On Fasting

“In poor countries, people die of starvation. In rich countries, people die of over-eating.” – Fauja Singh, world’s oldest marathon runner (aged 101).

Single black olive and parsley
Congratulations, this is what you get to eat today.

Fasting is not yet fully accepted.

Despite mounting evidence of the health benefits, there are still doctors who tell you to “never skip a meal, least of all breakfast!”

I, on the other hand, believe we were designed to starve occasionally, and even perhaps regularly. I also think breakfast is bullshit.

But anyway. I fast in hopes of longevity. We don’t have enough time in this world, and I want to live forever so I can do all of the awesome things.

Does it work? It seems that way. Right now, periodic fasting and caloric restriction are some of the only practices showing real promise in extending our lifespans and improving most markers of health.

I also don’t think fasting hurts. At least not most people. As a filthy atheist, fasting is the closest I get to a spiritual practice.

Here’s what I do

Weekly: I usually do a full water fast one day/week, but I don’t keep it regular, and I don’t track it. Some weeks I just do two VERY low cal days each week (as in 5:2 plan). Weekly fasting is VERY easy to do, I don’t even think about it I just do it subconsciously.

Monthly: Each month, I make sure I fast 2 full days, water only. Usually on the 1st or 15th of each month).

Seasonally: 4X a year I turn my 2 day fast into 3 days!

Keep in mind

Fasting isn’t for everyone, but it’s probably great for most.

If you never skip a meal, just start by doing that every once in a while. Unless you have an actual medical issue, skipping meals is good for you. You also shouldn’t fast if you’re underweight.

Contrary to popular belief, fasting does NOT increase your appetite in a manner that will lead you to gain weight. In fact, regular fasting will most likely decrease your appetite. As far as compensatory eating? It happens for some, but generally not to the extent of the caloric loss you experience while fasting.

Of course, this may not apply to disordered eaters. And fasting may not be right for you. Even so, I think IF could be great for binge eaters and yo-yo dieters.

A 5:2 plan is VERY easy to do and may alter your appetite completely. For more info, check out the book “The Fast Diet” by Michael Mosley

You can also check out this awesome documentary, also featuring Dr. Mosley.

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19 thoughts on “On Fasting”

  1. My son is a certified personal trainer and a biology major at a prestigious university and he swears by fasting. I have tried it a few times–it wasn’t very difficult at all. I could seriously see myself making it a regular habit.
    Frankly, I think that we have grown too accustomed to having snacks and refreshments everywhere we go (this meeting, that meeting etc).
    Thanks for the post. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment and support! I couldn’t agree more.

      While I believe in following our bodies, I think it’s slightly nuts how much we snack in western culture. And I think it was partly driven by the diet industry which for a long time said “eat more often.”

      While eating often might work (or even be necessary) for some people, I think there are MANY people who can be benefited by some amount of caloric restriction – whether through structured fast days, or by simply choosing never to eat unless they recognize true symptoms of hunger.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rad post! You KNOW I support it. I’ve been doing alternate-day fasting for the last month and I feel great 🙂 My mind is clear, allergies and asthma are down, and the weight loss has been ridiculous (24 pounds in the first month). For anyone checking out this post, I highly support Dori in this lifestyle and recommend that everyone consider adding it to their routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking it out and the comment 🙂

      I’m glad to hear about all of your progress on this. I think ppl shy away from it or consider it a “fad.” But really, it doesn’t have to be a diet, and it doesn’t have to be strict. I try to fast when I feel like I want to, I don’t push myself when I don’t. It makes me feel good 🙂

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  3. I have read lots about fasting & agree it is good for us & our physiology. However I really really struggle to do it. Any tips or advice? Love the blog! X

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    1. Thanks Holly 🙂

      My best advice would be to start small, taking into account your own rhythms. So assuming you are otherwise healthy, and not underweight, a good idea might be to skip dinner/breakfast/lunch one or two nights a week, and see how that works out.

      If that’s too hard, maybe instead of skipping that meal, have an extremely light and “watery” meal – like cucumbers, tomatoes etc.

      If you want to try intermittent fasting (like a 5:2), the plan is simply stick to 500 calories on fast days for women, 600 for men (two days per week). It’s not impossible to be reasonably satisfied on this amount of calories. For example, 3 scrambles eggs = approx 210 calories. You can basically have two 3-egg omelettes w/ unlimited veggies, and still stick to the plan.

      I’d definitely recommend the book “the fast diet” by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer. They give a lot of great tips for different ways to get into it.

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      1. Thank you for your advice. I think I will try skipping a couple of meals as I have tried the 5:2 before and really struggled on the fasting days! 😌

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    1. Thanks!! The thing I don’t discuss much in this post is I’m definitely careful not to push myself, and I won’t fast if it doesn’t feel right for my body that day.

      Actually – the thing you mention about most people being unable to fast between meals, I DEFINITELY could relate to that. The 5:2 thing is really great for that (at least in my opinion), because it forces you to cut that chord. But only 2/7 days a week.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of water fasting once a week! I did a 10 day water fast and ever since then, I don’t have the same appetite; I dont have the desire to eat as much as I did before. Before the fast, the idea of not eating anything one day out of the week seemed daunting, but its totally doable!! I’m gonna definitely going to work that into my regimen. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true!!

      That’s the one thing I don’t go into enough in this post, and I’ll have to elaborate on in the future – how much an extended fast affects your appetite in the long term.

      I’ve never done a fast that long, because by day 5 or 6, I don’t really feel great. I have a tendency towards low blood pressure, so that might be it. But If it feels right for you, then I think that’s great.

      With the 5:2 diet, you actually can eat a little bit on fast days. The literature so far show that it seems to have at least some of the beneficial effects of full water fasts. I’d check out “The Fast Diet” – it explains that whole thing. Very interesting book.

      Like

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