To Fast or Not to Fast: That is the Question

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:

  1. Seek out a registered dietitian (RD) so you can make an informed decision about a fasting program that will be achievable for you.
  2. Understand your calorie and nutrient needs. Depriving yourself during your eating periods can be detrimental to your body and mindset.
  3. Start gradually.
  4. Pay attention to your hunger cues and keep a log of when these waves of hunger occur. Click here for our hunger scale.
  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  6. Be conscious of bingeing during eating periods. Practice mindful eating.
  7. Eat a variety of nutritious foods that include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats.
  8. Make self-care a priority.
  9. Be consistent, and trial for at least thirty days.
  10. Be honest with yourself. If you’re miserable while fasting, this lifestyle isn’t for you.

Fasting Schedules

  • 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.