The 7-10 day water fast

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After you feel comfortable with 3 day water fasts and your body can make the switch to ketosis without much fuss (more info here), then it’s time to consider the 7-10 day water fast. For it’s only after you begin drawing solely on the energy of fat cells that the process of detoxification can kick into a higher gear (more info here) and you can reap the greatest benefits of a water fast. This means that a 3 day fast simply isn’t enough to confront any deeper issues you want to heal.

If you’ve found it difficult to get through your first few three-day water fasts, it’s only understandable that the thought of a 7-10 day fast seems even more daunting. For this reason, I offer private online consultations and coaching for water fasting. Alternatively – and even better for getting the deepest experience out of your fast – is to attend a fasting retreat.

What happens during a 7-10 day water fast?

Despite any doubts and fears emotionally, physically 7-10 day fasts tend to go more smoothly than you might first expect (so long as you’re healthy and don’t have any serious issues with detox). This is because your body does the hardest work in the first three days while it establishes ketosis – during which your fuel tanks are also running on empty. From the third day on, ketosis continues to become increasingly efficient, and so you’ll begin to feel lighter and fuller with energy. Increasingly, the fast feels like a celebration of freedom from the daily need to eat food. This freedom, as well as a lighter body and clearer consciousness, can feel so good that many people actually experience a sense of reluctance in returning to food at the end of the fast. There really is a beautiful purity about just being, without the needs and addictions of food distracting you, weighing you down.

As your healing metabolism firmly establishes itself by the end of the third day, the digestive system is in the midst of shutting down its normal function. As a result, most hunger pangs usually (but not always) subside significantly after this point. Given that digestion comes to a halt, it’s also extremely important to consider how and what you eat in the transition period both before and after any fast longer than three days. The transition into a fast is important because you don’t want your digestive system to shut down with food still remaining inside the intestines. It will rot inside you. Not a pretty thought. And as it rots, the toxic by-products aren’t going to help your body – precisely when you’re trying to detoxify. The transition out of a fast is important because (continued below)


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your digestive system is hibernating. It can’t digest. You have to wake it up slowly and with respect, eating small portions of easily digestible foods. Otherwise, you’ll be sorry! Just as any food remaining in the gut at the beginning of a longer fast will rot, so a similar situation can occur now too. Anything other than juices or the simplest fruits and vegetables will sit in your stomach, until your digestive system is able to cope. This can and will take days. After fasting, I find that the transition time back to normal eating with a normal appetite is similar in length to that of the fast itself.

I remember the exuberance of celebrating the end of my very first 7 day water fast by eating pizza. It weighed like an anchor in my stomach for literally days afterwards… Needless to say, I learned my lesson afterwards!

The 7-10 day water fast in greater detail:

Days 1-3:
Of course, the first three days of a 7-10 day water fast generally follows the process described in the three-day water fast. With experience, though, it will become much easier – even enjoyable – and the process to complete the switch to ketosis will accelerate.

Days 4-6:
After fully entering ketosis, your body can devote greater resources to healing and detox. You’ll know when this happens ;-). Your breath will stink. Your sweat and general body odour will stink, as your skin releases toxins which may have been locked up inside you for literally most of your life. No, it’s not a very social occupation! But directly experiencing the repulsive things coming out of your body can make you appreciate how good it is to be free of them! It will give you the willpower to continue fasting in the future, no matter how hard it may have been in the beginning. I myself became a convert to water fasting on day four / five of my first seven day water fast, when my tongue began to produce a foul metallic-tasting froth. It tasted literally like poison.

Detox can also make the kidneys and muscles ache, but generally this is much more bearable than during the first three days, when you’re lower on energy. You’ll probably find there are periods when physically you actually feel great, with a clear and still consciousness, and then this will pass into a period of deeper cleansing when you feel weaker and heavier. During longer fasts, things always change. From hour to hour. From day to day. There’s no apparent logic to it, so don’t try to analyse. Just trust your body and go with the flow. It knows what it’s doing: how and what to detox, where to heal, and when to take breaks in between these more intensive periods.

