I am a healthy 85-year-old physician whose life is devoted to achieving Healthy Longevity by good nutrition that includes fasting for good health. I am the author of Physician’s Notebooks, which anyone may access free by clicking the URL at the end of this post
Fasting is the fastest way to weight loss. It can start you on your road to Healthy Longevity, which I define as passing age 80 on your feet with your wit and wits. For motivation, convince self of the importance of healthy, long life and your need to achieve it. Then realize a BMI (Body Mass Index = (your weight in kilograms) ➗(your height in centimeters) squared) below 25 will make long life most probable and with least sickness. This is a continuous stimulus to reinforce daily fasting. At the start, it may not seem to work well but keep at it a day, a week and a month, and watch your morning weigh-in to see it work.
Fasting involves continuing decisions to go against a basic human drive. It takes practice. Every fast should be begun as an experiment. Never let it be looked on as a contest between asceticism and Miss Piggy. I define a fast as starting from 8 hours after last calorie in mouth. Even a fast you stop before planned completion should be considered successful if it cuts down food intake and loses weight and gets you closer to your BMI goal; and however you can achieve the goal – by fast or not, by use of drug or not – so long as you can see movement toward the goal, be happy. Emphasis is not on the fast, it’s on your BMI goal.
From my experience with fasting, it is best considered as a tool to reverse overeating to start you on the way to best BMI. Serious students of weight loss will find there will be periods during a life when fasting can be done with good effect.
Fasting should occupy the opening phase of “get down to best BMI.” Psychologically it is useful to get an opening push by fasting. Once you succeed at fasting, the discipline and self-knowledge gained from it will help eating behavior in the future.
Almost all fasts are ended by 24 hours, and I do not advise longer because going past 24 hours recruits anorexia nervosa personalities. The most practical is the alternating 24-hr fasts. Here, you cycle the eating, starting each 24-hr at your convenience, and completing the 24 hrs, cycling back and forth between eating and fasting as long as you wish until BMI goal is reached.
Ideally, a fast ought to be planned to arrange the fasting environment to minimize the stimuli to eat. For some wannabe fasters, weekend or vacation period is good because of the flexibility the free time gives.
Entering a fast and its successful completion require powerful and separate motivations that are difficult to turn on and off. At times you may find yourself motivated to start a fast at a non-ideal time. Most often this will be in reaction to an eating mistake (“pigging out”) that has caused disappointment in your self-image. Sometimes it is a sudden discovery of being badly overweight. If motivation strikes, even if you have not prepared for or anticipated fasting, grab the opportunity and start fasting. At worst you’ll stop before 24 hours. At best, it might turn out the one fast you succeed in because of powerful motivation.
The most stressful time in a fast is at mealtimes. It is best to plan physical chore or enjoyment for then. Sometimes starting off with sleep works well to get fasting going.
Many who fast do it as pollutant-free, drug-free, natural organic food kick to “clean system.” I advocate fasting for one purpose: To get below a bad BMI! So anything that safely helps you to not eat, like sleep pill or strong caffeine black coffee is OK.
Social activity, especially involving others eating and drinking is a No-No during a fast.
Sleep is useful against the stress of fast. The easiest way to fast is to stay in bed, even with the help of mild sleep pill. But be sure you are not taking medicine that stimulates eating – like antihistamines or serotonin re-uptake inhibitor anti-depression medications like Prozac.
I find it best not to drink water during a fast because the mildly dehydrated state of the blood during a non-water 24-hour fast depresses appetite compared to more diluted blood which ups appetite by the neural stimulus.
Fasting to achieve best BMI can cure or improve disease or conditions like diabetes, gout, and hypertension. BMI below 25 lowers risks of cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Also, a 24-hour fast is useful after an over-eating or a bad meal to “get back to healthy square one.” Good for mental depression. I use it all the time to keep healthy.
OK. You have the info. Now, convince self you’re over the top in BMI and go at it and keep at it every day despite initial failures! Starting fasting is easy since you don’t have to count calorie and the instructions are very simple – No food at all – and your goal is right there to be seen on your weigh-in balance.
What are the Physician’s Notebooks?
Physician’s Notebooks is a blog that teaches Healthy Longevity, which means living past age 80 on one’s feet with wit and wits. Reading and rereading should bring success and happiness. It may up your IQ, SAT, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and MCAT scores.