10-Day Water Fasting For Weight Loss: Benefits & Side Effects

Lose water weight, burn stored fat, and flush out toxins with this ten-day long fast.

Medically Reviewed by Alexandra Dusenberry, MS, RDN
By Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Many people fast for religious reasons. But did you know that water fasting for weight loss works great? Going on a water fast for a day or two in a week can boost your metabolism, reduce calorie intake, and help you lose up to 14 pounds in just 30 days. However, this is a short-term weight loss plan. You must consume a balanced diet and exercise regularly as well.

Water fasting has been practiced since ancient times. Humans did not know to grow their own food or hunt. By drinking just water, humans could survive for days. But today, obesity has become a global issue. We overstuff ourselves with foods that have zero nutritional value and empty calories. However, you can change that by modifying your lifestyle and taking small steps. Start the 1- or 2-day water fasting per week to lose weight and improve your overall health.

Continue reading to know more about it.

Water Fasting To Lose Weight

  1. What Is Water Fasting?
  2. How Does Water Fasting Help In Weight Loss?
  3. 10 Days Water Fasting Plan For Weight Loss (With Diet Charts)
  1. Added Benefits Of Water Fasting
  2. Side Effects Of Water Fasting
  3. Caution

1. What Is Water Fasting?

Water fasting for weight loss

Image: iStock

Water fasting involves drinking 1-2 liters of water per day for five days. Doing this will give your body a chance to rejuvenate itself and flush out toxins that have been building up in the body for a long time. The most important aspect of water fasting is that your brain will be more alert and you will become super focused on what you do. You may feel tired and need to sleep more. But overall, it will show good results, provided you do it properly, with the help of your physician or dietitian. Also, it is important to understand that not all bodies have the same stress coping ability. Therefore, it is up to you whether you want to undertake water fast when you are on a sabbatical or while you are working or going to school.

A pre-fast and post-fast phase is necessary. Slowly reduce food intake before the actual water fast and then again gradually re-introduce food after the water fast is completed. Sudden water fasting or breaking the fast suddenly will harm your body and can even kill you.

2. How Does Water Fasting Help In Weight Loss?

For the first two days during your water fasting phase, all you lose is the water weight. The fats start to burn from the 3rd day of water fasting phase. When you stop eating, your digestive system stops working. Your body slows down, except the brain and the heart. The stored fat is now broken down to provide energy for all involuntary and voluntary functions of the body. Water helps to get rid of the toxins and any waste present in the colon. This further helps you to lose a good chunk of weight. All this coupled with the right amount of daily exercise (depending on the body type and the body’s current activity level) will help you to lose a considerable amount of flab.

3. 10 Days Water Fasting Plan For Weight Loss (With Diet Charts)

To make sure that you get the most out of this fast, I have divided the fasting period into 3 phases. The first phase or the pre-fasting phase lasts for 2 days, allowing your body to consume less and less solid foods and making your body more comfortable with “liquid only” diet. The second phase or the water fasting phase is the toughest of all, but by the time you complete this phase, I assure you that you will feel like a new person. Drink neither less nor too much of water. Drinking less water can make you dehydrated and drinking more water can flush out all the salts from your body, which can prove to be fatal. Drink about 1-2 liters of water per day during the water fasting phase. The last phase of breaking the fast is crucial. You have to gradually re-introduce the solid foods or any other liquid food (juices or soup) over a period of three days. Eating fruits and veggies in the first and third phases will provide your body with enough vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber to survive the water fasting phase as well as for recuperating from the fast.

Here is a diet chart for all the three phases to help you get an idea about what to eat in the first and third phases. Take a look.

