9 Tips For Sailing Through a 3-Day Modified Fast
If you haven’t heard the news, modified fasting is a simple, doable alternative to water fasting that delivers the same incredible health benefits — without the hunger pangs.
Keep these 9 tips in mind to sail through your modified fast!
In this article:
- Tip #1: An Ounce of Preparation
- Tip #2: Don’t Go It Alone!
- Tip #3: Drink Lots of Water
- Tip #4: Follow a Meal Plan
- Tip #5: Avoid Grocery Shopping While Fasting
- Tip #6: Spread Your Mini-Meals Out Evenly
- Tip #7: Be Proactive About Emotional Eating
- Tip #8: K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple & Scrumptious
- Tip #9: Get Lots of Rest, and Listen to Your Body!
- TLDR: Tips for Sailing Through a Modified Fast
Tip #1: An Ounce of Preparation...
Modified fasting is about as simple as it gets — which is why some people are tempted to dive right in without taking a little time to prepare. But as usual, an ounce of preparation is worth your time! By understanding the basic guidelines of modified fasting, you’ll ensure good results and a good experience fasting. Here’s the 4-1-1:
- Eat all of your mini-meals with a set 8-12 hour eating window. Please continue to hydrate outside of this window, but don’t consume additional calories. When you eat is just as important as what you eat during a modified fast.
- Eat between 650-800 calories of clean, nutrient-dense food each day during your eating window.
Tip #2: Don’t Go It Alone!
There’s a reason we’re more likely to attend a group exercise class than a YouTube demo in our basement. Support from a group of likeminded people, going through the very same thing you are, can make a big difference to your morale and confidence as you fast.
Whether you decide to do a modified fast with a friend, a spouse, or even the online Modified Fasting Support Community that we’ve started just for this reason, having a network of support can help you find answers to any questions you might have, offer reassurance if Herxheimer cleansing reactions pop up, and encourage you to keep going if the occasional hunger pang arises.
Tip #3: Drink Lots of Water
Pure, filtered water is always important. Even 1% dehydration can really do a number on your body and vital organs over time! But during a modified fast, proper hydration and electrolyte balance can make all the difference between sailing through your modified fast feeling amazing, versus dragging yourself to the finish line with a killer headache.
While you fast, your body will enter autophagy, or recycling mode. Your cells will clear out waste, toxins, broken components, and damaged protein sequences. How will it flush that debris from your body? Water, of course! Drink at least two quarts of water each day, along with any other fast-friendly liquids as you desire. If you notice yourself feeling lightheaded or getting a headache despite lots of water, it could be a sign of electrolyte depletion. Sip on some lemon water or celery juice (low in calories and high in electrolytes) to feel better quickly.
Tip #4: Follow a Meal Plan
Following a meal plan or using a premade fasting kit can make your modified fast (especially your first time fasting!) that much simpler.
By following a set plan of recipes (either one you make yourself, or this one), you can feel confident that you are staying beneath the calorie requirements for a modified fast, to get the best possible results. You’ll also avoid “calorie creep,” which can happen if you attempt to measure calorie calculations in your head as you go throughout the day. It’s all too easy to underestimate or overestimate portion sizes or calorie counts, particularly when you’re eating a very low calorie amount.
Tip #5: Avoid Grocery Shopping While Fasting
Get everything you need for your three-day fast BEFORE you begin fasting. While your mini meals will be delicious and satisfying, they’re no match for the smell of rotisserie chicken and pizza in the deli at the grocery store!
Stock up on anything you’ll need, including any herbal tea, leafy greens, and fresh lemons to flavor your water while you fast. You can use this ready-made meal plan, along with a handy printable grocery shopping list to take with you to the store!
Tip #6: Spread Your Mini-Meals Out Evenly
For the best experience during your modified fast, stick to a schedule of when you’ll eat your mini meals, and keep them to about 150 calories each. Not only will it give you something to look forward to every few hours, but it will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels at a stable, steady level (instead of spiking suddenly should you combine several mini meals into one).
While it can be tempting to eat several meals at once, this seems like a good idea for approximately the amount of time it takes to finish the big meal. After that, you'll realize that you now have zero food left for the rest of the day!
Tip #7: Be Proactive About Emotional Eating
Most of us eat our emotions to one degree or another. So what can you do for those inevitable urges to eat out of boredom, stress, or sadness? Don’t let it derail your fast! Make a plan. Take this opportunity to root emotional eating out of your life by finding other ways to self-soothe.
Get into podcasts, stock up on good books and carve out some reading time in your day, learn the art of meditation, or start a habit of going for a daily walk or jog. Whatever it takes, just don’t eat those feelings! Other ways to deal with the urge to eat your emotions (or to eat in response to the occasional hunger pang) include chewing natural, sugar-free gum or making yourself a delicious, zero-calorie fast-friendly drink.
Tip #8: K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple & Scrumptious
Keep those mini meals simple! While there are some absolutely fantastic recipes that fit the bill in terms of calorie count and nutrient-dense whole foods out there, I strongly recommend that you make simplicity a qualifier too.
Keep each mini meal simple, satisfying, and easy to make; ideally, prep will take just a few minutes. Not only will this keep you from making choices between meal prep and a cookie in the middle of your fast (when you might be feeling slightly vulnerable), but it will allow you to use the extra time in your day to relax, rest, and rejuvenate. Instead of extra meal prep time, take a power nap, read a good book, or call a friend!
Tip #9: Get Lots of Rest, and Listen to Your Body!
Last but definitely not least, set yourself up for success by listening to your body and getting plenty of good-quality rest during your fast.
Take the opportunity to get better in touch with your body’s signals. By clearing out waste and repairing your cells through autophagy, those signals will become clearer than ever. Make it a point to get at least eight hours of high-quality sleep each night of your fast. And while light exercise like swimming, walking, or cycling is a fantastic idea, don’t feel compelled to push yourself hard and tax your adrenals or kidneys, which are doing a lot of important, intensive work during a fast.
BONUS: In this video, I share more tips for keeping hunger at bay while doing a modified fast.
TLDR: Tips for Sailing Through a Modified Fast
Modified fasting is so simple that pretty much anyone can do it. But a few helpful tips can help you sail through the experience.
Make sure to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and plan your meals with special attention to simplicity, proper calorie count, and nutrient-dense clean foods. You’ll want to be sure to grocery shop ahead of time, and use a meal plan and shopping list to make the process that much simpler and easier! Make sure to plan for emotional eating urges, and find a support group for questions and moral support. Follow these steps, and you’ll be all set to successfully complete your first modified fast!
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
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