My 5 Tips for Successful Fasting
No matter what form of fasting you choose, I’m not going to lie, fasting is tough. Even for someone (like me) who’s incorporated a variety of forms of fasting in my healthy lifestyle over the past 10 years – there’s still times that it sucks and I want to quit too.
Because we live in such a freakishly-strange time, It’s necessary for me to disclose that I’m not a doctor and it’s your responsibility to do your own research about your health choices and consult a licensed medical professional if you need to. I’m only telling you about my life, my experiences and not giving you medical advice. Blah-Blah-Blah – let’s move on….. right?!?
Today I’m starting another therapeutic water-only fast* and wanted to share my My 5 Tips for Successful Fasting with you, top help you be successful at any fast that you are embarking on….. Even if you’re just beginning to dabble in intermittent fasting – these tips can even help you to extend your overnight fasts!
* In the past, I’ve completed several water only fasts ranging in length from 24 hours to 14 days – this time I do not have a timeframe determined but minimally I will be fasting from Sunday at 9 pm until Friday at 5 pm. I’ve also completed 3, 10, 25 & 45 day juice only fasts and a 30 day bone broth fast and regularly incorporate intermittent fasting in my eating routine. Click HERE to learn more about my most recent fasting experience.
My 5 Tips for Successful Fasting:
#1. Water, Water, Water
It’s seems silly to even have to tell you to drink water, lots of water, when you first start fasting. You don’t want to become dehydrated and it helps to fill the void of eating.There is no required amount of water to drink. What works best for me is to aim to drink 2 gallons of water for the first couple days – it keeps me busy drinking & focused on water instead of food. (notice I said “AIM” and not force it down. Listen to your body but focus on keeping high levels of hydration)
Extra water intake also helps to keep toxins & food flushing though your body quickly. After putting so much focus on drinking lots of water, intuitively you’re going to be adapted to drinking more and naturally not have to be as mindful as your fast progresses. I am less thirsty as my fast continues, I still drink lots of water but more in the beginning and feel that I need less at the end, when listening to my body’s signals.Feel free to jazz up your water – adding fresh squeezed lemon or lime, with ice or served warm, water is the key to your success.
And keep a few bottles of mineral water on hand too, the sparkles are fun and make it feel extra special, while giving you some healthy minerals – even if you don’t regularly like plain sparkling mineral water you might after a fews days of fasting.
#2. Stay Busy
We’ve all had those days when we’ve been so busy or preoccupied that we ‘forgot to eat’ – by purposefully filling your day with non-food activities you won’t be as tempted to break your fast. Buy a new book and when you’re typically eating, read instead. Or take up a new hobby like yoga or meditation. Take a hot bath or go for a walk. Just keep yourself occupied!
Be sure to plan non-food events with friends & family members. It’s ridiculous that every event today seems to have food involved, every time we get together it’s not a celebration worthy of needlessly overconsumption of treats, a birthday party is an event Sunday after church isn’t. Make your time together count, focus on each other and not mindlessly eating.
#3. Black Coffee
While I enjoy an occasional cup of morning coffee, I’m not addicted to caffeine – however if you NEED to reduce/eliminate caffeine it’s best do so cold turkey.. just go through the withdraw and just get the cranky-headache stage out of the way, you’ll thank me later.
When I’m fasting I find that allowing myself a small cup (or 2) of black coffee very helpful in getting me focused on work and not on food (that’s seems silly to say – my work is food! But drinking black coffee this morning reminded me that I can write posts like this instead of creating a new blog recipes!) No splash of cream, pinch of stevia, or pat of butter, just black coffee – remember we are FASTING people!
Coffee can be beneficial in a few ways while fasting; it helps to simulate your metabolism and give you a boost of energy, it makes you poop is which is great to flush toxins your body is ready to purge, and coffee is full of healthy antioxidants. Just keep it to 1-2 small cups and no later than 11 am.
