Just the thought of fasting may make you hungry. But going without food for a time, whether for health or religious reasons can be good for you. Limiting calorie intake is nothing new it’s a spiritual practice in many cultures and religions. But people also fast for health and other non-religious reasons, including to lose weight to prepare for medical testing, to try to prevent aging, to detox, to boost immunity, and to overcome addictions. If you are thinking about fasting for any reason, here is how to keep your energy up when you’re not eating.
Consult a doctor before fasting: If you have a health condition, pregnant, or especially if you’re taking medication, you need to speak with your healthcare provider about how to fast without harming your health. This is especially true for those with type 2 diabetes, who are at risk for hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and dehydration during a fast.
Avoid sugary foods and drink: Loading up on cookies and sweet tea before your fast is not a good idea. You may feel full and satisfied at first, but when your blood sugar plummets an hour or two later, you may become extremely hungry and weak. To have enough energy for the long haul, fill up on complex carbohydrates (like pasta, rice and potatoes) and protein (like meat and beans).
Try different fasting tactics: If you’re fasting to lose weight, consider a modified approach; rapid weight loss sets you up for long-term weight maintenance failure. The key to weight loss is to lose it slowly, as this allows you to maintain the greatest amount of muscle and, therefore, keep your metabolism stimulated.
Adapt your exercise routine: With a significant change in your dietary intake, you’ll have to consider what changes you’ll need to make in your daily activities. This really depends on the type of fasting you are doing, but high intensity workouts may need to be put on hold until your fasting period is over. You can continue most light-to-moderate activities throughout a fast.
Stay hydrated: We need water to live, so plan to drink enough water during your fast. The amount of water you should consume really depends on your activity level, body size, and environment. You may find that you need less water during a fast than when you are not fasting. This is partly due to decreases in your food intake and activity levels. But you still need to drink water.
Plan your meals when you’re not fasting: Every fast should have a period during the day when you consume something, and the choices during that time should be balanced and nutritious. Because you’re limiting your intake, your food choices provide essential and important nutrients now more than ever.