Frequently Asked Questions
IT’S ALWAYS GOOD TO BE INFORMED. GOT QUESTIONS?
We’ve partnered with Dr. John Pidutti, N.D, a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor to answer your questions about how to fast safely, and to make it fun. If you still have questions for us that are not addressed here, drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.
How long should I fast for?
The true definition of fasting is abstinence: just going without. Breakfast is just that – breaking the long fast after sleeping. A long fast would be anywhere from 18-30 hours, but you can really go without anything, for any length of time, and still make a huge impact.
If you like, you can fast until dinner one day and just skip breakfast and lunch. You can also skip just lunch, and donate that money. It’s all up to you. Lucky we are that most of us have that choice.
What am I going to fast from?
We provide in the Little Book Of Less and here on the website an easy guide to help you go without. It’s not all about not eating either.
Will my fast be reasonable for my lifestyle?
That’s is entirely up to you to decide, and we definitely recommend you start small. Challenge yourself, but don’t push too hard.
If I fast from food, will I still have energy for my work/daily activities?
This depends on your current lifestyle. If you work in hard labor, maybe wait until the weekend to try something bigger than just skipping beer at dinner for a week. Try something that has less impact on you, but will still have a positive impact on someone else. A little goes an awfully long way.
Who shouldn’t fast?
Children under 13, and women who are pregnant should not fast at all. Pretty much everyone can fast safely for at least one meal, providing you are in good general health. Anyone who is diabetic (type 1 or 2), has cardiac risk factors, history of eating disorders, kidney problems, or other known health concerns should consult with a licensed healthcare provider before considering any type of food fast.
Will fasting affect my metabolism?
Short fasts lasting no longer than 30 hours have not been proven to affect metabolism at all. The most important rule of fasting is to not overeat following a fast. Use the 80% full rule to fuel up after a fast. Always.
Can I lose weight fasting?
Short fast days will not help you lose permanent weight in and of themselves. What they will do is help you to develop discipline that will help you work towards your long term goals.
The ultimate goal should be to consume less, and to consume more goodness. We believe that less is more when it comes to food. Just so long as it’s quality, and received with gratitude and awareness.
There are cleansing programs that will help you lose weight temporarily, but unless you adopt regular healthy eating habits and develop them daily, you will not see lasting change.
Will I be the same person after I fast? What is it going to do to me?
Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t. Who do you want to be?
On a short fast, the worst you are going to experience is a little annoying hunger. You know; the kind when you want to get through your day, or tackle that next task, but you can’t because all you want is a sandwich or a giant organic salad? Imagine if you hadn’t the means or access to these things and push through – this awareness is the power of experiencing even the smallest real hunger pangs.
On a longer fast from food (up to 30 hours), you give your entire digestive tract a break. This allows the digestive tract to repair and clean from any irritation it may have been experiencing from a typical standard western diet. Your organs of elimination (bowels, liver, kidneys, lungs, skin) all work more efficiently because they are not dealing with daily onslaughts from food irritants.
On a longer fast, 24 hours or more, the following happens:
During the first 24-48 hrs of a longer fast you deplete your stores of carbohydrates (glycogen) which give you quick energy. Once glycogen gets low enough the body starts breaking down amino acids (building blocks for all proteins) in order to create energy. This period of preferentially using amino acids for energy can be brief, resulting in no net muscle loss or can be longer and cause mild muscle breakdown depending on your body type. There is no need to worry about the muscle wasting in a brief 24-48 hour fast because the amino acids are usually taken from proteins that need replaced or repaired anyway. Your body will eventually recognize that it only wants to break down so many proteins and will start using fat as the preferred energy source.
If you are fasting more the 48hrs, we strongly advise you to consult with someone who is qualified to assess your health for risks and can monitor you through the process.
What good is fasting really going to do to me?
Many people experience wonderful feelings of lightness and mental clarity after a real break from food. One can also expect to appreciate what real hunger feels like, instead of just those light pangs we feel when we’re craving an afternoon snack before dinner. Meals can become more special, and every bite is enjoyed.
Of course, if none of these things happen, just knowing you are doing good is enough, isn’t it?
What is the best way to break a fast?
This is the important part on longer fasts, as after the body has gone without food for a day, it is key to let it get back to regular eating gradually. Plus, binging after fasting for the good of yourself and others almost defeats the purpose, so be kind & gentle with yourself (you deserve it).
We recommend raw non-acidic fruit, steamed or lightly cooked vegetables, as well as grains like quinoa or rice. And definitely in smaller quantities, as on a longer fast, your stomach might shrink a little and it is important not to overload it.
Do I have to fast to support NSF?
Of course not. Not So Fast is a movement designed to inspire new ways of not only looking at food, but at life. There are many ways to get involved and we would love your support!
It’s never too late. You are never too old. We want to hear from you. We want to hear about your experiences fasting, and about your relationship to food, and your world.Tweet to us, write us a message on Facebook, or post a picture on Instagram.
Lets do this. Because we can.