Disclaimer: this is a divulgative article, based on personal experiences and researches, not intended to heal any disease through fasting, but to be used as starting point for a personal reflection or advisory. Fasting is an activity with high impact on the body and it shall not be under evaluated.
Update on fasting Issues in contemporary society
1) Fasting for people doing no activity
One of the greatest points about weight loss is what you do. It is easy to make people losing weight making them practicing sport. If, for any reason, you are obliged to bed or to a very limited life with no sports, you should however find a way to be reasonably fit.
If I think to people over seventy years old or to people not moving, then they have a solution too. Managing hunger, managing digestion, managing energies is the point. Basically, you should at least read a book. You should never do nothing. Even reading makes you burn calories and pass the time without thinking to food. A person that is closed somewhere, will think to food as the very first thought. Food is directly connected to life. Belly is directly connected to brain. For this reason, if you can not move, you should however feed body and brain properly. While reading a book, you can control your nutrition. As a researcher and as an artist and an athlete, I have been dividing my time among all the activities and verified it is true. I stayed entire days reading and eating without doing anything as well as I stayed outside practicing sports. I learned that the body burns calories in various ways, even through proper respiration or through body positions. You can sit in different ways and keep your body tight even from a sitted position. Then, nutrition must be the right one for your lifestyle. Brain shall be always fed. Muscles, too. Muscles are difficult to be built and need maintenance.
Proteins are the basic for intellectual or not moving people too, but, instead of fruit, they should simply change towards vegetables, compensating with spices and superfoods. Many vegetables have the negative side effect to low down body pressure, therefore while giving sensation of fullness, they make people move less, than more. It is to say that fruit, to those people who do not move, make them accumulate glucose. Water shall be reduced at the minimum. Water should come from vegetables instead that from fruits.
Cereals shall be limited to gluten free ones. Potatoes are usually fine for everybody.
Certain cereals and vegetables strongly low pressure, such as mais and tomatoes, therefore if you choose a fasting style, one good reason might be, for example, working on your body pressure or on your metabolic routine.
No gluten ever and no yeast for people without any activity. Then, no milk. Milk is not fine if you do not practice any sport.
Ginger is always fine as booster for methabolism, Therefore to be controlled in case of high pressure problems. As said at the beginning, this article is for healthy people, with some overweight or wanting to improve performances.
People with Tyroid, pressure or any specific problem shall ask advisory as the literature on the web is very wide and certain researches are still ongoing.
Spices are always fine. Fennel and Cinnamon in particular. Then coffee, teas, guarana. They are fine for methabolism, as it will be properly stimulated.
Then, about specific strategies and specific products, as Everyone knows everything, you can ask a nutritionist.
2) Fasting for athletes and high impact training people
Atheletes, as I am, having already great body values, should fast paying attention to aminoacid. They should replace all proteins with aminoacid pills, to better control the intake of other nutrients that are usually connected to natural proteins from any source.
The point of natural nutrition is that nutrients are mixed and shall be disassembled by the body through digestion, therefore having the control is very difficult and some ingredients are always missing.
Moreover the quantity and variety of food you need to eat to have all the nutrients you need is very wide and can compromise the balance with digestion and water intake. For all these reasons, I came to the conclusion that when you fast for BodySculpting or other technical reasons, the fasting consist merely in the technical replacement of certain natural food with specific ones: 1) amino pills, 2) proteins, 3) energy drinks, 4) superfoods.
Before Coming to this conclusion, I followed various fasting Styles and came to the conclusion that various theories are the expression of lobbies as they are abstract from the real body needs and from specific situations. Many people have nice bodies, already, as nice as they need it for their nice life.
Sleeping shall be part of the fasting strategy of an athlete who may wish to recover from a high intense activity. Intellectual job people can sleep a couple of hours less than athletes.
Stress is negative and makes the body produce new hormones to cope with the job.
