Fasting isn’t a new idea — many religions have practiced some form for centuries. Recently, fasting has experienced a renaissance among the health conscious who see it as a way to detox, and look and feel better. There are several methods ranging from an overnight fast to a 1 day or even 2 day fast. Whichever method you choose read on to find the 7 Do’s and Don’ts to help you achieve a successful fast.
Not everyone should take up fasting. Those who shouldn’t consider fasting include pregnant or lactating women, diabetics, kids under 18 and anyone with underlying medical problems. In addition, anyone taking prescription drugs should avoid fasting to avoid unpredictable reactions.
Think before you fast. Avoid fasting during high-stress times or events that cause excess exertion. Plan ahead to figure out which week day will be a good day to fast. Some people do it at the weekend if they don’t have much going on. Others prefer a busier week day so they don’t think about food all day. Don’t plan a trip to the grocery store or go out to dinner with friends and watch them eat. That’s just providing you with too much temptation. Be sensible.
Avoid gorging yourself with a final feast before a fast day. Instead eat a meal including a lean protein, healthy fat and lots of vegetables. You could also have a starch like sweet potato or legumes.
Don’t attempt physical exercise while you’re fasting. You could well burn muscle for fuel defeating the main purpose of the exercise. You could try passive activities instead such as acupuncture or massage.
Depending on the length of fast you’re doing, it may be necessary to get most or all of the vitamins your body needs from supplements. Choose vitamins in liquid form for easier digestion during fasting.
It’s crucial to be sure you are really drinking enough water each day while fasting. Check your urine, it should be light in colour like straw, lemonade or lighter. If it’s not – drink up.
Resist overindulging after the fast. What’s the point if you stack the lost kilos all back on the next day!
Liz is a nutritional biochemist who has practised intermittent fasting for over 3 years. “I use it to erase memories of an over indulgencent weekend as quickly as possible so I can remain slim and ready for exercise” says Liz, a 50 year old living in Sydney, Australia. “I’m also an endurance athlete and regularly build up impurities in my body either from exercise or from the polluted air I suck in when I run. A regular fast day, either weekly or monthly, helps my body process these impurities using my liver and kidney, the body’s natural cleaning organs. Overall I feel slimmer and more energetic as a result of incorporating intermittent fasting into my schedule.”