The Original FX Mayr

Everything you need to know about fasting

October 2021

 

 

As a practice that has been around for centuries, it is likely that you have heard of fasting or have maybe even tried it yourself. Although for many of us, abstaining from food may sound like an absurd and unfamiliar concept, so to ensure you experience the optimal results of your fast, we have put together a guide on everything you need to know about fasting.

What is fasting?

Fasting occurs when you refrain from eating for a prolonged time period, usually around 12 to 24 hours. It is a form of dietary technique that can be adopted to achieve the many health benefits associated with it, such as weight loss and increased brain function. Fasting is also prominent in many religions and is practiced for spiritual reasons.

Types of fasting?

Traditional Fasting:

Typically, traditional fasting involves consuming no food or liquid for a 24-hour period or more. When fasts are carried out for longer than 24 hours, water and occasionally tea are consumed. A traditional fast is more commonly practiced by someone looking for a mental refresh as you will strengthen your willpower and self-discipline. After a few days, many people who practice traditional fasting report feeling calm and cleansed and speak highly of its ability to aid meditation and contemplation.

 

Intermittent Fasting:

Intermittent fasting is more commonly practiced with a weight loss goal in mind and takes various forms. For some, intermittent fasting may involve eating your normal calorie intake for 5 days a week with a reduced intake for the remaining 2 days. Whereas others adopt a different approach of not eating for a 16-hour period and will only consume food during an 8-hour window in the day. Although there is no right or wrong way to intermittent fasting, it is advised to ease yourself in as your body acclimatises.

How long should I fast for?

Throughout the year, by enduring a fasting period lasting the duration of a few weeks long you will gain a range of benefits and experience the feeling of a new you. However, there are a few factors that help determine how long your fast periods should be. Firstly, if you are new to the practice of fasting, it is advisable to keep your fasting windows shorter to allow your body to adjust to this new routine and reduced calorie intake. If your fasting goal is to lose weight steadily and consistently, intermittent fasting has been proven to be effective at achieving this.

 

How do you fast safely?

Fasting can be challenging and tedious, especially when you are not yet familiar with the practice, with feelings of hunger and irritability being completely normal. However, if at any point you feel unwell during a fast it is recommended you stop and always carry a snack with you in case you experience feeling faint or dizzy. Hydration is also key to a safe fast. It is easy to become dehydrated during your fast and experience fatigue and thirst due to the loss of fluid intake from food. Therefore, drinking water regularly during your fast will minimise the chance of you becoming dehydrated and experiencing headaches and tiredness. It is important to keep exercise to a minimum and not overexert yourself, however engaging in activities such as meditation, going for a walk or reading a book will help keep you engaged and distract you from feelings of hunger. 

 

How do you fast safely?

Fasting can be challenging and tedious, especially when you are not yet familiar with the practice, with feelings of hunger and irritability being completely normal. However, if at any point you feel unwell during a fast it is recommended you stop and always carry a snack with you in case you experience feeling faint or dizzy. Hydration is also key to a safe fast. It is easy to become dehydrated during your fast and experience fatigue and thirst due to the loss of fluid intake from food. Therefore, drinking water regularly during your fast will minimise the chance of you becoming dehydrated and experiencing headaches and tiredness. It is important to keep exercise to a minimum and not overexert yourself, however engaging in activities such as meditation, going for a walk or reading a book will help keep you engaged and distract you from feelings of hunger. 

 

 

What are the benefits of fasting and is it actually good for you?

Despite the demanding and challenging nature entailed with fasting, there is an abundance of research demonstrating the many health benefits it has to offer. When the body endures a period without food, it resorts to its reserves and the breakdown of fats begins, aiding weight loss. During this process, your body releases toxins that are stored in the fatty tissue. As a result, your body will feel regenerated and energised whilst your skin’s complexion will appear improved and your body’s ability to absorb nutrients will be increased. Aside from the main weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting, other benefits include boosting brain function and improving brain health, with animal studies showing fasting aids the learning and memory process. In addition to this, research has shown fasting is capable of improving heart health by reducing blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. To further understand the benefits of fasting and What It Means For Our Body, check out our blog to understand the process in more detail.

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