Muscles need sleep more than brain and good sleeping make people eat less. Muscles without sleep burn calories in a different way and the core activity is compromised. Any athlete knows that during sleep there is a specific time where tiredness load off bones and body. After that moment, the body starts recharging. It should be around the fourth hour of sleep, but it is variable and a high level athlete should have his body analyzed during sleep. After the recovery hour, body still needs at least one hour, better two or three to get recharged. All together five-seven hours.
When the training is seriously high impact an athlete may need an hour of body recovering during the day. I came to this, practicing intense sessions of yoga, where, after deep stretching, unfolding, twisting, upside down movements I needed some minutes of complete rest on the floor, falling into a kind of sleep, to let body fluids balance again. I realized it is useful for high intense activity in general, not necessary with normal aerobic activity such as running, swimming or biking, fundamental with weight lifting where the body is impacted in its balance.
On the contrary, during aerobic activity you can even talk on the phone or plan your day. Bikers can talk with friends, Runners can take phone calls, spinners can check their mobile or watch the news. Many machines for the gym have in fact multipurpose and interactive screens to support mind during aerobic activity. Certain people choose outdoor sports exactly to cope with mind needs during aerobic. Seeing landscapes is food for the mind and helps the training. In this framework, weight lifting and HomeFit is psychologically hard as you keep concentrated in the same place.
To me, HomeFit is fine as I do not appreciate distractions during training. I do not love populated fitness classes where the interaction with others can make you lose the focus. I’d rather move in the weight lifting area.
This need for recovery does not happen with intellectual job, where the variables, personal and environmental, are too many to set a general rule. I also considered that people doing intellectual job can be supported by training activity. In that case it is even more difficult to set rules and each case should be considered in its individuality. Some training in the morning, others in the evening, others a couple of days, others during the day.
Too many variables not to say obvious things such as that training in the morning before breakfast is different from training after breakfast or a couple of hours. The only thing I can say as a general rule, is that training immediately after waking up, before breakfast, is highly effective, no matter what you do. In that timeframe, even a yoga session or ten minutes running can be very stimulating. An athlete attending the gym should practice some minutes yoga before reaching the gym. When I attended yoga lessons in the gym, I realized that waking up and prepare to go there was a kind of contradiction, as it should be practiced as soon as you wake up. Yoga in the morning inhibits hunger and stimulates belly purification. This does not happen during other time of the day.
Therefore, it is not the same fasting during non working days, rather than during training days. Fasting on the beach in summer time, rather than on a wellness weekend or in winter. Again, the reason is leading. When and why?
The when and why will determine the how.
The activities you do will affect the quality of the fasting. If you decide to train and work during fasting, you shall be ready to sudden and unforeseen loss of memory, to awkward movements, to moments where you can not do what you usually do.
Fasting is not simply reducing calories and losing weight, but it is changing the energy you have for your performances.
Fasting to undergo a surgical operation is a different motivation from fasting to detox the body or from fasting to have a dry body for a BodySculpting competition. Fasting can also be a technique to get free from alcohol or sugar addiction. The psychological implications of fasting are very wide and losing weight is only the most common one. Fasting changes the body metabolism and composition without necessarily making loose so much weight.
Athletes shall integrate with aminoacids. An athlete should never fast without taking his pills. As a matter of fact, amino capsules replace a good steak. Then, an athlete may vary the food taken during the day, but pills must be the fixed element. Non athlete people can eat eggs in place of pills, or peanuts and sesame seeds if they are vegan, or low high protein low fat fish such as fresh tuna, swordfish or shrimps, to integrate proteins.
Then, a fasting should be prepared.
In a three days session of fasting, the important days are the second and third ones. To cope with hunger, some foods are great. Among vegetables: cauliflower, algae and carrots.
Among fruit: bananas, coconut, figues and grapes. Among nuts and seeds: peanuts alone or sesame, taken with chickpeas. Among drinks: energy drinks, water with integrators, ginger everywhere, teas and long coffees without sugar.