Days 7-10:
You might be wondering why I’ve not listed a ‘5 day water fast’ or something similar here on this website. If you’d like to try four or five days, then by all means do! Every day of fasting does you good! But it’s because of the benefits of what often happens around the end of the first week of fasting that, in my opinion, it’s worth aiming for a period of 7-10 days. It’s at this point that you may experience a so-called ‘healing crisis‘. This occurs when your body has moved beyond the simple ‘house-cleaning’ of everyday toxins, and has started to tackle deeper illnesses, injuries and traumas (both physical and emotional). This is also described in the article on extended fasts.

What is a healing crisis?

A healing crisis consists of symptoms of an (old) illness returning or temporarily intensifying during the fast itself. This can be a little worrying, especially if you don’t understand what’s happening to you at the time. Nevertheless, it is perfectly normal. Think of it like this: fasting calls the illness forth from where it is otherwise locked physically into the depths of your body and/or emotionally into your subconscious. In calling it forth, you may temporarily experience the symptoms of the illness more acutely, but it is precisely through shaking it loose that you are then able to permanently expel the illness and truly heal. Western medicine can hardly ever achieve this to the same degree, because toxic (allopathic) drugs and physical procedures tend only to reduce or suppress symptoms. They do not deal with root causes of illness!

Occasionally, healing crises can be extremely intense. When this happens, it’s critically important to be able to tell the difference between a healing crisis and a sign from your body urging you to stop the fast. This is where working with an experienced fasting coach like myself can really help. If it’s a healing crisis, you should ideally try and push through. If it’s not, you should stop immediately!

What about water fasts longer than 7-10 days?

Given the degree of detox and depth of healing which occurs during a 7-10 day water fast, there’s no need to contemplate longer fasts unless you’d like to address a serious medical issue or unless you feel the need to go deeper into your being spiritually. A weekly 24- or 36-hour fast (or regular intermittent fasting instead) combined with an occasional 7-10 day fast should be all that’s necessary in order to preserve good health. Exactly how frequently you conduct a 7-10 day fast is up to you, but please don’t violate your body by fasting before it’s ready – even if your rational mind believes it’s for a good cause. Once you’ve faced and overcome the basic physical and emotional challenges on shorter 1-3 day water fasts, you can begin to trust your body and what it wants. At this point, your body always knows best. When the time is right, you’ll feel an inner urge welling up inside yourself to do a 7-10 day fast. You’ll look forward to it. For some people this may be only once every few years, for others up to a couple of times per year. Just follow your inner calling.


— A stronger immune system (click here)
— Deeper states of consciousness (click here)
— The deepest detox (click here)
— Extended healing fasts (click here)

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  1. Mihai says

    Hey. I have been doing 36 hour fasts, once per week, for 2 years, then I moved on to two days separate days per week for 3 years. I also did four 3-day fasts. I decided to do a 7 day fast, which I completed. Your article helped me to decide that it’s the best for me, because I felt this enthusiasm to go into it.

    I want to ask you one thing: my first 4 days were super smooth, I was super energetic, no hunger, no craving, no weakness. Day 5 was half good, half crash, had to lie down for half a day. Day 6 was total crash, and day 7 was crash, but lighter than 6th day. I have been reading what other people experienced during 7 day fasts and everyone says that the first days are the most difficult, but for me it was in reverse. Do you know what could this mean?

    I’m 1.80m height and 75 kg, so pretty average (I would say a little underweight).

    • Tallis Barker Ph.D. says

      Hi Mihai,

      Thanks for sharing. First of all, this just goes to show (yet again): don’t believe everything you read on the internet – and especially when it comes to fasting!

