Friends of the whealth flower
This is a post from our guest post series where we welcome friends to The Whealth Flower to share their amazing and inspiring stories about weight loss and self improvement.
Today I am super excited to welcome my friend, Christine Marsh, who lost 15lbs with water fasting….
Thank you so much Catherine for inviting me to share my story and experience with water fasting with your readers….
my weight gain story
I came across water fasting in 2016, 12 months after the birth of my third child.
My normal weight that I have maintained for most of my adult life (I am now 38) has been around 140lbs, give or take.
I am really comfortable with that weight as I am 5ft 6″ so carry it rather well.
After the birth of my first and second child, I did put on around 30lbs but I always managed to shift it after about 12 months following delivery.
The great thing was I didn’t even have to do much to lose it – it just seemed to drop off naturally as I stopped breastfeeding – Yay!
But this gave me a false sense of security!
After my third child, I waited smugly for the pounds to drop off naturally from my body – just like they had twice before – but….. crickets!!!
Frustrated, I scoured the internet for reasons why.
I have always eaten a fairly healthy diet, kept fit and practiced good lifestyle habits so I was at a loss as to why I was still 30lbs above my normal weight.
❓ Was I now eating more without acknowledging it?
❓ Had my diet changed without me realizing it?
❓ Did I have an under active thyroid which can cause weight gain (although I didn’t have any other symptoms)?
After several hours of reading, I came to the conclusion that the reason I wasn’t losing the pounds like I had before was probably because my metabolism had slowed down.
This happens naturally as we age and this seemed to be the obvious reason.
I couldn’t identify any other plausible explanation.
After all, the birth of my second child had been some 6 years earlier when I was in my late 20’s.
A lot can happen to our bodies in that time and the excess weight I was holding was probably just “middle aged spread”.
But – I was desperate to get back to my normal weight as my best friend was getting married in 4 weeks time and I wanted to look awesome for that.
I therefore set my weight loss goal at 15lbs (around a stone) which I was optimistic I could shift before the wedding.
Ok – it wasn’t the full 30lbs I was above my normal weight but I wanted to be realistic and not too demanding on myself.
my weight loss plan
To reach my goal I had to devise a plan.
It’s generally advised that you can healthily lose around 3lbs per week.
But over a period of 4 weeks, that would only get to me 12lbs (3lbs shy of my 15lb target).
I have a friend who runs the Weight Watchers programme where I live, so it seemed like the natural place to start as my main diet and she was prepared to coach me through it (read more about the WW programme here).
The issue with the WW programme is that you’re only likely to lose around 2lbs a week max.
This would only take me to around 8lbs of weight loss in 4 weeks and not even to the “healthy” monthly weight loss of 12lbs, let alone my target of 15lbs.
I therefore had to find a away to shift another 7lbs if I wanted to hit my 15lb target.
I knew it would mean doing something quite drastic but I was determined to do it.
I looked at my options and spoke to a nutritionist my husband knows.
He mentioned water fasting as a drastic but viable way to lose weight rapidly, so I looked into it further.
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What is water fasting?
Fasting is simply the abstention of eating, and sometimes drinking, for a set period of time.
In fact, it’s something that has been practiced by humans for millennia – usually for religious reasons but also for health reasons as well.
Water fasting is just fasting but with the exception that you can drink as much water as you like (but no foods or other liquids).
Like all fasting, the idea behind water fasting for weight loss is that your body will begin burning stored fats for its energy – essentially because it has nothing else to burn in the absence of food.
Water contains no calories so this cannot be used for energy.
This process is scientifically proven to help you lose weight super fast!
Is Water Fasting Healthy And Safe?
For most people, water fasting is something that can be practiced safely but it should never be a long term strategy for weight loss.
Health experts recommend a maximum fast of 72 hours and this was the approach I adopted.
Fasting actually has a number of health benefits such as:-
✅ Lowering blood pressure.
✅ Helping cells to break down and recycle (autophagy).
✅ Lower insulin resistance and helping to control blood sugar.
There are also some downsides to water fasting and if you have any pre-existing health conditions, you should definitely speak to your doctor before you try it. These are:-
❌ It can dehydrate you. This sounds odd but we get around 30% of our water from our food, so if you’re not eating you can quickly become dehydrated unless you drink more than you usually would to offset this.
