Fasting used to get quite a bad rap back in the day, with the concept being associated with sending the body into starvation mode. However, more recently, the research is showing that intermittent fasting is having significant effects on not only weight loss, but also life longevity.
The 5:2 Diet has seen quite amazing results, where clients consume less than 500 calories on 2 days and then eat as normal on the other 5 days. Others have achieved results from fasting from 4pm – 9am and still eating the same throughout the day.
The science seems to be showing that our bodies need time to do other processes rather than just our digestion. With the introduction of the ‘6 meals a day for a fast metabolism’ by the fitness industry, it’s no wonder that our body spends majority of its time digesting.
I work with most of my clients in increasing the amount of time between meals, and helping them to eat only three meals a day. That way, there are more hours throughout the day that their body is able to focus on the core functions.
It’s all a bit of an experiment again – because of bio-individuality – to determine what works for your body!
For February I am going to ‘fast’ from alcohol. I don’t actually drink that much throughout the year, but our body treats alcohol as a poison and can cause a build-up of toxins in the body. The five stages of detoxification within the liver are significantly hindered every time we drink alcohol, so giving the body a complete break can do wonders.
The benefits of doing a month without alcohol have been shown as:
· 62% lose weight
· 81% save money
· 60% become more productive
· 44% get better sleep
Still not convinced you can do it? A recent study has shown that just ONE month without alcohol can reduce your risk of longer-term illness like heart disease! That’s just 30 days to achieve a huge reduction in one of the biggest killers here in Australia.
So how do you do it? How do you give up that nightly glass of wine, or that weekend beer, or that Sunday afternoon cider?
1. Drink more. That’s right you heard me. But I mean everything ELSE other than alcohol. Water will become your closest ally. But it doesn’t have to just be plain water. Spice it up with some fruit to add flavour, or have some fizz to make it more exciting. Plus with all the extra water flushing through your system, your detoxification will happen a lot quicker!
TIP: Try to stay clear of soft drinks as a replacement!
2. Add up the savings. Spend the weekend before you start the fast calculating what you would spend on average per week on alcohol. You’d be surprised at how quickly it can add up! Then, use that money at the end of the month to reward yourself for completing the challenge. It may be a trip away. It may be that you put it into saving for something special. Imagine how much you’d save if you did it three times a year.
TIP: Use that money for something USEFUL so you feel like it was worth it. Don’t just blow it on a boozy weekend when you’re finished!
3. Get your friends involved. It’s much easier to do this challenge when there are others around you also competing. They’re not going to be there tempting you with another alcoholic beverage, and you can experiment with activities to do together that don’t require alcohol.
TIP: get your friends to sign up on a FB group so you can support each other and keep yourselves accountable.
4. Identify your trigger. If you know when you are more likely to reach for the alcohol that is the first step in helping to quit for your fast. Is it when you’re stressed? Is it at social occasions? Is it just something you do mindlessly every evening now and you don’t remember why? Picking up on your established habits is the first step to creating new ones which leads up to point five…
TIP: keep a record for one week to discover what your triggers are.
5. Create a new ritual. A lot of drinking is centred around an established ritual; a wine while cooking dinner, a beer after work to wind down, a bottle of champagne on the weekend to celebrate an event. Rituals are great to have – as long as they’re healthy! Try replacing your current drinking ritual with a healthier alternative. Instead of using a beer to wind down after work go for a walk or run, or use the time for meditation, or have a relaxing bubble bath. The options are endless!
TIP: Repeat the new habit for 28 days and it becomes a ritual.
If you want to keep yourself really accountable, sign up for Feb Fast HERE. You can register a team or as an individual and your registration helps support disadvantaged youth. It doesn’t have to just be alcohol that you give up – it can be sugar or shopping or something else that you feel you may have become a little too addicted too!