      Your own experience does diverge from the ‘average’ experience of a 7-day fast (if there is such a thing as an average experience…). The reason for this is the way you prepared so thoroughly for it over the previous years. Most people feel lousy in the first few days because their body doesn’t know how to efficiently access ketosis. They simply haven’t had enough practice in getting there. After ketosis is up and running, though, they have more energy and feel better – even if there are subsequent waves of detox.

      Because you’ve taken such a long time in moving from 36 hours to 2 days and then on to 3 days, it means that you’ve had LOTS of practice of gently getting into ketosis. Your body knows how to do it, and so there are no problems. This is why the first few days of your 7-day fast went so smoothly – because practice does make perfect :-). In most fasts, what happens is that the body gets into ketosis, then it gives you a grace period for a day or two before deeper detox begins. So in your case, this is what happened on Day 6. By Day 7 you were starting to come out of that wave of detox. If you had continued the fast into Day 8, I suspect that you would have felt fine again.

      All the best,

      • Mihai says

        Hello Tallis,

        Thank you for your fast reply. That makes sense. From what I read on your site and comparing it to my direct experience I could really tell that you know what you’re talking about. I will for sure repeat the 7-day fasting and aim to go to 21 then 40. I guess it’s better to take it gradually.

        This extended fast really got me even more hyped about fasting in general. I’m a big eater, usually falling prey to the desire of taste, more than hunger, and fasting proves to be a good way to also discipline my mind. Just wanted to share this and to thank you for your effort in making fasting more accessible to people. It’s really a golden technique for the times we live in now, where almost all the food is ‘poisoned’ and in consumerist societies we tend to overeat.

        All the best to you too!

        • Tallis Barker Ph.D. says

          Hi Mihai,
          Glad your 7-day fast was such a positive experience! Once you feel that 7 days is “no big deal”, I think you’ll find that, psychologically, you’ll be able to jump to pretty much any length of fast afterwards. So much of our lives is geared around a weekly cycle that to be able to fast comfortably for 7 days means that any longer fast is just a repetition of this weekly cycle.
          Keep it up!

  2. Kayla Sanders says

    I started a extended fast after wanting to detox my body and heal myself of ailments. I did not properly prepare for the fast and am having bowel issues(constipation). I have a lot more healing to do and do not want to break my fast. Do you suggest Epsom salt cleanse to help me rid my body of the waste and continue on my fast. Thank you.

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Hi Kayla,

      Sorry to hear about the way things are going. This is precisely why making a dietary transition before a fast is so important! Never mind: learning by doing :-).

      Now that you’re stuck in the situation, I’d recommend an enema or colonic instead of an Epsom salt cleanse. The latter is simply too aggressive, effectively forcing your body to react to a chemical stimulus – and all the more so while fasting, which means that your intestines and digestive system are at least partially dormant.

      Even though an Epsom salt flush will have the desired effect, it comes at a cost. Many people end up with cramping as a result, and sometimes severely. At the very least it forces your digestive system to leap into action when it should be switching off instead. An enema and colonic, on the hand, simply use water pressure (and a little gravity) to accomplish the same goal, with your intestines much less actively involved.

      Hope this helps,

  3. Kae says

    Thank you for writing about the ego and fasting. It’s very helpful. I have two questions. I immediately get foot cramps when I fast. What is this from? I did a 7 day coconut water fast and had heart palpitations or fluttering on day 7. Is this normal and part of the process? Should I continue fasting if I feel this again?
    Thanks for your help. ❤️

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Hi Kae,

      Thanks for writing. I’ll dive right in and get to the point.

      It’s possible that your two symptoms are related. Assuming you’re not dehydrated, cramps are usually caused by low levels of magnesium. When this is the case, the cramps also tend to occur most frequently in the extremities: feet, toes, hands, fingers. On a cellular level, calcium and magnesium work in conjunction, with calcium causing your muscles to contract and magnesium causing them to relax and open up again. This is why magnesium supplements are commonly prescribed for people who tend to cramp easily.

