SHIFT TO FAST - 6 MIN READ
Author: Datin Eileen Unwin - “Intention is more than wishful thinking; it’s wilful direction”
Fasting … a bit of a wellness buzz word that many people adhere to but, to others, may seem daunting. Engaging in conscious food deprivation with an intentional focus on reducing calorie intake for a short period of time could be the answer to the health concerns you are suffering from.
Firstly, to consider introducing fasting beyond a diet plan and as a habitual lifestyle goal has the ability to reset and restore the body.
It internally manages the blood, sugar levels, internal organs, digestion, inflammation and mindset to naturally enhance, not only how the body metabolises food, but also helps readdress personal relationships with food.
Whilst it can assist in the management of weight, this should not be the sole focus. In my view, simply making a conscious effort to reducing the overladen impact that excess daily food consumption has on the body is the optimum health impetus that is manageable yet effective long term. Let’s consider the facts. As we know, many ailments (both mental and physical) manifest in the gut through overeating, full stop. Add highly processed and elevated sugar and/or fat foods to the equation, in quantity, and the results are incrementally more damaging to health. In order to rid their effects, a period of time where an individual is able to focus on resetting the body’s nutritional system needs to be acknowledged; hence encouraging unhealthy bacteria and fat deposits to be eliminated resulting in reducing the detrimental impact of many ailments. By having a sense of control over what is consumed, long standing benefits become apparent and, if adhered to consistently, a sense of trust and understanding between the mind and body develops.
Hunger will be managed, cravings will be reduced, internal inflammation can disappear and, overall, a sensible approach to working towards optimum wellbeing will be the chosen path. Overall, with a lack of dependancy on certain food groups, alcohol and unnecessary medication, a sense of freedom is achieved.
There are many trend driven diet plans advocating and guiding in the process of fasting, some of which are extremely informative insights into the benefits of conscious appetite suppression. However, it is important to remember that this method of eating does not need to be associated with a specific diet. Taking the pressure off what authors expect of you, will unconsciously assist in the personal fasting process whereby each individual’s aim is to find a manageable deprivation timescale that works for them. It may take time and patience to administer, with a period of adjustment to work towards longer fasting periods, but that is the personalisation element. To ultimately discover the rewards of a journey that is able to re-start the wellbeing and aging body clock, rewind detrimental damage and break down a lifetime of bad eating/drinking habits is the pot of gold at the end of the fasting rainbow. There is not a natural nutritionist or functional medical expert that does not highlight the benefits that fasting encourages in the body. A natural cure if you are recovering from a stomach upset or are beholden to IBS, been prescribed antibiotics is fasting. It gives the body the relief it is craving and whilst it may seem impossible to jump on that train, the ease of movement once you have settled into the ride is immeasureable.
Max Lowery, an efficiado of intermittent fasting tells us that “eating three meals a day is not based on our biological needs but started due to cultural reasons. Native American communities in the 15 Century fasted by choice to cleanse and heal their bodies for rituals”.
It goes without saying that our modern day expectations of excess, indulgence and choices are holding the body captive to a natural state of wellbeing.
How to Fast
A natural, manageable start would be to fast overnight for a period of 12 - 14 hours and begin to understand that the hunger you may feel upon waking can and will be satiated by simply drinking either warm water or herbal tea. Hence, with the intention of extending the fast by another 2 hours. The theory behind entering into consumption beyond a fasting state (now 14 - 16 hours) is to focus primarily on those foods that are high in antioxidants and healing benefits to the body.
Think light broths, vegetable based soups and smoothies, nutrient dense leafy greens, fruits including papaya, berries, bananas, apples.
Meal portions should be conciously smaller, more easily digestable and not portion overloaded in order to support the fasting process. Ideally, the daily window of eating should be limited to 8 hours, giving the body a natural rest in between meals and hydrating with plenty of water and/or herbal tea acting as a detoxifier.
Before you Sleep
No food at least 2 hours before sleeping will guarantee a restful slumber, a cleansed liver (the elixir to life) and stabilised sugar levels upon waking. Many will ask how to incorporate exercise into a fasting lifestyle. The body is a mechanisim that feeds off it’s own energy system so it is a myth that the average human’s daily exercise expectations need to be fuelled by constant food.
When appetite is managed through fasting, you will be more able to notice behavioural and thought patterns when true hunger sets in, above and beyond thirst. Encouraging yourself to exercise in a fasting state (after waking but with hydration) and giving the body time to relax after exercise with another dose of hydration will give clear and steady feedback to your brain that results in a natural high via efficient endorphins.
Food manufacturers (most especially refined, carbohydrate driven companies) have been feeding us advice to load up on calorie laden foods and drinks prior, during and post exercise to enhance our fitness levels. However, the reality is that this will limit the depletion of fat and will be less likely to encourage the body to benefit from any weight loss from exercise. Short term fasting increases your metabolic rate in order for the body to burn more fat naturally whilst accessing fitness goals faster.
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Note: Anyone embarking on a fasting plan that has serious health concerns should consult a doctor beforehand.
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