Fasting: The How & Why & When.
While fasting offers a lot of health benefits, it’s not for everyone. If you are pregnant or nursing, suffer from an eating disorder or diabetes, are elderly or using medication that requires the intake of food, please refrain from taking a fast.
If you still have reservations please contact your GP before starting.
Disclaimer done, lets find out a little bit more about fasting, the how and the why and the when.
“If we wish to find success within our pursuits, we need to set an intention.”
Getting clear around your purpose for fasting will allow you to get so much more out of the experience. Your discipline and focus will be so much stronger when your actions are driven by intention. Consider whether you have any goals for mental or spiritual development or if your fast is simply to tap into the physical benefits. Take a few moments to meditate on your theme, a question, or a goal. Here are some ideas around fasting:
Fast to detoxify and cleanse your system. When you refrain from food, and drink only water your body has the opportunity to flush out toxins, filter and cleanse from pollutants and contaminants.
Fast to reach a breakthrough. Fasting can put your mind into a simplified state where you are able to use all your energy to frame your thoughts, answer a problem, gain insight into a situation, or come up with an idea.
Use your fast in conjunction with yoga and meditation to explore the depths of your mind and transcend hunger with discipline and focus.
How long should I fast?
The amount of time spent on a fast is entirely up to you. You may choose a 12 or 24 hour fast or any amount of time in between. What is important is that you clearly define the beginning and the end of the fast before you start.
Here are a couple of examples:
24 hour fast will begin with a light evening meal, fasting for the following day and breaking the fast at the same time the next day with a light evening dinner.
36hr fast will begin after 9pm on the first evening, fasting throughout the next day and through until 9am the following day.
Intermittent fasting can be done by starting a fast after evening dinner and fasting for either 12, 16 or 18 hours before breaking the fast the following afternoon.
How often should I fast?
There are so many health benefits available from fasting that I would highly recommend including fasting into your weekly or daily practices. Consider fasting for one day a week, or perhaps daily intermittent fasting can be of benefit for you.
Here are just some of the reasons to include regular fasting into your lifestyle:
Fasting triggers the self-healing properties in the body – when you give your digestive system a rest your internal organs have time to heal themselves.
The regular practice of fasting can help your body digest food more easily.
Enhanced mental clarity and focus.
Detox and remove impurities, pollution and contaminants in your body.
General sense of well-being.
How should I prepare for a fast?
The first step is to hydrate your body. It is important to slowly begin to increase your intake of water over the 72 hours before your fast, ensuring that you drink at least 2 litres of water the day before your fast. Here are a few reasons why water is important:
Helps to balance the fluids in the body that aid the digestion, assimilation and transportation of nutrients in the body.
Assists with the circulation of blood through the body.
Aids in the production of saliva.
Helps to maintain the body temperature.
Step two is to eat well and nourish your body the day before your fast. Don’t overeat and in fact it may actually be beneficial to eat slightly smaller portions. Avoid high sugar, high carbohydrates and highly processed foods.
The third step is to get plenty of sleep the evening before your fast. Your body will be running on a calorie deficit and will manage with greater ease if you are well rested.
Fasting - It’s finally here!
Focus your attention on your intention for embarking on a food fast. Use your purpose to hold yourself resolute against the temptations of hunger.
Stay hydrated, drinking at least half a liter of water every hour. Water will restore your energy, fill your stomach and neutralize the stomach acids creating hunger. Don’t drink so much water as to make you feel sick. If needed you can supplement water with your favorite herbal or green tea, as well as add Himalayan pink salt to keep up your sodium levels.
Keep yourself busy and engage in activities that require gentle focus and attention.
Stay strong and exercise discipline. Remind yourself of the rewards and health benefits of sticking to your fast.
Breaking your fast.
Be sure to break your fast at the time designated. Eat light, easily digestible food and eat slowly, enjoy a smaller portion than you would normally eat. Take time to offer gratitude for the food and the nourishment it will bring to your body.
“In all the food, I see the entire universe supporting my existence.”