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March 22, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Intermittent Fasting

If you’ve ever considered fasting, you’re probably well aware of the benefits: weight loss, mental clarity, new energy — but then you think, I could never do that.

It’s a challenge, for sure. Fasting is a growing movement, for all the right reasons. But some of the biggest obstacles aren’t internal –they’re external.

With the right techniques, information and planning, you can overcome internal objections well.

But when it comes to external challenges, things can be harder. Because when you have other people, places and situations involved, and it can feel overwhelming to juggle all these things at once.

Luckily, you can overcome these too. Just like the internal obstacles, it all comes down to planning in advance.

To help pick the best style for you, here are three great fasting plans to match any lifestyle…

1. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is the most common and popular method of fasting. There’s a good reason for this: it’s the most manageable as the hunger periods aren’t as intense, which is THE biggest reason people break their fasts, and it’s the one that most people can incorporate into their daily lives.

Simply put, all it means is that you have a specific eating window each day. There are various types of IF, such as the length of the eating window and what days you fast, but they share similar benefits

The first is that you’ll experience an increase in fat loss. When you restrict your eating windows, it’s likely that you’ll consume fewer calories. But, even if you consume a similar amount of calories you’ll lose weight, because you will have longer periods where your insulin is not being triggered.

Moreover, you’ll retain muscle mass while you boost the key biomarkers for general health.

Intermittent fasting is, therefore, a great option for most people, including avid gym-goers. It’s a long-term strategy for promoting general health and body composition.

You can enjoy the same amount of food you usually eat but crank up the benefits!

2. Prolonged fasting

Prolonged fasting is where you don’t consume any calories for at least 24 hours. Typically, people will fast between 24 and 72 hours.

This is different from intermittent fasting in the sense that you don’t do it daily. Some people do this sporadically, while others may make it a routine to do once a week or once a month.

Prolonged fasting is the ultimate ‘detox.’ Now whenever that word pops up, the alarm bells sound for me. People use it as an excuse to sell you products that don’t really do anything—but this is the real deal.

When you don’t feed your body for a few days, some amazing things start happening. Your body has to find new energy sources, and it can do it in various ways.

We call the first autophagy, which is Greek for ‘eating yourself.’ It sounds scary, but rest assured it’s not –your body eats dead cells all the time, it’s how it keeps itself refreshed and renewed.

And that’s exactly what happens during prolonged fasting. Your body sends out autophagosomes which find dead and dying cell components and eat them to provide energy. It clears out all the inefficient and wasteful parts of your body, which leaves you feeling rejuvenated.

I’m experiencing that rejuvenation now as I’m currently in the midst of a 21-day fast. I gotta say, it’s glorious.

In fact, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that by fasting for just 24 hours you can increase autophagy by a factor of four. Fasting between 24 and 48 hours is the most efficient time period for autophagy.

If you want to increase longevity and cellular regeneration while you also lose weight, prolonged fasting may be for you.

Note: for women, you may want to take caution before fasting for more than 24 hours.

3. Liquid fast

Liquid fasting is a form of fasting where (you guessed it) you only consume liquids. Those liquids may have some calories in them, but the key feature is that you don’t consume anything solid.

The reason for this is for digestive health. When you constantly consume foods, your gut becomes worn down. Digestion is an inherently inflammatory process, and we need to take care of our gut as much as our knees.

This is the reason why people say that it’s hard on your gut when you regularly consume ‘heavy’ foods like steak. If you push your gut too hard, the layers in it can start to break down and you can suffer from ‘leaky gut,’ which isn’t a pleasant condition.

If you do a liquid fast every one to two weeks, it gives your gut a chance to recover. Incidentally, one of the best liquids to consume during a liquid fast is bone broth.

When you drink bone broth, you’ll keep your electrolytes and micronutrients up, AND you’ll consume a lot of glycine and gelatin, which helps fortify your gut lining.  

Liquid fasting is great for people with digestive conditions, or for anyone who wants to promote digestive health!

Conclusion

There are so many different ways to fast, and each has their place. Whether you want a regular, daily method to lose fat and become healthier, or a time period to really kick-start your body’s natural healing process, there’s a fasting type for you.

In light of this, preparation is key. You can access my Fasting Success Planning Checklist here through the form below, and soon I’m going to share my top tips for the best way to break a fast, and what to eat before starting. Watch this space to know exactly what to do to reap all these benefits!

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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