What is the one thing tech support people tell you to do when your electronic device isn’t working. Turn it off ( or un plug it ) wait 60 seconds .. then turn it back on . What if I told you that, essentially, we could do that with our body! That is what fasting is to your body. Sometimes it hard to eat perfect in this crazy society and over time it can kind of bog you down. Fasting is essentially unplugging your body, clearing out damaged old cells, flushing out inflammation, turning off the insulin pump, and using up free glucose. Depending on the length of the fast, pretty much refreshing the system.
But before you get to excited, I want to go over some warnings and misconceptions about fasting. While fasting, whether it’s an intermittent fast, or 1-3 day fast, is not for everyone. If you are on medication, that has to be taken with food, it probably not for you or you should consult with your doctor first. Fasting and starvation / anorexia are two different things that come with two different mindsets. Fasting is planned and there is a definitive beginning and end, planned meal to come out of the fast. Anyone with body dysmorphia issues it’s not advised you try it or if you do try it, do it with coaching and social support. A lot of avid exercisers/bodybuilder concerned with muscle (I was in this boat) have been led to believe our body catabolizes muscle while we sleep, which would deter them from fasting. Truth if you have more then 10 % body fat .. you have nothing to worry about. Think of it this way. If you were starving, would you eat the refrigerator door even if you knew there was a actual food behind it? Your body is smart and will use its stored energy first.
Recently I undertook the challenge of doing a 3 day fast! Yes, I know that sounds crazy, three days without eating?!?! I made sure that my last day of eating was a good one. Sunday night I made sure to have one last good meal, which was a huge salad with chicken, avocado and some other fixins ( Aldi’s salad in a bag rock !) , I also had kombucha and a tangerine . I had a race that day so I had a burger and shake after because, Yes I am human ( l love Burger 25 ) and I deserved a reward for a job well done . 6pm was my last meal till 6 pm Wednesday. So here we go into my fasting experience.
I woke up Monday morning and initially with in a hour I was hungry. My body is programed for breakfast, Eating is more mental than you think. I had my typical 2 large glasses of water, a shot of apple cider vinegar and about an hour or so later I had my coffee (large black coffee). After that I was fine. went about that day as normal, teaching classes , kicking butts , saving lives ,by mid-day I was super focused and got lots of business work done. Had a cup of green tea in the afternoon (nothing in it) . So, day 1 was pretty easy. There comes a certain point in a fast where once you push past a certain time , your hunger hormone will shut off and it becomes easier . I fell right as sleep that night , did not wake up hungry in the middle of the night .
I woke up hungry but not as hungry as day 1 (I feel it was more the mental conditioning for breakfast vs the secretion of hunger hormones). Same routine of water ,an apple cider vinegar shot and black coffee. The most surprising part is .. I did not feel tired or lethargic. Had another productive day. Had a large black cold brew coffee mid-day . I went about my day as normal, did a light mobility routine just to move the body a bit as I was getting stiff. No hunger signals and slept like a baby that night again.
Did not wake up hungry at all. Crazy right? Of course, drank my two glasses of water, and had a shot of ACV and eventually my black coffee. Went about my day as normal, taught classes, kicked butts, trained clients. My brain was still firing on all cylinders. That afternoon I did go on a walk. As you can see I did not do a ton of exercising these past few days (planned it that way, my body needed a break. ). As I knew my fast was coming to a close and I thought about food, so yes I started to become hungry (again hunger is more mental than you think, I could have probably gone another day if I planned it that way). I weighed myself one final time and then proceeded to eat . Had a chicken thigh, handful of broccoli and handful of baby carrots, and an NA beer.
Yes, those were not there most exciting three days . If you were expecting to see mountain climbing, running , dancing or lifting heavy weight during the fast , sorry to disappoint . But it is supposed to be a time of rest , and reset , so that I can do all those things for life. Overall It was quite the learning experience for sure. Discipline is a huge part of being able to fast, no matter how long your fast is. Hunger although is a signal from your body , also is largely mental as well and can be dictated by life around us or emotions. And definitely help reset the hunger signal in my body . Unless you’re a high caliber athlete, our bodies require less food than we think it does. Days following I felt more invigorated, less hunger , less aches and pains and definitive performance improvement, simple rest and recovery have never made me feel this good .
