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A Journey to Wellness: What I learned from 4 days of fasting during an at home Retreat

Updated: Jul 6

Isabel, the founder of Monkeymindretreats recently went on a 96 Hour fast. Here are some take aways of her experience and some tips and tricks, if you also want to try it at home, without going on a Healing Retreat.

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Drink fresh cold pressed vegetable juices

You thought you had willpower until you tried going without food for 96 hours.

But here you are, having emerged from 4 days of self-imposed starvation with a few lessons under your gradually loosening belt. At least you can now confirm that, yes, time does slow down when you have nothing to do but think about food.

Was it worth it? For now, let’s just say I always have a newfound appreciation for the simple act of eating and a hard-won humility in the face of my body’s needs. Even though this has not been my first fasting period, it is always challenging and interesting to see how your body and mind react when you are not consuming any solid food... and how much time you actually spend on: eating, cooking, thinking what to cook, cleaning after cooking and grocery shopping.

Preparing for a (4-Day) Fast

Before you dive into this “journey to wellness,” let’s get real about what you’re in for.

To prepare, I made sure to:

  • Eat light in the days leading up to the fast. Lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains. Nothing too heavy.

  • Stay hydrated. I drank plenty of water and herbal tea to give my body the fluids it would need during the fast.

  • Get rest. The days before, I went to bed early and caught up on sleep. Fasting takes a lot of energy, so rest is key!

  • Prepare an intention. I thought about why I wanted to fast and set an intention to gain clarity and reboot my body. Having purpose kept me focused.

  • Stock up on supplies. I gathered coconut water, herbal tea, lots of veggies to make fresh cold pressed juices and homemade almond milk.

  • Connect with my support system. I told friends and family about my plan so they could check-in on me. Their encouragement meant everything.

  • Prepare for detox symptoms. I expected headaches, fatigue and irritability. Knowing what to expect made the symptoms easier to handle.

  • Remind myself why I was fasting. Whenever a craving hit or I felt weak, I repeated my intention. This gave me strength and motivation to continue.

With preparation and determination, you can achieve so much through fasting. My 4 day fast was challenging yet so rewarding. I gained a new level of mind-body connection and learned that I'm capable of more than I realised. If you're ready to reboot and renew, try a multi-day fast. You won't regret discovering your inner strength and resilience. The rewards are so worth it!

First up, your mind will play tricks on you. Expect cravings, mood swings, and the urge to chuck it all for a burger and fries. But stick with it - your body and brain are just detoxing from their usual dopamine hits. Ride out the mental madness and you’ll emerge with a of level self-control and mental clarity you might never have experienced before.

For me personally - it has been my 4th time going on a several day fast. And it gets easier every time, as I connect more with my body and understand the structure of my own mind.

Physically, get ready for fatigue, headaches, and the occasional dizzy spell as your body switches from burning food to burning fat. It does not happen to everyone - so just be open to whatever comes. Stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes up with some pink Himalayan salt in your water. Take it easy on yourself - now is not the time for intense workouts. Do some gentle yoga or walking instead.

And when that fast is over, resist the urge to binge! Ease back into eating with warm slowly cooked meals, and light, easy-to-digest ingredients. Your gut bacteria and digestive enzymes are rebuilding, so be kind to your belly.

If you prepare properly, stay focused on your intention, and take good care of yourself during and after, a 4-day fast can be a transformational experience. You’ll gain a new appreciation for food, deeper connection with your body, and the satisfaction of accomplishing something you never thought possible. Just remember - no one’s judging if you don’t make it to 4 days. Even 12-16 hours of fasting provides benefits. Every little bit helps in the journey to wellness!

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Celery Juice is perfect for fasting!

How to start fasting it if you have never done fasting before

How to start fasting for the first time

Are you ready to dive into the world of fasting? Fantastic! Fasting can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both physically and mentally. The key is to start slowly and listen to your body every step of the way.

If you have any questions about how to start, feel free to contact us, which any questions you might have!

  1. To begin, talk to your doctor, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. Get the all clear, then start with just 1 day of fasting, maybe on a weekend when you have fewer commitments. Drink 3-4 glasses of vegetable juice or a light veggie soup to stay hydrated. See how you feel - energised? Clear-headed? If it feels good, you're ready to build up to longer fasts.

  2. Start with 12-16 hour intermittent fasts, like only eating during an 8 hour window each day. This easy approach will prep your body for longer fasts. Once you've adjusted, try a 24 hour fast, having only water, herbal tea and juice or soup. Feel the rewards of giving your digestive system a break!

  3. Fasting gets easier with practice as your body adapts. Stay busy and distracted, rest when you need to, and drink plenty of fluids. Herbal tea, vegetable juice and water will keep you hydrated without spiking insulin.

  4. When you break your fast, go slowly. Have a piece of fruit, a bowl of steamed veggies or a green smoothie. Your first meal should be light, warm, and easy to digest. Fasting is a journey, so be patient and kind to yourself. Stay positive - you've given your body an incredible gift! Keep at it and you'll be experiencing the life-changing benefits of fasting in no time.

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Make sure to drink lots of herbal tea

The First 48 Hours: What Happens When You Stop Eating

The first two days of fasting are the hardest, but also the most rewarding. Once you make it past this initial hump, your body goes into fat-burning mode and the real benefits start to kick in!

Have you ever felt sluggish and bleh after one too many slices of pizza? That's your body working overtime to break down all those carbs and excess calories. Fasting gives your digestive system a much-needed break so it can focus on repair and rejuvenation. All that energy usually spent on digestion gets diverted to cleansing your cells and gut. Talk about a spring cleaning for your body!

Fasting also sparks the production of growth hormones, which speed up the replacement of old cells in your body. Your skin, muscles, and organs get totally rejuvenated. No wonder so many people report feeling years younger after an extended fast!

