For the last 3 years I have been practicing intermittent water fast, which is basically similar to normal muslim fast. Fasting for 18 hours (include sleep) and dining once or twice, drinking water was allowed. 2 years ago I felt the normal fast was… Well… Normal… Not a challenge, the dehydration was a bit, but not so much. So I decided to take it to the next level. Extended Water fast. Which I would be breaking my fast with only water, and no food… For 7 days. I have read others have been able to do for 14 to 21 days, world record was a year, but with medical supervision and supplements.
1st one 2 years ago, I decided to do during fasting month, less temptation, but i failed in he first week as those temptations crept up during the break fast, but I managed to do it in the 2nd week. I was even maintaining my active lifestyle, a relax 1 hour cycling before the break. Did it in 7 days, feeling I could extend but didn’t.
2nd try was last year, i wasn’t cycling, but I was hiking, the first few days was awesome, knowing I could push my self. But on 5th day I started to feel weak, and on the 6th day I couldn’t push myself anymore, as my wife who usually trails behind, was way ahead, and I was the one who needed a break. (Knowing what I know now, I should have supplemented with salt during my break fast). So that time I only water fasted only 6 days straight.
This year I didn’t maintain my active lifestyle, and I failed to do it the first half of ramadhan. On almost the final week, visiting my father-in-law for a family iftar, I was inspired to do it again, as my brother-in-law law who previously had practiced 14 day fast, shared he also hadn’t done it this year, but he was gonna do the remainder of the fasting month. Not so long after that my wife shared she was interested to to try, so we did.
This year has been the most challenging I have ever done. either because we did at the late stages of the fasting month, or the last meal we had.
First 3 days was fine, but on the 4th day I experienced diarrhea, after the water break fast of more than 2 litres, I had to go to the toilet. So I tried to reduce my water intake to reduce the diarrhea, I ended up the 5th day extra weak, so without any research, decided to do what I usually do with any diarrhea, drink more water to flush it out, adding ginger powder and tea. It kinda worked, the diarrhea stopped, but the ginger left a burning sensation in my belly. 6th day I noticed my tongue was white in the morning, and slightly yellow brownish in the afternoon. It was only that night I researched and found information on my experience and some remedies. Basically I needed some salt and something called psyllium husk, I will share more in the next paragraph. On the 7th day, I felt a bit more energy after implementing the remedies, but i experienced a funny taste in my mouth some extra saliva seemed to seemed to be produce, which recognize preparation before puking ( I know because I used to suffer from sea/motion sickness), but I didnt puke. a bit of abdominal pains and maybe acid reflux, what I think most people I know call it gastric. I found that releasing air through belching and occasional flatulence relieved the symptoms temporarily. 2 hours before the break I had to sleep for an hour to catch my sleep and to get thru the pain. At my food break fast I had the psyllium husk in a cup of water and proceeded to eat normally. Thankfully the diarrhea didn’t pop up, but now I was bloated with too much food. 😅
I think the major reasons for my complications this time around was due to the food I ate, the timing of the fast (last instead 1st half), but most importantly the need to supplemnt to avoid the complications.
To conclude I will share the complications and its remedies and the source.
- bad breath, may be accompanied by white tongue (the bad breath may actually be acetone produced from fat burning), need more water. And brush teeth and scrub tongue more.
- constipation, (due to no food intake this to be expected, but to move last meal…) magnesium citrate, and exercise (this is where it differs from previous years) If its really bad, MCT (coconut) oil with tea.
- Diarrhea, may make lethargy worse (constipation and then diarrhea?! On a disgusting note, surprised to see how long stuff gets stuck inside the intestine, I noticed a few cucumber seeds in there 4 days after my last meal) a teaspoon of psyllium husk in a cup of water. Don’t take too much or else constipation. So find a balance.
- Lethargy or tiredness or weakness, (I usually feel this after day 4) need more salt, a pinch of salt as is, or with water, or in soup. (I personally take a tablespoon, note that I sweat a lot and like the taste of salt)
- acid reflux (first time I experience during extended fast, might have been the salt), a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Avoid cure for lethargy. (I may need to find balance between acid reflux and lethargy)