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Intermittent Fasting
The 36-Hour Fast: What It Is and How It Works
Intermittent Fasting

The 36-Hour Fast: What It Is and How It Works

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Fact checked by Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Last update: March 22, 2023
8 min

People try many intermittent fasting methods to lose weight, but what are some good fasting options for your body? Can you achieve weight loss by not eating for 36 hours? We detail everything you need to know about the 36-hour fast and how it makes you lose fat.

36 hour fast

Extended fasting has been a popular option for losing weight. 

The 36-hour fast requires long fasting periods that encourage your body to burn fat. Many people choose to do this intermittent fasting as it lowers blood sugar levels when turning fat into energy. However, 36 hours might seem too long, so is it really healthy? 

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Understanding the benefits of a 36-hour fast can help you on your fitness journey. There’s nothing to worry about since there are ways to practice extended fasting safely. All you need is some motivation and guidance on how to begin this weight loss plan. 

In this article, you’ll learn what the 36-hour fast is and how it works.

What Is a 36-Hour Fast?

The 36-hour fast, also known as monk fast, requires not eating for 36 hours once a week. Many people choose to start fasting from Monday evening to Wednesday morning. 

Intermittent fasting has many popular weight loss methods that help people reduce their body fat percentage. Consuming no food for 36 hours is among those methods that promote great health benefits. You can only drink water and other calorie-free beverages during those 36 hours.

Originators of this diet believe the fasting regime is a good fat-burning technique that enhances your performance. It can send your body into ketosis – a state that allows the metabolism to burn fat for energy. You can repeat this fast once per week to see physical weight loss results.

Is It Effective to Fast Once a Week?

Yes, you should only fast for 36 hours once a week to see results. Fasting for too long can damage your health and delay the fat-burning process in your body. 

Those who are new to intermittent fasting should try other simple methods first. A 12-hour fast is a good place to begin when losing weight since you have larger eating windows. If you want to try something more challenging, the 36-hour fast is a great way to reduce body fat. 

You can do the 36-hour fast at the beginning of the week. Only drink water, coffee, and tea during those fasting hours. Eating food can disrupt the whole process completely. Extended fasting also requires calorie restriction during your eating times.

Repeat this fasting technique once a week to see long-term results. It’s not a strict diet but more of a lifestyle change that promotes fat loss. If you feel satisfied after reaching your fitness goals, stop the 36-hour fast and return to eating a healthy, sustainable diet to keep fat off.

How to Follow a Monk Fast

The monk fast requires you not to eat for 36 hours. You can drink loads of water to fill up your stomach and prevent intense cravings. Adults should have at least 10 cups of water a day to aid weight loss. No water can lead to dehydration, which increases the risk of health problems.

It might be best to start fasting after your last meal on a Monday evening. This should take you through to breakfast on Wednesday morning. Choose a light, easily digestible meal when leaving your fast. This ensures you don’t experience constipation or stomach pain. 

Not everyone finds it easy to follow the monk fast. This is why DoFasting exists to support your intermittent fasting plan. You can use this app to track your fasting time and find recipes for eating windows. A plan is made by an experienced nutritionist to ensure you lose weight safely.

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DoFasting is easy to download and provides a customized daily fasting schedule from your phone. You can also view easy-to-follow workout video tutorials that don’t require any equipment. All of this in one single app – you’re bound to lose fat at a sustainable pace.

36-Hour Fast Benefits

There are many health benefits that come with the 36-hour fasting. Not only does it reduce body weight, but it also strengthens your mental capabilities.

A monk fast specifically works to improve everything in the body, so it’s worth trying this on your personal fitness journey. 

Here are 4 benefits of the 36-hour fast:

#1 Reduces “bad” cholesterol levels

High cholesterol can lead to health problems like heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. The 36-hour fast can reduce blood pressure, which is often associated with cardiovascular health conditions.

Intermittent fasting may also help people who have a high risk of diabetes and hypoglycemia. Both conditions focus on high and low blood sugar levels. A study found that the 36-hour fast reduces insulin resistance and may encourage lower blood sugar levels in patients.

#2 Improves mental clarity

Fasting can help you examine your thoughts, feelings, expectations, and beliefs about certain eating habits. 

This should open your mind to a new way of healthy eating. Monks are spiritual leaders who believe that fasting is an exercise for your mind since it becomes a mental challenge.

#3 Ketosis

Extended fasting encourages the reduction of carbohydrates in your intermittent fasting diet. The lack of carbs will send your body into a ketosis state, which is normal for a monk fast. This is very beneficial for those wanting to drop fat around their face, stomach, arms, and thighs.

Ketosis happens when your body burns fat for fuel instead of sugar. You can enter this state within 24 hours of starting the monk fast. Just make sure to drink enough zero-calorie fluids or even bone broth that gives you enough electrolytes during a fasting window.