So why should you fast? Technically you have already been doing it. We fast all the time . let look at the word breakfast. .. Break that down in two words .. BREAK… FAST. Fasting is a great way to get out of your comfort zone. To feel uncomfortable and you will, is great way to build mental resilience
. The most obvious physical benefit is loss of body fat. Which in the short term is great if you have to lose it for (x) competition (body building ,wrestling ) Long term , without changing your habits , you ‘ll gain it right back. But if you’re stuck in a weight loss plateau, it might help give you that bump you need.
The next benefit is a game changer, it helps lower insulin and glucose levels and thus lowering your AIC . Periodically fasting along with proper dietary habits and activity routine can be huge in the battle against Type 2 Diabetes. If you’re not eating, your body will use your free blood glucose and once used. your body doesn’t need the insulin secreted.
Periodically fasting whether, it be a 24 or more or just regularly doing an intermittent fast can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus lowering your dependency on medication. * if you are already on medication please talk to your Dr and do your homework before starting any kind of fasting protocol.
Now the main reason I did it, is that fasting stimulates cellular autophagy, reduces inflammation which in turn will help increase your energy, mental clarity. I am a nerd, love science, so I was game on to try a longer fast. Chronic inflammation in our body is bad for us. Arthritis causes inflammation in our joints. and being as active as I am after a while it builds up a bit. If your diet isn’t 100 % perfect whole foods based no processed foods, you’re likely causing some inflammation in your body as well. As you read above, as the fast went on I felt better and better, a sign that overall total body inflammation was decreasing. Lastly what exactly is the cellular autophagy I mentioned above? Picture this, Pac-Man going through your body eating those white dots, those white dots being damaged cells, clearing out your body. it’s your body’s way of recycling and clearing out bad stuff (no diarrhea .. I mean detox teas needed) This also helps with regrowth of brandy new shiny cells (okay there not shiny). That’s why one of the benefits of fasting is longevity as well. I also got some of my best work and mental clarity during those days and the days that followed as well.
Maybe now your think this whole fasting doesn’t sound so crazy. So, what are some tips I have for a successful fast? Be busy during your fast. Doing it during a workday because it will be helpful to take your mind off not eating (as long as your job is not physically exhausting). If your someone who gets Hangry, please don’t have your fasting window (at least the early part) be when you’re around people. I do not want you losing your job, clients or damaging your relationships. Or if you, at the very least, have a warning sign on your desk, around your neck or warn spouses friends, coworkers of what you’re doing. I wouldn’t recommend strenuous exercise during a fast. But if you do, make sure it’s right before you’re going to break fast and you have a snack/protein/shake/fruit/ meal handy if you’re not home. Meal prep is key here. its advisable to have good healthy last meal and have your fast break meal planned and ready. You don’t want to be cooking or searching for food when your mentally ready to eat.
So what can you have during a fast? Black coffee, tea , apple cider vinegar , anything that does not have any calories . Being able to drink black coffee is key! As it keeps you filled up ( you can’t drink a ton .. too much caffeine is bad for you and you won’t sleep). For those who just cannot drink black coffee, studies have shown a little bit of cream will not totally ruin the fasting process. But no sugar, sorry. Fasting can also create an electrolyte imbalance in your body, so I recommended drinking a Smart Water or Essentials Water if you’re doing anything longer than a 16 hour intermittent fast . In general keep water handy, just don’t drink too much after a certain hour at night or you ‘ll be waking up to pee, and not sleeping well will make fasting harder , as lack of sleep actually triggers the release of the hunger hormone Ghrelin.
Its crazy to think something seemingly so simple as not eating for a short period of time can have so many great benefits You really can hit the reset button on your body. The health benefits of weight loss , inflammation clearing , glucose / insulin clearing etc area way better than even the costliest pill , medication or diet I hope this article finds you consider being the tech support for your , unplugging , resetting in order to live a long healthy life .
For more information / featured resource check out Dr Jason Kung at https://thefastingmethod.com