Whether it is water, autophagy or intermittent fasting, the trend for fasts is at an all-time high. We are gradually understanding that Fasting boosts stem cells’ regenerative capacity and helps us become physically fit.
Physical fitness is not the only benefit fasts provide; they help us emotionally as well. There are even places where religious purposes are behind fasting. A common reason for fasting is the cleansing of our souls and developing closeness with our inner voice.
Note: If at all uncertain, take medical advice or practice longer term water fasting under the supervision of a medical practitioner. Get to know about water fasting through research and visiting online fasting communities.
What is Long Term Water Fasting?
We know that avoiding food and drinking only water for a limited time is water fasting. Depending upon the number of days, we classify it into three categories; short, medium, and long term fasting. Best to be aware of the other two types of fasting before understanding its long term version. Below is a brief introduction of all three types:
1. Short Term Water Fasting
This category is also known as water fasting for beginners and maybe of 12, 24 or 48 hours. It means we do not eat food and only drink water. Short term fasts help us instantly lose weight and give our digestive system a break. Sometimes we practice it to prepare for medium or long term water fasting.
These fasts are also known as:
- 12 hour water fast
- 24 hour or 1 day water fast
- 48 hour or 2 day water fast
2. Medium Term Water Fasting
When we do not consume food and drink only water for 3 to 10 days, we practice medium term water fasting. It helps us, especially to prevent Cardiovascular diseases, or heart attacks. It’s also beneficial when we have prevailing health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and others. Some medium term fasts are:
- 72 hour or 3 day water fast
- 5 day water fast
- 7 day or 1 week water fast
- 10 day water fast
3. Long Term Water Fasting
This is the type of fasting where we do not consume anything except water for at least 11 days. Most of us prefer this type of fasting when we want to improve both emotionally and physically. It is commonly known as extended fasts. The extended fasts are:
- 2 week water fast
- 20 day water fast
- 21 day or 3 week water fast
- 30 day water fast
Benefits of Long Term Water Fasting
Some common benefits of longer fasts are:
- In comparison to other parts of our body, the reduction of fat is more around our belly.
- During a month-long fast we lose from 30 to 45 pounds or 15 kilograms.
- After overcoming the difficulties in the initial days, we experience increased functioning of our bodily processes.
- The growth hormones in our body increase. As a result, they help with preserving muscle mass when we do not eat food.
- We witness lower blood pressure and lower levels of insulin. These are the primary signs that fasting is healing our body.
- It reduces the risks of chronic diseases and cancer.
- It removes the unwanted protein and dead cells from our bodies.
Important Metrics to Monitor
With longer term fasts we don’t eat anything for longer periods. In such a situation, it becomes important to monitor different elements of our body. Here are some of the important things to keep track of and monitor before and during long term fasting:
- Body measurements
- Percentage of water in our body
- Percentage of muscle mass
- Percentage of body fat
- pH balance
- Important components of blood such as iron, cholesterol, vitamin D, and others.
It is not mandatory to monitor all these. Which metrics to track depends on the term of fasting and our budget. Monitoring these is about keeping an eye on increased risks.
What to expect while Water Fasting for 2 weeks to a month?
When we mention long-term water fasting results, it usually refers to the following:
- 14 day water fast results
- 2 week water fast results
- 21 day water fast results
- 30 day water fast results
Most of us when new to long term fasts: Even the thought of skipping food for 2 weeks to a month would frighten us. We wonder whether the 30 day fast before and after situation is going to change or remain the same. Here are hints of what may happen to our body during the fasting period, and that things become easier.
Days 1 – 3: The first three days are the most difficult ones due to our experience of extreme hunger. This is a usual signal by our minds and we overcome it by drinking water.
Some usual symptoms we may face during these days are:
- Uneasiness of intestines
- Muscle weakness
- Bad breath
- Mucous in stools
- Mild stomach pains
Days 4 – 9: This is a period when the speed at which fat burns is at a maximum. The process of ketosis starts – which means the reserved fat in our body melts and starts acting as fuel. This is also the time when we experience greater levels of energy. Also, our mind does not receive extreme hunger messages because fat provides all the essentials.
Some usual symptoms during these days are:
- Blurred vision
- Oily skin
- Mild drop in blood pressure (we need to see the doctor immediately if our blood pressure drops sharply).
- Weakness and drowsiness during daytime
- Clogged sinuses
- Foul breath
- Mucus coating on the tongue
- Concentrated urine
Days 10 – 16: This is the time when our thoughts become clearer and we gain emotional balance. Our body also adapts to the fasting process. If we are suffering from some disease, its symptoms decrease or may even vanish completely. The pink color of our tongue comes back and our fresh breath returns.
When it comes to common symptoms we may experience during this period, there are not many. Most things might improve by this time. However, sometimes mucous may discharge via our throat and nose.
