We are always living in a state of survival. This might be any type of chronic illness, virus or maybe a lifestyle related disease. Whatever it is, fasting can help with many health issues and in addition can help with strengthening your immune system. I think if you try it you will be surprised by the benefits that you see, even if you are practicing time-restricted feeding (TRF) — eating within the same time window each day, for example have a 12 hour period in which you eat, and the other 12 hours of the day in which you eat nothing. This will lead to more conscious eating habits as well.
Studies have shows how especially after a 72 hour water only fast the immune system strengthens and even the metabolism slightly increases. I don’t suggest that length of fast for everyone, however you still can practice fasting for improving your health.
I love the fasting lifestyle for so many reasons, including:
• Improving immunity
• Efficiently cleaning up dead cells
• Improving digestion
• Reducing the risk of many types of cancer
• Slowing down the aging process
• It’s an easy way to lose fat
• It helps regulate your hormones
• It’s convenient
• You can save time from cooking and shopping
• It’s easy to do, no matter which diet you choose to follow
• And it’s all under your control
Here’s a few suggestions if you would like to try it:
• If you want to try longer than 18 to 20 hours then make sure that you listen to your body. If you experience any dizziness, diarrhea, headaches or stomach pain then it’s time to stop, break your fast, and try again next time.
• If you are taking medication then you must let your physician know before you practice fasting.
• Identify your goals — why would you like to practice fasting? For example, are you doing it to heal your diabetes, or just to lose a few pounds, or maybe for some more serious health problems? You need to know what type of fasting schedule is the best for you.
• Women can be much more sensitive to fasting, although it is great for balancing hormones. So it’s very important, especially for women, to break the fast with a low carbohydrate, high protein, and moderate fat meal. This can help not to raise insulin (the fat storage and blood sugar regulating hormone) so quickly.
• During the fast you generally don’t need any supplements. However, it depends on the length of your fast. If you are fasting for longer than 20 hours you may need to supplement with salt, potassium chloride, and magnesium. When you are doing fasting the body uses glycogen (sugar) for energy which, depending on your body’s state, can take 20 to 36 hours. Each gram of glycogen in the cell holds about 3 grams of water, so when you deplete your glycogen storage you also lose electrolytes too. That’s why you may feel low energy, brain fog and a little dizzy too.
Probably you now understand that I am really a fan of water only fasting. This can be done daily, for example a daily 14 hour fast and then 10 hours in which to eat your meals. Or it can be done as prolonged fasting. You just need to be sure that you know why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve so you can make your own fasting schedule.
Fasting is free so just try it out, and if you don’t like it then change your schedule. Just pay attention your body, it will tell you what’s best.
Ayda Ersoy, nutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.), master trainer (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro), registered yoga teacher, founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness, founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System.