| |

My 21-Day Water Fast: What it was like + Results

Fasting – what is it? Why do it? This is my own experience with a 21-day water fast: my plan, how I survived, what kept me going, and my amazing water fast results. Be sure to check out my 21 day water fast before and after pictures below! Please consult your doctor before any major diet changes.

21 day water fast short pin 1

Quarantine weight gain, anyone? How about freshman 15 (or is that 25?)?

Water fasting is a topic that I’ve read about for years and have always wanted to try out, although I’ve always felt it was slightly taboo. “Are you mentally okay?” “Is this an eating disorder?” “Why would you not eat?” – of course, these would be my own made-up judgments that I would imagine others thinking. In practice, it turns out, like most things, I didn’t really care for other’s opinions, and chose to really only share what I was doing with people who wouldn’t judge me: my partner, family, and…well, Reddit’s incredible fasting and water fasting communities which are both full of great water fasting weight loss success stories. 

🀷‍♀️ Why did I do an extended water fast and what are fasting benefits?

Other than sheer curiosity and desire to see what my body can do, I wanted to:

  • Experience autophagy: that is when your body breaks down old/bad cells and generates new ones. Out with the old, in with the new!
  • Detox: Similar to autophagy, getting rid of toxins that have been building up for 30-odd years.
  • Test ketosis out again: relive some of the nice and not-so-nice symptoms that ketosis brings. 
  • Weight loss, of course! I was officially overweight which is simply not healthy for my 160cm/5ft3″ body. It’s stressful mentally and physically (especially on my hip joints!), and doing nothing will absolutely make it worse. Fasting for weight loss is a common solution that works!

🚰 What can you drink during a water fast?

Surprisingly, not just water! I drank plenty of herbal teas and plain soda water. You can even drink coffee as long as it doesn’t have any sugar or milk in it. I would avoid adding sweeteners as well, just because I find that they make me feel hungrier when I’m fasting. A couple of coffee recipes I make regularly on a fast are French Press Espresso for a quick energy boost, and Greek Frappe without any sugar or sweetener.

I also drank an electrolyte salt mixture which was essential to keep my body in check. Your body needs essential minerals to thrive. The formula for fasting juice (sometimes referred to as “snake juice”) was:

  • 1/2 tsp Food grade Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate – magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.)
  • 1 tsp Lo-Salt (potassium chloride – Potassium is essential for the function of the heart, muscles, kidneys, nerves, and digestive system)
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt (Sodium chloride (NaCl – salt) – an essential compound our body uses to absorb and transport nutrients, maintain blood pressure, and maintain the right balance of fluid.)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate – often used to treat conditions caused by high acidity in the body, such as heartburn, which is a common side effect when fasting.)
  • Mix this up in 2 liters of water.
  • Drink the entire 2 liters daily.

It tasted absolutely disgusting, and I definitely didn’t drink enough of it. Before my next fast, I want to experiment with making this more palatable.

🀀 Was I hungry during my fast?

YES! Every day, but not all day. I definitely wanted to eat, but the cravings weren’t strong enough for me to break the fast.

πŸ“† Did I live my normal day-to-day life during the 21 day liquid fast or did I take 3 weeks off?

It was mostly normal. The first week was very difficult with the headaches and body aches, but after that, it was pretty easy to get on with life and work. I work as a VA for food bloggers and maybe I’m slightly desensitized to food videos and recipe posts because of it, but work was fine, possibly more productive than usual. Outside of work, I was able to cook meals for my partner without tasting them. He eats a lot of things that I try to avoid so the food (ridiculous Mac & Cheese and a stir-fry with regular wheat and soy-containing soy sauce) wasn’t tempting to me anyway. He made some amazing Thai Red Curry (including the paste from scratch) which was definitely tempting though!

πŸ‹οΈ‍♀️ Can you exercise during a water fast?

I kept exercise to a minimum. Usually, I enjoy HIIT, hula hooping, roller skating, and yoga. During the fast, I stuck to walking and yoga. I just didn’t have the energy for intense exercise. I’ve read a few accounts where people have kept up most of their exercise routine though so it is possible!

🌊 How do you stay motivated throughout the fast?

