To Fast Or Not To Fast

There’s nothing like a cheap cleanse.

In fact, why spend hundreds of dollars on a swanky juice cleanse when a total fast might be exactly what you’re really looking for – and what you’re body needs.

As a self-proclaimed “expert” in nutrition, many of my friends and contacts have been reaching out for my guidance on cleansing and fasting. I myself enjoy a good green juice cleanse now and again, and often stick to an IF diet regime (16:8 protocol of “feeding” 8 hours, followed by a short-term 16 hour “fast”).

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, feel “reset” in whatever way you think feeling “lighter” will transform your life (probably overrated, but nonetheless shedding a bit of bloat is nice), or if you’re simply curious as to all of the hype around fasting – you should approach it from a place of kindness, caution, and a bit of smarts!

There are countless well-documented benefits to short-term and long-term fasts, but most importantly you need to consider your particular state of health – emotionally and physically. If you’re doing it to truly cleanse your body and mind – fantastic! If you have disordered eating, are pregnant or nursing, or are underweight, then please refrain.

If you pass the requirements, I have good news! I just so happen to be BFF’s with long-time fitness model and personal trainer - straight from the wellness and beauty central: California!

Introducing top fasting tips from my dear friend (and Mindfully Edible Retreats co-host) Sandra Augustin from SASS Fitness.

Here are 4 key things to remember when it comes to fasting:

#1 You won't lose muscle as long as you are using it. 

As long as you are of a healthy weight and age (over 18), there's no reason to expect muscle loss during a 3-5 day fast.  In fact, studies show that your Human Growth Hormone (HGH) secretion increases on day three and/or four (varies from person to person).  With that said, you can't lay around like a slug and expect gains, but if you continue your regular workout schedule, you might be surprised by some GAINS due to the added Human Growth Hormone secretion.

#2 Never feel guilty or beat yourself up if you "screw it". 

You can always start tomorrow, I remember the object is to feast one day and fast the next.  If your calorie consumption has moderate to low on both days, you will end up lowering your metabolism - the last thing you want to do.

#3 EAT FAT. 

When I "break my fast", I start with half of an avocado.  While fasting, your body is in fat burning mode, so when you give it an avocado for example, your body recognizes calories and it knows it's not starving; however, it is still fat so it remains in fat burning state because its the only calories coming in.

#4 Start slow: Treat it like exercising.  

Fast for 12 hours day one, 14 hours a few days later, and eventually work your way up to between 16-18 hour fasts. These longer period fasts can get hard, so sometimes I fast at the beginning of the day, and other days I wake up starving so I’ll eat all day until 4 PM and then I fast the second part of the day – that usually jump starts me back into my original schedule. Don't ask me why, but it works every time.  Once you're comfortable with IF, then try doing a 24-hour and/or extended fasting; however, the health benefits slowdown and or diminish after the third or fourth day UNLESS you are in it to lose weight.

Want to learn more about fasting and IF? Both Sandra and I have learned loads from a wonderful podcast, Fasting Talk. We’re also both fans of Megan Ramos’s grounded and scientific approach. Megan is a Clinical Educator in the field and is worth following for a holistic understanding of this extremely important (yet sometimes confusing) topic.