Intermittent fasting is all the rage and many people swear by its many benefits, be it detoxification, weight loss, balanced blood sugar or higher energy!
Fasting is not a new phenomenon, our ancestors have been doing this for centuries and almost all religions encourage fasting at some point during the year. Some fasts permit certain foods and others entirely prohibit any food or drinks. Some are a few hours long and others are a few weeks long.
Today we are specifically talking about Intermittent Fasting which is fasting frequently for short periods of time which can vary from a few hours to 2-3 days.
There are numerous studies to show that regular fasting can heal the body and there are also popular programs such as the Intensive Dietary Management Program that coach people how to fast to lower insulin levels, decrease weight and reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics and people with other health concerns.
*Here is a quick guide on the ‘How to’ of Intermittent Fasting (IF) …
What should be the timings of my fast?
The most popular IF time is 16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours of eating all meals, e.g. you finish eating by 8pm and you resume eating at 12noon. So, you would start fasting after dinner and you would end the fast at lunchtime. This can be done everyday, a couple of times a week or once a month, the frequency is up to the individual and their objective. If you have a specific health goal you may need to fast more frequently, if you are doing it to maintain good health you can choose what suits you. Either way the schedule must be comfortable and doable for the individual.
IF can be started gradually by extending the first meal of the day by 2 hours on day 1, then 4 hours on day 2 and so on so you can easily adapt and see how your body reacts to the fasting process. Always listen to your body and amend as necessary.
Can I eat anything during the fast?
Naturally most foods and drinks are prohibited on a fast, but the following can be consumed during IF:
• Water, this is essential to staying hydrated and should be consumed in generous quantities throughout the day. It is always a good practice to start the day with some warm lemon water. In fact, you can also add a squeeze of fresh orange juice, a sprig of mint, or a couple of cucumber slices to a pitcher of water and sip it all day.
• Herbal teas, green tea is an excellent choice, but black and oolong teas may also be consumed. Coffee may also be consumed if preferred. No sugar or milk is allowed.
• Bone Broth, homemade broth is an excellent way to include nutrients, maintain sodium levels and satiate the appetite. Vegetables and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg may be used during cooking,
What if I get hungry?
This is a common concern and one of the best ways to start is to fast on a very busy day where you won’t have time to think about food. Hunger pangs may come and go but the liquids will help keep you hydrated, less hungry and energetic.
Also, the body will start to use the fat stores for its needs so hunger will eventually die down.
Will I feel tired?
Not usually, rather most people feel more energized. But if you start to feel tired or unwell at anytime during a fast you should break your fast and consult your physician.
In the past when I have tried to fast I have always had headaches and felt dizzy.
Dizziness and headaches are usually caused by hydration, be sure to take lots of water and add some salts to your drinks. If you blood pressure concerns consult your physician before starting a fast.
Will I get constipated?
Whilst you are technically missing one meal and snacks during a 16 hour IF you do still need to consume all your daily nutrition during your 8-hour eating window. So be sure to eat all your high fiber foods, proteins and good fats to keep your body in good working order.
What if I have diabetes?
IF generally works very well for diabetes as it lowers blood sugar levels however I strongly recommend that you work closely with a qualified health professional if fasting with diabetes.
What if I am on medications and have other health issues?
It is highly recommended that you speak with your primary health care provider before you begin IF. They may need to adjust your medications and provide specific information pertinent to you health.
These were just a few tips, should you have any questions you are welcome to book your complementary call with Wellness Redone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Obesity Code, Jason Fung, MD
* Health Disclaimer: Always consult your primary healthcare practitioner before starting a Fasting program.
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