13 Pounds Lighter in Just 7 Days!
By: Carolyn Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN
Over the last several months it seems a plethora of research touting the benefits of fasting have come across my desk. Intermittent Fasting, 1, 3, 5 or 7 day fasting, and studies showing the benefits of longer fasting have captured my attention. Often I have thought to myself - “I should engage in a healthy fast at some point.” Little did I know that my future 7 Day Water fast would lead to a 13 pound weight loss and a heightened spiritual experience!
Well, that some point recently presented itself. It was Lent 2019 and I was gathering research for the Concluding Project for my M.S. in Theology at Saint Meinrad School of Theology. I was in the middle of a deep dive into our Early Church Fathers, Mothers, and Mystics as I was seeking to better understand their message of God’s love and forgiveness. A repeating pattern arose in these lovers of God - many used fasting as a means to become closer to God. So it was time for me, I decided to follow a 7 Day Fast during Holy Week – ending on Good Friday. Fasting would be a spiritual tool I could use to more fully unite my heart with the heart of God. On Holy Saturday I would introduce light food into my system and then on Easter I would enjoy a beautiful celebration with my family – feast and all. I was so excited!
How I Began My Fast
One afternoon in early April I was sharing with my husband and daughter my intention for Holy Week. Unexpectantly my husband said, “Wait, what are you doing? How does this work?” He was very curious. Then he looked at me and voiced that he wanted to join me in my fast. This was music to my ears.
Since this was our first fast I knew we needed to prepare. Granted, we have detoxed before, we eat pretty healthy, and we take excellent supplements every day. However, we are both 55 years old and a little preparation was in order. For 7 days prior to our fast we engaged in a detox using a few Standard Process remedies in addition to clean eating and our regular supplements.
What We Experienced
Then on Saturday, April 13th we started the day with a glass of H2O, and another, and another. All in, we made sure we had at approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of our body weight in ounces of spring water every day. We soon realized that dinner time was going to be a challenge. Both of us were hungry and a little weak. It didn’t take long before we knew that we needed to fill that time with some activity. Normally dinner had been a 2 to 3 hour ordeal. Between the meal prep, tossing dog toys for our little pups to fetch, cooking the meal, and clean up afterwards our evenings had been full.
We began a little quest, a quest for a few new activities to fill the dinner time void. Weather permitting, instead of watching our pups rub after the toys we would take them for a walk. When it was cold and rainy we ran errands and picked up some needed things for the house. We also spent a little time watching YouTube videos in preparation for an upcoming vacation we are planning. Our new evening routine was a nice change of pace and neither of us missed those dirty dinner dishes!
While I won’t go into detail about fasting here (that requires a much bigger blog post!) I will share with you a few of our experiences. One Day 2 we experienced pretty bad cotton mouth. Adding lemons to our water helped a bit. Also, enjoying a sparkling water as a treat in the evening gave a little relief. Our hunger subsided by Day 2; however, it would come back a little and diminish again through the remaining 5 days. Hunger wasn’t a big issue. Weakness and that yucky taste you get in your mouth when you fast were both bigger nuisances for us. On Day 4 we were both pretty weak. I decided to “indulge” in a cup of bone broth because I knew my body needed the electrolytes. Scott stuck with water only and he pushed through. We found ourselves going to bed a little earlier most evenings and this helped with the weakness. The yucky taste in our mouths didn’t go away until a few days after our fast – until I introduced a few herbs shown to kill off harmful microbes including candida.
Day 7 was the hardest day; however, it was also the most spiritual day for me. It was Good Friday. Frequently throughout my fast I united my hunger and any discomfort I was experiencing with Christ’s Passion – often offering it up in prayer for a loved one. On Good Friday I offered up all of my hunger and discomfort for the prayer intentions of a very dear priest friend of mine. His love for humanity is beautiful beyond words and I wanted to do anything I could to support his prayers. Also, Scott and I, along with our daughter Brittany, attended Stations of The Cross and the Good Friday service at our Parish. Tears welled up several times as I sat there, my daughter on my left and my husband on my right. Words can’t adequately explain the experience I had so I will just leave here.
Our Take Away
We are glad we completed our 7 Day Water Fast and we plan to make it a regular practice during Lent every year! I lost 13 pounds and Scott lost 17 pounds during our Fast. We each gained back 3 pounds once we started eating again so my net loss was 10 pounds and Scott’s net weight loss is 14 pounds. We were so happy with our 7 Day Water Fast that we have decided to fast one day a week. While I am still a huge fan of the Blood Type Diet, we have also decided to follow a more Keto diet. We will simply stay away from our “avoid” blood type foods. The Keto diet supports your body in its ability to use fat for fuel vs. carbohydrates. This is the mechanism your body transitions into during a water fast. We want to keep this going.
There’s also an important note I want to share with you. During our Fast I regularly measured our blood sugar levels, ketones, and blood pressure to make sure we were doing ok. If you are going to engage in a fast yourself I recommend you do so under the care of a health care professional.
There are many health benefits to fasting! Your body breaks down toxins in a process called autophagy beginning around Day 1 or 2, it creates stem cells for regeneration and healing beginning around Day 3, it becomes what is called “fat adapted” as it starts turning to fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. The spiritual benefits are expansive. You became able to more fully share in the pain others experience (many are starving in the world), you can develop a deeper sense of gratitude for the life you have, and your hunger can serve as a reminder to pray. Life also becomes a bit more simple during your fast. Simplicity then creates a space for a deeper love relationship with God.
If you would like to learn more about the physical benefits of fasting I invite you to look into a couple of resources I used. Here they are:
I guess that all for now!
Blessings to you – Carolyn Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN