What the hell is alternate day fasting?
Alternate day fasting is exactly what if sounds like, fasting for an entire day (24 hour fasting if you will) and doing it on alternate days of the week.
You can do it on Sunday and Wednesday, Tuesday and Friday, Monday and Thursday or what ever other combination you can think of.
The key is to pick two days and not eat for 24 hrs. Any more than two days and you see diminished returns. Another reason to keep your alternate day fasting to only 2 days per week is that anymore than that and it begins to get in the way of enjoying your life.
You want to enjoy your life right?
Thought so. Of course, you should pick the days that you’re going to fast according to when they will have the least effect on your social life and any important events that are going on. For example, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are the two ABSOLUTE WORST days you could choose to fast on…so don’t do it.
Alternate day fasting is not a walk in the park, however. Especially if you’re used to eating every few hours in the impression that you’re going to starve to death if it’s been 3 hours and 1 minute since you last shoved something in your mouth. HEY! Mind out of the gutter you!
Here are a few tips to make alternate day fasting bearable
1. Drink water
You should be doing this regardless, but even more so when you fast. Unless you’re fasting for religious reasons there is no point in holding back on water. Constantly sucking back some water will take your mind of any hunger pangs you might be feeling. Little factoid for you, your stomach can hold 32 ounce of water. So grab a water bottle that is 28oz-32oz and you have a full stomach of water only a few sips away. This won’t make you feel stuffed, but it will ease some of the empty feeling that comes with an empty stomach.
2. Make your water more filling
Psyllium husk is a great supplement for keeping you regular (IE it makes you poop good) and is great asset to let you to cheat your way through a fast. You see psyllium husk is an insoluble fiber which means it’s not broken down and absorbed by the body. It also expands in water. So take your 32oz bottle that you’ve been refilling all day and spoon in a serving or 2 of psyllium husk around lunch time and maybe again right before you go to bed. It’ll do double duty for you by helping you feel full and the keep things moving out back (hooray for puns!).
3. Chew on something
This one can be taken a couple ways. The first approach is to get a massive pack of sugar free spearmint gum and chew on it all day long. The chewing will keep your mind off of the hunger and the spearmint supposedly acts as an appetite suppressant. Just don’t start eating the gum, that’s no bueno.
The second way to approach this is to actually eat. Obviously I’m not talking about a burrito bowl from Chipotle. Broccoli, spinach and other very low calorie green vegetables aren’t going to ruin the entire alternate day fast. Eat them raw and without anything put on them (olive oil, cheese, dressing). This will have you chewing, getting some always beneficial green vegetables and ease the discomfort of doing an alternate day fast.
If you want to check out an incredible resource on alternate day fasting Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat has been the go to program for me for quite some time.