Was It Worth It? An Intimate Look Into My Five-Day Fast

Awaking me from the tranquility of a deep sleep at a gnarly 3:45 a.m., my alarm electrified me to the start of a new day; but not just any new day…this Monday morning marked the first of a five-day fast which I intended to exercise until the upcoming Saturday morning — making it 132 hours of nothing but water.

But wait…let me back up — this fast actually started before that alarm.

Have you ever felt like you needed something, but just couldn’t pin down in your heart what it was? Do you know what if feels like to crave change, but not know what levers to pull to create it?

For me, this is all started in the mind, which contains the sensations of our bodies along with the entire landscape of our experience.

And about a week leading into this process, my mind had drawn a blank about what to do to create the change I craved; and, as it turned out, the “blank” was the answer — nothing. It’s not that I needed to do something; I needed to not do something — and that was to not eat food.

So, to start, this was as much a spiritual journey for me as it was a physical and mental journey.

And I’d be lying by omission if not to suggest that the spiritual aspect was the biggest factor in my experience. Intention, it appears, is a hell of drug, and may even soothe the most aggressive of appetites...as we'll find out.

Join me now, as we take a short walk through a five-day fast of a 43-year old dude who’s playing a dude playing another dude. My name is Jason, and this is my fasting story.

MONDAY - 8:45 A.M. (14 Hours In)

This morning has been like most mornings, but GAAAWWWD do I want coffee!

Water is my go-to, as this is a “water” fast — no electrolytes, no aminos, no vitamins, minerals, or nutrients of any exogenous source (except water) — and no F’ing coffee.

But, I knew this was going to happen; which is why the preceding three days before this first day of my fast I began to drink incrementally less caffeine and eat less food. Even though the reductions were mild, setting the mind and the body on less helped when I flipped the setting to none.

So, as when the initial psychological sensation of “wanting” to eat hit me, I’d immediately open a fresh 16.3-ounce bottle of Arrowhead water and finish it in one set of chugs. And this went from being a sport to becoming an art throughout my fasting process, and it was key to my success.

I can’t tell you, exactly, how much water I drank; but I will tell you that I know the color of soap in early every restroom in Gilbert, Arizona. And, the more water I drank, the better I felt. Drink more water.

By mid-afternoon (2 to 3pm) I had to actively shift my mind away from the reminder that eating was not an option, and by 5:00 p.m. a light to moderate headache began to present above and behind my right eyeball. I had expected this, but was not as prepared for it as I would've liked to be.

Compounding my lack of caloric intake was the absence of caffeine, of which I had consumed 500-600mg a day, on average, preceding this fast.

While conforming to eating withdrawals was an endurance event, my caffeine withdrawal was a one-round knockout, and I got knocked out.


TUESDAY - 12:45 A.M. (30 Hours In)

There’s no way I’m getting to sleep tonight. The entire right side of my head, to include my face, throbbed from what felt like drill boring a tunnel into the space between my right eyeball and cheek bone. I decided to go lay on the couch.

With a fresh cup of cold water at my side, I half sat, half laid on the couch. The only thing actually keeping my attention off the pain was the captivating book I’m currently reading. But, when the pain would emerge into awareness, it was like a spring-loaded ache with stored horsepower punching a hole in my head from behind my face. This cycle carried on until…

I run to the bathroom, my stomach wrenching, and like a junkie in rehab I vomit and then dry heave from the pit of my existence. After the water is expelled, nothing comes out; but my body’s detox system is so active I continue to convulse…the headache now grows worse and more persistent.

At 2:15 a.m. I lay back in bed with a cold, wet rag on my head — if I just focus on breathing, maybe I’ll fall asleep. The final time I look at the clock, it’s 2:46 a.m.; then 45 minutes later I awake to the reality of that being all the sleep I’m going to get — I accepted it.