      More seriously, low levels of magnesium can also affect the heart, causing palpitations. This is very different from the kind of heavy, pounding heart which often naturally accompanies detox (similar in feeling and function to when your heart is pounding during the flu). I don’t want to scare you, but you definitely want to pay attention to heart palpitations! If magnesium levels drop too low, it can ultimately lead to cardiac arrest.

      Before you do any more fasting, I would suggest getting a blood test. A simple metabolic panel (also called a Chem 12 or Chem 14) will clearly show how your magnesium levels are doing in everyday life. If you cramp so soon after beginning a water fast, this does suggest that your everyday magnesium levels are low. Next time you water fast, I’d also suggest getting a blood test on Day 3 or 4: after you’ve largely made the switch over to ketosis but before there’s any chance of danger to your heart. When you’re fasting and are in ketosis, certain electrolytes such as magnesium are used differently, and therefore their levels in the blood can differ compared to everyday life. If you do get a blood test because of potential concerns about your heart, it’s also important to check that potassium (and phosphorus) levels are also in the normal range.

      For the vast majority of people, fasting is completely safe in terms of its impact on the heart. If you are one of the exceptions, though, it’s important to know this sooner rather than later.

      Hope this helps,

  4. Arpad says

    Dear Tallis,

    I plan to start my first 10 days fasting at 23.06.2019.
    I’m curious about the water intake due to the quite hot water we have here.
    Do I need to quit or decrease the intensity of my running and weightlifting sessions?
    I’m already done several 3 days fasting only with water and I noticed that my body almost fighting against my will to do any sport.
    Anyways I just want to thank you for all the informations you share.
    Extremely helpful and easily understandable.
    Have a nice day!

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Szia Árpád!

      (That’s Hungarian for “Hi Arpad”, but we’d better continue in English!) Thanks for your question. The key thing in water fasting is to listen to your body. It’s no coincidence your body has resisted you on previous fasts: working out while water fasting can cause damage! All the details are found in this video:

      As far as water intake goes, follow your body and drink to thirst.

      Hope this helps!
      Minden jót és sok sikert a böjtöddel,

  5. Tanya says

    Hello Tallis,

    Thank you for such an informative site- thinking of a 24 hr fast starting Sunday night. However, I have kickboxing class Monday morning, so, is it ok if I have black tea (Darjeeling) with a small handful (less than 1/4 cup) raw walnuts? Or, just a small cup of coffee with 1 tbsp of cream? I need energy, not to just wake up (have 2 small children) but also workout! 😀


    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Hi Tanya,

      Thanks for your question, and I’m glad you like the website :-).

      Okay, first I have a question for YOU: why would you want to eat walnuts? It’s not really a fast if you’re eating!!! Beyond this, the calories from walnuts are mostly fat and protein, and this won’t do much to give you energy. I would always advise people to work out in the morning on an empty stomach if possible. Yes, if you’re addicted to sugars and you require sugars to give you energy, you’ll feel really low on energy at first. Otherwise, morning workouts on an empty stomach (ie your last meal was the night before) force you to burn fat more efficiently. You’ll be able to get up in the morning without having to really on immediate food for fuel. This isn’t just better for exercise, it’s also better for life!

      If you absolutely need an external source to provide energy, then I’d opt for the coffee or tea. Caffeine can easily become an addiction too, but metabolically speaking it does less damage to you than sugar addiction. I have three kids too, so I understand where you’re coming from in terms of the need to get up and go. On the occasions when I need a morning pick-up, I ALWAYS turn to caffeine rather than calories for this reason.

      Hope this helps,

      • Tanya says

        Hi Tallis,

        Appreciate your quick response.

        Now that you stated the obvious, I feel darn silly! I guess it is out of an old habit of drinking my morning tea with some food and I read somewhere that walnuts help with satiety, so it felt like a healthier option. And is it true that if you keep calories under 100, it will not affect the benefits of fasting?

