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To Fast Or Not To Fast: Is Fasting For You?

Recently, there has been renewed interest in fasting, with studies showing the scientific benefits especially around weight loss. In this article, we aim to explore the benefits and precautions of fasting, tips and how to know if it is suitable for your needs.

Benefits 

Historically, ancient cultures and tribes participated in periods of voluntary fasting for the purposes of cleansing, detoxification and purification.  Some of the specific key benefits, which are scientifically supported and reported subjectively, include the following:

  • allows the body to catch up on digestion and elimination
  • allows the body to invest more energy into structural repair and general healing
  • provides a rest for digestive organs
  • can starve parasites and fungus
  • allows for a deeper meditation
  • provides mental clarity
  • weight loss.

How to 

Fasting protocols can vary in the numbers of hours, or days, that you fast for, and what you can and cannot consume during those hours. The most common and effective types promoted today are:

  • Mini Fast – is a type of Intermittent Fasting where you fast anywhere from 12 to 24 hours
  • Longer Fast – where you fast from 24 to 72 hours
  • Extended Fast– where you fast for greater than 72 hours (consult your doctor before participating)

While fasting you may wish to consume the following:

  • Water: Adequate amounts of water will assist in the detoxification process and help manage hunger pangs. You may wish to add a little squeeze of orange or carrot juice in water to help stabilise blood sugar levels.
  • Yogi Healthy Fasting Tea or any other organic tea may assist.
  • Fruit and/or vegetable juice: Please proceed with caution as this may disrupt blood sugar levels, causing a stress response in the body, which can have a myriad of unwanted side effects. This can be monitored through testing devices or merely by the intensity of hunger pangs.
  • Bone broth: This provides excellent support to the digestive system and helps build the musculoskeletal system. But similarly to fruit and/or vegetable juices, bone broth may disrupt blood sugar levels (normally to a lesser extent).

Precautions

There are some precautions to consider. Fasting can place a significant load on the liver as the body undertakes a more pronounced detoxification process. It will yield best results in people with a healthy lifestyle and adequate nutrition on board so that the liver and detoxification pathways are not overloaded with toxins.

Purposely skipping meals can send stress signals to the nervous system, which can result in many side effects such as headaches, light-headed and fatigue. It is best to perform fasting in a non-stressed state in order to experience the benefits discussed. It is advised to generally slow down in life and be careful with physical activity during fasting periods.

If anyone is considering fasting while being overweight, it is best to do this with a positive intention such as “I am enjoying a deep detox” as opposed to adverse thoughts of “I need to lose weight”. Thoughts can have a very powerful effect on the body and by imprinting the latter comment into one’s subconscious, this thought pattern may limit someone from having the body shape they desire, or succeeding in following their chosen fasting protocol.

NOTE: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not advised to participate in fasting. Also, certain medications and supplements are best taken with food, so if these need to be taken regularly you may need to consult with a doctor.

Is it right for you?

When considering the above, the challenge is whether you should fast and for how long. This is a decision that would ideally be made by intuitively being in touch with your body’s needs as opposed to relying on pure intellect. Just because a certain type of fast works for your next-door neighbour, doesn’t mean it is right for you.

One very useful tool that we use here at Core Health Coaching is Muscle Testing. This can help you determine whether fasting may be beneficial to you, and if so, how long  and what quantity of liquids/foods are best consumed by you specifically during a fast.

If you decide to engage in regular fasting, it would be best to objectively measure your results. This can be done with scales that specifically measure body fat and muscle mass; laboratory testing; and many other technologies (depending on the goal). If you decide to practise fasting as part of your regular routine, I hope you enjoy the many benefits and, above all, always remember to listen to your body!

EXTRA HELP: To understand how much water you should consume for your particular weight, you may wish to visit this article – Water is the most important nutrient    

Author: Mark Varitimos

Editor: Wendy and Words 

References

  1. https://www.wikihow.fitness/Do-a-Self-Muscle-Test
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1847521/
  3. https://www.paulcheksblog.com/paul-chek-on-fasting-more/
  4. Fung, J. (2016) The Complete Guide to Fasting, Victory Belt Publishing, Las Vegas
  5. Hay, L. (2010) You Can Heal Your Life, Hay House Inc

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