What I learned from fasting for three days

I recently read studies about the positive effects of fasting. It appears that after three or four days of fasting (just using water, no food is consumed) your body starts a very sophisticated regenerative and protective mechanism. And ancient civilizations and all religions have always promoted fasting.

Having studied the topic I found out that it is advisable to do this while you are not stressed out. Like any entrepreneur would tell, finding such period of time is normally next to impossible. Luckily I was going to Hawaii to attend a conference and thought this was a perfect opportunity to finally give fasting a try.

Day One

Last meal that I ate was at SFO before my final flight to Hawaii.

Airport burger and fries - last thing I ate before a three day fast

Airport burger and fries - not much of a food but it was the last thing I ate before a three day fast

Due to already being jetlaged (the entire trip lasted around 30 hours with a time difference of 11 hours) I did not have the appetite at all, until the next day. And by that time, I realized I haven't eaten for a day already. Then the hunger started to kick in.

Day Two

You see, I truly enjoy food. I regularly cook, and eat at new places. And now I was at a tropical island which is known for high quality, local food.

So the second day was hard, but not unmanageable. I drank a lot of water and even watched an intriguing documentary called Water: The Great Mystery. By the end of the second day I did not feel hungry anymore, although I was seriously tempted everywhere I went.

Mobile Pizza Oven Stand - Ingenious and extremely tempting

Mobile Pizza Oven Stand - Ingenious and extremely tempting

Day Three

For the most part of day three I felt no hunger at all. The end of three days was exactly at noon local time so I went to the beach anticipating it. And this is where the problems started. The last two hours were incredibly hard as I grew anxious about eating again. I am sure I could have done four or five days no problem, but the very fact that the end of my experiment neared made me nervous. And you do not want to be nervous on a (truly) empty stomach.

The best beach on Maui - Helps steer the thoughts away from food

A pristine beach on Maui - Baldwin beach

When the time came I ate a banana and it tasted like no banana before. It was incredible. Started eating more food right after it, but I soon felt no pleasure or desire to do so, so I stopped and gave it couple of hours before I ate again. After that I felt fully recovered.

Lessons learned

  1. You can do a three day fast without any physical problems
  2. Everything is really in the head
  3. By not eating you actually save a considerable amount of time (about 2h per day). And money too.
  4. No food = no poop :)
  5. It is almost impossible to do any intense mental work. You soon get very agitated. Brain simply needs fuel more than any other organ in the body.
  6. Reading books was not a problem.
  7. I had no problems doing physical work (like swimming), it did not grow the hunger.
  8. You truly need to be in a stress-free environment to try this.
  9. You'll learn how to suppress hunger if you need to. Next time you feel hungry and it has been only 5 hours since you last ate, you'll know that it can be tolerated with ease.
  10. This experience will be inspiring in some way.


Posted in: Debate
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  1. Mar 12th, 2015 5:59 AM

    Fasting is definitely one of the "easiest" way to boost our defensive mechanism. It can also "protect" healthy cells when aggressive treatments have to be taken. I might say fasting will probably be the next magic bullet in the coming years...

  2. Ivan
    Mar 10th, 2015 12:19 PM

    I used few different plans of fasting; from 16-hour fasts each day, to 24 and 48 hours fast. What I found out is that, as Vladimir said, its all in the head. One thing I dont agree with is mental clarity, and intense mental work. After few fasts which were really hard for me, I used to experience great clarity and much better focus after 12-16 hours of not eating, possibly due to the energy used for something else than digestion.

    I should get back on that regime soon, as I found i get things done much faster when Im not thinking about food :)

  3. Mar 1st, 2015 10:40 AM

    I think it also depends on the kind of foods you eat. Your picture of day 1 shows a burger and fries. Fatty foods like that store your energy. I don't know your regular diet, but if you are a salad person, it could be a lot harder on you to go without food. (Cows eat every day, predators less often.)

    Personally I am somewhere in between. No problem to go without food for a couple extra hours. I have done days as well. But there are moments when your body (and indeed your brain) needs some extra energy. And so I got rid of all the unhealthy sugar stuff. There are 5 big bowls in my kitchen, with fruits and vegetables and nuts. At least now when I feel the hunger, I have immediate access to a healthy alternative to candy.

  4. Feb 17th, 2015 8:22 AM

    I'm eager to know: during the fasting period, do you feel that your temper is more controllable? There was a time where my older sister frequently fasting and it appears that she was calmer that she normally did.

    • Feb 20th, 2015 4:48 AM

      I did not see the change in my temper and would say three days is too short for that. If I extended it to 4-5 days I think I would also enter more calmer state of mind.