Tuesday was the worst…plain and simple. From physical lethargy to mental degeneration to emotional negativity all filtered through a throbbing headache, this day put me in the hurt locker.

My headache began to subside by 10:00 a.m., but was still present. After a meeting, I reserved to nap around 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. — that felt good.

I finished out my busy afternoon, but by 5:00 p.m. my patience was fully expended — I had a negative balance, in fact. I thought about food regularly; like eating the real F’d up stuff…wings at Zipp’s, Panda’s orange chicken, triple cheeseburgers at In-N-Out. My mind and body were in maximum torture mode.

But, in each moment, those thoughts of eating sweet and savory foods were nothing to the defenses of my initial intention. The physical pain and mental seduction proved impotent to my spiritual dedication.


WEDNESDAY - 9:30 A.M. (62.75 hours in)

Whoa, I kinda feel normal again. Sluggish, but normal. In fact, before the fast, I regularly felt sluggish upon waking up; that is until my first hit of caffeine. But it became clear to me weeks before this fast that the caffeine no longer “hit” me, but was merely a marginal slap of energy that I put on repeat from morning until mid-afternoon. 

But, this week I had not even a caffeine “slap” to jolt me into attention first thing in the morning and I knew it; and so, on this Wednesday, my mindset focused on drinking as much water as possible for the day — and I did.

I was starting to feel focused again; just like I would with a cup of coffee and a hand-ful of nootropics, but all that I had was water…lots of it.

My workflow was smooth, fluid, and productive through the late morning; then I felt tired…and by 10:00 a.m. it was clear I was gonna need a "timeout". So, having nothing on the schedule, I went home and napped until 1:00 p.m. It was solid sleep and very much needed.

I knew these bouts of lethargy and tiredness were stored pockets of “energy” that had to be slept off in order to liberate the potential embedded within. I took three midday naps throughout the week; and I must say, they were critical to overall success of this process and the subsequent results from the process.

Awaking from this nap welcomed me to a heightened sense of awareness of self. I felt light in my body and clear in my mind. More so than any time I recall in recent months. 67 hours into this fast and I felt I’d turned a bit of a corner in this process — but I still wanted a snack.

Instead, I pounded another cup full of water, went back to work, and finished out the day with good, clean energy. I noticed a higher quality of "presence" in my body through the afternoon as well as a deep engagement in my conversations with others. I went home around 6:00 p.m. and while noticing smaller and weaker rushes of “wanting to eat”, I can honestly say that I wasn’t hungry.


THURSDAY - 4:45 A.M. (81 hours in)

While I slept like crap, at least I got some intermittent sleep on Wednesday night. By the time the water hit my face in the shower, I could sense a remarkable upgrade in how I felt compared to the day prior. “This is ain't so bad” I thought to myself.

This feeling continued throughout the entire day as I still focused on drinking as much water as possible — so much water.

People who knew I was fasting would ask how I was doing; and to their surprise, I’d tell them I felt energized, light in my body, clear in mind, and not hungry — and I was starting to want food less.

But, even though I hadn’t eaten since the Sunday prior (nearly 90 hours ago), the Saturday upcoming (48 hours away) felt farther away in my mind. So I didn’t think about it.

By late Thursday I felt strong — emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was able to experience a higher level of control over myself, which was one of the most important aspects of why I wanted to do this — better self-control.


FRIDAY - 3:45 A.M. (104 hours in)

This was the first day I wasn’t surprised about how great I felt upon waking up. It was as though a well-spring of fresh energy was unleashed. I coached four group fitness classes in the morning, and each was just as energized and exhilarating as the previous — I felt empowered.

I could begin to notice how on account of keeping myself highly accountable to my intention of the water fast, I felt unrestrained about holding others to their intention.

Throughout the entire day on Friday, I felt a sense of control over myself; and if felt good. I thought less and less about eating as my mind was more immersed in the present moment of what “was” and not what “wasn't”.

