I never thought I’d do a water fast. Especially not for 7 days!!
In fact, up until about a month ago I was entirely opposed to water fasts, and even juice fasts! I thought it was just silly to deprive ourselves of those nutrients that our bodies need to live.
I know now, I was closed minded.
Now before I continue, I need to express that these water and juice fasts are not for everyone. Please don’t think that because I did it, that you should do it too. You need to make up your own mind, do your own research and decide, based upon YOUR truth if it is calling to you. And then you also need to take in to account your current state of health. i.e if you are suffering from an eating disorder or body dysmorphia issues I wouldn’t recommend doing it. These detox retreats are not meant to be used for extreme weight loss purposes, and if that is your intention going in to it then I strongly suggest you don’t do it until you have a clearer and more positive mindset.
You see, I too assumed these programs and retreats were purely for weight loss. And being skinny already, I couldn’t understand why I would want to do something that could potentially make me lose even MORE weight.
It turns out, water fasting and detox retreats actually encompass so much more than just “not eating”, and the benefits extend far beyond the physical spectrum.
I was feeling really down, lethargic, tired and not myself. I was in bed awake at 1am and was scrolling through Facebook videos. Between all the cute cat videos, one popped up that immediately caught my attention… It was a girl, she was probably in her early twenties, she looked very fit and healthy, and she was talking about her experience with a water fast she recently did. I was a little surprised, as she wasn’t what I had assumed was your typical candidate for a “detox”. But as always, life likes to surprise us and teach us lessons in the weirdest of ways. It turned out the young woman had been sexually abused seven years earlier, and fasting for seven days had helped her to clear out all of the emotional, mental and even spiritual baggage she had been collecting over the years since.
I was stunned. Me and my closed mind had never even considered the fact that there could possibly be more to fasting than just “losing weight”. And it was this video that intrigued me and inspired me to do a bit more of my own research.
So there I was, 1am sitting in bed and googling “The benefits of water fasting”, “emotional changes after fasting”, “why do a water fast?” and before I knew it I was typing “Water Fasts in Bali and/or Byron Bay”.
That night I ended up deciding to do one myself, and within two days I was fully booked and ready to go to Byron Bay to try Water Fasting for myself!
I decided to do it with White Lotus Cleansing Retreats in Byron Bay. I’d been talking to Sarah, the owner of the retreat and she was so sweet, helpful, thoughtful and understanding. She answered ALL my questions (there was a lot haha!) and assured me of the process, what to do in the days leading up to it and what to expect throughout my stay.
I decided to do the retreat not for physical reasons at all, but for emotional and spiritual changes.
They say one day of water fasting is the equivalent of cleansing one year of your life. And anyone who knows my story, knows I had depression seven years ago for a couple of years. Even though I don’t suffer from depression any more, this concept of cleansing myself and my life back to before that time seemed truly wonderful. Eliminating ALL the negativity and anxiety I had experienced since I was fifteen.
Before I knew it, I was on the road bound for Byron Bay.
The retreat centre was nestled neatly away in the trees directly behind Tallows Beach. I could hear the birds chirping, the leaves would dance and sing in the breeze, the sunlight lit up the pool from morning until night and I could close my eyes and hear the ocean kissing the shoreline even from my bedroom! The lounge room was scattered with books on health, detoxing, compassion and life, bench tops were adorned with fresh flowers and the kitchen was filled with countless supplements for me to learn about and take.
I always assumed water fasts consisted of nothing but water for an extended period of time. Again, I was wrong. My program consisted of different cleansers and supplements every two hours to ensure I had all the nutrients I needed as well as making sure I was never hungry!
Upon arriving, I had a consult with Sarah (who is the owner as well as a trained naturopath, Hakuna massage therapist, Chi Gung meditation teacher and renowned for her abilities in the detox world!. We talked everything from issues, my bowel movements, my goals, family and friends, work, stressors etc. This gave her a clearer indication of where I was at and what I was hoping to achieve from the next week.
She then took a urine sample from me, and tested the alkalinity.
Living in this world, a lot of us tend to be more acidic than alkaline, which is detrimental to our health and well being and is reported to be linked with illness and cancer. Our diets are the main reason for our bodies either being acidic or alkaline, but there are other external influences also such as stress and anxiety.
I was fully hydrated, and my body was already significantly alkaline (yay!), but she said a lot of people who come and she tests are usually a lot more acidic upon arriving and then by the time they leave they are a lot more alkaline.
I taught a yoga class that evening to a handful of the local Byron girls by the pool. We chatted and giggled for a little but, and then I had some vegetable broth (the water of boiled potatoes, carrots, seaweed and shitake mushrooms) and fell asleep early for a good nights rest!
The rest of the retreat followed a regular schedule.
I’d wake up with the sun every morning, have a big glass of water filled with bicarb soda (it tasted kind of funky but it apparently works wonders!), then I’d boil the kettle and swoosh a mouthful of coconut water in my mouth for about 5-10 mins (oil-pulling can help remove toxins from your body), scrape my tongue with a tongue cleaner (the gunk we grow on our tongue stores a lot of bacteria and needs to removed and cleaned daily), then have a couple of cups of tea. (I was allowed to drink as much tea as I liked during the week which made me quite happy!)
