A new year. A new decade. A great time to start over with a few things, including how you eat. And there is no better way to start anew than with a fast. But where do you begin? Let’s go fast and find out.
Pretty much every major civilization throughout human history has engaged in at least an annual cleanse or fast. In the U.S., we’re so conditioned to believe that we will starve to death if we miss even one meal, we’ve lost sight of the fact that we can go days, weeks, and even months (in extreme cases) without eating a calorie.
Before you go off and just start a fast, consult with quality care provider and tell them what you want to do, so they can point out any red flags and warning signs before you begin. In fact, I advise anyone who is considering this to set up an appointment to discuss the pros and cons of fasting. I’ll work with you to make sure you, one, do it right, and, two, you’ll have me in your corner to monitor your progress and be at-the-ready to answer your questions and cheer you on!
You need to know going forward that fasting is not just “not eating.” There are serious mental, emotional, and spiritual components tied to this practice…and it does take practice.
Mentally knowing that you can overcome your own basic instinct to eat can be empowering and freeing, but it doesn’t “just happen.” You need to have the right tools in place to use when you need them to power through.
Emotionally, changing and restricting our diets creates a rift in our comfort and reward centers of the brain. You’ll have to face your responses and reflexes to people and circumstances in new ways when fasting.
On the spiritual side, you should be prepared to look inward and outward to hold true to your commitment.
When you intend to fast for extended periods of time, it’s important to know your limits. Fasting for one to three days is typical, and the results you realize are pretty cool, but work your way up to it. Intermittent fasting (fasting for 16 hours, including time for sleep, and eating in an eight hour window) is a great way to get into a fasting mindset.
The benefits you’ll realize are autophagy, blood sugar regulation/re-calibration, weight loss, clarity in thinking, and more.
The take-home message here is TAKE IT EASY. Plan it out, start slow, work your way in, and work your way out with broths and cooked veggies, and see what people for centuries have known to be true, that fasting is full of mental and physical benefits.
Disclaimer: Anyone with a serious health condition should have preliminary blood work done to make sure it is safe to fast or cleanse. People with any chronic disease should check in with their doctor before engaging in either fasting or cleansing.