The one time I decided to dry fasted on the fly, with zero preparation, having binge eaten the night before, I spent the entire day sprawled on my bed like a trampled starfish. If you’re doing a dry fast, failing to plan is planning to fail!
How to Prepare for a Dry Fast?
- Know your WHY
- Educate yourself
- Set objectives
- Do a cleanse
- Practise fasting
- Consider pre-fast nutrition
- Plan refeeding nutrition
- Be fit & able
- Choose ideal setting
Planning is vital for a safe, successful dry fast and reaping maximum benefits. Knowing ahead of time why you’re fasting and preparing mentally, physically, and emotionally can significantly impact your dry fast quality, comfort, and outcome.
So don’t just jump into a dry fast, especially a prolonged one, and set yourself up for failure. Ponder on what you want your dry fast to look like, visualize it ahead of time so you can prepare in every way you need to. Here’s a guide so you can arm yourself to battle the Great Dry Fast and live to tell the tale.
Know your WHY
Why are you doing this dry fast? The reasons you’re doing the fast impacts your entry and exit strategy. Want a fresh gut? Do a colon cleanse before. Want to purify your blood? Standby herbal supplements. Want glowing skin? Prep your collagen tablets after. Want to lose weight? Get on keto and stay on keto. Religious reasons? Buy some spiritual books, and don’t live with your parents (for god’s sake!).
Don’t play with water. Getting the knowledge to do your dry fast right could distinguish between a smooth sailing dry fast or staring death in the face. I don’t want to scare you, but the truth is dry fasting, especially if you’re not an advanced faster, or planning to do more than 24 hours, is a serious business, and you need to know what you’re doing. So congratulations, just by reading these words, you’re already smarter.
Dry fasting is as much a physical process as a mental one ( not to mention an emotional and spiritual one). There’s a strong belief out there that we desperately need water to survive, that truckloads of water are better for you and that the first thing to do every morning is down 2 liters of water. Dry fasting flips that thinking 180 degrees. So our mind needs to be convinced that dry fasting is not only doable but is also damn straight good for you. This is why studying the benefits of dry fasting will get you through and keep you going.
You also shouldn’t go into a dry fast not understanding what’s happening to your body. When you have a headache, chances are it’s the caffeine hangover from the triple dose of coffee you had yesterday, not an alarm bell that you’re dying of dehydration—and if you read up, you’d know to ease up on the caffeine before getting into the fast. Although again, that headache could be a sign of dehydration. Is your pee dark in color? Are you faint? These are questions you should know the answer to before you embark on any dry fast.
Dry fasting is as much a mental effort as a physical one, so you should train your mind and set objectives—so you stay on them.
The duration of your fast determines the type of prep. A 16-24 hour dry fast, for instance, doesn’t require as much consideration as a 3-5 day dry fast. The longer your fast is, the more you need to prepare, as you’re going deeper into the process and will have to deal with an acidotic crisis (heightened ketone production, which can be uncomfortable). It will be more stressful on your liver, kidneys, pancreas, and your entire system.
If you have prepared and trained physically, be sure to give yourself every emotional and mental reason to stay with the program. Make a commitment to yourself and possibly have an accountability partner. Tell someone about it, so you’re less likely to give up.
Also, you can write a journal and log down your experiences. You can also keep track, pay extra attention to your body, and notice if anything is wrong. I’ve done some video journals, which I like looking back at to see how I was feeling; it makes me feel great after and reminds me that it wasn’t so hard.
Do a cleanse
Before you start a dry fast, think about a severe detox cleanse of your bowels. There’s some seriously scary s*** lodged in your behind, namely fecal stones, which are years of built-up waste, blocking you up and releasing toxic juices into the body, poisoning you. Some people have had up to 25 kilograms of this scary poo pulled out of their behinds. So if you’re feeling hungry a lot during a dry fast, it could be because your blood is being poisoned by your poo.
Fasting is cleansing your body and resetting it, but it helps if you have a cleaner body, to begin with. All that fantastic nutrition we put into our bodies may be useless if it can’t be fully absorbed into the digestive tract because the health of your body depends on the health of your bowels. Poor, unbalanced, irregular diet can lead to waste accumulation on the intestines, not allowing your body to absorb those expensive vitamins and collagen supplements. So if you have unexplainable allergies, weight issues, constipation, skin breakouts, weakness, and irritability, your gut is probably stuffed with crap.
There are many cleaning methods out there, but the key is to cleanse the bowels (as well as the liver), which you can do by taking supplements, eating and avoiding certain foods, going on a juice fast, and doing a proper colonic cleanse or enema. Taking more fiber in the periods before your dry fast can be helpful, but doing a special cleanse a week or 2 weeks before a long dry fast can make the most significant difference. Or if on a shorter fast, stay clean on juices or natural laxatives to get that nasty crap out.
Practise fasting (train your fasting muscle)
Now that you’ve cleansed your gut, time to prep your gut instinct. Practice is everything. Practice intermittent fasting before jumping into more extended dry fasting. Practice and repetition also get us to experience the results for ourselves and honestly believe that it’s good for us, which helps us stay the course.
Fasting is also like a muscle, and the more we do it, the stronger it gets. Fasting regularly helps you to listen to the body’s cues. It also tells you where your body is at; if you’re feeling faint, nauseous, dizzy, and barely able to walk with water fasting, then there’s no way you should attempt dry fasting.
Play with any kind of fasting. Try intermittent fasting, OMAD (One Meal A Day, 5:2, try them all. As you get used to a fasting lifestyle, your body will adjust better for dry fasting. However, the best way to ease into dry fasting is to do intermittent daily water fasting for 12 hours first, then 16 hours, then 24, then 36 hours weekly.