The first two days may be rough, but stay focused on why you started this journey. Your body and mind are going through a major reboot. Headaches, irritability, and fatigue are common as you detox. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea to stay hydrated. Get light exercise like walking or yoga, and rest as much as possible.

By day three, the side effects should subside and you'll start to feel amazing. Your mind becomes sharp and focused. Energy levels go through the roof! Skin clears up, eyes brighten, and aches and pains vanish. Staying busy with light activity will make the time pass quickly.

Fasting is not for everyone, so check with your doctor first, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. But for many, a short fast can be a life-changing way to reset your body and kickstart a healthy new lifestyle! The rewards of renewal and rejuvenation will make all your effort worthwhile.

Keeping the Mind and Body Balanced During a Fast

Keeping your mind and body balanced during a fast is key to having a successful experience. Approach your fast with an open, curious mindset rather than rigid expectations. See it as an opportunity to slow down and turn inward, not another item to check off your to-do list.

Drink plenty of fluids like water, herbal tea and broths to stay hydrated. Take relaxing walks outside and do gentle yoga. While you can still work, avoid overexerting yourself. Give yourself extra rest and limit stressful activities.

Pay close attention to your thoughts and moods. Notice if feelings of irritability, impatience or anxiety arise. Don’t judge yourself for having these emotions, simply observe them with compassion. Take deep breaths to center yourself again in the present moment.

Connect with your support network. Let close ones know you’re fasting so they can offer encouragement. However, avoid mentioning it to those who may not understand. Their skepticism could influence your motivation and determination.

Reflect on your intention for the fast. Remind yourself why you started and how you hope to grow from the experience. Be open to any insights or realisations that come up. Journaling, meditation and prayer are all great ways to nurture your spiritual and emotional well-being during this time.

Appreciate each moment for what it offers. Even feelings of discomfort have value. Your body and mind are purging what no longer serves you to make space for rebirth and renewal. Have faith in the wisdom of the process. Success is defined by what you gain, not what you lose. You've got this! Stay focused on self-care and you'll come out the other side renewed.

What do consume during the fasting

During my 4-day fast, the main thing that kept me going was the vegetable juices. When your body is devoid of solid foods, these elixirs are pure gold. You'll want to have 4 to 6 glasses a day to stay properly hydrated and nourished.

Focus on low-sugar veggies

Stick to juices like beetroot, carrot, ginger and spinach - they're naturally sweet but won't spike your glucose. Avoid sugary juices like plain apple or orange juice. They may give you an energy crash and hunger pangs.

Add zing with ginger

In addition to the juices, drink plenty of water and herbal tea. Coconut water is also great for replenishing electrolytes. Without solid food, dehydration can happen quickly so keep a water bottle with you at all times.

Listen to your body

Pay close attention to your body's signals during the fast. If at any time you feel faint, dizzy or ill, stop the fast immediately. Your body may need certain nutrients that only solid food can provide. There's no shame in stopping early - you can always try another fast when you're feeling up to it!

Breaking the Fast Ayurvedically

Going slow is key. Your digestive fire has been resting, so you want to wake it up gently.

Start with warm, nourishing and grounding foods. Some perfect options are:

  • Kitchari, the traditional Ayurvedic dish of rice and mung beans. Seasoned with ghee, cumin, coriander and turmeric, kitchari is tridoshic and amazing for rekindling your agni.

  • Stewed fruit like apples, pears or peaches. Cooked fruit is easy to digest and the natural sweetness will energise you.

  • Fresh vegetable broth. Mineral-rich and alkalising, broth helps rehydrate your tissues and fills you with prana.

  • Stay away from heavy, oily or spicy foods for now. Your body is still sensitive, so keep things light. As your hunger and digestion improve over the next few days, you can start adding other foods like:

  1. Yogurt or buttermilk - Probiotic, cooling and soothing.

  2. Cooked grains - Quinoa, oatmeal or rice. Grounding and satisfying.

  3. Fresh pressed juice - Bursting with enzymes and nutrients to rejuvenate your body.

  4. Leafy greens - Bitter, cleansing and packed with chlorophyll. Have them lightly steamed.

  5. Nuts/seeds - For healthy fats and protein. Soak first to improve digestion.

The most important thing is listening to your body. Go at your own pace and notice how different foods make you feel. Your fast has given you a fresh start, so use this opportunity to build new healthy habits and a balanced diet. The benefits will unfold for days and weeks to come.

Your Life after fasting

Focus on fresh, light foods

Your body has been cleansed, so keep it that way by choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to help your digestion get back on track. Avoid heavy, greasy foods that will weigh you down.

Eat mindfully

Sit down, say a prayer of thanks, and enjoy your post-fast meals with all your senses. Take small bites, chew thoroughly, and pause between bites. Your digestive fire has to re-awaken, so give it time.

Take it slow

Don't rush into eating full meals right away. Break your fast gently, starting with fresh juices, smoothies, and broths. Gradually add in solid foods over the course of a week. Eating too much too soon can shock your system and undo the good you've done.

Pay attention to your body

Your fast has given you a chance to reconnect with your body's signals. Notice when you feel hungry and full. Choose foods that make you feel energized and avoid those that don't. Stick to an eating schedule but also be flexible based on what your body needs. You're in the driver's seat now!

Stay balanced

Remember, the goal is balance and moderation. Don't get too rigid with rules or beat yourself up over slip-ups. Make the best choices you can, practice self-care, and be kind to yourself. This wellness journey is for the long haul, so find what works for your unique situation and needs. You've got this, so keep up the good work! The rewards of your fast will stay with you for life if you make your health a daily priority.

Be part of our next Healing Journey this October!


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