Among superfoods: cocoa, guarana, ginger.
Yes, you could fast with cocoa. Bitter cocoa without milk (or with special fat and lactose free milk) and without hazelnuts, but added to sweet fruits, beans (such as soy) or coffee is fine.
Cereals and carbohydrates shall not be comprised in the second and third day, where also beans shall be limited.
Gluten free cereals shall be included on the first day as a preparation, therefore rye, rice, corn shall be eaten until exhaustion in alternative to potatoes and pumpkins.
The second day shall not start with hunger since the morning. Hunger is to be left to the late afternoon. Nobody can work properly with hunger as concentration fails and mistakes become easy at any level as a consequence of loss of glucose and of metabolic change.
During a fasting rules are only two: 1) glucose (from fruits and energy drinks) to continue moving, 2) proteins to support muscles.
A fasting shall simply eliminate inuseful water, carbohydrates and fats. Hunger must be limited and Understood. When you feel hunger it does not mean your body has nothing to use, it may simply mean that your stomach has nothing to do, therefore you simply need to give something to your stomach. That is why the sport industry created the “hunger breakers”. Hunger breakers, though, to me are not enough, as I need to many of them to fulfill my stomach. Rich fruits and gelly seeds to me have a better effects.
Hydration is a consequence of eating fruits or nuts. Long coffees and teas are better than simple water. Milk and cheese shall never be part of a fasting, even if I saw people fasting right with them. Milk and cheese are too complex food, not serving for immediate energy, nor providing the necessary proteins. Moreover, they often request alcohol for digestion and cultural issues. Apples, too, are not fine during a fasting as they do not cope with hunger and belly, while providing too much glucose. They can be taken with fennel smoothies, though, or cooked and combined to peanuts.
Fruit must be known. Certain fruit such as bananas can be eaten fresh, as they are very light for digestion and very restorative, while apples are better cooked. Grapes, pomegranates and grapefruit are great and their juice can be taken at any hour of the day. Ginger is better in the morning to stimulate blood pressure, but for an athlete at any hour of the day it is great. Coconut can be eaten as a snack during all the day. Other fruits can be used combined with energy drinks, enhancing their hydrating effects. An athlete should avoid big quantities of tomatoes, rye and corn as they strongly decrease blood pressure. However, they could be assumed right to release stress during a wellness weekend. Fish, in general, rather than meat and eggs, is stress releasing. We are talking about proteins, but different ones.
My fasting hystory
Fasting is hard, but it works.
Even if modern nutrition theories are against fasting for many valuable reasons, I have to say I tried it more than once in my life and each time it has worked damned well.
Each time I lost what i needed to lose and I gave my body a push towards a new metabolism.
I want to repeat it: fasting is hard.
I am writing this post, as describing how you feel is what lacks to many advisors and coaches. In my experience, many specialists behave as information spreaders rather than active supporters. They often speak of emotional intelligence and empathy as learnt in courses, but a great thing would be simply experience. For effective explaining of certain personal issues you need to guarantee that you somehow went through it, to explain in advance how people will probably feel and give Something more than a Recipe to be followed.
Fasting is powerful because it changes your metabolism and emotions in a few days. It has strong detoxing effect, changing even perception of tastes.
If you are used to regular portions, it purifies your body from old toxins, it makes your brain become more reactive.
The difference is how you practice fasting at what age. If you are not strong, you will compensate as soon as you have the chance. Fasting needs to be determined.
If you are a woman, caring for your skin, keep going on with oils and creams for elasticity or integrate with oral vitamin B, D and collagen, even K would be fine.
The first time I tried three days of fasting I was at the university and followed the diet of a cardiologist designed to the farther of a friend, Joyce, needing quick loss of weight for a surgery.
That time I had for three days:
- Grapefruit fresh juice
- Cooked egg
- Peanut butter on toasted bread
Lunch and dinner:
- Vanilla ice cream
Some years later I practiced fasting for health reasons, as I needed to heal from “candida” and from digestive problems.
