Fasting Tips to Reap Healthy Results!

Fasting Tips to Reap Healthy Results!

Have you ever fasted or does the idea make you immediately feel starving? There was a time not long ago when fasting was out of fashion with claims that it slowed down the metabolism, wasted muscle and made blood sugar unstable. Now there’s a surge in fasting popularity as new science has proven its many health benefits that have been touted throughout the ages.

If you haven’t yet experimented with fasting, allow me to give you some tips that will help you get started. Over many years, I’ve tried every type of fast from juice fasting to water fasting, from fasting for weeks to fasting a day at a time. As my body has aged, I’ve learned how to fast differently than I fasted in my twenties and yet still get great results.

This summer, I decided to lose some weight (the age weight creep is the worst, isn’t it?). I turned to fasting when nothing else was moving the scale downwards. Having successfully lost 8 lbs or 6.5% of my body weight, I’d like to share with you how to fast and reap the health rewards!

My fasting journey

I fell in love with fasting many years ago in my twenties. Back in the day, I could do a juice fast for 10-14 days and feel empowered, cleansed and revitalized afterwards. I followed the advice of renowned health practitioners, Dr. Bernard Jensen and Dr. Pavlo Airola, who wrote books about juice fasting. Along with colon cleansing, I used fasting to recover from a childhood of the good old American diet with lots of red meat and hydrogenated oils.

Long fasts like that though weren’t possible during my thirties and forties as a busy working mother. I found I couldn’t maintain a focus to keep my multi-tasking balls in the air so fasting was reduced to only 3 -5 days and at that very infrequently.

However, as bodies age, it becomes even harder to fast without feeling depleted and getting brain fog. For a while, it seemed like I couldn’t fast for even a day anymore without getting rapid heartbeat from blood sugar lows. What I learned is that you have to gradually train the body to fast again. The benefits of doing so are really worth it!

Health benefits from fasting

Scientific studies have shown that fasting provides the following health benefits:

Reduces insulin resistance: Our cells become insulin resistant from the barrage of too much sugar in our diets. It’s as if they become deaf to insulin’s message to open up and take in more blood sugar for nourishment. Insulin resistance can progress from prediabetes to type II diabetes.

Slows Aging: When you fast, the body increases the output of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Although you may be past the age of growing taller every year, your metabolism and your muscles still depend on HGH to maintain them. Additionally, animal studies show significant life extension when fasting is part of the dietary regime. A Harvard study found beneficial effects of fasting on the mitochondria, the energy powerhouses inside our cells. During human evolution, our bodies became accustomed to both long and short periods of fasting so it makes sense that fasting prolongs our life through a variety of cellular metabolism mechanisms.

Reduces body weight: Lower caloric intake reduces weight, pure and simple. However, rather than eating a tedious calorie restricted diet, fasting has been shown to be more effective at reducing fat loss while maintaining your muscles. Since HGH also helps maintain muscles while reducing weight, it may be that this hormone plays a key role in this effect. Perhaps most important of all, fasting helps you control your appetite. It’s like pushing a reset button on sugar cravings and other unhealthy urges.

Reduces Inflammation: Fasting takes pressure off of the body. It’s like you’re giving your body a chance to do some housecleaning. As a result, inflammation gets addressed and reduced. Studies show that several inflammatory markers go down after fasting. One thing is for sure. Your pipes get a chance to clean out even with only a day of fasting!

Lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides: Studies have shown that fasting can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while also reducing blood pressure. Combined with the reduction in inflammation that fasting provides, this could be one of the healthiest things you do for your heart!


Intermittent fasting

This is the easiest way to start getting your body accustomed to fasting. The practice calls for eating during 6-8 consecutive hours of the day. For instance, you can fast from the finish of your dinner (or any after-dinner snack) the night before. Let’s say you finished by 8PM. You then refrain from eating until noon the following day.