❌ Suddenly stopping eating can affect your blood sugar levels so diabetics or those with insulin issues should seek expert advice before trying it.
❌ It can cause orthostatic hypotension where you become dizzy when you stand up.
❌ It can increase uric acid output which can cause gout attacks if you suffer from that condition.
My Water Fasting Experience
My water fasting experience was fairly consistent throughout the 4 weeks I did it.
I opted for a 72 hour fast with the following 4 days on the Weight Watchers programme – rinse repeat until I had done the 4 weeks.
My first 72 hours went something like this…
Extreme hunger pangs by mid afternoon which continued until I went to sleep. But I didn’t really notice any fatigue on the first day.
Continuing hunger pangs and stomach rumblings through the day. By 6pm I felt extremely tired and washed out.
The hunger pangs and stomach rumblings stopped but the fatigue continued. I felt low on energy, groggy and slightly dizzy at times. I struggled to focus.
After that, my first 72 hours of fasting was complete, and surprisingly I didn’t feel too fatigued on the fourth day when I started on the WW programme.
The discipline was ensuring I didn’t go crazy on my no-fast days by eating a ton of calories.
Your body and mind crave food, especially after 3 days of fasting and there is a huge temptation to eat all and sundry when you stop. Fighting these cravings was probably the hardest part for me!
To prevent this, on my Weight Watchers days, I aimed to limit myself to 1200 calories, made up of mainly fats and protein with only limited carbs, which I managed to keep to.
The following 3 sets of water fasting that month were quite similar in symptoms to the first, although by the fourth set I did feel like I was much less fatigued than before. The dizziness had also subsided.
One I thing I also noticed by the fourth week was that my mind seemed so much clearer.
It was as if another part of my brain had been opened up and my clarity of thought seemed enhanced.
I also felt a lot cleaner and fresher than before like I had been transported into a brand new body.
Quite a bizarre feeling actually.
But a pleasant one nonetheless.
My Water Fasting results
The results from my water fasting diet were quite dramatic and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit surprised.
I was a bit apprehensive as to whether it would work but, wow, it definitely did.
I thought that I would only begin to see big results after the second week as my body adjusted to the diet, but I was even wrong about that.
Within 3 days of starting the diet I had load 2lbs and by the end of the first week (after also doing 4 days on the WW diet) I had lost 3lbs.
Things got better still after the first week!
Here’s my full results.
|Weeks||Weight Loss from Water Fasting||Weight Loss (combined diets)|
So as you can see, I beat my 15lb weight loss target by 0.3lbs.
I suppose there has to be some caution applied with my results because I was, after all, doing the WW diet for 4 days as well, so it might be quite difficult to precisely attribute the amount of weight lost between each specific diet.
But I did weigh myself after each 72 hour fast and recorded the above results as set out in the second column.
I also weighed myself again after each full week (the combined weekly weight loss for both diets is in the third column).
Nevertheless, I had hit my target weight loss and was super pleased with myself.
I have no doubt (given my measurements in the second column) that the water fasting made a huge contribution to my target.
I felt amazing after the 4 weeks were up and looked great for the wedding – even receiving a few welcomed compliments!
Should You Try Water Fasting?
If you are fit, healthy and strong willed then I would definitely considering water fasting!
I strongly believe from my own experience that it’s a “weight loss hack” that can deliver fast results.
However, it will not be for everyone and if you have any doubts, it is always worth speaking to your GP or a nutritionist before you start.
This is especially so if you have any health complaints such as diabetes or other chronic illnesses.
The idea of giving up all foods for 2-3 days is, I am sure, enough to put some people off straight away.
And the truth is that you can lose weight with much less drastic diets!
Water fasting was only something I looked into because I wanted to lose weight by a specific date.
For others without these time constraints, there are definitely other diets that are more comfortable and less taxing that will deliver similar results, albeit over a slightly longer time-frame.
As I have said above, water fasting is not a diet or lifestyle choice I would choose over a sustained period! This would be unhealthy and very difficult to do.
It is, in my view, simply a means to an end when time is not on your side and you want to super charge your weight loss.
About the author
Catherine holds a bachelor of science degree and is a registered mental health nurse.
She is a self-confessed health and fitness freak, nutrition fanatic and mental health boffin.
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