Most of us are familiar with traditional faith-based fasting. Who hasn’t heard of Gandhi fasting or remembers hearing about fasting in the bible? Often our first exposures to fasting are those of long-term fasts that last 30 or more days in which the participants consume little more than water. It can sound like a daunting proposition, to say the least.

Thankfully there are many different approaches to fasting along with several big benefits to our health and our spirit or soul. Let’s take a look at a few different ways to approach fasting. Pick the method that sounds most appealing to you and give it a try.

If you are new to my blog, my name is Paula.  I’m a mother to three beautiful kids and the wife of a Law Enforcement Officer. Because of my interest in health and fitness since about the age of 12, I ended up getting a degree in Health Education. My heart and passion have always been to help people get healthy from the inside out!

However, I have always struggled with the right balance between food, exercise and enjoying life. But because of my “education”, I thought intermittent fasting was bad for me. Turns out, it’s incredibly healthy and has helped free me from the diet roller coaster I’ve been on for the past 30 years.

A Traditional 3 To 5 Day Fast

For many people, their first try into fasting is a traditional fast that lasts 3 to 5 days. You usually don’t take in any food and stick to just water, herbal tea and maybe a little black coffee. Some fasts will encourage you to drink an eight-ounce glass of orange juice per day.

A Long Term Fast

A long term fast works very much like the traditional 3 day fast, except it is done for much longer periods of time. You may choose to fast for two weeks, 30 days, or even the 40 days of Lent. Here making sure you drink a little juice each day becomes much more important. The idea is that cutting out food for a longer period of time helps you reach a meditative state that aids in personal contemplation and prayer.

Intermittent Fasting – With A Daily Meal

You’re already fasting through the night as you sleep. An easy way to do intermittent fasting is to simply go longer without food and then have one big meal in the afternoon or for dinner. Stick to water, coffee, and tea for the rest of the day. The idea is that your body burns excess fat and heals itself during the fasting period.

We talk about breakfast all the time. And if you believe your mom, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It isn’t but that’s a topic for another day. For now, let’s talk about the word itself and its origin. When you break it down its break-fast, or breaking your fast. It’s the meal you eat to break your fast and when you think about it, we all fast a little each night. We make it for 10 – 14 hours without food from the time we eat dinner to the time we eat breakfast.

And breaking your fast is an important part of any fast. It doesn’t matter if you’re intermittent fasting or doing on a long traditional fast. Eventually, you need to break it and start eating again. And what you eat makes a difference depending on how long you’ve been fasting.

Breaking Your Intermittent Fast

This is the easiest fast to break. You’ve only gone without food for a few hours, basically just pushing back breakfast by a few hours. Or maybe you’ve fasted for a full 24 hours with nothing but a little veggie broth to sustain you. In either case, there aren’t a lot of rules to follow.

Just make sure you don’t eat too fast when you start your main meal. Take it slow and give your body a chance to tell you when you’re full. Since you’ll be skipping some meals it’s also important to pack all the nutrition into the meals you do it. Start with plenty of veggies, add in a quality source of protein and then round it out with the foods you’ve had on your mind while you were fasting.

If you’re sticking to an intermittent fast to lose fat, limit the carbohydrates and sugars in particular as much as possible. You don’t want to cause your insulin to spike and load up your liver with glycogen that you have to burn through before your body can shift back into fat burning mode.

Breaking a 3 Day Fast

If you are fasting for three to five days, you also want to start things slow. Break your fast with a cup of broth or some thin soup. Stick to a salad next and slowly start to introduce more solid foods.

Even during a relatively short fast, your digestive system starts to slow down. You don’t want to overwhelm it with a bunch of hard to digest food. Start slow and listen to your body.

Breaking Your Long Term Fast

If you’ve been fasting for more than three days, and particularly if you’ve been fasting for a whole month or longer, you need to be careful about reintroducing food. Your digestive tract has pretty much shut down and you want to carefully start to reintroduce foods.

Skip the solids for the first day. Instead, start with some broth and possibly a little juice. The next day, enjoy a couple of raw or cooked vegetables. Stay away from starches for a day or two and meats another couple of days.

Start with some salads and thin soups. Slowly introduce more and more solid foods. When it comes to protein, eggs are usually your best first bet. Work your way back to your regular diet over the course of a week.

Breaking your fast the right way will make sure you get the best benefits possible from your fast and it allows your body to adjust to food in a painless and healthy way.

Intermittent Fasting A Few Days per Week

A different take on intermittent fasting has you fast with little or no food for a couple of days per week. Most popular programs recommend fasting for two days followed by five days of eating regularly. You can stick to water, black coffee and tea during your fasting day or have a small meal like a cup of soup or the likes on your fast day. Again the idea is to trick your body into burning fat during the lean days.

Need more help getting started?  Check out my free guide Intermittent Fasting Made Easy!

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