Once you can do past 36 hours of water fast, it all gets the same. The hunger is no more after a 36 hour fast than it is on 96-hour water fast. Try doing a few 3-5 day juice and water fasts, and you’ll be ready enough for a dry fast of 24 hours and more.
Also, doing several prolonged 2-5 day water or juice fasts helps release toxins in the body, so doing a dry fast will be easier as fewer toxins mean less lethargy and feeling sick.
Drink loads of water before dry fasting for up to a week if you plan a 24 hour or more extended dry fast. Coconut water is also great to hydrate before a dry fast, and cucumber juice and aloe vera juice. The rule is don’t go into a dry fast unless your pee is crystal clear. Do it. Check your pee. You could end up fainting or be morbidly dehydrated if you’re going in already dehydrated.
By extension, do not dry fast after an alcoholic binge—that’s calling the ambulance. A dry fast is already harder to deal with with the additional toxins and inflammation caused by the poison we put into our body – that poison is what 80% of the world calls regular food. Drinking clean, healthy, and raw before your fast will ease the dry fast, so you’re not suffering, lethargic, and feeling sorry for yourself.
Also, go slow on caffeinated drinks before the dry fast. If you’re a heavy caffeine addict, gradually reduce your tea or coffee day by day until you can manage without. If you’re a coffee addict, be prepared for withdrawal headaches ( and no tablets to ease your pain).
Check pre-fast nutrition
Ideally, you should be eating clean and healthy fresh fruit and vegetables and clean, lean meats before you dry fast. Any nutrition in your body is what your cells will use as food before it starts breaking down its own cells for resources.
Having raw food and juices 2 days before will help you breeze through the dry fast since your body also has to deal with the poison from most processed foods. Being vegetarian will help as well, as meats are difficult to digest and will be decomposing in your body while it’s dry fasting—giving your body additional stress. You should avoid dairy as it’s inflammatory, and most people don’t digest it well.
Eat a ketogenic diet before the dry fast if you’re dry fasting to lose weight. Ideally, two days before so that you’re already fat-adapted before you begin the fast and can get the benefits of weight loss straight away. A ketogenic diet means foods with 70-80% fat, 10-15% protein, 5-10% carbs. Ketogenic meals before a dry fast could include an omelet with avocado, a handful of nuts, salmon with kale, or a salad with loads of olive oil.
Regardless of what you eat a week, or days before, be sure that your last meal before the dry fast is a keto, low carb meal high in nutritious, polyunsaturated fats like those found in olive oil and avocado.
Plan refeeding nutrition
How you break your fast is more important than the actual fast, and during the fast, you will most likely be thinking about all the things you wished you could be eating, so you MUST plan how you will break your fast.
The protocol for breaking your fast also depends on how long you’ve been fasting. The refeeding time for a dry fast is usually twice the fast length, so a 1 day fast means 2 days refeeding, and 3 day fast means 6 days refeeding.
Always break your fast with water and probiotic supplements, a probiotic drink like kefir or sauerkraut juice, or even water and apple cider vinegar. You can start your first meal with a small-sized snack that is low in salt and low carb. It’s best to eat small snacks that are low in salt, like unsalted nuts, miso soup, bone broth, yogurt. If you’re aiming to lose weight, keep some high-fat options available too. Have all these foods ready stocked up in your fridge, so you don’t end up eating some rubbish that’s bad for you or order take out.
Choose ideal setting
The environment is stronger than willpower, so set up your setting for success. Make sure there’s no food or water nearby that can tempt you or lure you to the dark side.
If possible, be around nature—like a hut up in the mountains!— but not many of us get to access nature every day. It’s not advisable to exercise during a prolonged dry fast unless it’s light yoga. Still, walking is very invigorating and highly recommended to give you that dose of energy and happiness just being in nature gives. This is especially true for dry fasts that are longer (2–11 days) as your skin becomes porous and takes moisture from its environment.
Also, plan not to have stressful meetings or work appointments if possible. If you have something important coming up, plan to break your fast before that. Even just having water will immediately lift your mood. Usually, within 30 minutes, your energy levels will shoot up, so as long as you time your meetings after an hour of your fast, you’re fine.
Also, tell your family what you’re doing or if that’s a bad idea, don’t inform them, and avoid them… sometimes, family members can worry unnecessarily. Not everyone understands why you won’t even drink water. Be in a supportive environment.
Be fit & able
Don’t fast if you’re pregnant. If you’re already sick, tired, jet-lagged, or injured, don’t go into a fast (especially a long one – more than 24 hours ). It’ll be harder to do the fast. Don’t ever start a fast dehydrated, such as after an all-night out booze party. If you’re on medication, check with a doctor on prescription. If you have low blood pressure, you should make sure someone is around when you’re fasting. Be sure to get enough sleep and a good cycle before you start the fast. The most significant benefits happen when you’re sleeping, so help your body facilitate that.
Hopefully, you’re clear on how to prepare for a dry fast! But if you want to learn more about dry fasting protocols for weight loss and age reversal, sign up for my new video course, 25 Again! The Dry Fasting Lifestyle For A Younger, Slimmer You.
***Disclaimer: I am not a doctor/ physician, and although I have a bachelor’s degree in BioHealth Science, I cannot and do not hold myself to be a medical professional (“Medical Provider”). This article does not contain medical /health advice. The medical/ health information here is for general and educational purposes only. It is my opinion, based on my research and personal experience, and not a substitute for professional advice by your health care provider. Please consult with a professional before acting on the information here, and do not disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical attention because of anything you read in this article. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.***
- Coutinho, Luke. Dry Fasting Miracle. EBURY PR, 2020.
- Filonov, Sergey. 20 Questions & Answers About Dry Fasting . Translated by Vera Giovanna Bani , Siberika , 2019.