I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about intermittent fasting lately and I thought I would check into it. I personally have not had any experience with fasting longer than missing a meal or two when busy at work. Usually after skipping a meal my stomach is growling, I’m cranky and in survival mode looking for something to eat.
I have heard plenty of stories of people having success with fasting to lose weight and heal their bodies, but I felt like this wasn’t for me. I stumbled across The Complete Guide to Fasting on Amazon and based on the title, I thought I would check it out (I thought maybe I could become a fasting guru, which is laughable).
The book starts with the co-author Jimmy Moore (author of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog and host of the same named podcast) sharing his experiences with fasting. He explains that in the past his diet was not great and eventually a low carb diet helped him lose a lot of weight before he (although skeptical) gave intermittent fasting a chance. He tried fasting every other day for 24 hours at a time and couldn’t last a whole week on his first try.
A few years later however, he tried again but doing 18-20 hours between meals and had great success with it, eventually becoming very comfortable with it. Taking it a step further, he began experimenting with extended fasting, beginning with one week without food and going up to a month. After reading this I felt inspired. For him to improve his ability with fasting from struggling with short periods of time without food to going a month with little trouble gave me hope that I could learn to fast as well.
Dig into the Science
The rest of the book is authored by Jason Fung, MD who founded the Intensive Dietary Management Program in Toronto and uses fasting techniques to help his patients. The book is written very clearly and for an information filled 300 pages, it reads quickly and is easy to follow. The best part is it is full of charts and graphs showing levels of blood glucose, blood ketones, LDL cholesterol, weight, basal metabolic rate, growth hormones and anything else you would want to monitor during fasting. Having the science available to reassure me that fasting is safe and beneficial eased any concerns I had on the topic.
Throughout the book are quotes and interviews from other doctors, those with experience fasting and others from the health scene giving their thoughts on the topic. The end of each chapter has a list of resources supporting Dr. Fung’s research to give you more sources to continue your own studies.
After two chapters covering the history of fasting around the world and busting some of the many myths about this topic, the book dives right into the advantages of it. If I am going to put myself through this experience, I want to know what I am getting out of it. Dr. Fung presents very good information supporting his findings.
Fasting can not only help with weight loss, but can also lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation, increase metabolism, improve mental function and energy, help treat diabetes and prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. After these chapters I was sold, they addressed my concerns and I was ready to reap these benefits.
The Complete Guide to Fasting goes in depth on different types of fasting, spanning from short 12 hour fasts, to two to three week long fasts. Dr. Fung explains what is going on in your body at different times, from improved insulin resistance at 12 hours to reaching goal weight and improving diabetic conditions with 36 hour fasts. There are even plans to assist with an intermittent fasting program to get started.
Recipes in a Fasting Book?
My favorite thing about this book is that it really holds your hand and guides you into the world of fasting. It gives tips and tricks for overcoming hunger, what you can eat and drink during a fast and lets you know what to expect. I think the scariest part for many is not knowing how a fast can go without prior experience so I felt better with this guide.
The end of the book contains several recipes to incorporate into your new health regimen. This rounds out the book as an overall health program rather than just a cure-all. The recipes are similar to Paleo or Bulletproof diets and are grain and sugar free. Recipes for bone broth and bulletproof coffee are expected, and homemade bacon, frittatas, fajitas and cauliflower pizza round this chapter out. These are all healthier alternatives to foods I already like and they are easy to incorporate into my daily diet.
After reading this book I have begun experimenting with an 18 hour fast daily and have had great results. I only eat between 1 or 2pm to 7 or 8pm rather than snacking throughout the day. I feel like I have more control over my diet because of this and am not being controlled by my appetite. Best part is, I don’t feel hungry anymore and this is helping me to clean up my diet even more without having to deal with cravings. The longest I have fasted so far is 44 hours and it was not difficult, I only quit because of mental weakness on the second day, but I believe in the future I can easily sustain it past that thanks to this guide. Overall this is a very helpful book to introduce you to the world of fasting and to make you think more about your current lifestyle and improve your relationship with food.
Get your copy of The Complete Guide to Fasting here to learn more and try it out for yourself!