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Nutrition + Diet

Practically Fasting: How To Look And Feel Good Without Counting Calories


August 13, 2020

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for shortcuts to good health, beautiful skin, and more energy. But you’re sick of counting calories, weighing your food, and applying pricey creams all with the hopes of youth, beauty, and chiseled abs. There’s got to be an easier way to look good, right?

Enter a plan I created for my clients called “practically fasting.”

What is practically fasting?

Practically fasting isn’t your typical intermittent fasting. The type of intermittent fasting most people are familiar with is one in which you eat a late dinner and fast until 12 noon or 1 pm the next day. Practically fasting is the reverse. You eat normally throughout the day, have your last meal at 5 or 6 pm, and then fast for 12-16 hours until 6 or 10 am. It’s about timing your eating to stop earlier in the day.

Practically fasting combines age-old wisdom and cutting-edge science by drawing on the power of the sun and our own circadian rhythms. It also differs from standard intermittent fasting in that certain foods and beverages are allowed during the fast, which is more practical for those who are very active or have busier schedules.

When you break your fast, focus on keeping sugar low, eating lots of veggies, and staying hydrated with water.

What can you eat or drink?

While practically fasting, I drink water, tea, coffee with a splash of almond milk, and typically one HALO Sport. If you find yourself getting hungry, add in some healthy fats. For example, if I extend my fast past 16 hours, I’ll have a handful of almonds.

This flexibility is more practical for people who are very active or have busy work schedules. As you do more fasts, your body will eventually adjust and the initial hunger will subside. Try to keep your calories under 20 if you’re doing a 12-16 hour fast and under 200 if you’re doing a 24-hour fast.

How often should you fast?

The 12- to 16-hour fasts can be done every day, while 24-hour fasts should only be done once a week. Fasting frequency should be tailored to you and your schedule. I find I do best with 12-hour fasts three days a week, 16-hour fasts two days a week, and no fasting for two days out of the week. Once every 2 weeks, I extend my 16-hour fasts to 24-hours to trigger autophagy, or cellular cleanup and regeneration.

What are the benefits?

The practice of intermittent fasting is well studied in medicine and practically fasting in particular is often referenced in medical literature as “time-restricted eating.” There’s good data that shows this type of intermittent fasting results in better sleep, better energy, better skin, and a more functional body overall.

Practically fasting aids in fat mobilization, increased metabolic flexibility, stabilizing blood pressure and cholesterol, and even better brain function.

On top of that, your skin will look better, your gut will work better, and you’ll feel more energized!

Image above via Year & Day. They make the best plates to practically fast on.

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