Although as a health coach I try my darndest to set a good example and eat well all the time, I’m just like you: human. So when I notice that my eating habits are getting all out of whack, I have a secret weapon to get right back on track.
When I notice that I am sneaking in the snacks, when I notice that I am overdoing the carbs, when I notice that I am craving four cups of coffee in a day, I know that I have taken a wrong turn somewhere. I used to just try to eliminate whatever had snuck into my usually clean diet, but cravings seem to manifest in funny ways – you take away the morning snack and all of a sudden you’re munching your way through a bag of chips before dinner.
What I’ve found that works best to reset my system when my old habits come creeping in is this: I do a 24-hour fast for one or two days. That means that after dinner on the first night, I go to bed and don’t eat again until the next day’s dinner. One or two days of this and my silly cravings have gone away and I can go back to my good eating habits.
Here are some fasting tips:
- drink lots of water while fasting
- if you get really bad hunger pangs, coconut oil is very helpful – you can eat a tablespoon straight, or melt it in a cup of hot water
- don’t forget to exercise during your fast – a brisk walk or a moderate weight workout is best
- be sure that your dinner is high in protein, contains some healthy fat, and that your carbs come from vegetables
A few myths about fasting:
- you will not mess up your metabolism by fasting occasionally
- fasting will not make you go bonkers and eat like a maniac at dinner
- fasting will not cause muscle loss (in fact, fasted weight training is a great way to gain muscle)
You should not fast if:
- you’re under 18
- you’re pregnant or nursing
- check with your doctor first if you have heart problems, autoimmune disease, or cancer
- if you’ve ever had an eating disorder, fasting is absolutely not for you
So the next time you need to reign yourself in, if you find you’re snacking or craving sweets, try the fasting method to reset your system. Let me know how it works for you in the comments below.