Then I’d have my first supplements, ground up flax seed in water (to keep my belly feeling full) and this weird volcanic clay called Bentonite clay in another glass of water. This helped to soak up all the toxins and filth I had in my body, and then the colonics would help to flush it all out.
This was followed two hours later by spirulina tablets - spirulina has significant amounts of calcium, potassium, niacin, magnesium, iron, potassium and provides you with up to 60% of your daily protein requirements and is an excellent source of Vitamin A, K1, K2, B12 and chromium. (It is like a superfood sent from heaven) and a digestive enzyme mixed with vitamin C powder (which tasted horrible but I know it was good for me!).
I’d then alternate between these cleansers and supplements every two hours throughout the day, as well as consuming countless cups of mint and lemon infused water, cups of tea, filtered water and some fermented coconut water every now and then when given to me as it has good bacteria in it.
I had the vegetable broths most nights around dinner time also, and on the second last day I was also given a parasite cleansing formula made from Chinese herbs, pomegranates and walnuts and an Omega 3,6 & 9 oil from the brand Udo. (http://udoshealthproducts.com.au/udos-products/udos-3-6-9-oil/)
To be honest, it felt like I was constantly consuming these things that I didn’t even have time to be hungry!
Sarah would come in each morning around 9am, and we would begin the day with a Chi Gung moving meditation. I’d never tried Chi Gung before, but I absolutely loved it!
It mixes gentle movements with breath work and awareness of the body and soul. It is super calming, grounding and feels amazing first thing in the morning to wake up the body’s systems and kindly say hello to your muscles.
I’d then put my ankles in aChi Massage machine and it would shake my ankles side to side which is said to stimulate the lymphatic system and increase the blood circulation and oxygen throughout your body. It can also help to increase energy, improve mental focus, promote lymph drainage, releass tension, fight fatigue and stress and promote deeper breathing as well as balancing the autonomic nervous system.
For me, it always put me to sleep! It only took about fifteen minutes, but I would fall asleep every time.
I’d then wake up, and Sarah would have prepared my daily colonic.
Now this was one of the most confronting ideas originally. And if you know what colonics are, you’d probably think the same thing!
There are all different types of colonics, but ultimately colonics are the infusion of water in to the rectum to help cleanse and flush out the colon. Sometimes there is a therapist helping you, and other times it can be done on your own.
Personally, I had tried only one colonic before. It was in Bali and I had a gravity fed, closed circuit machine and a therapist with me. It is quite an uncomfortable experience which I found only became more uncomfortable because someone was in the room with me (trained or not, that is so awkward!)
But the colonics at White Lotus were quite different and changed my entire beliefs and thoughts about colonic. I now love them and think they are one of the best things to ever be invented!
The daily colonics I did were set up in a private bathroom on site at the retreat center. It is literally just a colonic board that sits across the toilet, and then a gravity fed tube flushes your colon with warm coffee water, and then when you need to go to the toilet, you just allow yourself to go. No one puts the tube in for you, no one is there with you, you can play some quiet music and just zen out for 20 mins! I’ll attach some pics so you can see what I mean!
Colonics were usually followed by some sun time! I’d get my daily dose of Vitamin D and lay by the pool or go for a walk to the beach.
Then I’d have some other activities scheduled in to my program for the afternoon; anything from a 90 minute Kahuna massage, to reflexology, an infrared sauna, magnesium bath, yoga, or I’d hook myself up to the Bodhihealth machine (a funny looking machine that you strap to your ankles and it helps your body to heal itself by utilizing electro pressure regeneration therapy. It’s all rather confusing, but a lot of people believe in benefits from this machine)
And that was my schedule for seven days. A whole lot of goodness and rest! In between times I’d read, write and drink tea.
To be honest, the whole experience flew past.
Something that I thought would be impossible, was made simple thanks to Sarah and the girls at White Lotus.
I didn’t have an emotional crash at all, I felt energized and vibrant the whole time, I had the best sleep ever, my body felt fresh and strong and I was able to clear through a lot of emotional and mental blockages I had been holding on to.
I had never felt so good in my own body! And I had learned first hand all of the countless benefits from detoxing and just how amazing it is for our systems.
I’ve been awakened, opened my mind and was pleasantly surprised with my results.
For those of you wondering, no I didn’t lose any weight throughout the week! But I did rid myself of a lot of things that were weighing me down. And that was what I was hoping for going in to the week anyway.
So yeah, that was my experience! AMAZING! Five stars all round!
If you are thinking about doing a detox retreat, I would recommend doing it with White Lotus Cleansing retreats for sure! But I would also recommend you do your research first and ensure you are fully prepared and ready physically, mentally and emotionally.
I am not in a position to recommend anyone doing it on their own at home and especially not without the professional guidance, supplements and colonics.
This experience has inspired my personal journey and I can’t believe I had never tried it before.
I think I’d like to do one of these retreats every year or two going forward, just to sink back in to feeling that natural state of being and to feel entirely at one with my body, mind and soul!
For more information on White Lotus Cleansing Retreats you can find them:
Love and light,
7 Day Water Fast: My ExperienceNov 30, 2017
I never thought I’d do a water fast. Especially not for 7 days!!