Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.
People usually approach fasting with not enough consideration and without a plan, which can lead into hunger, mood swings, exhaustion and sometimes even serious health problems. Instead of getting the benefits for body and soul, they do more harm than good.
That’s why I’ve decided to write this post of 10 tips for healthy and effective Fasting, that anyone who’s thinking about fasting, should consider and follow.
At the end of February me and my husband decided to go on a 40 day fast. A healthy fasting, with lots of vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, some complex carbs like quinoa and oats and protein (eggs, whey and kefir). We cut off all processed food, all bread, all simple carbs (rice, white flour,..), sugar, meat, milk and yogurt and alcohol.
40 days is a challenge and without a plan it’s pretty much mission impossible. We are now 3 weeks in and I’m feeling amazing. It’s like I’m walking on air.
With these next tips I would recommend fasting to anyone who is feeling bloated, constipated, with skin problems and is always tired. If you want to start living healthier, this is a good way to begin!
1.Set your mind and know your goals
This is your foundation. Your mind plays the leading role in your fasting journey. It can lead you to success and becomes your resort or it can play tricks on you and make you fail. You make the choice, you need to know your goals and the way to achieve them. You set your mind and you have all the strength you need.
2. Make a plan!
The second most important thing is, to make a PLAN. Fasting usually lasts from 4 to 6 weeks, some even longer. But in order for fasting to work, 4 weeks are the minimum. So, that is more than a month. Without a plan, you will get lost on the way real quick, your mind will not follow your wishes as there will be no rules to follow. So, it will be so much easier to quit and start looking for excuses.
PLAN should contain:
- your goals
- duration of your fasting
- the way of fasting
- food that is allowed
- food that is forbidden
- once a week treat (if you wish it)
- exercise plan
- meal plans
3. Plan your meals
On of the most common mistakes people do when they are fasting (or dieting), is that they don’t eat enough. This results in weakness, hunger, exhaustion, mood swings, and doing it for a longer period of time, it can cause serious medical problems.
Do not make the same mistake! Fasting is not starving yourself to lose weight. It’s about detoxifying your body, losing fat and becoming healthier. So, in order to do so, you have to eat. Eat healthy, nutritious food that will replace the bad eating habits you had before fasting. The main goal of your fasting should be the change of your life-style.
Plan your meals, so you eat 5 times a day. Breakfast – morning snack – lunch – afternoon snack – dinner. This way your body won’t store food you eat as fat, in fear it will not eat again till the next day! That is what you get when you’re not eating enough – your body just starts storing all the food as fat – so if you want to lose weight the effect will be quite the opposite!!
4. Drink a lot – water, herbal tea, green tea
Because fasting is a cleaning process for your body, make sure you drink a lot of water. drink 2 l of plain water and 1 l of herbal tea, green tea and fresh made juices. This way, you make it possible for your body to detox and it works wonders if you are bloated.
Green tea and even more white tea is perfect if you want to lose weight as it burns fat and is really effective when drinking before, after or even during your exercise.
One of my favorite drink is lemonade with ginger, cinnamon and 1 tsp honey. It will boost your metabolism and is perfect when losing weight.
5. Proteins – do not cut them off!
So important! You can reduce it but do not cut them off! Proteins are so important for your body strength even the birds on the trees are singing about it. That doesn’t mean you eat meat every day, I would even advice against meat during fasting, and it doesn’t mean to drink gallons of milk. No, go with the proteins that are healthy and raw – kefir, cottage cheese (no fat), whey, organic goat cheese.
Include them in your meals at least 3 days a week.
6. Essential oils – nuts and seeds!
With essential oils you will replace all the bad fat that you consumed before. The effect of essential oils on your body will be amazing. It will improve everything, from blood sugar and cholesterol to your skin and hair.
The best way is to eat nuts (almonds are one of the best and healthiest) as snacks, mixed in oatmeal or yogurt. You can add them to fruit shakes.
If you don’t know much about organic seeds and how you can benefit from them, please read my post Healthy Food: Top 6 seeds for your health and wellbeing. After this, you won’t go a day without adding one of the seeds in your meals!
7. Fiber, fiber, fiber
Because fasting is about cutting down in amount of food you eat and the base are mainly vegetables and fruits, you have to make sure, you eat enough fiber. Otherwise you digestion might fall asleep, causing constipation, making your body impossible to detox.
We all know vegetables, rich in fiber, but you need a bit more.
One way to add fiber to your diet are linseed but my No.1 fiber is Psyllium. Just 1 tbsp in 3dl of water and drink it in the morning. Enough fiber for the whole day! And digestion is really thankful for it!
8. Find good recipes and be creative!
Before I started with fasting, I thought to myself, what in the world will I be making every day for the next 6 weeks, with only vegetables and fruit! And won’t be just a bowl of salad!
One word – Pinterest! You have no excuses left you don’t know what to eat! The world of ideas is never-ending. Find inspiration and make it on your own. I’m pretty sure I will come out of this fasting as a better cook too!
9. Be active!
Yes, be active. The first few days might be a bit hard and you feel less energy, but after that first crisis, you are ready to move! It’s important here that you listen to your body and not go overboard with exercises. If you are really cutting down food, you might consider only long walks, just to clear your mid and feel the nature. but, if you’re like me, cutting down processed food, carbs, bad fat and sugar – you have no excuses.
I work out 4 times a week – a 30 min power-cardio exercise routine, have one day off and for the weekend me and my family go hiking. And if I can do it, so can you. Just adjust it to what works best for you. but do not just sit in front of TV, saying you don’t have the strength to work out, because you’re fasting. If that’s the case, you’re doing it wrong. You really should feel energized, light and inspired!
10. Have a “partner in crime”or just someone who supports you and keeps you on the right track
For me and my husband, it was a mutual choice. We said, enough with this bad eating habits, let’s make a difference. Let’s challenge ourselves, go trough fasting and then start living a healthier life. And I was really excited, for the last week I couldn’t wait to start. And now, 3 weeks in, I feel so proud of us. we didn’t have a lot of downs, but when we did, it was so much easier, because we have each other to talk to, we know exactly what it’s like and what to do, to keep going.
So, find a partner that will walk the walk of fasting with you. Or explain your plan to a friend who supports you and will keep you motivated and on track, who will sometimes be hard on you and be proud of you when you succeed.
And you can succeed! It’s such an amazing feeling, setting goals and then achieving them. When you know, you are doing something good for yourself. It will make you a better person. Fasting will change your life, your mind, not just your body and food you eat.
Healthy fasting = healthy lifestyle!