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FASTING 101: Do you know the basics?

It's time to forget everything you believe or have been told about losing weight. (Or as I like to say, "shedding" weight)

It's time to let go of everything we've been led to believe by the broken global diet culture.

Fasting can be the simplest, yet most transformative method for your health and overall wellness.

Very commonly, many of my fasting clients talk about how they are skeptical of embarking on a fasting lifestyle because of previous methods attempted (and failed) in the past.



You aren't stuck, broken, damaged, or any other negative label you or anyone else has ever said about you. If you have never attempted a fasting lifestyle, I personally feel this could be the method that changes everything for you.


For me personally, fasting as a lifestyle tool works so well because of how simple and innate it truly is.


I have compiled, what I feel are the 3 basic pillars for long-term success on this journey.


Pillar 1: Find your WHY


What is your biggest reason for wanting to make the changes to your overall health and wellbeing? I have talked about this being the most important and pivotal pillar of your journey. I have also previously discussed the importance of having a heavy, significant, and meaningful reason why you were initially motivated to want to implement a fasting-focused lifestyle. Your WHY should (almost) make you CRY.


If you go into a fasting lifestyle for a trivial or insignificant reason to get to a smaller size, to appease someone else, or to solve any shallow issues in your life, you can expect to be disappointed on this journey.


At some point in your journey, you will discover that this becomes much more than just a solution to shed your excess weight. Yes, there are many physiological changes that happen like tastebuds, levels of energy, the disappearance of hunger pangs, and more. But with practiced consistency, things will 'click' and you will feel a deeper sense of purpose and drive to stay the course.


Pillar 2: Know your method


When starting out, it's more important to set and establish a fasting routine than to feel like you need to tackle EVERYTHING you "think" you need to fix (diet choices, activity level, etc).


I have previously discussed, what I feel, is the best "baseline" for starting out, which is the 16:8 method. This method is simply fasting for 16 hours, with an 8-hour eating window. You will not be eating for the entire duration of that window, but instead just prolonging the start of the food consumption for that day, and eating as you normally would. Obviously, you'll have better success with having your meals prepared at home versus take-out, but the goal, as you begin (or restart) is to establish a routine and familiarize yourself with what you can expect on your journey.


You should also come to understand that your method, duration, and path will grow, evolve, and change as you do on this journey. If things feel like they're "too easy," it may mean you need to increase the intensity of your fast, and inversely, if you're noticing things are too challenging, decrease the intensity.


This journey with fasting is truly unique and unlike anything else, because fasting allows us to restore the body's ability to do what it knows (and WANTS to do), with using your excess body fat as energy/fuel to sustain your body when you're not eating!


Pillar 3: Find your passion


While on your fasting journey, you will notice a significant amount of "downtime." At first, again whether just starting or restarting, it can be quite challenging to practice fasting during times when you have previously had meals or snacks, but it's NOT impossible!


Hunger, as I have previously discussed, is a learned behavior. So in the process of teaching your body to utilize the stored bodily energy, you will need to have things to fill your time. For me, since very early on, I have enjoyed learning everything about this process with what is going on in my body. I understand not everyone will have the same sense of nerdy excitement about wanting to know it all, but my hope is that you simply have a curious sense of wonder to where you start to build a bit of self-love and respect for the natural and innate behavior that is possible so you are able to stay busy to avoid giving into prior habits.


With understanding all that, my hope is that you are able to keep your mind involved with things you want to do. Obviously, there are tasks and responsibilities we have to keep up with each day, but when your "need to's" are done, and you're still in your fasting window, what are you going to do? This is where you can integrate things that you have always meant to do, OR you can start to tackle that list of things you've always wanted to do. For example... January 2021 I embarked on an extended fast because January is a challenging month for me, with my late husband's birthday on the 7th. I knew that getting into an extended fast starting on the first of the month was going to be exactly what I needed to keep a level and present headspace. So to complement that process, I decided I wanted to teach myself how to play piano. While I honestly (still) have no aspirations to become a professional, I have found a true sense of joy in the learning process.


Am I saying you need to also learn piano? No. But what I am encouraging you to do, is to think of things that "you've always wanted to do," or things that you've always meant to do that can help you grow and evolve further on your journey. These should be things that you are able to do while getting "lost in the sauce," sort to speak.


This term I am referring to is called flow, as mentioned in an article on MedicalNewsToday.com:

A person is in a state of flow when they are totally immersed in a task. When a person is “in flow,” they may not notice time passing, think about why they are doing the task, or judge their efforts. Instead, they remain completely focused. (Villines, 2022)

This is commonly referred to as being "in the zone," to a level where you completely lose track of time and self-judgment. During flow, you are totally engrossed in an activity that is challenging, rewarding, and involving full concentration on the present moment. This level of focused concentrated flow can give the brain noticeable amounts of dopamine (which is that great "feel-good" neurotransmitter). Over time, getting into your flow, and finding your flow, will become easier and become something you look forward to on your journey and the rest of your life.


In summary, I encourage you to remove any stigmas that this journey is a punishment, or restrictive process. You will, if not already, discover how much growth and evolution will happen within you. My goal is and always will be, to be the change I wish to see in the world. While this process may seem complicated or challenging at times, let me remind you that you are simply reestablishing the balance back into your body and mindset.

Because I believe in you, even if you don't.







Want to hear more on this topic? Check out Episode 2: Start Here of The Fasting Focused Lifestyle Podcast.


Need additional or customized support on your journey with starting (or restarting)? Reserve a consult time with me to get specific assistance.



References:

  1. Villines, Z. (2022, April 19). What a flow state is and how to achieve it. Medicalnewstoday.com; Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/flow-state#summary

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