        Thank you,

        • Tallis Shivantar says

          No need to feel silly – it just shows how strongly ALL of us are influenced by habits!

          As far as keeping calories under 100 goes, it depends what you mean by ‘benefits’. In terms of ketosis, even if the 100 calories were pure sugar, it wouldn’t significantly affect ketosis. In terms of your digestive system, it IS important to allow it to rest during a fast, and any calories are going to stimulate digestive juices. In terms of facing habits and addictions, well… I think we’ve already covered that. ANY calories – and to an extent even any tastes – allow your ego to get away with avoiding the issue!

          • Tanya says

            Thank you Tallis – you are the best!

            You made me think about ‘ego’ and we do make excuses but I also believe in working with one’s limitations – I will give up my morning tea for the days I fast (even if its intermittent). Instead I will have a green shot (homemade, no sugar added) or a small cup of warm water with 1/2 squeezed lemon….i guess it will stimulate the digestive juices (?) but Im OK for now with that. Its easier to drink the lemon/green juice quickly, brush my teeth and get on with my day…and then break the fast latter.

            Thank you again for all your kind advice.


            • Tallis Shivantar says

              Hi Tanya,

              That sounds like a good plan to me. Yes, a lemon or green shot is going to stimulate digestive juices to a degree, but the 10 calories in half a lemon is pretty minimal. And any fruit requires only minimal digestive energy to break down.

      • Jeffrey L Baker says

        You mentioned in your article that before you start your fast you should somehow rid your digestive system of all of the food that you can. And I’m curious on how to do that. Normally I just start fasting and then after the fast. My body rids itself of whatever was in my digestive system when it went to sleep. I also have a very difficult time with diarrhea when I am breaking my fast I can’t seem to find anything to slowly eat to give my digestive system the kick-start it needs to not give me diarrhea. Great article thank you so much!

        • Tallis Shivantar says

          Hi Jeffrey,

          Thanks for writing. The diarrhea you mention is probably related to the fact that you don’t adjust your diet before your fasts. In other words, your body is trying to get rid of old, undigested (and probably rotting) food as quickly as it can!

          Next time I would taper both the amount you eat as well as reduce the content of what you eat to only fruits and vegetables over the last couple of days (depending on the length of the fast). After the fast, I would also try eating a little less over the first few days of refeeding: again focussing on easily digestible fruits and vegetables.

          Hope this helps!

  6. Franco Catucci says

    Tallis can i still work when i am doing my seven day water fast ? Thank you Sir.

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Hi Franco,
      You can probably still work if you have to, so long as your job doesn’t involve much physical labour. But it would be MUCH better to be able to take at least some of the 7 days off, so you can make the most of your fast!

  7. Franco Catucci says

    Just wanted to share with those who love to fast you can keep track of long fast and short fast the app is called MYFAST thier is a graph for your progress , your water intake , and notes plus you can keep track of weight loss its for android phones i PERSONALLY think its a great and easy app to use .

  8. Franco Catucci says

    Evening Mr. Tallis, well i bit off more than i could chew on my first 7- to 14 day water fast . I lasted on my water fast 3 days 72 hrs. I kept a jounal of my fasg for these 3 days I learned a lot about myself. Mr. Tallis, how often could i practice a 3 day water fast till it just becomes natural to me ?? Could I do a 3 day water once a week ???
    Thank You Mr. Tallis for your comments!

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Hi Franco,

      72 hours is good! And I’m glad you kept a journal. This is good both as a point of reference on future fasts as well as helping to preserve your feelings.

      To answer your question: there’s no fixed limit about how often you might practise a 3-day water fast. I think you have the right approach here, though: to focus on 3 days until it becomes natural, and only afterwards start to consider longer fasts. This will making everything about fasting more manageable, more positive, easier, and therefore something you’ll want to keep doing in the long term too! This is the most important thing. Fasting is for life!

