last week in Science of fasting- part 1, we covered what fast mimicking diet is and the proven health benefits of fasting. This week I would like to cover, how you can get your body prepared for this kind of fasting.
It is always good to prepare your body, when you are making changes to your routine. For example, if you are used to eating hip spoons of sugar or drinking sugary drinks all day long, it would not really be wise to go on a 3-5 day fast straight, your body will get in shock and it will fight you back. The wise thing is to start slowly and eliminate your sugary drinks one by one each week, until you get to no sugary drinks at all. This way your body gets prepared. This was just one example.below is a list of different ways that you can get your body prepared. depending on your eating habits, you can pick one of the prep methods below and start there.
Beginners, stage 1:
This step is for those who are in the habit of eating heavily processed, sugary and junk foods. Make a list of all your food intakes and categorize them into two groups. processed Vs. whole foods. Same as drinks Processed (like sodas, Juice with added sugar and preservatives, fancy sugary coffees like Mocha, etc) or whole some drinks (like water, unsweetened tea, Coffee with little or no added processed sugar).
If you are confused about the definition of processed foods and what is really healthy or what is being marketed to us as healthy, I have written a few blog post covering these before, here are the links (1, 2, 3) or you can simply do a google search.
Now that you have your lists ready, pick one item and try to replace it with a wholesome food or drink, until you feel comfortable with no craving, then move to the next. Repeat until you have successfully replaced all the junk and processed foods in you list with whole, real foods.
If you prepare you body this way, you are making changes for life, not just a short period of time. Your relationship with food will change, and the chances that you will stick to a healthy lifestyle will change.
Intermediate, Stage 2:
This stage is for those, who already are into habit of eating whole healthy foods, but they like to eat all day long. Again as in step one, write down your eating habits. This time we want to keep track of the time that you had your first meal of the day all the way till the end of the day. If you are eating every hour from 6 in the morning till 9 or 10 at night. your body will get in shock, by eliminating all that food intake. So start by making your eating window shorter. This is also called intermittent fasting or 16/8 rule.
16/8 rule means you limit your eating time to 8 hours a day and fast for 16 hours. If you are that person who is eating from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to bed, this might be little hard to do.
So again start slowly. For example have your first meal of the day at 8 am instead of 6 and then your last meal at 6 or 7 at night and go to bed early. This will put you to eating for about 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. Start where you still feel comfortable, but a little out of your comfort zone. Keep going until you can do the full 16:8 rule.
Important point: please note it is very important that at this stage, you are fueling your body with whole nutritious foods. If you are still eating heavily processed foods, it is not wise and healthy to do this fast. Also while you are at it, you might work on eliminating foods or habits that cause inflammation in you body. to learn more please visit my blog post regarding inflammation in our body and how to address it.
Advanced, stage 3:
Assuming you have successfully completed the first two steps and you feel great and you look more energized than ever, yes it is possible. If you fuel your body with right kind of foods, you will feel better even before getting into the real thing.
At this stage, try fasting for every other day for a week with either no food or less than 500 calories on fasting days and nutritious whole foods (no caloric restriction) on non fasting days. If you completed this step successfully, then you are ready to move on to the real thing.
Please note: some of you might see the health result that you were looking for such as more energy, healthier skin, less bloating etc. at this point, and might not need to go into the whole fast mimicking diet. Do what is right for you.
Very important point:
Please note as always consult with your physician before making any changes to your diet and going into fasting. Even though most people get benefits from these stages of starting a healthier lifestyle, some depending on their past relationship with food or their overall health issues, might not get any benefits from this restricted eating plans. So to stay safe, talk to your medical professional.
unfortunately as I am doing my research, I see a lot of different diet websites advertising fast mimicking diet as a quick way of loosing weight. If you want to live a healthier life, don’t look at it as a quick way of loosing weight, think of this fast as a way to get rid of toxins in your body. Away to help you jump start a healthy lifestyle.
I don’t think it worth it, if you limit yourself for 3-5 days from eating and then start eating junk foods and highly processed foods. you will get back to where you were, or even worse.
Also it might be useful for you to go for some screening and tests of your overall health before you start these lifestyle changes and after you finish your first round of fast mimicking diet. If you are a number driven person, this might really help you to stick to a healthier lifestyle.
Next week, we will cover the best foods to eat while on the fast and after.
Till then, stay happy and healthy