“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.” -Benjamin Franklin
Have you ever tried a fast? Many cultures and religions prescribe fasting. In the animal kingdom, animals who are ill naturally skip meals and rest in order to feel better. Unfortunately, fasting has gotten a bad rap in modern society.
I’m going to be fasting twice per week for the month of August. Fasting is a great way to rest your body and allow it to re-balance and repair. It’s not a miracle cure, but it does allow the body to cleanse and cure itself. It’s also helpful if you’re having a hard time losing weight – the calorie deficit from one day of fasting per week can help you achieve your weight loss goals. It can help restore hormonal balance if you’re overweight.
So how do you go about fasting?
The kind of fasting I’m talking about is for 24 hour at a time, no longer. And that’s the beauty of it – if you fast from dinner time one day to dinner time the next day, you’ll be sleeping for a good chunk of the fast.
Don’t use your last meal before a fast as an excuse to overdose on food. Rather, eat a reasonable portion of a healthy meal. After dinner, that’s it – drink lots of water during your fast. You can add lemon to your water to speed up detoxification and you can also drink non-calorie beverages… but water is really healthiest. I mean why have a Coke Zero that is full of chemicals while you’re trying to detox?
Can I exercise during a fast?
Yes! There have been some studies on Muslim athletes during Ramadan that concluded that there was no ill effect on performance while fasting. Of course, you may have to work up to it. Your first few workouts in a fasted state may not feel so good, until your body learns not to rely only on glycogen for energy. When you work out in a fasted state, your body burns more fat.
How do I break the fast?
Since it’s only 24 hours, you don’t have to be super-duper careful about breaking the fast. If you’re fasting from dinner time to dinner time, just eat your regular dinner on the next day. This is your change to make positive food choices – so make sure that dinner is not from the drive-thru! Have a salad to start, and continue with a reasonable main course. Don’t eat too many carbs – bread, pasta, rice because it will spike your blood sugar and you won’t feel great.
How often should I fast?
You can fast up to two non-consecutive days per week but one day per week is a great way to start. I will be fasting Tuesdays and Thursdays… unless I have a commitment that day that makes it really awkward or difficult. That’s the beauty of 24-hour fasting… if you need to change your day it’s easy-peasy!
Who should fast?
Let’s talk rather about who shouldn’t fast. If you’re under 18, forget it. And if you’re pregnant or nursing it’s also a no-go. If you have heart problems, autoimmune disease, cancer, check with your doctor first. And if you’ve ever had an eating disorder, fasting is absolutely not for you.
Do you have any questions about fasting? Ask me in the comments below and I’ll answer as best I can. Do you have any first-hand advice about fasting for my readers? Go ahead and post it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you and so would all of my readers!