Common Fasting Mistakes
The point of fasting is to reduce your insulin levels, reduce inflammation, becoming a fat burner and feeling well and fit and well as you fast.
Reducing inflammation throughout your body is good for heart disease and diabetes prevention, arthritis progression and management.
There are many mistakes people make when starting out and we’ll briefly discuss these here.
- Starting out with an Extended Fast, more than 48 hours
- Not eating right in the feeding window
- Not drinking enough water
- Taking low calorie drinks during fasting
- Watching the Clock
When you fast, regardless of the protocol you follow, you will eat fewer calories and will lose water first and the longer or more frequent you fast, you’ll shed fat.
What you want to avoid is losing too much body water too fast and any muscle mass.
- Starting out with an Extended Fast, more than 48 hours
Start with a 14, 15, 16 hours fast per day and doing this once, twice, three times per week.
Then the following 2 weeks doing 24 hours for two seperate days. The next week one 24 hours fast and one 36 hours fast and the same for the next week. Manage this consistently, and you’ll be ready for an extended fast to 48 hours.
When you’re in a fasted state, your stomach will shrink. And when you’re in a feeding state, your stomach expands a little, and you become full very quickly.
2. Feeding Window Mistakes
The mistakes people make when they are eating between fasting, and this is called the fasting window are
- Not eating enough calories during the feeding window
- Overeating during the feeding window
- Eating junk food and feasting during the fasting window
- Not eating vegetables during your fasting window.
Ensure you take a meal high in healthy fats and vegetables. Try bok choy and spinach and other vegetables high in magnesium. We’ll cover useful supplements in another post. Eat with olive oil and another omega three oils as well as some avocado.
Fat in the diet is a complex topic. There are good fats, and bad fats so choose the good fats and reduce the bad fats.
As a Dietitian, I like to be up to date with current nutrition research and give my readers the best information. I did some more research on good fats and bad fats and found a recent article from the Harvard University and posted by Wellness Mama. It is evident, and the results might surprise you.
- Avoid Vegetable Oils and Products containing them such as margarine.
- Avoid Safflower oil and margarine the most as they are high in Omega 6 fat, the plant oil that increases inflammation in the body causing disease.
- Also avoid Sunflower, Corn, Cottonseed and Soybean oils and margarine, these are also high is omega 6 fats.
I have only used butter in my cooking for years. Olive oil for savory cooking is a good choice.
3. Water Intake
When you first begin to fast, your body likes to use your natural access energy stores, and these are the sugar in your blood and the places where you store your sugar in your liver and muscles. For every molecule of carbohydrate, you store the body stores four water molecules with it.
When you start fasting, you will notice going to the bathroom for a pee more often. This is because you are using up all of your carbohydrate stores and releasing the water.
The water needs to be replaced so drink water to replace what is lost. Aim for 1.5 litres or 6 cups per day.
One of the problems with when you stop fasting is to start feasting on poor quality junk food.
When you have a poor diet and not enough water, constipation can be a problem. The answer to this is laxatives such as senna tea. Others recommend Milk of Magnesia or magnesium hydroxide available as a liquid or table, It has no calories or carbohydrate and uses your body’s water for bowel movements.
4. Taking diet or low-calorie foods and drinks during a fast.
One aim of fasting is to reduce your insulin levels. When your insulin levels are low consistently, your body starts to open the doors to fat burning.
When you are fasting, you want to avoid anything that will spike or raise your insulin levels.
Artificial sweeteners will spike insulin levels.
The purist’s recommendation, therefore, is to avoid foods with all types of artificial sweeteners.
That’s the scientific response, here is the human response.
If you find you are losing 1-2 pounds a week consistently with two days fasting a week and you are taking a daily diet soda and you are satisfied, then keep going. If you have reached a weight loss plateau, as you can even with a fasting program, ease off all artificial sweeteners.
There are other strategies to use if your weight loss slows down and we cover those in detail in our more detailed Fasting Fast Track Program.
Putting cream and your coffee is not going to spike your insulin because it is a fat.
Keeping your calories from fat below 30 (1.5 TB Cream) is not going to ruin your fast so please don’t be concerned about that. But again if you’re having four coffees with cream when you’re fasting and you have them within a few hours then perhaps this is will have a negative effect.
So you want to prevent this as much as possible, and if you’re just having one coffee in the morning, you put a tiny bit of whole milk or cream in it’s not the biggest deal in the world especially if it keeps you on track.
5. Watching the Clock
When we fast, it’s easy to watch the clock or the app on your phone. I know, I used to all the time. My stomach will start to rumble after 19 hours of fasting. It’s like clock work, crazy.
It’s good that you try to stick to a schedule, don’t be too hard on yourself. Be flexible on when you’re eating because if you’re doing this for weight loss or if you’re doing this for longevity, it’s much more about doing it long term rather than randomly and sporadically and doing it very rigidly and consistently to a schedule.
So for myself, for example, I’ll fast from anywhere from 16 hours per day to 22 hours per day and this just changes from day to day. The weekend is more difficult with the children and friends around. These days and holidays are generally not fasting days, nor are they feasting days.
There are many great spin-offs about fasting. These include becoming “mindful” about the food you eat, when you eat and your eating triggers. Even on feeding days, a trip to the bakery does not cause a problem; I’m just not interested. I do enjoy a long black with a dash of milk; it’s enough to be satisfied.
After years of yo-yo dieting, fasting is a great relief.
The FASTING FAST TRACK Program provides the steps to safely fast two days per week.
During the 4 week program, you’ll learn all you need to be fasting consistently, losing weight and feeling great.
Fasting Fast Track Program is currently OPEN.
We are currently taking applications.
If you would like an application form, please email me personally, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject FASTING PROGRAM APPLICATION