Questions about Fasting

If you are considering joining me on my exploration of fasting, you might have questions. Today, I'm going to try to answer some of these. If I neglect to cover your particular concerns, please be sure to leave me a comment below. If I don't know the answer, I'll try to find out for you!

To clarify in advance- I am discussing a particular type of intermittent fasting today: a daily fast of 16 hours (8pm-12noon) with an 8-hour feeding window (12noon-8pm). This is only one specific method of fasting; there are numerous other possibilities.

Q: Can I drink while I'm fasting?

A: Yes! During your fasting window, it is highly recommended that you drink plenty of water. This will help reduce your hunger pangs, keep you well hydrated, and help you feel better while not eating. Other excellent beverages are herbal teas, black coffee, black or green tea, bone broth, and sparkling water. During the fasting window, it is important to eliminate all sugars, so no juices of any kind. And while diet soda might not contain sugar, it has been shown to produce a reaction in the body similar to that of sugar, so better to avoid this.

Q: What about alcohol?

A: Alcohol contains sugar, so this should be avoided during the fasting window. However, during your feeding window, alcohol is not prohibited. In fact, nothing is prohibited.

Q: So what can I eat during my feeding window?

A: Anything you like. There are no wrong foods when it comes to your feeding window. Of course, it is preferable to eat nutritious foods whenever possible! But if you feel like having a treat, there is no need to tell yourself no. However, you don't want to go hog wild. It is recommended that you eat whatever you want, but a reasonable amount. Eat until you feel satisfied, but not stuffed.

Q: Does my fast have to be 16 hours long?

A: No. 16 hours is an arbitrary time limit. However, you will want to try to extend your fast for at least 10-12 hours, or more if possible. It takes the body about 10-12 hours to run out of glucose and switch over to fat burning. The longer you spend in the fat-burning part of your fast, the more benefits you will accrue, including fat loss. If 16 hours seems impossible, you might start with 14 hours. Keep in mind that you are in charge! You can adjust your fast as you see fit. When 16 hours becomes comfortable, you might choose to extend your fast even longer.

Q: Does my feeding window have to be from 12noon-8pm?

A: No. You can adjust your feeding window to make it work for you and your lifestyle. If you cannot skip breakfast, you might want to eat breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, and an early dinner at 3:45. You could then fast from 4pm to 8am. If you like to sleep in late and stay up all night, you might like your feeding window to be from 4pm to 12midnight! I personally find 12noon-8pm to be very comfortable, but you can arrange your fast any way you like.

Q: Will I get headaches? Feel weak and dizzy?

A: Everyone is different, so it is impossible to say for certain how your body will respond to intermittent fasting. Despite the fact that fasting is natural for humans, most of us do not practice fasting on a regular basis. If you tend to rely on carbohydrates for the bulk of your diet, it is possible you will have to deal with low blood sugar issues when fasting. This might mean headaches or dizziness. One cure is to make sure you consume plenty of protein and fat, and cut back on sugar, during your feeding window. Also drink plenty of water, before, during and after your fasting window, and add some bone broth during your fast.

Q: Should I avoid exercise while fasting?

A: There is no need to avoid any activity while fasting, as long as you feel up to it. Exercise is recommended as it uses up any glucose still floating around in your system, and thus promotes increased fat burning. If you are trying to lose fat, exercise plus fasting will be doubly effective!

Q: How much weight will I lose?

A: Again, everyone responds differently to fasting. The good news is that short bouts of fasting, like we're discussing here, lead to fat loss without the loss of muscle mass. Low calorie and crash diets tend to mean muscle loss which leads to decreased metabolism and the tendency to quickly regain the weight. On average, people using intermittent fasting for weight loss lose about 1-2 pounds per week. The more fat you have to lose, the more quickly you tend to lose it, so this will vary.

I hope I've covered some of your questions and concerns about fasting. If not, leave a comment below and I'll do my best to get you some answers!