24-Hour Fasting: What is it and why should you try it?
Fasting is the willing abstinence from food for a period of time. Intermittent fasting is one of the most reliable ways to achieve optimal health. Many are still sceptical about the health benefits of fasting and this is due to a lot of incorrect information and the variety of different methods of implementing it. When done properly and regularly, 24-hour fasting is an exceptional way to support weight loss, improve your gut health and reap many other health benefits. While you may be hesitant to remove food from your diet for a period of time, there are many ways to make short-term fasting smooth and manageable. Here are some benefits of short-term fasting and our own experiences of doing it for a day.
Because of the unique way that intermittent fasting works with the body, there is a wide range of improvements that people see when they begin fasting. One of the most significant 24-hour fasting benefits is weight loss. For example, it is thought that fasting may assist with lipid metabolism, improve fasting glucose levels, and improve body composition for those who are overweight. Additionally, fasting influences metabolic regulation due to its impact on circadian biology, the gut microbiome and modifiable lifestyle behaviors, such as sleep. If you want to cut down the size of the meals you eat, it’s usually easier to do after a short fasting period. Intermittent fasting is also linked to improved gut health, stabilized blood sugar levels, and reduced inflammation. Studies have even found that intermittent fasting could prevent certain types of cancer, lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. One of the most commonly overlooked 24-hour fasting benefits is the added time it puts back into your day. Making multiple meals and snacks every day is time-consuming even if you tend to eat out or order in food.
As you begin to plan your first 24-hour fast, there are some important considerations to be aware of. In order for you to see 24-hour fasting benefits, you need to be sure that you are eating the correct foods prior to your fast. First, be sure that the last meal prior to your fast is full of healthy fats. This can include foods such as fish, nuts, avocados and olive oil. Foods containing healthy fats will help you feel full for a longer period of time and will reduce tempting cravings. Second, plan to drink plenty of water during your fast to suppress feelings of hunger. Quite often, the feeling hungry is actually a sign of thirst.
My own 24-hour fasting experience:
First 6 hours:
The fasting started after the last night’s dinner at about 19:00, so the first hours were easy. Basically sleeping the first 8-10 hours, so no big deal yet.
6 to 12 hours:
Skipping breakfast is annoying and I started to feel a bit uneasy since I didn't have my morning coffee. Yes, you should avoid caffeine during the fasting. I didn't feel any hunger yet, but it was of course a change in my daily routines. Having started my fasting last night I feel like I have only just started, but in reality I'm already halfway there. After this it’s going to get harder.
12 to 18 hours:
After not having breakfast and now skipping lunch, I’m starting to feel really hungry. Possibly even a bit light-headed (and displeased). This seems to be the hardest part. The constant hunger might even mess up your mind a bit and I almost accidentally ate something a few times. Note: stay away from the cookies and candies you might see in your office.
18 to 24 hours:
Surprisingly this was the easier part. I already skipped the two main meals I normally eat and the hunger is actually going away. I don’t constantly focus my mind on food anymore. When it’s finally time to eat, I don’t even feel so hungry anymore. It’s actually wise to start with a smoothie or something that is easy for your gut to work on.
After the fasting the feeling was light, energetic and all in all good. The same feeling lasted throughout the next day. All in all, this is definitely something that I would do again sometimes and would recommend to anyone.
Have you ever tried intermittent fasting? Let us know your experience in the comments!