How To Break A Fast
The most important thing to keep in mind when breaking your fast is to do it gently. The longer youve been fasting, the slower you need to take this.
There is a natural tendency after fasting to dive right back into food and to overeat, and that can lead to a lot of stomach discomfort and create a lot of discomfort.
Dont just dive into a pizza, especially after a longer fast, because its going to be quite painful!
If youve been fasting for 24+ hours, you want to start with a small snack, wait 30 minutes, then take an assessment of how you feel to see if youre still hungry.
Make sure to eat slowly, chew your food really thoroughly. Try something light, like some avocado, a small piece of fish or some vegetables cooked in olive oil.
I would avoid raw food in general, as that can be harder to digest. If you have trouble with eggs or another type of food , I recommend waiting a couple of days until your digestive system has warmed back up.
And of course, avoid any high-sugar food, highly-processed food, and any foods you know you have an intolerance to.
If youre really craving sweets, try some fruit: berries or an apple can be a great option.
I almost always break my own fast with a broth or soup. I have a chicken soup recipe that is my cure-all for everything I use it to reset my hunger, to calm my digestion, to get through a cold or flu, reduce bloating or get back on track after a period of overindulgence and you can find that recipe here.
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The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat.
With intermittent fasting, you only eat during a specific time. Fasting for a certain number of hours each day or eating just one meal a couple days a week, can help your body burn fat. And scientific evidence points to some health benefits, as well.
Johns Hopkins neuroscientist , has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years. He says that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive and thrive for long periods without eating. They had to: It took a lot of time and energy to hunt game and gather nuts and berries.
Even 50 years ago, it was easier to maintain a healthy weight. Johns Hopkins dietitian Christie Williams, M.S., R.D.N., explains: There were no computers, and TV shows turned off at 11 p.m. people stopped eating because they went to bed. Portions were much smaller. More people worked and played outside and, in general, got more exercise.
Nowadays, TV, the internet and other entertainment are available 24/7. We stay awake for longer hours to catch our favorite shows, play games and chat online. Were sitting and snacking all day and most of the night.
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Im Trying To Fast But I Feel Like Its Reducing My Energy Levels Is This Normal
It is very normal to feel tired or to have low energy levels when you first start fasting. This can also happen when you first start a new fasting schedule. But if you stick with a set intermittent fasting schedule or fasting duration for 2-3 weeks, you should adapt and have similar energy levels during your fasting windows or days as during your eating windows or days.
However, if you continue to feel tired or to have low energy levels while fasting, you may be overdoing it. You may fasting for too long too often, or not getting enough calories in during your eating windows. If you are already at a healthy BMI, reduce your fast durations or spread your fasts further apart.
To boost your fasting energy levels, you should also:
Is It Ok To Skip Breakfast
Yes, Varady said. The notion that omitting a morning meal is bad for your waistline likely began with studies sponsored by cereal companies, and most of that research looked at the effects of breakfast skipping on cognition in children, she noted: Im not sure how that all got translated to body weight.
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Path To Improved Health
Intermittent fasting is not a diet plan. While it may have some of the same health benefits as a diet, its really an eating pattern. It means you fast during a certain period of time each day . You then eat during another period of time each day . While youre fasting, you can drink beverages that dont contain calories, including water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea.
How fasting and eating is divided each day is called an eating schedule. One of the most common, easy-to-follow schedules is 16:8. This means you fast for a 16-hour period of time and eat your daily meals during an 8-hour period of time. For example, you may want to fast from 7 p.m. until 11 a.m. the next day. You would then eat a healthy lunch and dinner between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. You wouldnt eat anything after 7 p.m. until 11 a.m. the next day. This is just an example of times. You can select any 16-hour and 8-hour block of time that works best for your schedule. But its important to keep your eating window at the same every day.
What Can I Drink While Fasting
You can drink anything that doesnt have calories! Ideally, also avoid beverages sweetened with artificial sweeteners, as these can impact your metabolism through your gut microbes. Some artificial sweeteners raise your insulin levels more than others , but theres a connection between many artificial sweeteners and negative gut microbe changes, insulin resistance and metabolic disease. While a recent meta-analysis suggests we need further research, it may be best to avoid sucralose, aspartame and saccharin in general.
While fasting, you can drink things like black coffee, unsweetened hot and cold teas, water with added electrolytes, carbonated water, water with lemon, etc. Learn more about what you can drink while fasting here.
If you are feeling like you need a little pick-me-up during a longer fast, you can enjoy some bone broth, some kombucha tea or other beverages with very small amounts of natural flavorings or healthy fats added. For example, you might enjoy some coffee with a little bit of butter or coconut oil added.
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People With Other Chronic Diseases
Not much is known about how fasting will affect many chronic diseases, including diabetes, but negative side effects such as dizziness and nausea may be more pronounced for these people, according to the 2019 Nutrients study. You have to be careful when you have medical issues that could be worsened by not eating regularly, Lowden says. If you take medication for blood pressure or heart disease, you may be more prone to electrolyte imbalances that come with fasting, so fasting may not be recommended, per Harvard Health.
The Utter Simplicity Of Intermittent Fasting
Most of us eat throughout the day, starting with breakfast when we wake up and perhaps ending with a dessert or snack after dinner. If you have breakfast at 7 a.m. and a final snack at 8 p.m., you’re consuming food for 13 hours that’s your current “eating window.” The idea behind IF is simply to shorten that window — not necessarily to eat less , but to eat less often.
For example, most experts agree that you can start to experience IF benefits with an eight-hour eating window, meaning a 16-hour fast. So you could have lunch at noon and still finish your snack by 8 p.m. That’s it. If you can stick to that, it may be enough to produce results.
