Fasting is a tool that can be used for incredible health gains. It’s not simply for weight loss. And it needs to be used cautiously because it’s not right for everyone and can actually do more harm than good if it’s not fully understood.
Who is this right for? The advanced Health Coach. Once your nutrition is tweaked and blood sugar is regulated and the body is rebalanced, fasting is a tool that can help you achieve the next level of optimization. Caveat: this is not for a coach or client who still is not able to optimize their nutrition and basic diet.
Fasting goes beyond the fundamentals and becomes about living longer. It’s about living better. It helps to eliminate pre-cancer cells. It helps eliminate bacteria and viruses and allows the liver to remain clear. It also allows for blood sugar to be regulated. It reduces neurodegenerative disease processes. It’s part of the recipe for longevity.
Fasting is such a wonderful tool because it helps to clean up waste in the body. Without anything coming into the body, there is more capacity to remove and clean up what has been accumulating. When the body is not stuck in “processing” mode (ie. from eating) it can go into “clean up” mode and help to optimize the body.
Here are some fasting options to consider:
6pm-6am is the ideal fasting window. If want to lose weight this will be extended until 8am and if trying to maintain or gain weight, one will try to eat breakfast no later than 7am. Ideally, the body is done processing food by the time we go to sleep and the entire period of sleep can be spent “cleaning” or in autophagy. This process of autophagy cleans cellular debris and toxins and optimizes the internal system. Specifically, we need periods of autophagy for regeneration. When you wake the following morning, it’s important to ease the body into a meal that is easy to digest. We want to maintain a ‘lighter’ and more efficient body that does not immediately spend all of its energy processing a heavy meal. Think smoothie or oatmeal.
Weekly, we can take this to the next level and do a 24 hour fast. Start after dinner on the night of your choice. What you will do is end dinner by 6/6:30pm on that night and begin the fast that will continue throughout the next day until you consume dinner again around 6pm. This gives your body a 24 hour period of fasting. What do you consume in the meantime? Water, herbal teas, or green juices (without fruit) are great options.
2-3 Day Fasting:
Once this is mastered, you can try a 2-3 day fast once every month or two to enhance autophagy to a greater degree. Over this 2-3 day period of time, we want to tap into our body’s ability to detox and support the liver. During a 2-3 day fast, including a clean protein/vitamin shake with water, herbal teas, and green juices is ideal. Choose a protein powder that is dairy-free that has been tested to be free of heavy metals (no sense putting toxins in when you’re trying to eliminate them) and choose one that has some enhanced detox factors: NAC or glutathione, for example.
And above all, continue to read and expand your knowledge about fasting. Do not attempt advanced fasting techniques with yourself or anyone who is not optimized to do so. And if you have a specific metabolic or medical condition, make sure you are working closely with a practitioner to achieve your desired goal.