Days 17 – 30: Most of us achieve our objectives during this period. All functions of our body normalize and we feel happy about it. Our eyesight gets better and functioning of our urinary system improves. Sometimes hunger returns before the 30th day which is an indication that we are nearing the end and ready for breaking the fast.
Obesity and Water Fasting
Obesity and health concerns indeed lead many of us to do long-term water fasting. If you search the Internet for obesity causes and solutions, you’ll find lots of information. The simplest and cheapest way to get rid of extra body fat is fasting. Here are some important points which explain the importance of fasting when reducing extra fat:
- It is a known fact that added sugar, junk foods and soft drinks are the biggest culprits behind obesity. We do not consume these while water fasting and that’s why we reduce extra body fat quickly.
- Water fasting reverses insulin resistance which means it does not allow blood sugar to convert into fat.
- It improves our quality of life which is essential for obese or overweight people.
Things to consider before water fasting of 2 weeks to a month
There are many things to consider before starting with 2 weeks to a month of water fasting. The most important ones are:
An important thing to do before starting the fast is setting goals. Some examples of long term water fasting goals are:
- I am doing 2 week fast because I am overweight and obese. It is going to help me get in shape by reducing body fat.
- I expect to maintain peace of mind as one of the 21 day water fast results.
- Water fasting for a month is going to help me lose weight and eventually improve my Body Mass Index (BMI).
We all have at least one person in our life who oppose our thoughts and demotivate us even before starting with something. Criticizers are mostly our friends, colleagues, and family members. When we discuss our long-term water fasting plans with them, be prepared for the following common replies:
- It is difficult to live a normal life for so many days, you can’t do it.
- It is almost impossible to remain fit for such a long period without eating anything. The best way is to drop the idea to water fast for 2 weeks to a month.
- You are going to do irreversible damage to your mind and body.
Rather avoid such statements and focus on achieving your goal. The best way to overcome such situations is to do more research and reassure ourselves that we are going to succeed.
We may come across different sets of instructions while researching water fasting. Though they are meant to help us, it is almost impossible to follow each and every one of the instructions. Besides, some of the guidelines look like obstructions and some appear useless.
Therefore, instead create your own set of rules and follow them during the fasting period. For example:
- I am going to drink only purified water during my 1 month water fast.
- To balance the nutrition levels in my body, I may include apple cider vinegar and herbal teas or salty water.
- I am not going to measure my weight daily for the next 30 days.
Real-Life Examples of Long Term Water Fasting
We are not the first ones to undertake water fasting of 2 weeks to a month. Many have done it before and gained from it. Their experiences inspire almost every water fasting aspirant. Below are some real-life examples of long term water fasting:
Frequently Asked Questions
To be successful with a long term fast we need to first get answers all the questions. Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions people have before starting their long-term water fasting:
1. Is it possible to fast and live a normal life at the same time?
Experts are right when they suggest to rest more and stay away from intense tasks. This does not mean living a normal life while fasting is impossible. It’s still possible to commute to the office, complete our everyday tasks, and even go to the gym twice a week. However, we need to be careful about activities that put pressure on our heart.
2. What is the average weight loss during 30 day water fasts?
There is no correct or incorrect average weight loss after a water fast. It varies from person to person. On average we lose between 1 and 2 pounds each day during the fast.
When we drink only water for 30 days, we may lose around 30-45 pounds in that period. Thus the 30 day water fast average weight loss is beneficial.
3. 14 day water fast results and 30 day water fast results
We lose around 13-18 pounds during the 14 days and we decrease our body weight by around 30-45 pounds during the 30 days. Remember the results may be different for different people. Sometimes a 14 day fast doesn’t fulfill our expectations fully – regarding specific health conditions, weight loss, and peace of mind. During a water fast of 30 days the results are usually pleasant and surprising.
4. Is it safe to start fasting for a month without consulting a doctor?
It is advisable to start fasting by consulting a medical practitioner. An experienced doctor would make sure we are physically fit for the fast.
5. Is long-term water fasting suitable for everyone?
Water fasting of 2 weeks to a month is not for everyone. Experts say that the following persons are not suited for any kind of fasting:
- Women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Anyone suffering from deficiency diseases or with serious health issues.
- People who are underweight should take on fasting carefully and slowly.
6. How do we break longer fasts?
When breaking a fast, and therefore our body gets food for the first time after many days, be sure that such foods and drinks are light and easy-to-digest. We break fasts by initially drinking orange or lemon juice. It is better if we continue drinking juice or soup for 1-2 days after the fast and introduce easy-to-digest food items gradually.
The Bottom Line
When it is about achieving something, we achieve benefits when we work hard and smart. This is true with regards to fasting as well. When we want to practice water fasting of 2 weeks to a month it is smart to first acclimatise ourselves by successfully completing short term fasts. Another important thing, when in doubt, is to consult a registered health practitioner before starting with the fast.