#4 Increases fat burning

Most people do the 36-hour fast for long-term weight loss results. This is because the body goes into a fat-burning process during extended fasting periods. One study found that intermittent fasting produces the same results as going on a calorie deficit. 

36-Hour Fast and Autophagy

Autophagy occurs when there’s a drop in your glucose and insulin levels during extended fasting periods. Your body will clean out damaged and old cells, including abnormal proteins. This encourages the regeneration of newer cells that are better for your overall health.

It might take around 2–4 days for autophagy to happen in your body. Physical exercise will also trigger this cell-reducing process, so make sure to perform daily workouts. Consider talking to a doctor about trying to reach autophagy on your weight loss journey. 

36-Hour Fast for Weight Loss

You’re most likely doing the 36-hour fast to lose body fat. The extended fast is great for burning fat on every part of your body, including stubborn areas like the stomach and thighs. During the 36 hours, your metabolism works to use fat for energy since you’re not consuming calories.

The monk fast can also preserve lean body mass when reducing fat. It could make you feel fit and strong during high-intensity workouts. Burning enough fat also ensures that your muscles have the chance to peek through without needing hardcore weight training.

Monk Fast Before and After

You can try the monk fast to see physical changes in your body. All you need to do is stay motivated and consistent with this intermittent fasting technique. 

Here are some before and after photos of the results from the 36-hour fasting:

before-after diet
before-after diet

How to Practice Extended Fasting Safely

There are ways you can do the 36-hour diet safely without harming your body. 

People who chose to complete this lifestyle change lost significant weight after reducing calories. Just make sure to reduce calorie consumption during eating windows, as this helps promote fat loss. 

Here are 4 safe ways you can do intermittent fasting: 

#1 Build your way up to it

You should try other intermittent fasting methods before dedicating time to the 36-hour fast. This is to ensure you feel comfortable with not eating for certain time periods. Alternate-day fasting is one method to try if you want to build up your tolerance to not eating all the time.

The 12-hour fast is another great place to start when forming a new eating pattern. This means you’ll fast for 12 hours and eat outside those long periods. Getting used to time-restricted feeding (TRF) is important for narrowing down your chosen eating windows.

#2 Stay hydrated all the time

Drinking water throughout the day is important during the 36-hour fasting. 

You need to fill yourself up with healthy fluids that prevent hunger cravings. Have at least 12 cups of water a day if you’re a woman and 16 cups if you’re a man. This should prevent you from experiencing dehydration symptoms, like headaches, dry throat, and intense thirst.

#3 Track your fast with an app 

Applications like DoFasting will guide you through the intermittent fasting journey. It has progress trackers and calendars that encourage you to reach your weight loss goals faster. Tracking your fast ensures you don’t accidentally miss eating or fasting windows. 

You also gain access to tips and guidance from health professionals. They can share their experiences with the 36-hour diet and how it benefited them. Finding a suitable dietary plan may be difficult; therefore, DoFasting was created to make the process much easier.

#4 Stop fasting if you are not feeling well

Your health always comes first when losing weight. If the 36-hour diet is making you feel too sick and exhausted, stop doing it. There’s no point in damaging your body when there are plenty of other weight loss methods. You can try another extended fast that isn’t too challenging. 

What to Eat After a 36-Hour Fast 

Eating soft foods that are easily digestible can help your body adjust to a normal diet. It also prevents symptoms of constipation from occurring. Break your fast with a smoothie or a bone broth.

If you eat stodgy meals that are high in carbohydrates, your digestive system might struggle to digest nutrients properly.

You can break your fast with a meal that either contains leafy greens, fermented food, or fish. As mentioned before, drinking bone broth is another way to ease your body into eating again. Blending soft ingredients into a smoothie can save the trouble of cooking a full first meal. 

Other foods can be dried fruits, diluted apple cider vinegar, chicken, salmon, avocado, and olives. You can have a small meal containing these foods or just a snack throughout the day. Eating the wrong food can make your stomach feel uncomfortable and sensitive.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

The 36-hour fasting is a good method to follow when losing weight. You can follow this eating schedule once a week to see physical changes in your body. If you need to get comfortable before trying, check out the 12-hour fast that has more flexible eating times.

The DoFasting app is great for beginners of intermittent fasting. There are 20 unique diet plans and over 5,000 recipes that will benefit your weight loss progress. So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to try the 36-hour fast? Download DoFasting now to start your fitness journey!


The 36-hour fasting is a good method to follow when losing weight. You can follow this eating schedule once a week to see physical changes in your body. If you need to get comfortable before trying, check out the 12-hour fast that has more flexible eating times. 

The DoFasting app is great for beginners of intermittent fasting. There are 20 unique diet plans and over 5,000 recipes that will benefit your weight loss progress. So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to try the 36-hour fast? Download DoFasting now to start your fitness journey!

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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