There were moments during which I thought about extending beyond the five days to see how good I could possibly feel; but again, I had set my intention for five days, and just because I felt like doing more days doesn’t mean I should. Because if I did that then I make the habit of doing what feels good, and not being intentional.

The best thing about going to bed Friday night, I wasn’t excited about the prospect of eating the next day. I didn’t feel like I crossed any kind of finish line or like I had “made it”. I just went to bed ready to attack the next day.


SATURDAY - 5:00 A.M. (129.25 hours in) 

Wanna know what I ate?

I read numerous things about "breaking the fast", and had preconceived ideas about how I was going to break my fast. With the help from my nutritionist girlfriend, I was welcomed by a half-jar of probiotic coconut non-dairy yogurt.

It truly was weird to eat after about 130-ish hours of nothing other than swigging water. The flavors of cocoa and coconut mixed with the creamy texture of yogurt along with the tings and tinks of the metal spoon on my teeth made for a multi-layered experience that seemed foreign to my senses.

The yogurt, about 20 ounces of water, and a kombucha drink rounded out my first meal as I headed off to work, now looking through an even clearer lens of awareness than the day before. The sense of clarity I felt cannot be overstated. 

I had many errands to run throughout the morning, but upon stopping at home around 9:00 a.m. I had my first real meal of food — avocado toast with an egg and bacon on sourdough. My tastebuds were in a celebratory mood with each bite.

It was easy to limit my intake amount, and so I ate only half before heading back to work with a commitment to finish what was left about an hour or so later.

By 11:30 a.m. I had completed that first meal and then by 1:30 p.m., I felt a compelling sense to go train. So I went to the gym at 3:00 p.m. and completed this workout:

  1. Row 1,000, 900, 800, 700, 600, 500m
  2. Bench Press x 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6 reps

Complete 6 rounds while reducing row by 100m and BP reps by 3.

To start, I cruised on my first thousand meters to the fastest 1,000-meter row I can remember rowing in a long time, and then proceeded to sustain a great work tempo for all six rounds.

I arrived home by 4:30 p.m. and was able to catch the F1 qualifiers, go for a walk, and drink more water following a bone broth protein shake.

I had dinner plans for the evening and chose to not eat anything until then — 7:45 p.m.

This was my first interaction with “restaurant” food; and my stomach could tell on the first bite. I could sense bubbles in my gut and the subsequent need to flatulently relieve myself.

To be fair, I can imagine my body ALWAYS having this response to inorganic foods and all the additives embedded in restaurant food, but this was the first time I could actually FEEL how negatively the food affects my gut and peripheral organs. 

While I fell asleep with ease for the first time all week, I committed to keeping my body nourished with homemade foods at all costs and to remind myself of that initial feeling when my body recognized foreign molecules assaulting my biological system.  


As I look back on the five-day process, I can say it was tough, but mostly just boring. And as the boredom of "not eating" began to dissolve, a new awakened state of self became present in my psyche. 

And from my gut all the way down to each and every cell in my body, a reset seemed to have occurred -- a necessary one, too. 

As each cell in our body can be equated to a computer system -- with internal hardware embedded within and informational software loaded throughout -- those cells require resets and upgrades to fulfill their principle function. 

And much like clearing the cookies from your browser, deleting useless apps and old files off your desktop, and freeing up gigabytes of fresh storage on your hard drives, this five-day fast vanquished every one of my cells of the useless material and information that was leading to sluggish operations and dysfunction. 

And considering that we have trillions of these micro-computers flowing through our body, each processing information vital to life and our experience of it, clearing the crud from those cells seems to have brought online a fully robust and functioning network of well-programmed computers primed to do what they've been designed to do. 

So, should you put yourself through a fast? I don't know. I don't know who you are or what your circumstance is. But, if you haven't been feeling great for a while and have felt like you "need" a change but don't know what to do -- perhaps you, too, like me, don't need some thing, but instead need no thing. 

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