Fasting … it’s been ‘a thing’ for thousands of years, but only recently have we heard a lot of talk and seen increasing interest on the topic. Is it good for you? Should you give it a go?
By definition, “Fasting is the abstinence from food or drink (or both) for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes. The abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent.”
The first time I came across the world of fasting was when visiting Morocco some years ago. Naturally I wanted to know everything about the country … people, history, culture, food, religion, beliefs and of course quickly learned about Ramadan (fasting). I believe it is quite special to visit such countries during this period but for us this would mean quite a restrictive experience. I could not imagine visiting such an interesting and beautiful country without being able to take part in cooking courses, hike in the Atlas Mountains, explore the markets, eat the delicious tagines and taste exquisite food. Our timing was perfect, we missed Ramadan by a few weeks, phew!
Coincidently, before departing Australia, I came across Michael Mosley’s 5:2 Diet book at the airport, bought it and read it end to end on the flight to Casablanca. Despite our destination, the concept of fasting for ‘health’ reasons as outlined in the book drew me in. The more I read, researched and understood the health benefits of fasting the more I wanted to include it in our lifestyle. So our ‘fasting’ journey began… and it is all thanks to our Moroccan adventure and Michael Mosley’s 5:2 diet book.
It has been proven that the practice of ‘fasting’ has seen some significant improvements in health and wellbeing.
Health benefits to start to you thinking:
- Improves Blood Sugar Control and the reduces Insulin Resistance
- Helps fight Inflammation
- Improves Heart Health by Improving inflammatory markers.
- Improves Brain Function, clear thinking
- Supports Weight Loss
- Increases Human Growth Hormone (HGH), essential for growth, repair, strength
- Improves Cellular Repair
- Promotes longevity and anti-aging
Fasting protocols, which one is right for you?
There are loads of different fasting protocols that will fit into any lifestyle. Here’s a few you may wish to try:
- 16/8 fast – Daily fasts of 16 hours with an 8 hour eating window (maybe 2 meals)
- 5/2 fast – Eat normally for 5 days (quality nutrient dense food) and 2 days per week with restricted eating of around 500-600 calories
- 24hr fast – one or two 24-hour fasts per week, maybe even consecutive days (1 meal per day)
- 24hr Alternate-day fast – fasting alternate days of either no food or restricted calories (1 meal per day)
- 36 – 42 hour fasts – a little challenging and a great intro into extended fasts (only water, herbal tea, black coffee)
- 3-10 day fasts – exceptional benefits but certainly the most challenging. Probably for the experienced folks wanting to take their fasting to another level (only water, herbal tea, black coffee)
Starting out … Top Tips
- Start small, take baby steps… try a few different protocols to find one that suits you best.
- It is crucial to ensure your chosen fasting protocol is supported and incorporated with nutrient dense food and healthy lifestyle choices.
- Stay well hydrated throughout your fast. Add electrolytes to your water, a little salt will do the trick.
- Seek medical guidance and advice before launching into fasting, particularly if you are on any medication.
- Fasting is not for everyone, nor is it a one size fits all.
- Listen to your body.
Fasting works for me. I have lived the LCHF (Low Carb, High/Healthy Fats) lifestyle for many years now … I eat when hungry, until full. Living this way I naturally and without effort tend to fast most days just by listening to my body (probably 16/8 protocol). I do however actively complete 42 – 72 hour fasts at least once every couple of months.
Want to give it a go? Take the first step, let me know what you think.
Live your best life,