Thinking about doing your first prolonged dry fast? Feeling a little nervous?
Well, I’m here to hold your hand as I guide you through the most important things to be aware of and what to expect when embarking on a dry fast.
A few years ago I completed my first: 5.5 days with absolutely no water contact whatsoever. I didn’t wash my hands, brush my teeth, or take a shower for almost 6 days. I literally sat in my own filth for just under a week!
It should go without saying I didn’t eat any food either…
Since then I’ve completed several 3-7 day prolonged water fasts, and plan on completing a 7 day hard dry fast at the end of next month with the goal of documenting the entire experience on this blog, start to finish.
Let’s dive straight into what you need to know about dry fasting to do it right.
Preparation Is King
A dry fast is not like a water fast. The primary difference is the risk of dehydration is way higher when doing it dry.
Stock Up On Supplies
Because of this, you’re going to want to keep the physical activity to a bare minimum. Which means you don’t want to be ducking out to the shops during the fast to buy supplies if you can avoid it.
Buy everything you need for the duration of the fast before you begin (maybe you can leave the meat and fruit until closer to the end).
Make sure you have this stuff on your shopping list:
- A few large bottles of Evian water (but any bottled water will do)
- Some watermelon juice
- Some grape juice
- Some prune juice (you only need to pick 1 of these juices, 2 if you like)
- Some coconut water (look for organic + no added sugar options, optional)
- Pink Himalayan salt or regular table salt (optional)
- Potassium chloride AKA “No Salt” or “Lo Salt” (optional)
- Baking soda (optional)
- Apple cider vinegar (optional)
- Lemon juice (optional)
- A straw (optional)
- Chicken breast (100-200g is plenty)
We’ll talk more about all this stuff at the end of the article when we’re discussing how to break your dry fast.
Schedule Your Fast In Advance
This isn’t really something you want to do on a whim. If you’re going to go 3+ days dry, you need to make sure you’re not going to be interrupted.
You won’t be able to do much of anything that isn’t lying around the house all day. Clear your schedule and remember you’re going to want to give yourself at least 24 hours after breaking the fast to get back up to speed before resuming normal daily activities.
Detox From Caffeine Beforehand
Like many of you probably do, I drink coffee every day. Since I’m going to be doing a prolonged fast in about a week’s time, I’ve decided that 2 days beforehand I’m going to completely stop drinking coffee, cold turkey.
In the past, I’ve gone into a fast having finished a triple shot latte only hours beforehand, to find that I get an epic headache a day later from the caffeine withdrawals.
Not everyone suffers from withdrawal symptoms from caffeine dependency. It doesn’t even affect me every time. But when it does, it’s bad!
Usually this wouldn’t be a problem because you can just take some ibuprofen or paracetamol to get rid of the headache. But on a dry fast, we don’t want to be putting anything into our body, especially not medications like those on an empty stomach.
Could you imagine having a wicked bad case of dry mouth and then trying to swallow a pill with no water to wash it down? That would literally be quite a hard pill to swallow!
You’re going to detox hard enough on a dry fast, you may as well make it easier on yourself by getting the caffeine withdrawals out of the way ahead of time.
Know What To Expect When Dry Fasting – The Stages of Dry Fasting
The first 48 hours is usually the worst. You can expect severe hunger, dry mouth, lethargy, and irritability. It won’t be smooth sailing after that, but it also won’t get increasingly difficult over time.
I’ve compiled a list of symptoms you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll experience at some point throughout your dry fast.
Some point in the first couple of days you’re going to get really hungry. But because you’re expecting it, it’s usually not too bad. You’re aware there’s nothing you can do about it and that you simply have to embrace the suck.
Horrific Dry Mouth
The next most noticeable symptom will happen around the 16-24 hour mark and that’s the dry mouth. The dry mouth is honestly one of the toughest parts about doing a prolonged dry fast.
It’s not a sensation we’re used to feeling.
Usually we’re hydrating constantly and our body will signal us to drink water well before we ever experience dryness in the mouth. It can be quite uncomfortable and is quite honestly worse than the hunger/lethargy.
Speaking of, after the 24-36 hour mark, you’re going to feel super lethargic and weak. You’ll feel like a wet noodle, like a big gust of wind might blow you over.