While you might say but YUCK, I hate black coffee.. Giving Birth is Hard, Quitting Heroine is Hard, Drinking your coffee black is NOT hard. Decide, commit, move on…. you won’t die.
#4. Bone Broth
When I’m fasting I aways keep homemade bone broth (with lots of sea salt) on hand – either in the fridge, freezer or home-canned. Bone broth is the BEST food to have when you feel like you can’t go on fasting any longer, although it’s not technically a food you chew, it gives you the same feeling as if you’ve eaten something because of it’s warm-salty-comfort food taste.
Even if you have some bone broth every day while fasting, it’s ok. It’s healthy & delicious, no harm done. A fast with bone broth is better than no fast at all <3!
Ok so you just can’t fast anymore. You think your starving to death (but your not, trust me) and you MUST EAT SOMETHING or if you just need to chew something.. eat some CELERY.Celery probably isn’t anyone’s favorite vegetable, I mean I like celery and eat it often, BUT I prefer mine with my homemade ranch dip or filled with almond butter – Whereas plain, raw celery all by itself is just so boring, ugh, right? (and if you’re going to say “But I love celery! it’s my Favorite” stop lying to me & yourself, I see right through you! Next your going to say you love shots of castor oil, too!)
So, if you THINK you’re starving and can’t go on, remind yourself that if you really are starving…. it wouldn’t matter what you ate, only that you ate something, and celery would be fabulous if you were starving… don’t want celery? Well, you’re obviously not starving. Mind over matter, you WANT to eat you don’t NEED to eat.
You can Successfully Fast!
Fasting success is 100% mental. It’s a practice of overcoming your cravings and preconceived notions about food timing and overconsumption. Fasting can help you to break your addictions and by incorporating Fasting into your healthy lifestyle you will more deeply understand how little a part our actual hunger/nutritional requirements factor into what we eat.
Did you know that actual hunger/starvation is a feeling similar to thirst – felt in the mouth/throat and no that empty belly growling – that sound is just….well… exactly that, an empty belly, its a sound/feeling you SHOULD feel regularly. You shouldn’t be FULL all the time.
Fasting gives your body a welcomed break from digestion, a time that it can use to perform it’s routine maintenance that it needs to stay health. Purging toxins, fighting infections and keeping your feeling great!
I’ve fasted for up to 12 days. Everything she says is spot on! I love the reassurance that I get when I read this helpful info. I’m off to the grocery store for mineral water, lemons, limes and bone broth😊
That’s awesome Brandie!! Congrats!
She literally said “if you MUST EAT SOMETHING or if you just need to chew something.. eat some CELERY.” No need to be rude because you can’t read.
I am fasting bybthe recommendation of my fitness instructor and failed, and feel like a failure. Read this and am so excited that maybe I can do this with bone broth and as last resort celery. Thank you! You have given me hope.
Did you ever break out in a rash all over your body with a water fast?
A rash during fasting is a form of detox. It has not happened to me, or rather that I can remember. I’ve been doing extended fasts for several years,a rash is not something i recall.
Frankly, all I wanted to know is if having a few stalks of celery was OK with Intermittent Fasting. I got no answer just weird, smarmy attitude: (and if you’re going to say “But I love celery! it’s my Favorite” stop lying to me & yourself, I see right through you! .
Guess I’ll keep looking. Really strange, and not very entertaining.
If you are eating you are NOT fasting. There’s your answer.
Sounds really good! Thanks for the great post Hayley. I’ll definitely be trying this.
Thank you, thank you for all of the fasting posts on your blog! I did a 21 day water fast to help alleviate fibroids/polyps 2 years ago, and just began another 14 day fast that will transition into 42 hour fasts to help clear up another cluster of health issues. It is so refreshing to find someone else that WATER fasts regularly and has a fun, sassy take on it. I’ve learned so much from you, too–especially about refeeding. Looking forward to trying some of your recipes in a couple of weeks.