Podcast 3: Your Fast Day Survival Kit
Episode 3: Your Fast Day Survival Kit is now available!
Are you trying through your first fast day, or do you need a boost on your fasting journey? This episode will get you through – thanks to Kate’s top 5 tips, a list of reasons why this approach works so well, plus the honest diary of her own first fast day.
PS: if you’re more of a visual person, there’s a shorter YouTube video I made on the same subject over here!
Kate’s top 5 fast day tips:
Remember, there are some people who shouldn’t follow this diet: children and teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. If you take medication have a pre-existing medical condition, including Type 2 diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes. In addition, anyone with a history of eating disorders should definitely not undertake this without talking to their doctor or specialist.But if you have the all clear to fast, here are my 5 top tips…
Fast Day Tip 1: Make a Plan
Work out what you’re going to eat on your fast day – and stick to it. Soups and salads are a great way to start, whether you make them yourself or buy ready-made. Also decide when to eat – many people find it helpful to postpone eating as late as possible in the day.
Emergency snack – dinner time.
Fast Day Tip 2: Drinking helps!
So long as the drinks are alcohol and calorie free! They’re a great distraction from any hunger pangs. I love strong black coffee – or try herb teas. If you like milk, make sure you count the calories. I also have a big bottle of fizzy water to hand, though everything in meditation.
Fast Day Tip 3: Distract yourself!
Most of us have forgotten how it feels to be a bit hungry, so it feels unsettling. The best way to deal with it is to keep busy. Fast at work – Or at home, take a short walk, phone a friend, or save up boring jobs like sewing on buttons. I promise you the hunger pangs will pass.
Fast Day Tip 4: Join the club
Joining a 5:2 group online is a great source of support. The one I set up with a few friends now has over 35,000 members and there’s always someone there to cheer you on or inspire you with their story. Join in for free.
Fast Day Tip 5: Remember – tomorrow you can eat what you want…
Thus kept me going – knowing that, unlike every other diet I’d ever tried, with 5:2 I could eat normally the next day. You might worry it may make you binge, but most of us find that the next day, we’re savouring our food too much to overeat. And when nothing is forbidden, the cravings disappear.
Some of the physical effects you may feel during your first fasts include:
- Headaches These are common with most dietary changes due to dehydration and/or changes to blood sugar. These should settle over time, but drinking plenty of water – or taking your usual painkiller will help.
- Feeling cold This is common in winter, partly because you aren’t generating heat through digesting food. Try hot drinks and wear extra socks!
- Irritability You may feel grumpy at first and that’s the lack of blood sugar again. Try to build in another non-food treat to look forward to: a long hot bath, a hand massage, your favourite TV show.
- Digestive changes You may experience digestive changes as you’re not eating as much. This means you may not need to open your bowels, or you may find that the next day your digestion is slower (or faster) than normal. Most people find that their digestion settles.
If you are feeling really unwell/faint, then have a nutritious snack on standby on those first days, like a handful of nuts/trail mix or a high-protein cereal bar, and take medical advice before trying a second fast.
Motivation and inspiration
Everyone who succeeds with intermittent fasting says the same thing: it feels so different to other diets. I think this is because:
- 5:2 doesn’t ban any foods, or food types, which means we’re much less likely to get cravings.
- It’s flexible and empowers you to make our own decisions about when and what to eat.
- The Fast Days re-educate us about our appetite, the energy in foods and making healthy choices.
- Commercial interests do not lead 5:2. There are no supplements, paid-for services or branded foods.
- There’s endless support and help available online.
- Plus fasting in itself can help the body heal.
Don’t forget, for much more information, go to our get-started section or read one of the four 5:2 books, which have inspiring stories, practical tips, lots of background information – and delicious recipes.