Fasting for Health, Healing, Detox and Weight Loss
Fasting is a great way to lose weight, build muscle and achieve superhuman levels of health and energy. It will keep you looking and feeling young, and help to ward off disease in later life.
Fasting is a great thing to do, and over time, it can cure just about any chronic ailment from IBS and arthritis to depression. Best of all, you don’t have to turn into some kind of monk to enjoy its amazing benefits.
Much has been written about seven day fasts, ten day fasts and even 30 day fasts. I’m not going to talk about that here. I’m going to describe something that’s much more manageable, convenient and easy.
I fast for 36 hours once a fortnight. As a result of this super healthy habit, most people think that I’m about 30 whereas in fact I’m in my late forties. I eat whatever I like the rest of the time and don’t worry about my weight. I’m lean, muscular and my body loves exercise.
Fasting for 36 hours is relatively easy and you can forget about all the complicated and contradictory rubbish that you read in books and on the web about fasting.
Here are some myths that you can safely ignore:
- Don’t watch television when you’re fasting
- Don’t drive when you’re fasting
- Don’t have sex when you’re fasting
- You have to fast for at least five days to get any lasting benefit
- You have to break a fast with fruit juice and/or vegetables or you lose all the benefits
- You have to have an enema during a fast
When you’re doing a 36 hour fast, you just eat and drink normally the day before. Then, from the next morning onwards, just drink water the whole day. Go to bed in the evening still fasting, and sleep through the night. Break the fast the next morning.
Here are some guidelines:
- Give it a miss if you’re feeling really under the weather or have a cold. You can always do it the next week.
- Fast on a workday. You may have to take things a little easier than normal but you will still be able to think and exert yourself. Being busy will stop you from thinking about food.
- Drink plenty of water – it really doesn’t matter whether it’s bottled or tap water. It’s nicer if it’s cold but carbonated water will probably make you feel very uncomfortable.
- Don’t force yourself to drink a certain amount eg eight to ten glasses. Just drink when you get thirsty. If you stop drinking and allow yourself to get thirsty, you will become drowsy and want to take a nap.
- If you’re stomach gets uncomfortable, you’re not really hungry – you probably just need to burp
- Eat a high fiber meal the night before. This will help your insides to get moving when you start eating again.
- Don’t tell anyone that you’re fasting unless they too are a faster (they’ll just worry and may even hassle you to eat something)
- Don’t clean your teeth with toothpaste during a fast. The sugary taste will stimulate your digestive juices and probably make you hungry or give you heartburn.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol, as this will probably make you feel very sick.
The morning after the fast, when you first visit the toilet, your urine will be very dark. Also your first bowel movement may be a small amount of bile. Both of these are very good signs of deep detoxification
The day after a fast, you can feel quite tired, just as if you had done an enormous workout the day before. The toxin elimination can make you feel a little distracted and irritable for the next 24 hours. Just cut yourself some slack and enjoy the thought that you’ve made a hugely positive difference to your life going forwards, and you deserve a little rest.
During the recovery period between fasts, the benefits of the fast will keep on accruing as healthy tissue is built up and toxins continue to be eliminated.
These benefits are cumulative: fasting gets easier the more you do it. Your mood, posture and energy will improve more and more as time goes by. Fasting stimulates the production of growth hormone. This promotes healing, makes your skin look younger and lays down lean tissue in preference to fat.
I tend to break my fast with a cup of tea and a bowl of cereal – just like an ordinary breakfast. I have a very sweet tooth, but I don’t put sugar on that first bowl of cereal because I find I get a bit of a sugar rush after a day without food. I also avoid very salty foods for the first few hours as they can make me very thirsty indeed. By the end of the day, I’m eating completely normally.
The only golden rule is this: just eat whatever you want, provided it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable.
If you get very powerful headaches and vomiting during the fast then break it. If you can’t hold down water you will get very dehydrated, which is not good for you. These kinds of symptoms are usually caused by caffeine addiction. This was my greatest problem when I started fasting. It made the whole process very painful and difficult. In the end, I had to give up caffeine first before I could fast effectively, however I have friends who drink tea and coffee like it’s going out of fashion and they have no trouble fasting at all. I’m told that only 20 percent of heavy caffeine drinkers get these symptoms.
If you have stiff legs or a sore back, these pains may get much worse as the fasting day goes on. This is because as the body cleanses the damaged tissues they become slightly inflamed.
So go ahead and get fasting. If you get hooked on this healthy habit it’s like winning the health lottery. You’ll appreciate your whole life in a new way.
Finally, if you have a serious health issue, such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes, or are taking strong medication that you need to take every day (especially with food) consult your doctor first before undertaking a fast of more than a few hours.