If you’re looking for an alternative way to detox your body, fasting might just be the answer
There are many traditional ways to cleanse the body and improve your overall health, but fasting is an alternative method that has become widely popular across the health and wellness space recently. Understanding how fasting helps the body might be the answer you’re looking for!
What is fasting and is it good for your health?
Short-term fasting is the process of abstaining from food or drink for a period of time, usually for the purpose of losing weight or improving brain function.
When food isn’t being consumed, cells in the body are forced to be used in a way that isn’t normal, which therefore makes the cells stronger and enhances their ability to cope better under stress.
Although there are many health benefits of fasting, it’s important to educate yourself on what a safe fasting period looks like first before trying it. Ready to learn about this exciting new trend? Keep reading to understand how fasting helps the body and the best ways to start as a beginner.
Fasting health benefits and most common types of fasting schedules
If you're looking to improve your blood sugar levels and maintain your weight, fasting has many potential benefits, including:
- Supporting brain and heart function
- Fighting oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
- Supporting weight loss and boosting metabolism
- Increasing growth hormone secretion
- Reducing insulin resistance, lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes
- Manage stress and anxiety more easefully
The health benefits of fasting will differ depending on the type of fast being performed. The most common types of fasts are:
This fasting approach is an ideal option for those wanting to go about their week as normal, and are willing to modify their diet and lifestyle for the remaining two days.
To start, choose five days of the week that you will eat normal meals and snacks, then choose two consecutive days to eat between 500 - 600 calories.
Cardio or weight-training exercise should be allocated during the “5” period and lighter exercise is recommended during the “2” period.
This type of fasting is ideal for someone who has a set schedule each day and can rely on their mealtimes staying the same throughout the week.
To start, simply choose an 8 hour window that works for you to eat your meals in. This might be between 8am - 4pm or 9am - 5pm, allowing 14 hours outside of this window to fast.
On this specific fasting schedule, women are recommended not to fast for more than 14 hours at a time to ensure hormones stay balanced and healthy.
The basis of this fasting schedule is that you are willing to eliminate foods before bedtime, so this schedule can often be one of the easiest to implement into your routine if this works well for your personal routine.
Simply choose a 12 hour window to fast overnight, depending on your preferred bed times. If you’re an early riser, fasting between 6pm and 6am might work well for you.
However, If you know that you like to start your day slightly later, choose a later finish time. This will minimize your chance of breaking your fast early and being able to enjoy a meal as soon as you wake up. You can also add some detox drinks before bed prior to your overnight fasting.
Top three things to consider when trying fasting for the first time
Now that you know how fasting helps the body, the most important thing to remember when you’re trying fasting as a beginner is to listen to your body. Although there are many positive fasting health benefits, your well-being must come first and be prioritized, always. These three tips are also important when trying fasting:
1. Start slow, and give yourself grace and space to succeed
Before trying fasting to see if it's right for you, start to ease your body into eating slightly less food beforehand. This will help the body to familiarize itself with not having usual meals and will be less of a shock to it once the official fasting schedule begins.
Sustainability is the key when it comes to fasting. If your body is used to having big meals and snacks, try removing snacks the week before to help your body get accustomed to this new way of eating.
2. Water, water and even more water
It is recommended to drink as much water as possible, both before your upcoming fasting schedule, and during it.
Staying hydrated will help you to avoid dehydration, help you to maintain stronger energy levels and minimize uncomfortable experiences such as a headache or mood swings.
3. Don’t push yourself too far with intense exercise plans
When your body is going through a fasting process, it naturally isn’t getting the usual nutrients and energy from daily food intake, and your energy during this period needs to be preserved.
Instead of pushing yourself with exercise regimes on fasting days, go on a light walk or gentle swim, and save more vigorous exercise sessions for the days you are eating regular meals.
If you’re seeking a stronger mind - body connection, fasting could be the next step for you
If you’re looking for ways to increase your overall health, improve brain function and manage your weight, fasting could be the perfect place for you to start. When we feel good in our mind and help our brain to function better with methods like fasting, the body inevitably feels wonderful, too.
Remember to prioritize self-love and before you know it, you’ll be reaping the benefits of fasting in no time.
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