  • Pre-Fasting Phase

Pre-fasting phase of water fasting for weight loss

Image: Shutterstock

Early MorningLemon, honey and warm water detox drink
Breakfast1 bowl of fruits or 1 banana and a probiotic drink
LunchVegetable sandwich (no cheese or mayonnaise) or grilled veggies
Post-Lunch1 glass fruit juice
Evening Snack1 cup green or black tea (without sugar or artificial sweetener) with two multigrain biscuits
DinnerVegetable soup or veggie salad
Bed Time1 glass warm milk
Why This Works

Day 1 allows you to eat a good amount of fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are nutrient-dense foods that will keep you healthy and keep your hunger pangs at bay. Fruits and veggies will also make your skin glow. Probiotics are gut bacteria that help in digestion. The probiotic drink will keep your digestive system healthy.

Useful Tip

Try not to shop for any meat so that you don’t have to see it in the refrigerator! Buy lots of fruits and veggies instead. Take a break of 20-30 minutes before drinking the probiotic drink after breakfast.

Day 2

Early MorningWarm water and lemon detox drink.
Breakfast1 glass fruit juice.
Lunch1 small bowl vegetable salad.
Post-Lunch1 apple or an orange.
Evening Snack1 cup green or black tea (without sugar or artificial sweetener).
Dinner1 medium bowl of fruits.
Bed Time1 glass warm water.
Useful Tip

Try not to eat fruits that have a lot of fructose. Fruits like grapes, mango, banana, pineapple, jackfruit, etc., should be avoided. You can have muskmelon, papaya, kiwi, berries, orange, apple, plum, etc. Drink at least three liters of water.

Why This Works

On Day 2, you will be allowed to eat fruits and veggies, but in lesser amounts, i.e., you will consume fewer calories. This pre-fasting phase will prepare you for the coming five days of water fasting.

  • Water Fasting Phase

Water fasting phase for weight loss

Image: Shutterstock

Day 3- Day 7

This is the most challenging phase. Drink 1-2 liters of water per day. It is better to get your doctor’s opinion on whether or not you should water fast for so many days to lose weight. You may feel weak and tired. Do remember to take rest and sleep well.

Depending on your current body activity, you can either go for short medium paced walks, yoga or even push ups! Each body has a different coping ability. If you have been working out and lead an active life, you would probably be fine with mild workouts until the third day into the water fasting phase. If you do not lead an active life, just go for short, lazy walks.

I would also like to mention that more than three days of water fasting requires medical supervision. Therefore, I advise you to keep your doctor involved in this process.

  • Post-Fasting Phase

Post-fasting phase of water fasting for weight loss

Image: Shutterstock

Day 8

Early MorningWarm water and lemon detox drink.
Breakfast1 glass watermelon juice.
Lunch1 glass apple juice and 2 almonds.
Evening Snack1 cup green or black tea (without sugar or artificial sweetener).
Dinner1 medium bowl of veggie or fruit salad (you can also juice them).
Bed Time1 glass warm milk.
Why This Works

On the first day of your breaking the fast, be very careful about the calories you consume. This diet chart allows you to eat mostly liquid foods. The sudden introduction of high calorie foods can lead to a spike in blood glucose levels, which can prove fatal sometimes.

Useful Tip

No matter what, resist your temptation for just one more day. You can drink musk melon or beetroot juice for breakfast. For lunch, you can have just an apple if you don’t want to juice it. A glass of milk before bed will help you sleep better and provide your bones the required nutrition.

Day 9

Early MorningLemon, honey, and warm water detox drink.
Breakfast1 banana.
Lunch1 medium bowl of cabbage soup or vegetable salad.
Evening Snack1 cup green/black tea with 1 multigrain biscuit.
DinnerSauteed/baked broccoli, spinach, tomato, and spring onions.
Bed Time1 glass warm milk.
Why This Works

Gradually, high calorie foods are re-introduced into your diet. You understand your body better, so eat as much as you can digest properly without falling sick.

Useful Tip

You can have just a glass of orange juice if you don’t want to eat a banana. If you choose to eat vegetable salad, eat the veggies raw. For dinner, you can blend all the above mentioned veggies and make soup.

