Lent is a sacred season of the Christian faithful marked by outward signs, popular rituals, rich symbols and holy days. This culture is familiar with the start of this holy time on Ash Wednesday.
Yes, it is good to participate in activities that draw you closer to your creator yet it is wise to do it in such a manner that doesn’t hurt you.
Fasting has been linked to a range of potential health benefits which are linked to longevity and a lower risk of disease. Thus, people who fast regularly often hope to lose weight or live a healthier and longer life.
However, the other side of the coin is, fasting can be dangerous if not done properly.
Here are 10 tips to help you fast safely.
Keep Fasting Periods Short:
There is no single way to fast; meaning that the duration of your fast is up to you.
A short fast period of 8–24 hours is advisable. However, some people choose to undertake much longer fasts of 48 and even up to 72 hours. Here’s what you need to know; longer fast periods increase your risk of problems associated with fasting such as dehydration, irritability, mood changes, fainting, hunger, a lack of energy and inability to focus.
So, the best way to avoid these side effects is to stick to shorter fasting periods especially when you’re just starting out. Please talk to your doctor before you increase your fasting period to more than 72 hours.
Eat a Small Amount on Days of Fasting:
Since fasting involves the removal of some or all food and drink for a period of time, some fasting patterns allow you to consume up to around 25% of your calorie requirements in a day.
You can still eat small amounts on your fast days may be a safer option than doing a full-blown fast.
This helps make fasting more sustainable since you likely won’t feel as hungry as you would if you went the whole mile.
Stay Hydrated: Dehydration at whatever stage, fasting can result in fatigue, dry mouth, thirst and headaches and this is why it is vital to drink enough fluid on a fast.
Because you get around 20–30% of the fluid your body needs from food, it’s quite easy to get dehydrated while on a fast. Most health authorities recommend that you aim to drink 8.5–13 cups (2–3 liters) of water over the course of the day. However, your thirst should be an indication of when you need to drink more, so listen to your body.
Go for Walks or Meditate:
To avoid eating on fast days, especially at the start, can be difficult.
One way to avoid unintentionally breaking your fast is to keep busy ensuring you don’t exert too much energy.
Activities that do not take up too much energy such as walking and meditating would help keep your mind engaged. You could take a bath, read a book or listen to a podcast.
Don’t Break Fasts With a Feast:
It can be very tempting after a period of restriction to celebrate by eating a huge meal. Please don’t do that because breaking your fast with a feast could leave you feeling bloated and tired.
Since your overall calorie quota impacts your weight, consuming excessive calories after a fast will reduce your calorie deficit. So, the best way to break a fast is to continue eating normally and get back into your regular eating routine.
Quit Fasting If You Feel Unwell:
If you do become ill or are concerned about your health, make sure you stop fasting straight away and speak to your doctor.
Some signs that tell you should stop your fast and seek medical help include tiredness or weakness that prevents you from carrying out daily tasks, as well as unexpected feelings of sickness and discomfort.
Eat Enough Protein:
One way to minimize your muscle loss while fasting is to ensure you are eating enough protein as one of the benefits include managing your hunger.
Some studies suggest that consuming around 30% of a meal’s calories from protein can significantly reduce your appetite. Therefore, eating some protein on fast days could help reduce some of fasting’s side effects.
Fasting Isn’t for Everyone:
Although fasting for short periods is generally considered safe, the following categories of people shouldn’t attempt to fast without consulting a medical professional:
• People with a medical condition like heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
• Women who are trying to conceive.
• Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
• People who have problems with blood sugar regulation.
• People with low blood pressure.
• Those who are taking prescription medications.
• Older adults.
• People who are underweight.
• Those who have experienced an eating disorder.
With these tips, Ibiene wishes you a successful lengthen season. Please share this with family and friends to build a healthier society.