For me it was two things:

  • Determination: when I really put my mind to something, there’s little that can stop me.
  • The number on the scale: It moved down effortlessly. My water fast results were incredible. It was amazing to watch!

πŸ“— My 21 Day Water Fast Diary

body weight loss progress pics, front

After day 9 it’s not very detailed, because nothing really changed.

  • Day 1: Pretty much normal. Hunger was normal, nothing too crazy. Good Sleep.
  • Day 2: Slight headache. I went for a long walk, felt fine but tired around 5pm. Hungrier, but taking supplements so it’s bearable. Sleep is fine.
  • Day 3. Woke up with a headache and feeling generally fatigued. I took supplements with water and felt more energetic. Still hungry, but it comes and goes.
  • Day 4: Massive hip, lower back, and leg pain. Headache is pretty much gone. Hunger pretty much gone.
  • Day 5: Felt great most of the day. Slight pain in the evening right before bed, but a heating pad took care of that nicely.
  • Day 6: Felt pretty normal, a little more tired than usual. No more pains.
  • Day 7. Had a bowel movement. Felt tired all day, and hungry. Upped my water intake.
  • Day 8: Feeling a bit better – less tired, taking more electrolytes really does help.
  • Days 9 – 12: Feel great! Occasionally tired but overall good for 10 day water fasting. Can’t exercise too hard – walking for 20 minutes seems to make me more tired but I feel good after. Plenty of yoga. Bowel movements days 9 and 11.
  • Days 13-21: No real change. Overall still a bit hungry (definitely want to eat), but nothing that I can’t mentally fight through. Feeling weak after exercise. 

πŸ’¦ Daily water fast results:

body water fast weight loss progress pics, side

For reference, I am 160cm/5ft3″:

  1. 66.6kg (146.8 lbs)
  2. 66kg 
  3. 63.1 kg
  4. 63.3kg
  5. 61.9kg
  6. 62.2kg
  7. 62.2kg
  8. 62kg
  9. 61.9kg
  10. 61.6kg – Note: If I had decided to do a 10 day water fast, I would’ve lost exactly 5kg (11lbs).
  11. 60.7kg
  12. 60.2kg
  13. 60.1kg
  14. 59.5kg
  15. 59.2kg
  16. 58.8kg
  17. 58.7kg
  18. 58.4kg
  19. 58.2kg
  20. 57.9kg
  21. 57.5kg (126.7 lbs)

Total loss: 9.1kg (20 lbs)

🍲 How I broke my water fast:

Having heard of refeeding syndrome, eating again was the main worry of my fast. After some research around the internet and Reddit, I decided that it was probably something I didn’t need to worry about too much. Generally, from the cases I read, this refeeding syndrome happens to severely malnourished people, and that just wasn’t me. If I fasted past 30 days it would be more of a concern.

My brother (who did his first extended fast in January) had an old book on fasting and breaking a longer fast. I loosely followed the advice for two days and then…had steak and chips. I do not recommend that (!), and next time I’ll move much more slowly into eating regular food. But here’s what I ate to get back into the swing of things (and I now feel fine):

My initial breaking of the fast:

Day 1: 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a pint of water, 250g passata (tomato juice) diluted 1:1 with water, and 1 knorr chicken stock pot added. It tasted amazing, just like tomato soup. I drank this slowly over about 3-4 hours. Then I had some apple juice, and eventually kimchi and sauerkraut for dinner. Felt great.
Day 2: More of the same, plus some eggs. Felt great.
Day 3: Steak, shrimp, fries: felt terrible.

πŸ… How to break an extended water fast – the proper way!

  • Day 1: Start off with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a pint of water, then mix 250g passata (tomato juice) diluted 1:1 with water, and 1 chicken stock pot, OR have bone broth instead of the diluted passata (this would be ideal). Drink this slowly over about 3-4 hours. For dinner, try having kimchi/sauerkraut/fermented vegetables to help with healthy gut bacteria. If you’re not concerned about ketosis, add fruit juice. Keeping low carb? Skip it! 
  • Day 2: Same as day 1, plus salad veggies/vegetables with high water content like tomatoes. Add a plant-based protein shake if hungry.
  • Day 3: All of the above plus chunky veg, fruit (if not doing keto), and maybe an egg or 2. If you’re not lactose intolerant, you can add kefir or yogurt for some extra good gut bacteria.
  • Days 4-6: Make a chunky vegetable soup for the next 2-3 days. Try some avocado and maybe a few nuts too. Calories should be getting close to around 1000 per day. Experiment with spices (but nothing too crazy because you don’t want to upset the stomach! Herbs are good).
  • Days 7-14: Eat mostly vegan, but try some lean meat. Ideally start with some light fish, moving over the next week onto light poultry and eventually red meats, fatty fish, and dark poultry. Calorie intake should be close to normal.
  • Days 14-21: Experiment with adding dairy and grains. Try adding them one at a time (e.g. butter day 14, cheese day 15, rice day 16, gluten-free crackers day 17, wheat bread day 18) to see if any gut issues come up.