      I’d suggest practising a 3-day fast whenever you feel an urge beginning to develop deep inside your body. This isn’t an intellectual decision -it’s something physical, felt in every cell of your body. If you don’t feel this bodily urge, then I’d suggest practising a 3-day fast at least twice a year, because this is approximately the minimum frequency in order to make ketosis something your body can easily access. Having said this, though, you might find that you feel the urge once every month or two. Or perhaps even more frequently. Who knows. Anything is possible, so long as you’re eating healthily in between and your weight is stable.

      I wish you success on your next fast,

      • Franco Catucci says

        Tallis , your awsome thank you for prompt reply your EXPERIENCES and information on water fasting is so inspirational. I feel in my body to water fast every weekend for a few months i am still going to eat ONE-MEAL-A-DAY the other 4 days when im not water fasting . I know water fasting cant hurt me i know its only going to help me .
        Thank you Mr. Tallis for sharing your information!

  9. Jolie Voila says

    Great read! I started 48 hour fasts two weeks ago. Currently, this is my third time and I’ve lost 12 lbs(and I have 10 more to go), but the strange thing is this time around, I don’t feel miserable at all. I hope to make it to 72 hours. That is what has lead me here: to see if fasting gets easier the longer one does it. Thank you for writing about this! I will check out your articles.

    The first week I fasted 48, then binged(Couldn’t help it), and then 48 and then more or less feasted frid/sat/sun. Pretty much, did the same the second week – except I didn’t binge/feast quite as badly. The weird thing is what I ate which was really bad and the results are still strong and I had very little rebound.

    All in all, with only 4 days of fast, I’m down and kept it off. I do drink teas/coffee. However, the teas are what really help with the hunger. I take vitamins everyday. I did cheat with unsweetened almond milk when I started to feel dizzy. I don’t think these kicked me out of ketosis though.

    Also, it does seem that I do switch back into ketosis pretty quickly. I have been playing with keto diet for the last 6 months or so. Is it strange to say that I think that after a carb up day, I can feel myself get back into ketosis within a day or so?

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Hi Jolie,
      Thanks for sharing. Your experiences sounds quite normal: that, with practice, fasting becomes easier – and as it becomes easier, there’s less tendency towards binge eating and “ping-ponging” afterwards. With more experience, I hope also you’ll find that you won’t need the crutch of teas, coffees, almond milk etc. This will allow both the deepest cleanse as well as the deepest insights into what water fasting has to offer. That’s okay. Everything will come in its own time…
      To answer your question, the more your body is tuned into ketosis (whether through regular fasting or a ketogenic diet), the easier and quicker it becomes to slip in and out of ketosis. If this is the case for you too, then a day or so sounds about right for getting back into ketosis. It’s about the same for me too.
      Hope this helps,

  10. Franco Catucci says

    hi Tallis , just wanted to share with you today 28 jul 18 6pm Saturday i started my 7 – 14 day water fast not for weight loss but for health reasons i been for the last 70 days eating ONE-MEAL-A-DAY omad 23 – 1 i have lost a lot of weight eating once aday thats my LIFESTYLE of eating and when i break my fast ill go right back to eating once a day
    When i break my fast i will break it with unsweetened orange juice avocado and cook vegetables and probably eat like this for a couple of days if you can give me more advice that would be great thank you for you support and encouragement advice you friend franco catucci .
    God Bless ❤👍🙏

    • Tallis Shivantar says

      Good luck with your fast Franco 🙂

      • Franco Catucci says

        Tallis can you please send me an Email an article on breaking any lenth of a water fast weather it a 3 day 7 day 14 day 21 day 30 day or a 40 day water fast ??
        Thank you Mr. Tallis .

        • Tallis Shivantar says

          Sorry Franco, I don’t have any articles already written on the subject. However, my PDF on “How to Plan, Prepare and Practise a 3-day water fast” (link here: does include a section about this. If you need a consultation, I also offer online coaching. Otherwise, the main thing is not to force the transition back to eating normally!

  11. Franco Catucci says


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