A 10 day water fast can be exciting. If you have tried shorter water fasts like a three day fast or a one week fast, then a ten-day water fast can be your next challenge. It is advisable to take help from a doctor or a certified naturopathy practitioner before undertaking long fasts. Try it and experience the immense physical, mental and spiritual benefits.
Preparation for a 10 Day Water Fast
Always attempt long fasts under the supervision of a doctor or a qualified naturopathy practitioner. It is good to keep track of your blood pressure and other vital signs throughout the fast. If you have any serious health conditions, discuss with your doctor first before taking up the water fast. If you are suffering from any deficiency diseases like tuberculosis, etc. you should not attempt long water fasts. Also, pregnant women and children should avoid long fasts.
Please note that breaking the fast is equally important. It may take roughly 5 – 7 days to come back to normal diet after the fast. It varies from person to person. So, be prepared to spend a total of 15 – 17 days for the entire process. On these days, you cannot do any heavy physical work. Light work like gardening, working on your computer, taking short walks, watching movies, shopping, etc. are fine.
An average adult human can survive on just water for weeks. A 10-day water fast can be easily managed if done carefully and scientifically. Prepare your mind for the ten-day process of cleansing. The first step is to overcome the fears about attempting long fasts. Get guidance from experts to understand the basic principles of fasting and the various bodily reactions that you are likely to experience during the fast. There are plenty of books on water fasting to help you with that. Also, read up on the testimonials of those who have attempted long fasts and learn about their experiences. That will give you confidence to take up the 10-day fasting challenge.
How to do a 10 Day Water Fast?
In a 10-day water fast, you must drink only water for 10 full days. Solid food or other liquids that contain nutrition (like beverages, fruit juices, milk, etc.) are not allowed. Simple, pure mineral water is good. You can also use boiled and cooled water. One should drink enough plain water (an average of 2 or more liters) in one full day, according to one’s capacity. Slightly warm water is also good as it aids the cleansing process.
Continue this for 10 full days.
Body reactions and experiences during a 10 Day Water Fast
If you are attempting a 10 day water fast for the first time, be prepared for few body reactions during the process. As a habit, the body is used to consuming food at regular intervals. When there is sudden lack of food intake, you may feel weakness, dizziness, nausea, etc. which is quite normal. Sometimes you may feel very energetic, but the very next moment you may feel weak. These fluctuations are common and normal. There may be also a drop in blood pressure and slight headaches. One need not get frightened with these reactions. You should take rest or lie down, whenever these symptoms become intense. Consult a doctor if these reactions are too intense.
One may even feel a sudden bout of hunger. To overcome it, just drink one or two glasses of water. Then lie down and take rest. The hunger should go away in a short time. If the hunger keeps recurring, consult your doctor. You can discontinue the fast if the hunger is unbearable. But in most cases, it is not a serious issue.
These symptoms are more intense in the first 3 – 5 days. After about 3 days the digestive fire begins to shut down. Usually after 3 -5 days the hunger bouts may disappear. After 5 days one may feel very light with total lack of hunger. This may vary from person to person. One may feel a great sense of well-being. One may even feel energetic enough to go for a jog or play games. But do not exert yourself at this stage. You may take light walks instead. Do some light tasks like working on your laptop, gardening or a light walk instead.
Food craving is another common reaction. One starts day dreaming of various types of tasty food, the restaurants you will visit after the fast is over, etc. These are normal reactions. Do not fight these thoughts. Just give some distraction to the mind, like watching a movie, television, music, etc.
Fasting is a time for intense cleansing at physical and mental level. The body has a natural mechanism to throw out toxins from the body during the fast. These toxins are mostly thrown out through digestive system into the small and large intestines. At this time, one also gets a thick white coating on the tongue. The coating may remain even after scrapping the tongue. This is a sign that the toxins are being eliminated.
An enema, on alternate days is advised by the doctors during the fast to speed up the removal of toxins accumulated in the large intestine.
The toxins may also get removed through the lungs. At that time one may get foul breath which may last for a day or two.
You may feel nausea at times, which may be caused by acidity in the stomach. This acidity can be removed by cleaning the stomach through a simple process. Just drink a liter or more of slightly warm salt water and vomit it all out. This is called Vaman Kriya in yoga and is used in both Ayurveda and Naturopathy to cleanse the stomach.
During the ten days, the mind can also throw up lot of impressions from the subconscious and unconscious mind causing strong emotions. One has to take a witness attitude towards these thoughts and emotions. Remember, the mind is going through a cleansing process. Give the mind some healthy distraction during such times and it should be fine.
Please understand that these are normal reactions during any long term fasts. Continue the 10-day water fast with courage.
How to break a Ten Day Water Fast?
Breaking the fast is as important as the fast itself. After a long fast, the digestive system is weak. Break the fast with orange or lemon juice. One can add half a spoon of honey, if needed. When the body goes without food for ten days, the digestive fire becomes weak. At that time, one cannot eat or digest large quantities of food. It will be like a shock to the system, if you consume solid food. So one has to gradually increase the digestive fire and bring it back to normal.
The first step is to increase the digestive fire. Take lemon or orange juice for about 3 – 5 times in a day. If one feels too much hunger, add half a spoon of pure honey to the juice, to get some calories.
Continue this for the second day and third day too.
On the fourth day after the fast, one can go on a combination of light vegetable soups, coconut water or fruit juice 3 – 5 times in a day.
On the fifth day, one can have light fruits and boiled vegetables as they are easy to digest.
On the sixth day consume normal diet with grains once a day, preferably during lunch. Rest of the time, you can have juices, vegetable soups and boiled vegetables. Avoid meat or milk products for few days as it is harder to digest.
From the seventh day onwards one can start on normal diet. Be careful, not to overload the stomach. Eat in moderation and slowly come back to the regular food habits.
Benefits of a 10 Day Water Fast
- Long term water fasts are known to relieve chronic health problems like dyspepsia, loss of appetite, diarrhea, colic, gastritis, inflammation of bowels, sinusitis, allergies, skin problems, diabetes, migraine, joint pains, gas problem, constipation, etc. Consult a qualified doctor or naturopath and discuss one’s health issues before attempting the 10-day water fast.
- Fasts gives rest to the digestive system. It helps to repair and heal all the organs of the body. Toxins are removed and one feels energetic.
- Fasting improves immunity, longevity, texture of the skin and glow of the face.
- Fasting is the easiest way to lose weight. One may lose anything from 4 – 7 kg during a 10-day fast. But you will gain back most of this weight once you return to normal food unless you follow a controlled diet after the fast. Fasting can also be integrated with yoga management for further benefits. See articles – Obesity and Yoga Management & Pranayama for Weight Loss.
- Fasting is a good time to closely observe the mind and to understand of our food habits and cravings. This understanding helps to modify and control our diet after the fast, thereby helping in weight loss.
- Many practice long term fasts for spiritual reasons. Fasting is a time of introspection and emotional cleansing. One has to maintain the witness attitude and watch the various thoughts and emotions thrown out from the subconscious mind. By witnessing, the blocked energies are released and the negative mental impressions become weaker.