But, wait: Isn’t that just skipping breakfast? And haven’t we heard for years that skipping breakfast actually leads to weight gain? Yes and yes. However, IF requires a “clean” fast to be effective , and once you get accustomed to it, your appetite should correct so that you no longer overeat once your window opens.
Here’s what I love about this: It costs nothing. It requires nothing. You don’t have to buy books or gear or supplements or meals. You just adapt yourself to a slightly different way of eating and that’s it. The simplicity — and affordability — of IF is what drew me to it.
Read more:How to do intermittent fasting safely
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Add Fat To Your Coffee Or Tea
Another way to make intermittent fasting easier is to add fat to your coffee or tea. The purists out there say that taking in fat calories breaks your fast and in the purest sense, I agree. However, fat causes little or no rise in insulin, which is the hormone that kicks your body out of fat-burning.
If youre looking to use intermittent fasting as a long-term weight-loss strategy, that pure fat will help take the edge off of hunger. As soon as those calories are used, your body will return to burning body fat.
My husband and I tested many different fats, like MCT oil, coconut oil, heavy cream, and half-n-half to see how they would affect our bodies during a fast. The stand out by far was MCT oil. You can view our What Can I Have While Intermittent Fasting videos here.
When we consumed MCT oil, we experienced a rise in ketones and a drop in glucose over the two-hour testing period. That was a favorable state, which suggested that our bodies were staying in fat-burning mode.
I suggest starting with a teaspoon of MCT oil to see how your body tolerates it and then work up to a tablespoon if youre feeling good.
What If Fasting Slows My Metabolism Will I Gain More Fat If I Stop Fasting
Intermittent fasting does not slow your metabolism, counter to popular belief. In other words, intermittent fasting does not significantly impact your resting metabolic rate it does not decrease the amount of energy your body burns at rest. In fact, fasting may increase the amount of fat you burn over time. See this related study on alternate day fasting and metabolic rate.
Resting energy expenditure has also been found to be better preserved with intermittent fasting than with other forms of weight loss learn more here. But if you are concerned, another way to increase your resting energy expenditure is to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity! Examples of this include walking briskly for 1-2 miles or riding a bike in hilly terrain . Also eat plenty of fiber-containing plant foods including fruits, veggies and nuts during your re-feeding windows!
Its also important to practice intermittent fasting not as a fad diet that you might rebound from in terms of weight loss and regain, but as a long-term healthy lifestyle. For example, you could practice 10-16 hours of overnight fasting for the rest of your life with metabolic health benefits even in the absence of weight loss, while occasionally practicing longer or more frequent fasts if you are trying to lose weight.
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Workout During Your Fasting Window
Working out in a fasting state can help you burn fat quicker. It can also be helpful if you tend to constantly think about food or if you are surrounded by people who seem to be constantly snacking. Move your normal lunch or afternoon break to your fasting window and get a good workout in.
Cardio is considered the best to do in a fasted state, but some love to do their strength training as well.
Make sure you time your workout properly. If you start eating at noon, for instance, you may not want to work out at 6 a.m. Working out will deplete nutrients from your body and you risk finding it very hard to wait so many hours before you finally eat.
For the best results overall, you should try to schedule your workout so that you can eat 30-60 minutes afterward. This is especially true for those who are trying to build muscle and do strength training. In this case, you need to fuel your muscles immediately post-workout. And since even a protein shake is considered breaking your fast, you need to schedule your workout properly.
How Much Weight Can You Lose Within A Month
Despite their success rate in burning fat and overall health benefits, intermittent fast diets are not a quick weight loss fix. Which begs the question, how long should you fast to lose weight?
Well, that depends. Dieters can certainly expect weight loss results from fasting plans particularly the ones that allow you the longest fasting period for an extended metabolic switch.
That being said, losing weight fast is still not the healthiest option, nor is it generally sustainable. Its much safer to lose weight slowly and steadily, with the results being easier to maintain. But intermittent fasting is still a great way to achieve this, as it promotes healthy weight loss by naturally boosting your bodys metabolism.
So, you might be wondering how much weight can I lose in a month? Studies have shown that intermittent fasting results are seen between 4 and 10 weeks, depending on the intensity of the fasting regimen, with up to 13 pounds in the first month.
For example, an alternate day fasting study revealed participants lost nearly 8 pounds over 4 weeks, or a in body weight. Other intermittent fasters using a variety of DoFasting methods experienced even better results, including 16 pounds lost within 4 weeks.
In general, the longer you fast, the better your metabolism functions, and the more weight you lose. That sounds simple, but its very important to balance your intermittent fasting schedule within a healthy lifestyle, without letting it hinder you!
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The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
Intermittent Fasting Made My Life Easier And Happier
I could eat the foods I enjoyed and most of my regular meals, but it had to be within a short time frame of eight to 10 hours.
At the urging of doctor friends and a few popular books, I embarked on a diet plan earlier this year called intermittent fasting. The basics are that I could eat the foods I enjoyed and most of my regular meals, but it had to be within a short time frame of eight to 10 hours. Outside of that, I would stick to water, tea and black coffee.
Proponents of the plan, also known as time-restricted eating, say that intermittent fasting could help me lose weight, always a worthwhile goal. It would also give my gut a much-needed break from processing food, improve focus and lessen daily inflammation. In the long-term, it might even help me live longer.
Ill admit, the words intermittent fasting sounded a little daunting. But Dr. Jason Fung, author of The Obesity Code, assured me that it could easily be incorporated into my daily routine.
Anytime youre not eating is a fast anything above four hours is fasting, he said. A lot of times people eat because they have to, versus really enjoying what they are eating. If you dont want the sandwich, skip it. Your body knows what to do, it will take your body fat. Thats why you carry it around with you.
In other words, by voluntarily submitting to an absence of food for long periods during the day, my body would transition from burning sugar for fuel to burning fat.
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