πŸ’™ What’s water fasting?

Water fasting is a type of fasting where you don’t eat any food and only drink water for a period of time. This can be anything from half a day to even months! On a water fast, you don’t eat any foods, but drinking electrolyte water is essential to keep your vital organs and body working properly. You can also drink zero-calorie beverages like coffee and tea without sugar and milk.

πŸ€” Is Water Fasting Safe?

It’s become pretty popular recently as a way to lose weight and get healthier, but there’s still a lot of debate about whether it’s actually safe or not. While some people (like me!) swear by water fasting and say it’s changed their lives, there are definitely some risks involved.

One of the biggest concerns with water fasting is that you could get dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance. Basically, if you don’t drink enough water while you’re fasting, your body might not work right and you could get seriously sick. On top of that, if you fast for a really long time, you might not get all the nutrients your body needs, which could also be bad for your health.

All that being said, plenty of people have done water fasts and felt great afterward. But it’s really important to keep in mind that whether or not water fasting is safe depends on a lot of different things, like your medical history, how healthy you are right now, and how long you’re planning to fast for. So if you’re thinking about trying a water fast, make sure you talk to a doctor first and get some advice on how to do it safely.

πŸ˜‹ Recipes to try (when not fasting!)

Have you ever tried fasting? We’d love to know <3 Tag us (@makehealthyrecipes) on Facebook and InstagramPin it on Pinterest, and please leave a star rating review below! Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list (top right of this page) for sparkly new recipes in your inbox.

πŸ“– How to make Electrolyte Water (Recipe)

Electrolyte Water

Bethany Galloway
This water and salt formula is essential to keep your body functioning properly during an extended fast!
4.60 from 45 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 2 liters

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 tsp Food Grade Epsom salts
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 tsp Lo-Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 liters water

Instructions
 

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a 2 liter jug of water.
  • Drink over the course of one day.
  • Mix with herbal tea for a better flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1grams
Keyword electrolytes, extended fast, fast, fasting, water fast
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts

34 Comments

    1. I did until I got pregnant, still working on the pregnancy weight gain. If I wasn’t breastfeeding I’d probably go ahead and do another fast.

      1. Wow you did incredible with the water fasting and providing these awesome details I truly appreciate it and ready to begin. Congrats on your pregnancy btw

          1. Sorry if I missed it in the write up, but how tall are you? I have almost the exact same starting weight

          2. I am 5ft3/160cm. I’ll edit the post and make sure that pops up a couple of times – it’s definitely handy to know!

          3. Hello, I am also starting this fast today but I was curious as to what supplements you took during this fast?

          4. Hi Lalanie,
            If you scroll to the recipe card, my daily Electrolyte Water recipe is there, and I also chat about it in section 2 called “What do you drink on a water fast?”. Hope that helps and good luck! Feel free to reach out with any more questions!

      2. I m also done 21 days water fasting in 1jan2022 . But I can’t maintained weight.. So my question is that when I started again long fasting???

    1. Honestly, I stopped taking them as soon as possible because I was sick of the taste! I didn’t continue them with the refeeding. I’m working on a better electrolyte recipe for next time as drinking salt is a little rough, even when you mix it with iced herbal tea. When refeeding, I tended to have food that had salt or I’d season it well (e.g. eggs, broth), or I’d have a fermented food like kimchi which is stored in a salty brine.

