Purposely restricting yourself from eating for a long period of time may sound counterintuitive, but fasting, whether it’s done for religious or health reasons, is known to produce several benefits. If you’re a proponent of fasting, you can say that it gets easier over time. However, if you’re new to it, you’ll probably find yourself struggling during the first few days. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to make fasting safer and easier for you.
Things to Consider Before Fasting
Although it may sound intimidating, fasting can bring in a lot of benefits. It can help build discipline and control impulses. It also promotes mindful eating, which can then lead to better health and weight loss.
Various studies have been conducted on the effects of fasting. One particular study done on rats found that it can help reduce weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. However, despite all the good things said about fasting, this type of eating pattern is not suitable for everyone.
According to the Director of the Mikati Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, Dr. Nizar Zein, fasting can be a healthy practice but may not be recommended for people with underlying health conditions. If you are currently underweight, breastfeeding, recovering from an illness or surgery, suffering from chronic kidney disease and diabetes, fasting should be out of the question. Otherwise, you can take advantage of its benefits by making sure you fast the right way. Below are several tips to help you.
Tips for Beginners
One of the things that make fasting difficult is the fact that you need to break certain habits to follow a new eating pattern. You’ll have to wean yourself off your usual eating schedule to incorporate a longer period of time for fasting. For some people, this may bring a drastic change in their lifestyle. If that applies to you, here are some tips to help make the switch easier.
Slowly Ease Yourself Into the Routine
Gradually increase the interval between your meals or slowly cut back on your food intake several days before you start fasting. Give your body enough time to adjust. Don’t go straight to fasting for a full 16-24 hours or more if your body is used to getting 5 small meals a day.
Unless you’re following the strict guidelines of fasting for religious purposes, make sure your body stays well-hydrated. Since you’re fasting, water is your best and probably only option. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This also helps you feel full so you can distract yourself from thinking about your next meal.
Find a Productive Distraction
While fasting, it is very common for beginners to become constantly preoccupied with thoughts of food. To prevent this from happening, take up a new hobby that you find enjoyable enough to keep you from thinking constantly about food. You can sign up for a free online class, learn new skills, or basically anything that isn’t too physically tasking.
Avoid Strenuous Physical Activities on Fasting Days
If you’re new to fasting, you might want to limit physical activity on days when you’re fasting. Lay off any intense exercise routines, especially if you’re going to continue fasting the next day. In order for your body to recover, it needs to replenish the nutrients it has lost during intense exercise.
Cut Down on Sugar
Avoid consuming food items or drinks that are high in sugar, especially when you’re about to start fasting. Your blood sugar is guaranteed to plummet a few hours after, leaving you feeling weak and hungry. But if you’re craving for something sweet, you can make your own sugar-free treat using high-quality sugar substitutes such as Purisure’s Stevia Powder or Monk Fruit Extract. These sweeteners are calorie-free and won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar.
Plan Your Meals
Before you start fasting, make sure you know exactly what to eat. If you don’t, you’ll end up eating whatever food is available or easily accessible, which may not always be the healthiest choice. Plan your meals so that they’re ready by mealtime. This is also a great way to ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients even while you’re fasting.
Make sure each meal is loaded with all the essential nutrients and vitamins. It can be as easy as sprinkling some of Purisure’s Vitamin C Powder or Spirulina Powder on your breakfast bowl or smoothie.
Choose the Right Fasting Style for You
There’s more than one way to fast. Choose one that suits your lifestyle best. You can do the 16/8 method which allows you to eat at an 8-hour window and fast for 16. This type of intermittent fasting has become really popular. You can also do the 5:2 method which requires you to restrict your calorie intake to about 500-600 calories per day for two days in a week and eat as you normally would for 5 days a week. There are more fasting styles for you to choose from. Pick one that appeals most to you so it doesn’t feel forced.