Tips for Intermittent Fasting
Why don’t more people try fasting?
Just the other day, I was wondering why more people don’t try intermittent fasting. I was taking a walk in the beautiful hills of Colorado to clear my head, and I was thinking about all of the wonderful things that come with a ketogenic diet. That also happened to be a day I decided to fast, so naturally that topic jumped into my head. Everyone who tries fasting (anywhere from 18 hr to 5 days) thinks it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
(Well, it ain’t hard to be better than bread.. But I mean, really – it is so beneficial. And I am not the only one spewing truths about how great it is for you. People all over the world recognize how great this practice is. You have got to give it a try. But anyway, back to the story…)
I was walking up this massive hill on a “trail” I hadn’t tried before. It was more of a vertical rock-climbing challenge than a trail. Needless to say, it was pretty intimidating. I was already feeling pretty tired, and I didn’t know if I was ready for it. But I decided to truck along and go at it anyway.
I got to the top and realized why I decided to climb – because it was absolutely beautiful! I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. In fact, it was so great that I decided to go even further!
So not only did I climb that intimidating hill, I hiked for 2 more hours after that before returning home. And, like I said before, I was thinking about ketogenics and fasting this whole time, and I realized how much of a perfect analogy the hike is.
Fasting can be intimidating
Just like that huge hill, fasting is very intimidating. You might have no idea where it is leading you, and you might not even like it at first. But just like hiking, it takes practice to trust the beauty waiting on the other side. I continued forward in my hike because I knew there was going to be some magnificent scene waiting for me. There just had to be. I’ve hiked too many times to think it was going to be boring. That is now how I view fasting. There is certain beauty on the other side.
But what should you do if you haven’t “practiced” fasting before? If you’ve never done it, then you don’t really know if there is a beautiful scene waiting for you..
It only takes one time for you to understand how awesome it is. You just need a little bit of faith and will power. I know you have both, so no excuses! If so many other people can follow through with a fast, then why can’t you?? Exactly – you can. You might just need a little help along the way.
So while I was walking, I came up with three possibilities for why people don’t do it:
1) They don’t know about the benefits.
2) They have heard but don’t care to try it for themselves.
3) They find it too hard to follow through with.
6 tips to make it easier
This last point is what we want to focus on today. (We also give a summary of the benefits of fasting at the end if you don’t already know them.) There is not much we can do for people who know the benefits but have no desire to get healthier. They will come around in due time. All we can do is show the benefits and give tips to help people who actually desire to see the beauty. If you have the desire, then we can make this happen – even if you have tried and failed before.
When I talk about fasting, I mean at least 18 hours of no food. My kind of fast is usually a single day – about 36 hours without food. I will eat dinner the day before and eat breakfast the day after, but I don’t have anything to eat on my fast day. You may have water during a fast and even some fat products that won’t trigger an insulin response.
1) Start slowly! For your first time consciously fasting, make it for 9 hours (outside your sleep cycle). Eat breakfast and dinner, but skip lunch. Then slowly add time to your fast each week. You will eventually be able to handle a whole day or even multiple days.
2) Be on a ketogenic diet! I cannot tell you how much easier it is to fast when you are already in ketosis and using fat for energy. You naturally eat less on a ketogenic diet, so eliminating some meals here and there is not as hard. Also, if your body is fat-adapted, then it will efficiently burn your body fat for fuel. Trust me, it is much easier to fast when your body is already in ketosis.
3) Have butter coffee in the morning. The fat in the butter will not induce an insulin response, and it will give you energy throughout the whole day. That’s what I do. I mix in about 1 Tbsp of butter in my morning cup of joe. I don’t even feel hungry for the rest of the day.
4) Take plenty of minerals and salts. They will not break your fast, and your body needs these for healthy function. This is mainly if you are going on a multi-day fast where your body will deplete its stores of minerals. Make some sole, which is pretty much just extreme salt water. Also, take magnesium and potassium supplements. They are very important for your body to have.
5) Know the hunger goes away! The more you practice fasting, the easier it is to decrease your appetite. You simply won’t feel hungry anymore. But it is a wall you have to break through. That means you will be hungry the first time, but just push through it. I know you can! Check out the results by Sutton et al. below. That should give you some hope. Your hunger will decrease – just like the eTRF (early time restricted feeding) group.
6) Remember why you started caring about health. Was it to play with your kids more? How about so you and your husband can actually enjoy a hike? Maybe you’re doing it to lose weight and look better. Whatever your reason for starting is, you have to keep that front and center in your mind. Use it for motivation. Think about how disappointed you will be if you don’t follow through.
Great, so those are some tips to help you along your journey of fasting. I hope it helps you out like it does for me! This next section is all about the benefits of intermittent fasting. It truly does wonders for your body.
The benefits of fasting
You may have heard about all the benefits that come along with intermittent fasting. And, indeed, they are true. Through fasting, you can lose weight (while feeling full), improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and reduce oxidative stress. You can also decrease your appetite through fasting. You just won’t feel as hungry. And if you are eating less, then you are sure to increase your lifespan.
Fasting also kicks the process of autophagy in gear. Have you ever heard of it? Autophagy is the cleansing process your body goes through to rid itself of bad cells and organelles. It is awesome, and has many of its own benefits. It can help with dysglycemia (which is the major problem with diabetes) and prevent heart attacks.
This was a very quick summary of all the amazing benefits of fasting and autophagy. There are so many more out there. You don’t need to know all of them – just keep in mind that you want these processes to occur. I would suggest one day a week is a good goal to set. That is what I do, and it seems to be working great for me! Now let’s talk about one more benefit before closing out…
Not only do you get these physical benefits, but think about all the money you’re saving too! That is probably my favorite “side-effect” of fasting. It doesn’t exactly cost a fortune to not eat. Love it.
And if you make a 1-day fast a weekly practice, then there are 52 days out of the year that you aren’t buying food. When you think about it, it adds up quickly. Normally, eating out at work will cost about $20 a day. That is over $1,000 saved – all at the same time as being healthier!
Who says being healthy has to cost a lot? Not true!
 Sutton EF, Beyl R, Early KS, Cafalu WT, Ravussin E, Peterson CM. (2018). Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism 27: 1-10.
 Barja G, et. al. (2017). The Cell Aging Regulation System (CARS). Reactive Oxygen Species 3(9):148–183.
 Veech RL, Bradshaw PC, Clarke K, Curtis W, Pawlosky R, King MT. (2017). Ketone Bodies Mimic the Life Span Extending Properties of Caloric Restriction. International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Life 69(5): 305-314.
 Xiao-Fang T, Shi-Wei Y, Yu-Jie Z. (2017). Autophagy, dysglycemia and myocardial infarction. International Journal of Cardiology Metabolic & Endocrine 14: 40-44.