I hope your New Year has kicked off with a burst of positive energy and excitement. Speaking of which, let me share an incredible experience that unfolded for me right on New Year's Day – an unexpected adventure towards detoxification and renewal.
So, picture this: I receive a text from a close family member seeking guidance on embarking on a detox journey. My heart swelled with joy because, let's be honest, who doesn't love an opportunity to help a loved one on their path to wellness? This family member has been grappling with weight and health issues for years, and I was determined to offer the support she needed.
I started by explaining that a personalized approach is key, as everyone's body is unique. However, I promised to provide her with resources and unwavering support. Our conversations evolved, and she committed to the small yet powerful steps of increasing water intake and beginning her day with a warm glass of water – a fantastic start indeed!
Now, down the rabbit hole of health resources, I found myself recalling the effectiveness of intermittent fasting for my husband and me. I suggested she consider gradually narrowing her "eating window." My excitement led me to recommend a book by the incredible Dr. Mindy Pelz on fasting, and I even threw in details about an upcoming free 3-day water fast she was hosting.
Although my family member declined the offer, my husband and I decided to take the plunge ourselves. Trust me; it's not easy to fast when the aroma of delicious food is wafting through the air, so it is better that you do not have to smell food cooking during a fast ! Equipped with a blood glucose and ketone monitor for safety, we embarked on a journey that would challenge and transform us.
Day 1 - The first fifteen hours were as relatively easy as our excitement was high and we often fast for between twelve and fifteen hours. Also, we were feeling motivated to detox our bodies after the holiday stress and cholesterol festivities! A minor headache was the only physical effect I experienced but my husband had a pretty big one. We found that sipping a small amount of BLACK coffee really helped! .
Day 2 hit hard – first I woke up HANGRY! I know this feeling well and understood that my blood sugars were probably down around my ankles so I tested and indeed they were hovering in the low 50s…so I added some MCT oil to my quarter cup of coffee and 30 minutes later my blood sugar had stabilized and the fat from the MCT oil was allowing me to feel more satiated and not so hungry! The HANGRY monster came back a few hours later and I tamed him ( yep, it's a he, kinda like the cookie monster ) with distractions that I had planned out in advance. Some of my favorite distractions are walking, listening to my favorite podcasts, and or netflix binges ( gotta pick a juicy one that will entice you to forget about that monster lurking around and of course, NO cooking shows!) I also had lotsa water and extra minerals in the water helped…( I used watermelon flavored LMNT minerals as recommended by Dr Mindy )..it was the MOST delicious and satisfying water I EVER tasted!
I thought I was “safe” and was congratulating myself as I drifted off to sleep..then around 2 am I woke up to intense lower back pain and a pounding headache which threatened to derail my commitment. But armed with my reasons for starting this journey (post-holiday indulgence and a desire to shed a few pounds), I soldiered on. The turning point? A realization that the discomfort was a beautiful sign – my body was detoxing and healing.
Now, here's where it got real. As a breath coach, I found myself forgetting the basics amid the intensity. Anxious and struggling, I shifted my focus to deep, intentional breathing. Counting each breath in and out, I used it as a tool to calm my mind and body. The pain, a loud signal of detoxification, gradually subsided.
And there it was – within ten minutes, I drifted into a peaceful slumber, victorious over the challenge that almost broke me. The next morning, as the sun rose, I felt a renewed sense of energy and accomplishment.
Day 3, the last day, we experienced a burst of energy and clarity and were also motivated by having released weight. I released 4 pounds and (of course) my husband doubled that by releasing 8 pounds. I want to note that it is scientifically proven that men burn fat and release weight with more ease than women ( doesn't seem “fair” but it's just how it goes)..... And here is the bonus I was not expecting, I felt an incredible connection to the divine. I was able to journal and get clear on how I wanted to feel and what I wanted to experience this coming year which also inspired me to finally complete my vision board! We celebrated our win and the feeling of accomplishment was HUGE…we are now moving forward with a renewed commitment to clean eating!
What is fasting? It means you stop eating completely, or almost completely, for a certain stretch of time. Fasting has been around for 100s of years and is common to just about every major religious tradition, like Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.
Why embark on a fasting journey, you ask? The world of fasting can offer a plethora of benefits, each contingent on the duration of your fast. Here are some common advantages:
Detoxification and Inflammation Cleanup: Fasting aids in detoxifying your body and rectifying inflammation that may have resulted from indulgent periods, like holidays or vacations, yessss, it was fun but now you feel pretty sluggish and may be in a “food coma”.
Enhanced Brain Function and Cognition: Experience improved cognitive function as a notable outcome of fasting. Hello Clarity!
Cold Prevention: Fasting may serve as a preventive measure against the common cold, especially when exposed to sneezing co-workers or neighbors who claim it's” just allergies”....yeah…right!
Hormonal Balance: For those navigating pre, peri, or post-menopausal stages, fasting can contribute to balancing sex hormones.
Recovery from Antibiotic Use: Fasting can assist in repairing gut health after the disruptive effects of antibiotics, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Metabolic Shift: Initiate a transition from sugar burning to fat burning, potentially leading to weight loss and reduced cholesterol.
Clean up the lymphatic system!
These represent just a few of my preferred "side effects" of fasting. The body possesses an innate ability to heal itself, and fasting stands out as a miraculous tool in this regard.
Preparing for a fast: I think it is ideal to prepare a week before as this definitely sets you up for success…
Here are a few important things to consider when preparing for a fast:
Mindset is important. Get excited as you’re getting ready to detox your body. Most importantly know your WHY! Why do you want to do it? To release pounds, to improve health, to clear up brain fog?
Remove the bad oils and add the good oils into your diet
Good oils are : Olive, Coconut, avocado oil
Bad oils are : Canola oil (even organic canola oil), Vegetable oils like Crisco, both solid and liquid versions, Cottonseed oils, Corn oils, Sunflower oil (exception: Andreas Seed oils), Safflower oil, Soybean oil, and Margarine
Eat nature’s carbs, not man-made carbs (avoid processed, packaged foods)
Remove toxins from your diet including “natural flavors” (spoiler alert- they’re not natural) and also remove processed sugars. I have a free guide listing the 200 Hidden Names of Sugar to help you find the less obvious sugar sources!
Load up on high quality protein in the days before a fast.
Plan in advance what you will do INSTEAD of breaking your fast, it will get hard so knowing that and knowing how you will handle it is KEY!
How can I get started? If you would like to learn more about the power of fasting and the science behind it, I highly recommend checking out Dr. Mindy Pelz and her resources on her website.
I want to stress that my ability to accomplish this feat is rooted in decades of commitment to my health journey and the tools and knowledge I've acquired over time. I started with small, incremental habit changes, gradually incorporating them into my lifestyle until they became second nature. You too can embark on this journey by initiating a single change – perhaps adjusting your eating window by 30 minutes weekly, gradually transitioning into regular intermittent fasting. Consider simple shifts like drinking a glass of water before your morning coffee, eliminating processed sugar, or substituting "bad" oils with healthier alternatives. Whatever your chosen step, take it, and remember, I'm here to offer support if needed! I am always cheering you on! You can connect with me here www.goodenlife.com