I receive a lot of emails from people who wish to lose weight and improve their health through fasting but are unsure of how to prepare or what to expect. Or they are convinced that fasting is what they want to do, but do not have support of friends and/or family members. Worse yet, here are many who want to fast but their physician is against it.
I can relate to all of these scenarios. And I certainly am not here to refute what your doctor has told you to do or not to do. However, there is one thing that I have found to be true and that is: “nobody knows your body more than you do.”
If you are more than twenty pounds overweight, then you may be in danger of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions. These are serious conditions that can cripple anyone’s life quality. Obesity can, in truth, make life a living hell. Is that what you want your life to be for another decade, another year, another month…. another day? I don’t think so.
Therefore, while I encourage you to listen to the concerns about fasting by those close to you, in the end it must be your decision. After all, it is your life and your body. While doing a 40-day water fast may not be in your immediate scope, fasting for 8, 12 or 24 hours at a time is attainable by nearly everyone and can still produce positive results.
Find a fasting plan that fits what you’re trying to achieve. Give yourself “reachable” goals. If you are new to fasting, suddenly wanting to do a 30-day water fast may be too much. Do not set yourself up for frustration.
As I said, some traditional medicine physicians are against fasting… period. If this is the case with yours, ask him or her if you could at least fast for short periods of time. Intermittent fasts can be as short as eight hours in length. Let the doctor know that you are not using fasting as a “crash diet,” but as part of a total transformation in your eating habits. If, in the end, your doctor still says you ought not to fast, then don’t! Ask him or her to explain the reasons why fasting is off limits.
Another option is to visit a holistic medicine practitioner and receive a second opinion. There are many excellent MD’s that specialize in holistic medicine. I find that the best treatment is one that includes both traditional and holistic methods. And fasting is by far one of the most powerful health-improvement methods that I know.
There are a few items you need to invest in to get the most from any fasting plan. First, you should purchase a juicer rather than choosing from juices at the supermarket. Fresh, rather than pasteurized juice, is definitely the way to go.
Sometimes they’re hard to locate, but if you can buy organically-grown fruits and vegetables, that would be optimum. If you are going to do a water fast, I strongly encourage you to drink the best quality of water that you can. Shop for a good water filter. If you can afford it, my choice is ionized water. But anything is better than tap water. If you cannot afford a filter, at the very least boil the tap water prior to drinking it.
Decaffeinated green tea is a great supplement to fasting because it will give you a pep of energy and help soothe hunger. While it’s okay and even suggested to exercise during your fast, it should be limited to non-stressful or low aerobic movements. Walking or stretching exercises are best during the fast – but take it easy. If you don’t feel like exerting yourself – don’t.
Fasting is different for everybody. Some people are energized and others feel foggy. So it is important that you do not overdo it. Keep a fasting journal and write on it as often as possible while you are fasting. Make sure to include the time, date and “fasting day” that you’re in on each post. Fasting opens doors to the spirit, so it is very likely that while journaling you will have moments of insight and inspiration. You will NOT want to miss out on that. Frequent journaling while fasting is definitely a must.
Moreover, make sure that you prepare for breaking the fast at least one week before the date arrives. Breaking a fast is the most important part of the process. If you are unprepared, hunger could very well lead you to overeat which, in turn, can use great discomfort and serious intestinal damage. You can Google the term “breaking a fast” and come up with excellent resources to help you.
When the fast is over, be aware that your body has just experienced a major restorative and regenerating experience. Steer clear of foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, additives, alcohol, sodas and whole milk (opt for low-fat or fat-free).
Fasting should be the first step you take in developing a healthier lifestyle. When you learn how to fast in a safe manner, you’ll end the fast with feelings of self-esteem and satisfaction. Most importantly, fasting should be an instrument that will lead you to make permanent eating-habit changes.