Fasting is not just about weight loss. In fact, for me (and many others) - it's not about that at all.

When I first tried fasting, my goal was mainly to eliminate sugar cravings - but so much more came from that experience that I decided to make fasting a routine part of my lifestyle.

The first time I tried a water fast, I did it for 24 hours - I then eventually worked my way up to 5 days of water fasting. Not only has it helped me with the chronic inflammation I suffer from, it has helped me with my mental clarity, my spirituality, and so much more.

Intermittent fasting and extended water fasting (24 hrs - 5+ days) can have existential benefits, not just for your body, but also your mind.

Benefits of fasting:
-rid cravings
-improve energy levels
-decrease inflammation
-better brain function/mental clarity + improve memory
-stimulate fat burning
-improve heart health
-decrease cortisol
-heal autoimmune disorders
-fix digestive disorders
-aid in healing type 2 diabetes
-lower blood pressure
-improve metabolic health

INTERMITTENT FASTING:

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but moreover, a changing of dietary habits. It is based on changing your eating patterns, rather than restricting foods. For those unfamiliar with the concept, IF is when you alternate between periods of eating and fasting. AKA, you have your fasting window, and your feeding window.

There are many variations of IF, and what is effective for one person may not be the preferred preference for someone else - so be prepared to try out a few different methods. The most popular form of IF is following the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours and then eat your meals during the 8 hour window of your choosing.

When I am intermittent fasting with the 16/8 method, I typically choose to have my eating window fall between 11-7 or 12-8. Sometimes I will go by the 2/5 rule and fast two days out of the week (with at least one day of non-fasting in-between)

*This isn’t to say just because you are intermittent fasting you can eat WHATEVER you want, though. You should still be focusing on a heathy diet, whether you are vegan, keto, high-protein, low carb, or whatever... You can’t eat junk food and excessive calories on non-fasting days and expect results.

EXTENDED WATER FASTING: (3-5 Days)

PREPARING FOR AN EXTENDED FAST
-create a low stress schedule/environment
-do your best to avoid negativity
-drink plenty of water (try a sweet drink if you need something extra)
-daily “grounding” & sunshine
-move your body
-give yourself permission to rest

It is also important to note that coffee, tea, and various types of water mixtures are allowed during fasting periods (I love adding lemon to my water or using liquid chlorophyll in the first cup of water I drink for the day for added energy).

*you may experience trouble sleeping during the beginning of your fast, here are 4 supplements you can use to help get some rest:
Magnesium, Adaptogens, Relaxing Herbs (& herbal tea), Melatonin

During the first few days of your fast you may experience fatigue, mental lethargy, mood changes, body temperature changes, hunger pains & cravings - on the 3rd day, many people start to feel better mentally and notice pain reducing - but could still be feeling tired with hints of brain fog.

If you’re able to keep going, day 4 is when your brain is being fueled by ketones and you should start to feel much better - you should start to feel great bouts of energy and increased mental clarity. This is when I really start to feel my productivity skyrocket.

If you are feeling unwell or stressed at this point, try some brain calming magnesium. If you are noticing heart palpitations or extreme hunger (not just an emotional desire to eat), this is when some people choose to break the fast and there is no shame in that, especially if it is your first time doing an extended fast.

Your body will get stronger and healthier with each successive fast and it only gets easier.

Fasting for longer than 5 days can have continued benefits, but after 5 days you risk losing lean body mass. If you are looking to lose more weight, extending the fast can be beneficial as long as you are feeling okay. Work your way up to a 10 day fast (every other month), or you can just do a 5-day water fast each month.

Additionally, if you have a chronic inflammatory condition and you are feeling better at day 5, you can also consider continuing the fast.

I tend to stay between 4-5 days because of my body mass, however, I also have chronic inflammation - so I just choose to do a 4-5 day fast every 8-12 weeks.

I also like to do intermittent fasting in between my extended fasts. I find it helps significantly with my inflammation and helps keep my cravings in check.

BREAKING AN EXTENDED FAST

A good general rule on breaking an extended fast is to take the amount of days you fasted and divide it by 2 - then give yourself that many days before adding back harder to digest foods, such as raw veggies, meat and eggs.

Your first meal when breaking your fast should be something along the lines of a protein shake with high quality ingredients. Vegetable broth, bone broth, and fermented drinks are all good things to add-in.

The best things to consume on your recovery days are broths, soups, and fermented veggies and drinks for the first 1-3 days after breaking your fast. Then, for the next 1-3 days, consume low-carb smoothies along with smaller meals. Then you can begin to add solid food meals with healthy fats, veggies, starches, and clean meats - should you so choose.

DEBUNKING FASTING MYTHS:

  • FASTING MAKES YOU BURN MUSCLE

When you are fasting, you burn fat. Your body stores excessive amounts of glucose as fat for a later time when you may not have access to food. When your body enters fasting mode, your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat.

  • FASTING WILL CAUSE YOU TO OVEREAT

When you first break your fast, you are likely to eat more than your normal meal. The average increase after a 1 day fast is apx. 500 calories. BUT, if you factor in what you would normally eat in a day (2,500 calories), you are still net 2,000 calories!

  • HUNGER WILL INCREASE THE LONGER YOU FAST

Hunger pains that you feel from not eating lunch to dinner are typically the same as the hunger pains you feel during a fast - the pain does not increase.