While some research suggests that alternating regular meals with extended periods of fasting may have some health benefits and contribute to weight loss, long-term studies are limited.
If you’ve thought about starting a fast, ask yourself this question:
“How long can I maintain this eating behavior?”
Nancy Clark, MS, RD, said “You should not start a food program that you do not want or cannot maintain for the rest of your life.” While Empower Nutrition & Wellness does not support the use of fasting as a long-term lifestyle, we do support our client on their wellness journey. If you think a fasting plan is right for you, here are some thoughts to consider:
- Seek out a registered dietitian (RD) so you can make an informed decision about a fasting program that will be achievable for you.
- Understand your calorie and nutrient needs. Depriving yourself during your eating periods can be detrimental to your body and mindset.
- Start gradually.
- Pay attention to your hunger cues and keep a log of when these waves of hunger occur. Click here for our hunger scale.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Be conscious of bingeing during eating periods. Practice mindful eating.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods that include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats.
- Make self-care a priority.
- Be consistent, and trial for at least thirty days.
- Be honest with yourself. If you’re miserable while fasting, this lifestyle isn’t for you.
- 13:11 (Sunday and Monday) – Fast for 13 hours and feed for 11
- 14:10 (Tuesday and Wednesday) – Fast for 14 hours and feed for 10
- 15:9 (Thursday and Friday) – Fast for 15 hours and feed for 9
- 16:8 (Saturday and beyond) – Fast for 16 hours and feed for 8
It is not recommended to go longer than a 16-hour fast. This can be dangerous, especially for those prone to hypoglycemia. Discuss any challenges or physical symptoms with your RD.