Surprisingly the last blog about fasting actually garnered a very positive reaction.
It’s amazing when we were talking about fasting 3 years ago.
It was so taboo and out of this world that so many people had very strong feelings about it.
It was new, a bit odd to the modern society and extremely outside of what we were told by modern day nutritional science at the time.
Myths such as Eating 5 meals a day and eating breakfast first thing in the morning have now been exposed as what they actually are: Choices.
And that’s the beauty of your fitness journey : It really is a “choose your own adventure” type of deal.
Most people like to drive their own nutritional beliefs and personal habits down other people’s throats when, in reality, all of our bodies respond to different stimulus’s…like fasting for 24 hours.
By now you know that I am a (very imperfect) practitioner of 24 hour fasting.
Yes, there are the physical benefits that come along with it.
Most are supremely awesome especially for people hitting the older side of life.
– increased growth hormone – decreasing inflammation in your body – Improved insulin sensitivity – Giving the digestive system a rest
And a whole host of other great benefits are all good reasons to try it out once a week as part of your life.
So, how should you go about doing a 24 hour fast?
Well, after about 3 or so years playing around, I’ve come up with a couple of great tips on how to successfully complete a fast day.
Drink water in the morning and regularly throughout the day.
Water is paramount to keeping yourself not only hydrated throughout the day but also giving you the feeling of being “fuller” as a result.
A lot of the hunger pangs we feel throughout the day are due to many factors that have nothing to do with food: Emotions, stress, environment, and lack of water.
Drinking water regularly will help ease the feeling of a hunger pang.
Forget about the fact that your fasting
If you make fasting out to be a big event then it will remain on your mind for the length of your fast and trust me, thinking about your fast every minute of every day will make it infinitely harder on you to stick with it.
24 hour fasting is a more of a set it and forget it process. Don’t make it out to be bigger that it really is. Go about your day as if it was a part of your normal life and you’ll deal with it so much better.
Which leads me to my next point…
Keep yourself as busy as possible
Many people believe that they can’t operate without food in their stomach and quite frankly, that’s far from the actual truth.
I make sure my fast days are somewhat busy with things that keep my mind engaged.
SIDE NOTE: Even though you can be wicked productive during a fast I would still recommend to not make serious life changing decisions while fasting for 24 hours. Keep those to days your fed.
The more engaged and busy you are throughout the day the more you actually forget about the process of fasting. Don’t believe me? Try it out.
Drink coffee in the morning
I have no problems with the consumption of caffeine and I must say that it does help significantly with keeping you full and energized during a fast.
I keep myself to one cup of coffee in the morning and a cup of decaf coffee in the afternoon if needed.
The two cups keeps me satiated with the decaf cup acting almost as a placebo to trick my body into thinking it’s taking caffeine without actually ingesting it.
Eat a normal meal to break your fast
Again, we want to treat the fast as if it was a normal thing we are doing (because it is).
So it’s best not to treat your first meal after your fast as “CHEAT MEAL 2016”.
Eat normally, as if you had never fasted in the first place.
What would be the first meal you would have ate at the time of breaking your fast?
Eat that. And do it like so….
Eat your first meal slowly and as aware of the tastes as possible
Take your time with your first meal.
Be there. Be aware. And enjoy it slowly.
As if it was your last meal on this entire planet.
Fasting has an amazing way of giving us full use of our taste buds so use them to your advantage.
Take your time with your meal as if you would making love to someone for the first time.
Breathe it in. Take in all the tastes, textures and scents.
Take time and enjoy your first meal. You won’t regret it.
Track your first meal you use to break your fast
The key to eating a normal meal after you fast is to track it.
Use your journal or an online food journal (myfitnesspal, loseit, etc..) to track your first meal after a fast.
The more you get real with what you are eating post fast the better you’ll be at sticking to a normal meal.
Don’t feel as if you need to hit the full 24 hours
Make this process as “guilt free” as possible.
If you can’t do a full 24 hours then don’t beat yourself for it. Just proceed normally and eat whatever normal meal you have to.
Integrating this into your life is a practice and it will take a couple of attempts to really get your body used to it.
So don’t fret if you can’t get it on your first, second or third try.
Just aim for small improvements every time and your body will adjust accordingly.
And that’s about it.
The process of fasting can be one of the most freeing things you do with your eating habits.
It also gets you very self aware about your relationship with food and how you use it on a regular basis.
The key is in how you actually look at it. Perception is key.
Fasting is something you *get* to do. Not something you *have* to do.
It gives you the choice to eat or not to eat and that in itself is freedom.
If you want to know more about fasting and application behind it I’d highly recommend Brad Pilon’s book Eat Stop Eat.
It is what I would call the Fasting Bible.
His book, along with Ori Hofmekler’s “The Warrior diet”, were the two books to start this revolution in fasting and Eat Stop Eat is still what I’d consider to be the go-to resource when it comes to understanding fasting.
Alright, I’m off to brave this Toronto cold and get my workout in.
I hope your week is going amazingly well and just gets better from here.