Lance was at the Big Bear Zoo one day to see hoping to see the animals being fed. To his surprise they had changed the feeding routine for all zoo animals. Lance just happened to be there on a day the zoo animals would fast. The zoo had realized that feeding the animals daily was creating health issues for them. After some research the zoo changed the feeding schedule for the animals to a 6-day week, fasting on the 7th. This new eating schedule have proven a positive change in the over all health of the animals. This change reminded Lance of something he had done during his competitive weight lifting years. Water Fasting!
What is “Water Fasting?” First let me explain the idea, in this case we are going to talk about fasting as a way to kick off your diet by cleansing your body. When you fast, your body grabs the fuel it needs from the energy stores in your body. To be clear, were not talking about fasting for a month or even a week, just 24 hours -that’s all! Why so short, because the goal is to lose weight as well as jump start better health. A 24-hour water fast will help to reset your body and level glucose which is great for overall health.
Fasting, specifically Water Fasting allows you to still enjoy that cup of black unsweetened coffee and green tea, but water is your best friend. People who water fast detoxify and heal more quickly, so no juice! Water only fasting will allow your digestive passageway and organs to rest completely allowing energy to be used to clean instead of digest. Yes, you will lose weight as with any shortage of calories, but the goal is to continue to lose weight with a healthy diet and exercise plan, plus gain good health!
To begin a 24 hour water fast eat your last meal at 6 or 7 PM the night before the day you chose. Upon waking drink 2 glasses of water to kick start the cleansing period. So we are clear a 24-hour water fast is not as easy as you think. You will experience hunger pains and ideas of quitting. Its only 24 hours but for some it will seem like an eternity which is why you will need support from someone; a trainer, close friend or spouse. When the hunger pains hit, drink not just 1 but 2 glasses of cold water. That knotting cramping feeling in your tummy will pass, don’t give in and eat! To reiterate the feeling will pass but hunger pains are unfortunately essential to the experience of detoxification. Your body is working hard to rid itself of toxins. You may want to keep a journal of your feelings, thoughts and emotions including any physical or mental swings. This information will be helpful to look back on if you choose to repeat your 24-hour fast as well as show your inner strength!
After a full 24 hours the cramping should subside, now your body is ready to eat. Before eating first drink 2 glasses of water and have a small healthy meal, No empty calories! Stay away from high sugar, low fiber foods. Even though you think you are going to eat a lot you can’t because your hunger has adjusted. Think light. Enjoy an apple and spoon full of peanut butter or small 3 oz. piece of chicken with asparagus. You will be surprised how satisfying this small meal will be. Do not have a full meal, it can make you sick which is not the goal! Eat light and then get some sleep. In the morning drink 2 glasses of water upon waking and have a light breakfast. A good breakfast choice may be a small egg white omelet with spinach, Canadian bacon and low fat cheese.
So you fast for 24-hour now what? First of all change your mindset, eat right, and make the 24 hour fast count! It’s important to remember that how you live after a fast is critical to its success. What you eat and what exercise routine you will follow must be planned in advance. Fasting will clean, revitalize and energize your body. It is the building blocks of a healthy body, but healthy food and fitness choices are essential next steps to keeping your structure solid. Making good choices of nutrient dense food is important. To keep your body in check, one day a week do a mini-fast, skipping 2 meals in a row. Following up with a mini-fast once a week will help you keep your eating in control and remind you that food is not such a big deal.
Another benefit to fasting is the increased ability to taste food. We are so accustomed to eating rich, salty or sweet food that we have lost our ability to really taste food in its natural, unprocessed state. What we once took for granted like a normal apple or carrot will begin to become refreshing and delicious. Did you see how I mentioned natural and unprocessed; this is the way we should be eating. Instead of buying turkey lunchmeat, buy a turkey breast; cook it for dinner and slice up the remaining meat for lunch. Add the unprocessed-natural turkey to a delicious salad or a sandwich on whole grain bread (make it a thick ½ sandwich to reduce carbohydrates).
It’s important to maintain an adequate fluid intake during a 24 hour fast. Water, black coffee and unsweetened tea are good options making sure that water is the main source of fluid intake. People with diabetes, who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or anyone with a chronic disease should not fast. Before starting a new diet, consult a physician.