My trip to Emergency due to Water Intoxication

Exactly 4 weeks ago, I landed myself in emergency due to water intoxication. In this post I’ll tell you why I did it and exactly what happened.

Why I embarked on a water fast:

Water fasting is practiced by many cultures around the world, with benefits including (but not limited to): relief from IBS, diabetes, heart disease, migraines, acne etc.

For me, to be honest with you, it was initially due to stagnation in fat-loss. As part of a community of other BioSignature Practitioners/Coaches/Personal Trainers, I came across the idea of periodization in eating, much like training, to restart fat loss (despite eating clean). Through the expertise of the others, I learned about a vegetarian/fruit cleanse, (a super experiment, which I’ll post about later), which then put me onto the idea of the water fast. **PLEASE NOTE THAT MY EATING STYLE INLUDES REAL AND WHOLE FOODS, AND THIS WASN’T A QUICK FIX TO ANYTHING, IT WAS TO GET MY BODY TO BURN FAT AGAIN.

What happened:

  • 5:45am- awoke for Bootcamp. Drank approximately 3L of water by 10am. Only coached, didn’t train.
  • 12:30 after a meeting whereby I drank another litre+ of water, (to maintain focus), hamstrings and biceps became very tight. Felt like I’d been pushing mountains and lifting craters!
  • 1-3pm- 2 more meetings, kept drinking- approx 1.5-2L. Was tough physically as I was tired, head was hurting, ability to focus was relatively ok, however I degraded quickly from there…
  • 3:10pm-Bowel movement 1 (of 6) Was a struggle, loose & gassy…
  • 3:40pm-Walking became very laboured, and going up 4 flights of stairs was extremely difficult
  • 3:45pm- Bowel movement 2-same description as above. By then, feeling weak, bloated, had full blown headache, and nauseous. Laid down.  IN HINDSIGHT, I RECKON IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD TIME TO START EATING BY THIS TIME, BUT WANTED TO LAST 24HOURS, (TIL 6PM)- already my mind was foggy as this was bad judgement. Laid down.
  • 4:25pm-Bowel movement 3-same as above, but very dizzy and had hiccups
  • 5:10pm-Bowel movement 4-finally clean, well formed. Minus hiccups, same feelings as above, but also got cold, and was possibly running a temperature, (no thermometre on hand).
  • 5:21pm-ENDED FAST-first food was a few strawberries & courgettes, eaten very slowly. Laid down again after.
  • 5:55pm- Bowel movement 5-well formed, fibrous. Slept.
  • 6:15pm-ate asparagus x 6. Was feeling cold, but wrote that I wasn’t feeling nauseous / dizzy. Am sure I was kidding myself by then as I’d had evening plans that I didn’t want to break. Back to sleep (Unable to do anything). 
  • 7:15m- Bowel movement 6- very nauseous..Cancelled all plans for evening, back to sleep
  • 8:35pm- thought it was a good time to bring fat and protein back into my system, had an omega 3 capsule, plus a small handfull of pumpkin seeds. Still nauseous, back to bed.
  • 9:10pm- zero change in feeling. Ate same food as above. Called my dear friend, Janka, (also my gaurdian angel on that night), asking her to check in on me every half hour. 
  • 9:50pm-suprised to still be feeling awful, after having ingested food, hence thought to increase intake to feel better. Ate one scrambled egg, made in coconut oil, with coconut milk (for protein/fat). 
  • 10:10pm- Janka called again to see how I was. By this time I was thinking I was in really bad shape. Any movement was very difficult. The thought that this experiment could be fatal did cross my foggy mind, and when Janka offered to pick me up so I could at least stay with her, I accepted. (Although I hesitated at first, not wanting to be a bother (?!?!?!), but thought it absolutely irresponsible (to myself and loved ones), to be alone when I wasn’t thinking straight-thank goodness I did that!
  • 10:20pm-Janka arrived, and by the time we got to hers, I was very weak, and asked her to take me to emergency. (NB-I have a high tolerance for pain, so what was really going on in me, I wasn’t showing). 
  • Whist awaiting to be seen, I went over my notes with Janka, so she could talk for me, in case the staff didn’t speak english. 
  •  I was seen to fairly quickly, (by wonderful staff at emergency). With my notes, and their round of questioning, I believe it was fairly clear what had happened, and the eventual prognosis was Hyponatremia-lack of sodium in my blood due to water intoxication.
  • Blood pressure was normal, resting heart rate was 55bpm, EKG was fine. I was put in a room to await an IV. 
  • 2am-no IV yet, resting, and feeling safe in hospital. Had sent Janka home, and was sending a friend a text message, letting him know I was ok, but I couldn’t see what I’d written, it was all a blur. I thanked my lucky stars and Janka for getting me to hospital in time. 
  • Over the course of 48hours, I recieved 1insulin injection (lovely, just what my body needed, a direct hit of the hormone which promotes fat storage, which also I developed a rash to), 3 x 500ml NaCl (sodium chloride, aka-salt), + 1 IV of 500ml glucose/water (5%:95%).
All in all it was a scary experience, and one that got out of hand very quickly.  By the time I ate anything, I’d already consumed around 7L of water, (I’m 157cm in height, & 58kg). Everytime I was hungry, I just drank more, to keep myself alert for my meetings.  Unfortunately, my goal of kick-starting my fat loss was greatly hindered, and only now am I getting back on track (the great sugar increase (between the insulin, glucose, high carb hospital food, my roomate giving me a milk chocolate bar etc, left me craving sugar like mad, which I’ve finally weaned myself off of).

For first timers, who wish to try a water fast, I would suggest doing it under guidance. Be prepared, and do it for the right reasons. There’s no point in doing a water fast if after you finish, your’re going to go out and drink your face off (filling up on colas, alcohol, sugary juices), or if your diet is not in order. It is not a quick fix to lose weight. You’ve got to take into consideration your daily activities, and know that you’ll require rest and “me time,” which overall, is a really good thing in our busy lives. 🙂

Would I do it again? Already have. I drank way less water, and rested more, and did just fine. Please don’t fear drinking water, there are numerous benefits to it, as mentioned, and more often than not, the majority of people don’t drink enough. Let’s come to the middle-I drink less, you  drink more, deal?

I’d love to hear your thoughts whether you’ve done a fast, or are interested.



2 thoughts on “My trip to Emergency due to Water Intoxication

  1. Breaking your fast by eating fruit might have been a bad idea. Your stomach was probably full of acid because you weren't eating and the strawberries would have added to that. Eugenia said she fasted as you have but for 5 days, ending it with fruit led her to be bedridden for days. She was advised that best way to come out of a fast is with plain porridge made with water.


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