Day 10

Early MorningLemon, honey, and warm water detox drink or any other detox drink.
Breakfast1 medium bowl of wheat flakes with strawberries or 1 glass of mixed fruit juice.
Lunch1 grilled veggie sandwich.
Post-Lunch1 bowl of fruits.
Evening Snack1 cup green/black tea with 2 multigrain biscuits.
Dinner1 medium bowl of clear veggie soup.
Bed Time1 glass warm milk.
Why This Works

On the last day, eat a little more solid food along with liquid food. Eat fruits and veggies in solid and liquid form to create a balance, signaling your body to expect to a normal diet routine from the next day.

Useful Tip

Do not use corn flour for preparing vegetable soup. If you do not get multigrain biscuits, just drink the green tea. If your body allows, you can snack on a carrot or cucumber.

4. Other Benefits Of Water Fasting

Benefits of water fasting for weight loss

Image: Shutterstock

It is tough to believe, but yes, water fasting can improve your overall health. Here is a list of the benefits.

  1. Helps you to lose weight.
  2. Water fasting has proven to be beneficial for those who are suffering from hypertension (1).
  3. It will help reboot your body (2).
  4. Since water flushes out all the toxins, your skin becomes smoother.
  5. Water fasting can also help you sleep better. When your body is denied of any nutrition, it will be impossible to be awake for long hours. Sleep helps us to have a better memory and less tension and anxiety.
  6. Your digestion is improved significantly.
  7. Extra unwanted toxins in your colon get cleansed.
  8. Water fasting can eliminate or decrease muscle pain, joint pains, and headaches.
  9. Food and drink can cause a lot of harm to your teeth and gums. Water fasting can help you get healthier gums and teeth.
  10. Water fasting can also improve blood circulation.
  11. You can get a healthier cardiovascular system.
  12. It helps build lean muscle.
  13. Your brain becomes more active and your concentration improves.
  14. This fasting can help you improve the condition of many chronic diseases.
  15. Can help fight Parkinsons and Alzheimer’s.
  16. It improves insulin sensitivity.
  17. Improves self-esteem. You lose weight and your determination to complete this fast gives you the satisfaction of accomplishing a tough job.

5. Side Effects Of Water Fasting

  1. Drinking more than 2 liters of water per day can be fatal.
  2. You may feel weak and tired all the time.
  3. Working out too much can cause you to faint.
  4. Your body will lose lean muscle.
  5. There is a risk that your heart muscles may become weak.
  6. It can damage other organs if extended beyond 10 days.
  7. This can be harmful to pregnant women, children, and teens.

6. Caution

Any fad diet can be dangerous, depending on your body type. This is the precise reason why not all medicines act or react the same way on all patients. Depending on your age, medical history, genetics, current activity level etc., water fasting can prove to be the best way to lose weight or the worst. The point here is to remain healthy and active. Weight loss will do no good if you look tired and worn out all the time. Long-term weight loss can only be achieved by eating good food in small portions and by working out. Water fasting should not be extended beyond 10 days but can be done intermittently. Do take advice from an expert before taking up this 10-day diet.

Water fasting for weight loss is an ideal short-term strategy to burn fat and use it as energy. A 10-day water fasting plan should ideally begin with limiting the intake of solid foods during the first two days. From day 3 to day 7, drink 1-2 liters and completely avoid solid foods. This way, you can boost your body’s metabolism, burn fat, and eliminate toxins. Gradually introduce solid foods into your diet over the next three days to finish the 10-day cycle. Consult a doctor before water fasting for more than three days. However, it is better to avoid these fad diets. Go for a long-term weight-loss strategy with a proper diet and regular exercise instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drink coffee while water fasting?

Possibly. A water fast is primarily geared towards detoxification, and you might want to skip having coffee. However, if you want to, opt for a black coffee.

Should I take vitamins while water fasting?

Yes. Vitamin supplements may help prevent any deficiencies that may occur due to the fast. Choose liquid formulations if possible.

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Charushila is an ISSA certified Fitness Nutritionist and a Physical Exercise Therapist. Over a span of 5 years, she has... more

Alexandra Dusenberry

Alexandra Dusenberry is registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer based in San Diego, California. She works with clients around... more