegm. Didn’t mention this before, but I had a few toothaches on both sides of my jaw for the last couple of days, which began to subside today. Urine has continued to be yellowish as I also feel less of the urge to drink water.
Day 10 (breaking)
Woke up at 9:40. My tongue is noticeably less thick. These few days I also have chapped lips. I broke the fast today. Had a fistful of melons starting at 2pm and thrice more at 2-3 hour intervals, and also a small box of blueberries. Didn’t drink water for the entire day. There were occasional stomach pains, but only slight discomfort.
Didn’t feel too hungry. Blended a glass of juice with 1 pear, some coconut cream and water. Later had a bowl of rice vermicelli as breakfast with my aunt. Had two of my morning juices again in the afternoon. Slight stomach pains later.
The next day, I had the same breakfast. And some plum juice. Improvements? Read below.
Chronic Constipation Gone!
The biggest healing I have benefited from this fast is the recovery of my digestive system. It’s all pointless when people talk about “my leaky gut is better now because I did X and Y.”
How do you prove the non-placebo effects?
As an eczema sufferer since 6, my “leaky gut” has been there for a while. With all the accumulation of damage and unhealthy habits, it all culminated into a surgery last summer when I had my appendix removed. Ever since, it feels as though my digestive power is halved and I began to develop chronic constipation that crippled me in Year 12 even up to my pre-fast days. Alongside I also have piles (which also disappeared on day 9). My movements were irregular averaging 1-2 per week, despite my strong-fiber diet, daily digestive enzymes, and occasional laxatives. Each movement also takes a long time and results in hard pebbles.
This is embarrassing for me to disclose. But I say it because my point is that water fasting really healed my chronic constipation. Upon the second day of eating after the 10-day fast, I had a fast and smooth movement. I feel like a normal person!
In relation to eczema, although discolored patches are still healing very slowly, what fasting has done is that it repaired my digestive system to an unprecedented state and I can evidently say: fasting has greatly improved my leaky gut syndrome!
Fasting Pros & Cons
I realize there are certain lighting differences, but in spite of that, you can notice the changes in texture of the skin and how the patches are not as rough and distinct from the normal skin. Another fact to mention is that I got really tanned from a 1-week trip to Thailand so that might explain my unusually tanned skin.
Link to picture with my coated tongue (warning: gross).
- Eczema Symptoms Reduce. I won’t overhype and say my eczema is completely gone. But my spots: 1) smaller in patch size, 2) smoothening texture from elephant skin, 3) discoloration is fading, 4) no itching. I’m not suprized about the improvements because I know it just works that way, and it will work for any person doing a proper water fast.
- Food Cravings Halt. Water fasting for more than several days almost always eliminates all physiological addictions to food. Currently, I don’t feel attracted to outside food at all. Smell is attractive but that’s natural. But in terms of things like bread and sugar, that feeling is absent now.
- Weight Loss. I didn’t have a scale at home so I didn’t bother. But visually I did take two photos to compare with, and I personally do feel much lighter!
- Mental Clarity. After starting to eat something in my post-fast days, as I’m writing this post, I experience the feeling of “brain fog.” It feels like some force is clogging up my efficiency in thinking. So fasting actually does bring mental clarity, which would aid us in making decisions.
- Senses Brighten. Like smell, sight, and hearing. Literally. The whole body feels more efficient.
- Physical tiredness, more sleep. Natural and needed for the body to do its job.
- Hypotension, pins and needles. Lower water content in the body. Natural in fasting.
- Less want for water, yellowish urine. Less movement means less thirst.
- Heart thumbing, difficulty breathing. Only two days.
- Thick tongue coat, bad breath. Detox symptoms. The tongue coat peaked around day 9 then it got less thick.
First few days should be the hardest, but I didn’t have much to withdraw like I said earlier, I was already on a pretty neat diet. These above are just minor and natural symptoms of detoxification.
How to Water Fast (in 200 words)
I’ve fasted three time in total and I’ve actually read books on the topic so you can trust me on this. No wordy content. In short:
- Pre-fast. Depending on your current diet, you will need to gradually restrict it into a healthy diet of at least 4 bans: gluten, dairy, sugar, chemicals (i.e. junk food). Do this for at least 2 weeks. The goal is to lessen the detox effects from otherwise rapidly jumping into a water fast. After this, you should do a short one-digit-day fast before you do an extended one.