In the morning, you can drink a fresh juice and enjoy a cup of herbal tea like Teeccino anytime during the morning. I recommend a veggie juice or a greens & apple juice instead of a citrus juice, which can be too high in acidity and sugar. Needless to say, you should avoid caffeine which will spike your blood sugar. You can practice this daily until your body becomes used to closing down the hours of eating to a window of 6-8 hours a day.

Alternate day fasting

When your body is accustomed to fasting intermittently, you’re ready to advance to alternate day fasting. There are 2 types. The first method is to start by increasing the hours during which you’re fasting to 24. You eat dinner on one evening and then you fast until the following evening and eat dinner again. You’re now teaching your body to fast longer than you did with intermittent fasting. You drink 2 x 16 oz of veggie and/or green juice, one in the AM and one at midday. Buy organic juice as freshly made as possible.

Of course, if you have your own juicer, better yet! I love an extra kick of ginger to further reduce inflammation and promote good digestion in my juice too.

When your body has adjusted to 24 hours fasting, it’s time to fast for 36 hours. From dinner on the 1st evening, you fast all through the 2nd day and break the fast by eating breakfast on the 3rd day. During your fasting day, you drink three 16 oz glasses of juice and all the herbal teas including Teeccino that you want.

The name, Alternate Day Fasting, means that some people actually do this every other day. I find that to be way too extreme for my body. To successfully lose weight, I did a 36 hour fast on Monday to start the week, and another 24-hour fast on Thursday, I lost about a pound a week which for my body is a lot but depending on how much weight you need to lose and the speed of your metabolism, you may lose more. I don’t rapidly gain weight but then I don’t easily lose it either.

On my eating days, I could enjoy my normal healthy diet but without skimping on some of my favorite treats. I didn’t worry about having cheese and crackers with a glass of wine before dinner, or a couple of slices of pizza, or a piece of the office birthday cake. It’s nice to not feel restricted on the days when you are eating but it’s also important to refrain from going overboard. As your fasting practice matures, you should find that your appetite is more in control, you eat smaller portions, and you want healthier food.

3 to 5-day fasts

I still love a 3-5 day fast. There’s nothing like the deep cleanse that you get from doing a longer fast. However, with this kind of fast, you need to do a colon cleanse at least once if not more during the fast. You continue to drink juices and herbal teas on your fasting days. You can even have a clear broth in the evening, which can feel nice and savory after a day of juices.

For a longer fast like this, schedule it on a long weekend or during some vacation time where you don’t have to hold a strong focus. It’s a great time for yin yoga, walks in nature, meditation, journaling and other quiet pursuits. Break your fast gently with small wholesome meals the first day and gradually scale up your eating over a few days.

As for the colon cleanse, either schedule one or two colonics with your local colon therapist or make friends with your enema bag. I have developed my personal enema techniques over the years, but I’ll refrain from going into them here! I do like an occasional colonic but frankly, if you do a maintenance fast for one day a week and eat a high fiber diet, your colon will stay clean all by itself.

7 day or longer fasts

Although I’ve done them, I’m no longer a big fan. Here’s the thing ~ your body should let you know when it’s time to eat, but sometimes you can get so high from fasting that you just keep going. A sign that you’ve fasted for too long is when you get a cold after your break your fast. Breaking it is really tricky too, as you can develop a real craving that results in overeating.

In my opinion, this kind of fasting is best undertaken for medical reasons. Otherwise, it is a bit like binging. You starve and then you’ll want to binge eat. It’s not a healthy cycle. If you want to fast this long, I recommend finding a fasting center where your fast can be monitored. There should be a particular regime for both before, during and after the fast to keep you on a healthy course. There are real benefits to long fasts but they have to be done correctly.


Go for it. I just finished my one 36-hour fast a week.

Now that I’m at the weight I want to stabilize at, I’ll only fast once a week for both good health and weight maintenance.

The true test will be the holidays, right? I let you know in January how I’ve done. You let me know how you’re doing too!

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