Feel-Good Fasting Tips
Chances are you are here because you have heard about the promising health and lifestyle benefits of a fasting lifestyle.
Welcome! You will soon join the millions of people around the world who have experienced the transformational power of fasting to lose weight, be more productive and establish an approach to nutrition that feeds their health for the long run. There are many ways to fast, and it is good to explore each method to understand which best supports your unique goals and lifestyles.
Once you have determined how you will fast and how long your fast will last, the obvious next step is to prepare and then to begin. It is good to know that at times during the fast, you will feel energized, hopeful, and empowered by taking your health into your own hands, and at other times you will likely feel tired, discouraged, and challenged. This is absolutely normal and expected whether it is your first fast or if you are an avid intermittent faster, trying your first extended fast.
To help you through the tougher moments, we gathered a few feel-good-now fasting tips that can support and enhance the experience of your fast.
One of the biggest hiccups is to try too much fasting too soon. When you feel inspired and motivated to change your life, you should absolutely get started right away—however, it is common to try and change everything at once, including fasting, fitness, sleeping, etc. This is great, and you should eventually address all of these elements. Yet, attempting a total lifestyle makeover while you fast can leave you feeling super overwhelmed and ready to quit on day one. Instead, take a strategic and thoughtful approach and build your fasting muscle.
- Start with a 12:12 fast, and slowly increase with each fasting experience until you have tried a 24 hour fast and eventually consider longer extended fasts or alternate-day fasting.
- Focus on physical activity—natural movement and stretching—ideally in nature if possible. As you get more comfortable with fasting, consider testing a more formal fasted training session with elevated intensity.
- Avoid eating triggering foods before you start the fast—for example, avoid processed foods that will cause you to crave more and leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. Begin to lean into a more specific approach to eating that supports your health goals. If weight loss is a goal, consider your carbohydrate intake, total caloric intake, and begin monitoring what you eat to be fully conscious of your choices.
Focus on Hydration
It’s amazing what a glass of water can do for our health and vitality—and this is especially true during a fast. So set a timer and drink a glass of water every 60 minutes. A dry fast is not ideal in most cases and not suitable for a novice faster. Dehydration can be seriously dangerous and, even mild dehydration, it can lead to feelings of hunger, tiredness, headaches, and emotional irritability, and inability to focus.
Mind Your Minerals
During a fast, your body lowers insulin levels as you begin to deplete glycogen stores in your body and the natural water that exists in your cells. This is especially true for those focused on weight loss and following a lower carbohydrate diet when they are not fasting. As a result, the body loses electrolytes—such as. Magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride are essential minerals that carry an electric charge and regulate critical vital processes in our body, from mood to muscle function to nerves and sleep regulation. When your electrolytes are depleted, you can feel pretty lousy—and that makes fasting harder than necessary. To make sure your mineral levels are sufficient, consider any of these fasting supports:
- Add a sugar-free electrolyte supplement to your water
- Include a pinch of sea salt in your water to increase sodium, chloride, and other trace minerals
- Drink bone broth which is delicious fasting support rich in minerals and micronutrients to help you stay focused on your fast
- Take a soak in an Epson salt bath—there is insufficient research to confirm that magnesium in Epson salt can be absorbed through the skin, however, the bath alone can help you down-regulate and focus on self-care during the fast.