5 Simple Ways to Enjoy Healthy Fasting

By Tatenda

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Last Updated: December 6, 2022

Fasting is not a new concept.

People from many cultures and religions have been fasting for various reasons over the last many decades. The health benefits of restricting your diet are undeniable and have been a point of focus lately.

As a result, there seems to be a rise in intermittent fasting. Those who adopt the habit in a healthy manner have reported endless benefits including: 

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Accelerated weight loss
  • Cell repairs 
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Improved immune responses
  • Improved brain function
  • Increased fitness
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer
  • Extended life span
  • Reduced leptin levels and increased testosterone
  • Reduced chances of heart disease
  • Protection against neurodegenerative diseases

Looking at these benefits, it is not surprising that many people are willing to give intermittent fasting a try. Sadly, not everyone understands how to fast in a healthy manner. 

As a result, there is a likelihood of experiencing negative effects which include: 

  • Bad breath
  • Dehydration
  • Poor sleep
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Malnutrition
  • Mood swings
  • Losing too much weight
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Poor concentration 

These adverse outcomes can be avoided by adopting these healthy habits.

 

 

5 Tips for Healthy Fasting

1. Ease into it.

After reading about the benefits of fasting, your first thought might be to immediately start fasting so that you can enjoy the benefits sooner.

This will likely actually cause more harm than good. 

Rather, it is advisable to ease yourself into fasting.

Upon making the decision to start fasting, start cutting back on food slowly. Reduce your portions and allow your body to slowly adjust to the new way of eating. Maintaining a low sugar intake will also help you eat food that will keep you fuller for longer. 

Once you start fasting, you could start with one or two days per week and slowly increase the days as you get more comfortable. In the early days you should also fast for less hours and gradually increase as time goes. 

 

2. Watch your portions when you fast.

On the days you fast, eat small portions.

You might be tempted to have a feast during your eating window so as to cover up for the fasting period. This will not do you much good and will actually make you more hungry.

If you are fasting for weight loss, it would make it less effective as you will simply be packing all your day’s meals into maybe one or two meals. 

 

3. Hydrate.

Some religions or cultures restrict consumption of water during the fasting window.

However, if your fasting purpose allows you to drink water, please do so. And drink a lot of it. 

This will ensure that you are well hydrated and reduce the chances of the negative effects of dehydration that include: 

  • Bad breath
  • Headaches 
  • Irritability
  • Craps
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

 

4. Adjust your workout routine.

Working out requires energy and when you are fasting you will likely have less than you have when you’re eating normally.

Having a high intensity workout might burn too many calories, making it difficult for you to go through your fasting period.

You should adjust your workout routine and time depending on your goals, which could either be to lose fat or build muscle. Planning ahead will help you ensure that you don’t use up all your energy at the gym and struggle to push through the rest of the fasting window.

Some people prefer to workout at the end of their window so that just after gym, they can go and eat. Others can’t work out on an empty stomach, so they prefer working out during or just after their eating window.

This depends on your personal capability, so do not push yourself too hard especially in the early stages. You can try as many options as you want until you figure out what works for you. 

 

5. Be mindful of your medication.

When taking medication - especially for chronic issues - it is easy to forget to consider how fasting can get in the way of that medication. 

Consult your doctor about your plan to fast so that they can help you pick the best plan that will not get in the way of your medication. 

 

 

Fasting is Not For Everyone

For most, fasting is an easy thing that can be done without causing any problems. However, the truth is that fasting is not for everyone.

Most religions that encourage fasting also specify certain groups of people who shouldn’t fast. Keep these exceptions in mind and if you fit the criteria, do not push your limits and try to fast. 

Some of the people who are not encouraged to fast include those who: 

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have diabetes or blood sugar issues 
  • Have Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Are recovering from surgeries or any other illness
  • Are at risk of eating disorders
  • Have chronic kidney disease 

Should you relate to any of the above be sure to seek professional medical advice before you start. 

 

 

Are You Ready to Try Fasting? 

Fasting doesn’t have to be a chore. 

When you do it, do it properly. You can also use some applications that can help you keep track of your habits. 

Being unable to fast is not the end of the world. You can still achieve your religious, mental and physical health goals even without fasting, so be kind to yourself.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

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