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Putting down the fork: 8 steps to water fasting

Water fasting for contemplation and reflection
Water fasting for contemplation and reflection
Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

One of the oldest and most challenging fasts to attempt is the water fast. A water fast is total abstinence from all food and drink except water for a period of time and can range from 1 to 40 days. During the night while at rest, our bodies go to work cleansing and detoxifying itself; the same occurs in a water fast.

Cleansing water
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The constant stress that we put our bodies through digesting food, dealing with emotions and work overload can force it into a defense mode. Illness is usually a signal that the body needs a rest. Water fasting is one method used to help the body get itself back on track.

People engage in water fasts for different reasons: spiritual, health, weight loss, etc. But whatever the reason, it can be an experience like none other.

Here are 8 things to do before, during and after the fast:

  1. Do your research, then set your mind to it. Any life changing activity should be researched first. If you like what you read and feel strongly compelled to do it, forge on.
  2. Decide the length of time for your fast. Setting a goal with boundaries will help you stay on course.
  3. Prepare your body and alert those close to you. The week before, try to consume only fruits, vegetables or fresh juices. Alert your supporters, not those who will sabotage your mission.
  4. Get rid of tempting foods. If you live alone, it’ll be easier, but If you have a family, creating a space away from them, will be helpful.
  5. Use distilled over purified water. Distilled water is better because it is able to bind to toxins and pull them out of the body.
  6. Expect some unpleasantness. The first few days will be the hardest; this is determined by your diet prior to the fast. Emotions, mostly negative, will be high, pain evident, energy low and body odor and breath will become repulsive; this is normal. Longer fasts will bring days of higher energy and clear-mindedness.
  7. Rest and relax while you release. Ponder your life and check your emotional state. Allow your body to release the toxins as you release toxic relationships. Use peroxide and water to brush teeth daily - it helps somewhat.
  8. Break the fast gently. Eat foods that will have a laxative effect like stewed prunes. The digestive track goes on vacation, so awaken it to help release what has been stored up during the fasting period.

Consider a short fast of 1-3 days if you’ve never fasted before until you are able to attempt a longer one. It takes tremendous strength and commitment depending on the length, but can be very beneficial to your body.

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