- Beginning. You must have your schedule off entirely to your ability to rest at home. Remember to spare extra post-fast days.
- Fasting. Rest as much as possible. Drink only water, and when thirsty.
- Breaking. First day, take 1 fistful amount of low-fiber fruit juices at 2-hour intervals. Common options: orange, watermelon, melon. Next day and so on, increase the time in between intervals and consumption.
- Post-fast. Slowly reintroduce foods, in the order: fruit juices, whole fruits, raw vegetables, starch-heavy vegetables, meats.
Breaking and post-fast days are critical because your digestive system begins to recolonize its bacterial colony (as intestinal bacteria die after a week of inactivity)!
- The only fast is pure water-only fasting. Abstinence from everything but water. Juice fasts are really just diets, they work because you no longer digest solids. Less effective and slower.
- Fasts that take up only 3-4 days or less are ineffective because you have really just begun stage four of ketosis (you really begin fasting around day 3).
- Most people probably won’t support you. Sole self-determination is critical. Unless you have the energy to convince someone thoroughly.
- No reason to tell anyone. It doesn’t really help you stay on track.
- Getting a friend to do it together can work. I did this my first time.
Special Note to Eczema Sufferers
But I also really want you to water fast because I know it works. I’ve had chronic eczema since six. I’ve tested many treatments. At the end, where do I end up? Realizing needles don’t fix eczema. My body heals itself (short explanation, of course).
Final decision is yours, but let me try to convince you once more.
Time. I understand. It’s easy for me to preach because I’m a student with summer vacations. Unless you work at home, it’s hard to find a few weeks to spare. That leaves you with restrictive dieting which takes months (which is the primary solution most people choose). It works, but much slower. Water fasting is a complete body reset that rapidly AND deeply repairs you.
If your eczema is severe, compounded with other autoimmune problems (they are almost always interconnected and will heal up with your eczema), taking this month off will be the best decision you can ever make. Just imagine the stress-less days after the fast.
More importantly, the longer you delay, the longer it takes to recover. Think about it, really. It’s worth it in the long run.
Foreign Idea. Fasting has been around for thousands of years. This idea of not eating for a day or two sounds absurd to the newcomer. Not unusual. Most people don’t easily accept the idea either. But it works.
Any absurd idea will convince anyone desperate to try after so many rounds of failures. That’s exactly how I felt after 10+ years of conventional treatment. Call me a guinea pig, it worked for me. What makes us different?
If you prefer the scientific approach, there is actual research. Read “Future Reading.”
Lack of Support. There are actual fasting clinics where medical professionals supervise you to take fasts up to months. If budgeting is an issue, you could consider self-formed groups or to take it spiritual-based sessions. At least there are people if you’re worried about safety.
But most people ignore “don’t fast more than 3 days without medical supervision.” Honestly, we are sensible enough to eat if something goes dramatically wrong. Additionally, a direct jump into a water fast is risky. That’s why there must be pre-fast period of restrictive dieting to spread out the withdrawal effects.
It sounds absurd because we are familiar. If you’re searching for the ultimate solution to eczema (and implicitly, autoimmune diseases), this is our body’s fastest way to repair itself.
“Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease” – a book I read during my fast and strongly recommend. It debunks conventional wisdom to health. Shows clinical cases and research to back up the approach of fasting. Dr. Fuhrman himself once participated in the world ice-skating championships. With a heel injury, instead of surgery, he fasted for 46 days and as you guessed, it healed. He has since been treating numerous of patients of complicated diseases.
Dr. Kim’s post on fasting – answers common FAQ.
Personal success story found online – Inspirational. He knows what he’s talking about too.
21-Day Water Fasting Experiment – personal experimentation by a blogger and personal coach Celestine Chua with detailed daily accounts.
The Hygienic System – a book free to read online. Dr. Shelton is one of those who push the movement of fasting. While his other philosophies of health are known to be somewhat dodgy, his book on fasting details clinical cases, and body mechanisms during a fast.