Preparing for your first fast
For most people, their first fast is surprisingly easy. Of course you will feel some hunger but it soon passes. For some people, however, the first fast can be more troublesome. This may be because of a phenomenon called metabolic inflexibility, which means that the body has become used to having a constant supply of sugar and carbohydrate from our food so that it does not need to access its fat stores. Your body gets out of practice at turning your fat stores into energy. As a result you struggle the first few times you fast, and feel bad. Among low carbohydrate dieters the same effect is called ‘low carb flu’.
There are three simple steps you can take in the days before your first fast (and beyond) that might help your body to adapt more quickly:
- Do not eat/consume any calories between meals – this doesn’t mean you have to eat less, just keep your eating to mealtimes: if you fancy that piece of cake or packet of crisps have it immediately after your lunch/dinner not as a mid-afternoon snack
- Try to have a good long time without food overnight – try to have a good 10 hours between your evening meal and the next day’s breakfast
- Make a start on cutting down on sugary foods and refined carbohydrates – no need to take drastic action but bear in mind that your body needs to learn not to rely on a constant supply of sugar and carbs for its energy. Just having two potatoes instead of four and bulking up on more vegetables can make a difference!
If you have tried to fast before and struggled or think that you might be a bit of a sugar addict, these small changes could really help you.