Things to Know Before FastingJuly 22, 2019
Fasting has been used for many years as a religious practice and more recently as a form of modern diet such as the 5:2 diet and as part of some detox diets and has long been thought to have benefits for both the mind and the body.
However, fasting is not something that should be entered into lightly and if you have any medical conditions or are taking medication you should always seek advice from a doctor before attempting any kind of fast.
There are a few things to think about before you go ahead and commit to going without food. To help us with this post we turned to the experts behind the sports gear blog SportzBits. They gave us a list of what you should know before you start fasting.
#1 What impact can fasting have on my health?
If you don’t eat any food and deny your body calories, it puts your whole system under mild stress and the hunger will then impact on your immune system. It will start a process to get rid of any damaged cells or immune cells which are not needed, to help save energy.
This immune-strengthening process helps your body to fight better against conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and lupus, which are all autoimmune-related. Fasting also helps your body to get rid of any toxins which were stored within fat cells, helping to detox your body naturally.
The process of fasting also creates more endorphins around your body which produce a natural high, helping you to feel better and well. Fasting gives your internal system a break helping it to work more efficiently.
#2 How often should I be fasting?
Clearly depriving your body of food is not something which should be carried out on a regular basis – fasting should only be carried out in moderation. The good news is that even if you only fast occasionally you will still experience the benefits.
Going on a fast can help to kick start your body, giving your immune system a boost your body and overall detox so you only really need to do it once a month at the most, and you will still feel the benefits.
If you start to deprive yourself of food regularly then you should seek medical help as fasting daily or weekly even, is not recommended – with fasting it’s definitely something to do in moderation rather than routinely.
#3 Can I carry on with my normal routine while fasting?
The easy answer to this question is no. You would not be wise to start fasting while trying to work, commute and juggle childcare for example. You will be weaker and more tired than usual, which can also impact on your mood.
You need to rest during a fast to allow your body to burn your fat rather than muscle – if you are too active during a fast your body will start to use your muscles first for energy when the calories stop coming in.
You need to schedule time when you can rest and take it easy to carry out your fast – it can be a time of reflection and contemplation and should definitely not carried out on a normal busy day if you want it to be fully effective.
#4 Give yourself a treat before starting the fast
Rather than trying to reduce your eating gradually in the run up to a fast, you should actually do the opposite and make your last meal a tempting treat which will stoke up your calorie levels and help you to feel full during the fast.
If you wind down the amount of food you are eating then you will become tired and hungry very early on in the fast, making it even more challenging to keep it up. Eat a nice meal to start with and then you will be ready to cut out food for the fast.
#5 Choose your fasting pattern
There are many different approaches to fasting so make sure you have an idea of how you are going to approach your own fast before you start out. It’s a good idea to schedule how long it will last, and if it is a simple one-off, or a pattern, before you begin.
Some examples of fasting approaches include daily intermittent fasting. This involves fasting for 16 hours, followed by eight hours when you can eat. This pattern is followed daily and takes a great deal of discipline to achieve.
There is also weekly fasting where you only fast one day a week, or even only one day per month to start with. Occasional fasting such as this is thought to offer all the same health benefits as if you fast more regularly. You could also try fasting on alternate days which involves fasting then eating, on each of the different days per week. It’s really up to you and what you feel comfortable with. However, research has shown that only fasting occasionally can have a similar impact to fasting more regularly.