A few of you have expressed interest in learning more about my experience with fasting. As I have noted before, I’m not a Nutritionist. I do have some good nutritional knowledge thanks to my Precision Nutrition Coaching Level 1 and 2 training and my constant personal development, but I’m again, not a trained nutritionist.
That being said, I’ve been fasting for one 24 hour period each week for over 6 months now and I’ve maintained my initial 6 pound weight loss. Most of the pounds have been shed from my abdominal region. For more details, review my previous blog on fasting. As I stated in my earlier blog, my fasting day isn’t something I always look forward too. In fact, even though I been fasting consistently for more than 6 months, it can still be challenging at times. However, there are a few fasting tips I use, that will make this healthy habit easier for you.
5 Fasting Tips to Make it Easier
Drink like a fish.
To stay hydrated throughout the fasting period, I usually drink 2.5 – 3 litres of water over the 24 hour period, versus my usual 2 litres. Drinking more water helps me feel full, which is a huge benefit! Some days I have a green tea in the middle of the fasting period to switch things up and give my taste buds a little flavour. I’ve read that green tea and plain black coffee don’t mess up the results from a fast.
When you don’t eat dinner, you have new found time to perform errands you usually have trouble finding the time to do. Use this extra time to clean your closets, kitchen pantry, garage or storage rooms. Pick-up a new hobby like rock climbing, or go for a nice long walk outside. Get busy and don’t watch TV all night or ‘hunger’ will set in, often due to boredom.
Ride the wave.
Remember, hunger will come and go during your fasting period, especially during the first few fasts. You will get through these hunger time frames, and often feel better afterwards. I usually feel cleaner and more energetic the day after a fast.
Fit fasting into your life.
When you head on vacation, you may decide not to fast, and that’s OK. As with all healthy habits, I believe you should try following your fasting routine 80% of the time. The other 20% of time, don’t worry about it. This is the only way you’ll stick with this, and most health habits over the long-term.
Give it time.
If you decide to try it, test out fasting for 1-2 months to give it a proper try. Track your results and how you feel during the fast regularly. This information will probably motivate you to keep this habit going, like it has for me.
Watch Out For This When Fasting
Be careful not to overeat once your fasting period ends. I know it can be hard not to, as food tastes amazing after not eating it for 24 hours! It’s very easy to overeat during that first meal, and consume almost a full day’s worth of calories during it. Be sure to plan a head and have your first meal portioned out and ready to go before the 24 hours is up. Make sure your meal is filled with fibrous vegetables, protein and healthy fats. This will fill you up adequately, and offer you the nutrients you need when coming out of a fast.
Fasting May Not Be for You, Now What?
Fasting isn’t for Everyone. Always check with your doctor before attempting to fast. If you’re a Type 1 or 2 diabetic, over 70 or under 19, pregnant or breastfeeding, have heart, kidney, renal issues or gastroesophageal reflux disease, fasting probably isn’t for you. People who have a disordered eating history, low BMI, recently been in the hospital, or are taking medications usually aren’t good fasting candidates either.
What Can you do Instead of Fasting?
If you medically cannot, or don’t want to attempt a 24 hour fast, you can try one of these strategies to give your body an ‘insulin roller coaster’ rest.
- Stop snacking. Eat only 3 meals daily and nothing in between. When you snack all day, your insulin level is always high so you aren’t able to reach a fat burning zone. Chronically high insulin also leads to many dangerous diseases and obesity.
- Eat earlier in the day. When it comes to weight management and getting a good night of sleep, research shows it’s healthiest if our insulin levels decrease in the evening. It’s therefore better for most of us to consume the bulk of our food earlier in the day.
To Sum it Up…My Fasting Tips
Research continues to prove that fasting is a great way to push your body into fat burning mode. Due to the results I, and a few of my personal training clients have had with it, I anticipate keeping one 24 hour fast into my routine for the foreseeable future. To better control your insulin levels, you may decide to give the fasting tips I’ve outlined above a try, if your doctor is in agreement. Or, you may decide to control your number of eating occasions or phasing of meals throughout the day. I hope I’ve given you a few things to think about.
Sources: The Complete Guide to Fasting, Jason Fung, MD with Jimmy Moore
Ted Talk, Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique, Cynthia Thurlow