Dizziness, Lightheadedness, & Coldness
Around that same time, you’re going to experience some dizziness, which is completely normal.
Standing up too quickly, you’ll get light headed. You’ll probably remain in a somewhat light headed state for the remainder of the fast.
The reason for this is because by now we’ve engaged a metabolic process called hypertonic autophagy which causes a decrease in blood volume. Because you have less blood, your heart has to work harder to pump it throughout your body and so it can take longer for blood to reach your extremities, including your brain (hence the light headedness).
Also as a result you’ll maybe feel a little cold, particularly in your hands and feet.
Wild Heart Palpitations
You’ll also probably experience some pretty violent heart palpitations, most noticeable at night when you’re trying to sleep. It can keep you awake at night and may be quite unsettling. Just know that this is expected. In almost all cases, it’s harmless.
Mild Kidney Pain
You’ll probably notice a very dull aching in the side of your abdomen at some point. It’s not really painful and is hardly even uncomfortable but you can literally feel your kidneys working overtime as they sift through all the toxins that are exiting your system.
It’s actually kind of cool.
Not So Bad Cramping
You’ll get some mild cramping throughout the fast as well, because of the lack of hydration.
The Filthiest Looking Feces
Throughout the fast you’re going to have some awful looking stool as well. It’ll probably come out hard and black (looks like tar) at some point.
This is your body’s way of showing to you all the filth that’s built up in your body, that we’re finally getting rid of. You can probably expect to do your final number 2 up to 3-4 days into the fast.
Potent, Gritty Urine
Your urine will also be a dark yellow, maybe a little orangey, and probably will contain some grit/sediment. This is another elegant display of the pure filth your kidneys have had to deal with over the years.
Diarrhea After Breaking The Fast
Don’t be surprised if you get a mad case of the runs after you break your fast. This happens to me almost every time and is simply a result of catching your digestive system off-guard. Your bowel is still mostly asleep and still learning how to do its job again.
So remember to be extremely slow and gentle when breaking the fast. Eat slowly!
Stay Inside In The Air-Con
As mentioned, the biggest risk when dry fasting is dehydration. The absolute last thing you want is to be walking around outside in the heat, doing stuff like lifting furniture, walking up and down stairs, etc.
Lie in bed all day, watch YouTube videos, binge Netflix. Meditate. You have to conserve energy.
I don’t like doing anything that involves too much brain power either. Writing or working or any amount of strenuous thinking is going to burn more calories than just mindlessly watching Netflix.
Keep yourself cool and just relax.
In a couple weeks I’ll be experimenting with doing a more “involved” hard dry fast where I’m working/thinking for hours everyday, walking for 1+ hour, and seeing how much physical exercise I can get away with. Until I see exactly what I can get away with, my official recommendation is to mostly just take it easy.
Go For Short Walks If The Weather Permits
It’s fine to go out once a day for a brief, non-strenuous walk. Look for flat paths to walk on. Try to keep it under an hour.
You’re just trying to get out of the house and stretch your legs more than anything. You need a change of scenery. We’d rather not have cabin fever while doing this if possible.
If you want.
I find when your entire body just feels like trash, if you really sit there and think about the various sensations you’re feeling, you’ll come to find that a lot of what you thought was causing you discomfort was really just in your head.
If you’re doing a really long dry fast, 4+ days for instance, you kind of have to get a little spiritual with it. Your motivation and willpower will be tested. Meditating is a great way of getting back to reality when you’re stuck in your head and having doubts.
Break Your Fast Wisely
You have to do this part right.
Breaking your extended dry fast will not be some glorious cinematic moment you had imagined it to be. It’s actually remarkably underwhelming and you will be disappointed.
Luckily for you I’ve written another blog post on exactly how to break your dry fast so you don’t gain back any fat or water weight! Check out this article: How To Break An Extended Dry Fast – A Comprehensive Guide!
Share Your Experience!
Dry fasting is not something that has been well researched. I believe the best research in the field comes from those who are actually putting themselves through this experience and seeing what does and doesn’t work.
So please, if you have any additional information, or would like to share your experience, do leave a comment and let me and other readers know your thoughts.
Share your experiences with others who may be interested so we can all learn from one another and together we can establish better methods and systems for success and safety.