How to Start a Fast
We all embrace the rhythm of fasting, even if we don’t realize it. Think about the gap between dinner and breakfast – it’s an innate overnight fast! For eons, humans have oscillated between feasting when food was abundant and fasting when it was scarce. If our bodies didn’t adapt to and benefit from these fasting periods, we wouldn’t be here today.
Far from being detrimental, fasting has historically fortified our resilience. It's a natural instinct observed across the animal kingdom. Have you ever noticed a sick pet refraining from eating? They intuitively harness the transformative power of fasting in order to heal themselves.
Contrastingly, in today's world, our eating habits have undergone a paradigm shift. We find ourselves snacking round-the-clock, unintentionally sidelining the benefits of fasting. Imagine a world where daylight never ceases; our bodies, too, need that nighttime – that break from constant eating.
With frequent meals, we sometimes end up dining more out of habit than hunger. Social settings, the clock, or even our surroundings often dictate our meal times. Plus, some foods, particularly sugar, can be addictive. The feel-good sensation sugar gives us mirrors that of certain narcotics. So, changing our eating habits, recognizing true hunger from mere cravings, and understanding the emotional context of eating become crucial.
How to Start a Fast:
Begin With Awareness: For the first couple of weeks, shift to whole foods, especially plant-based ones. The more keto you are before (low-carb) the less hungry you're anecdotally going to feel. Patients tell me this time and time again, and I've experienced it in my own life.
Listen to Your Body: Feel free to skip a meal if you aren’t genuinely hungry. Observe how your body reacts. Over the first week, intermittently skip a meal, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Progressing to Longer Fasts: Once you’re accustomed, select 1-2 days a week to extend your fasting window to roughly 24 hours by skipping two successive meals. When you break your fast, eat a nutrient-rich, plant-centric meal.
Hydrate and Monitor: Ensure you’re well-hydrated, aiming for 6-8 glasses of water daily. Limit caffeinated drinks and steer clear of sodas. Initial fatigue could be a sugar withdrawal, but if it persists, it might indicate dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.
If you’re on medication, particularly for conditions like diabetes, consult with your healthcare provider prior. It’s essential to adjust doses, especially of insulin, to prevent episodes of low blood sugar. Once again, talk to your doctor!