That time I had three vegetarian days with:
- Pomegranate fresh juice;
Lunch and dinner:
- Smoothies with celery and green apple;
- Smoothies with carrot, ginger, pineapple;
- Green tea
After some years, again I faced fasting. This time I had:
- Amino-acids and vitamin B and C integrators:
- Casein protein cream integrator for slow energy release;
- Vegetable teas, garlic, balsamic vinegar;
- Vin brûlée.
Each of these three times it worked. Hard each time. The hardest day is the first one: the transition from long chewing meals and nice tastes to almost liquid cold drink.
- Hard because your stomach is not used to it and feel the void;
- hard because your brain is not used to strong deficiency and you feel some strange head claim,
- Hard because you not only feel but are weaker all of a sudden: you are loosing weight.
The third method is the strongest one as it allows to continue practicing sports and it keeps muscles lines, of you have them. It is also the hardest, as you really do not chew anything.
I came to this method by chance. I did not needed to lose weight, my outfit was already well shaped and balanced, but it happened I had some unforeseen events, obliging me to make this choice. I was unsure about effects as nobody suggested it to me. At the end, it was successful: I lost one kg per day, the hardest kg as I was already on shape.
As a matter of fact, at the very end, you need vitamins and proteins to guarantee hydration and fuel for muscles.
Fasting changes body balances and sensations, while making your soul stronger, as you need to resist to many temptations. Fasting is fine.
One thing nobody says and you discover, is that you regularly expel the unneeded. If you keep regularity to toilette, this means fasting is suitable for you as it changes you deeply without hurting. Incredible but true, even if you only drink, you still will expel solid. I also would add that the third option with vin brûlée is also good for throat. Yes, it is a warm elixir having soothing effects.
Do not be afraid. Consider your body as a sporting car or some extreme sport: you are doing the extreme, you are testing limits, you are knowing your nature.
Do it. If you need it, do it. Keep in mind it is hard and you have to choose the right nutrients, otherwise you will weaken yourself dangerously. But do it. Test yourself without unuseful fears. I wish I did it before.
Pay only attention to the after fasting: basing on the kind of diet you choose, your body will react differently. As I tried three different kind of fasting, I can confirm that the reactions impact in different way on emotions, too. In my opinion, any fasting without chewing attacks nerves, in particular the One based in integrators. If it is true that you keep stronger and your body muscles resist, while in other fasting they simply flop down (this is really important), your nerves get hurt as your internal body literally does not work to digest and assimilate. When you eat veggies or fruit, even fluid, your body works to assimilate them, therefore the weakness you may feel is caused by lack of integrators.
I simply suggest, then, if you are a dynamic person, not that used to integrators, wanting to preserve muscles, to go for the third kind of fasting integrating with fruits or celery. Some very low calories and hydrating, keeping the body engaged.
You perceive the difference in the breath: if you do not chew and keep engaged in digestion, the breath becomes somehow acid and water seems never to be enough even if you have all you need for fair reasoning and living.
Body, as a matter of fact, stays tough but weakens in energy and, as a paradox, it will not burn that much as digestion itself is a burning calories activity. Luckily enough, as a professional, I can work anywhere and fix dates, therefore I kept less active to spare energies not to stimulate hunger. Yes, not to stimulate hunger.
One of the functions of food is to give the sensation of pleasure and plentiness. If you eliminate that sensation, you must be ready to bear it and not to compensate immediately after. It needs to be said, as many people fail resisting or keeping the results. I am one those person, “weak in pleasure”, needing to remind myself why I am caring.
We, “edonists”, are called to strong choices, either we do and we do it well, or we’d better avoid. “In medio stat virtus” is a principle fulfilling hormonally balanced people. This is why many people have fears where others have risky attitude. It goes on hormones, not only on education.
For all these reasons, you should choose the fasting that is proper to you.