    1. I actually became pregnant pretty soon after fasting. I’m not too sure if the two are related. I managed to stay at a lower weight until I was pregnant though, (for around 3-4 months) not losing any extra – just maintaining. I wouldn’t say I necessarily ate healthier purposefully, but it was summer and I was swimming and grilling every day, eating fresh Greek produce from the market, so much more nutritious than my usual foods, and was more active as well.

  1. You indicated you used supplements; can you please detail those? I’m thinking of doing this and adding collagen peptides to my liquids to mitigate loss of muscle. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Alisa!
      If you scroll to the recipe card, my daily Electrolyte Water recipe is there, and I also chat about supplements in section 2 called β€œWhat do you drink on a water fast?”. I stuck to the simplest supplements (basically just the necessary ones), so I don’t have anything to report on collagen peptides while fasting. However, I’ve read that they are really good for you, and have taken some in my protein shakes but that was post-extended water fasting. The only thing I’m not sure about is if they would break the fast. My collagen peptides don’t list the calories, and over 50 cals would technically not be fasting anymore. Let me know if you try it and how it goes!

    1. I didn’t while I was fasting, but I did 3 months later, which coincided with both my pregnancy and also I was visiting a hot country for a month. I’m not sure if all 3 factors resulted in the hair loss, or if it was one thing in particular. It’s definitely something I’ll be looking out for the next time I do an extended fast or if I become pregnant again. My hair loss wasn’t terrible, just excess shedding to the point that my partner noticed more hair everywhere but it didn’t look too bad.

  2. Hello! Your water fasting journey is incredible! Congrats on all the success! I did have a question though, are the results noticeable? I’m trying to lose weight and fix my PCOS with water fasting for a month. I just wanted to know if like the changes are noticeable – health wise and physique wise?

    1. Thank you! Physically it was quite noticeable. Health-wise, I didn’t really feel much different afterward. A good sense of accomplishment, but health-wise I haven’t really seen any differences as of today.

  3. Hello! Thank you for such an inspiring sharing.
    I’m now on my day 4 water fast. One thing I’m curious about…did it cause any sagging skin after the fasting?

    1. Hi Annie!

      I didn’t experience any sagging skin, however, I didn’t have that much weight to lose. I imagine if I was a bit more overweight the sagging skin issue may have crept up. Good luck with your fast!

    1. Wow, hope it goes well for you, Rosslyn! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

      Cheers,
      Bethany

      1. Hi Bethany! Thanks for documenting this! I’m starting day one tomorrow! My biggest concern is giving up my coffee with heavy cream! I have lots of experience fasting but have always done a version of fasting while still enjoying my coffee. I’m excited to try β€˜water only’.
        Thank you for inspiring me!

        1. Hi Piper!
          Wishing you the best of health in your fasting journey! Funnily enough, I switched from coffee to tea when I fasted and haven’t really looked back! I have an occasional coffee every now and then but not the whole pot like I used to. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions while you fast.
          All the best,
          Bethany

  4. I’m on day 2 of my water fast! Starting weight was 74kg (I’m 5’7) and this morning I was disappointed to see I only lost 0.4kg but reading your progress put my mind at ease a little bit. I have to accept that it takes time. So far I have a bit of a headache but otherwise I’m doing pretty good. Also adding salt to the water fast is a game changer for me and I can see myself doing it on the regular! Your comment about β€œyou can do anything you put your mind to” was really inspiring thank you so much!! if you ever do another fast I’d love to read about it.

    1. Amazing! I’m glad it’s going well so far and that this post is useful. 0.4kg in a day is a great loss =] I’ve just finished breastfeeding so I’m doing alternate day fasting at the moment to work off the pregnancy weight. I’m tempted to do another extended fast but a little apprehensive as I need to be on the ball for my toddler. We’ll see though, you might see another post in a few months!
      Good luck with the rest of your fast!

  5. Hi
    Thank you for your post. Very informative and inspiring.
    Were you able to do another round of the extended fast? Also, did you notice any changes to your skin/eyesight while you were on the fast? Also, did you do a pre and post blood work up during the fast to document if there were any changes?

    1. Hi! Glad you liked the post. My skin had a few more blemishes than usual, but I didn’t notice a change in my eyesight. I did not have any blood work done at that time. I haven’t done another extended fast as I was breastfeeding for the last 2 years, but I’m tempted to do one soon. Hope your fasting journey is going well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating