Tools for fasting success: What you need

Losing weight and becoming healthier isn’t about buying expensive plans or special food.

It’s not about fancy gym memberships costing tens of thousands of dollars a year either.

I know this. I’ve tried these methods, and none of them worked.

To lose weight, you need to fast regularly. This will burn off the sugar in your system, then lower your overall calorie intake over the long term.

The good thing is, you don’t need many tools to fast successfully.

Tools for fasting successfully

Scales: You need a reliable scale – or a pair of tight-fitting jeans to measure your loss by. I prefer the “jeans method” myself!

Water bottle: You also need a decent sized water bottle to keep at your workplace and carry around with you. Drinking plenty of water is the key to successful fasting – it helps physically as well as emotionally, because you feel like you’re having something, even though you’re not.

Teas: I find a selection of lovely, high quality teas helps me work through difficult periods of a fast, especially for the times of the day when the rest of the family is eating and I’m not. I curl up in a ball on the sofa, and sip my tea, and I feel like I’m enjoying a treat and some solitude, rather than depriving myself.

Keeping busy: Keeping yourself busy is critical to a successful fast. I usually start my fasts on a Sunday night, so I’m fasting on work days, and am busy. The hardest times are weekends or times when I don’t have a lot to do, and food starts taking over my brain.

A notebook: You may find a little notebook useful. I write down how I’m feeling, how I’m coping, and even a ridiculous list of “all the food I want to eat right now” when times are tough on a fast. Weirdly enough, when I actually write down the foods I’m craving, the cravings go away. Maybe it’s because I usually crave junk food, but when you actually think about junk food deeply, you realise it doesn’t actually taste that good!

Waterfasting forum: The waterfasting forum s a great support network for people who are fasting. Keeping in touch with like-minded individuals who are going through the same things you are going through can really help a lot. There’s a link on this page. It’s free, and very worthwhile.

Metamucil: While technically a “cheat”, it you feel like you desperately need something in your stomach, a teaspoon of metamucil in some water can really help you feel full. It can also help if you find yourself constipated, which can happen to some people when they fast.

Diary: Everyone fasts differently. I tend to fast from most Sunday nights, continuing through the week until I stop, usually lasting anywhere between 3 and 5 days. That works for me. Others find alternate day fasting works better. Do what works for you. But keeping a diary of when you fast and for how long is invaluable in tracking your progress, what works and what doesn’t and why. Add comments on how you felt, what made you stop if you stopped earlier than expected, and how you’re feeling at various points during the fast.

Happy fasting!

Goal weight: What’s yours?

Are goal weights just fantasy? Do they even make sense from a health perspective?

Everyone who has ever struggled with being overweight has a perfect weight they’d like to be.

For me, being a tall woman with a large frame, my goal weight is around 65 kgs /145 pounds.

Despite the fact that, as an adult I’ve never been that weight, I still have the idea firmly stuck in my head that if only I can reach that weight, everything will be roses, I’ll be perfect, my life will be incredible.

All thanks to a number on a scale.

It doesn’t make sense when you think about it logically. Thinking about it logically, what really makes sense is a) not allowing yourself to get obese in the first place and b) if you are obese, eating well, including fasting in your lifestyle, and heading in the right direction for health.

In other words, it doesn’t really matter how slowly you lose weight. It also doesn’t really matter whether you reach a “goal” or not. What matters is that, this time next year, you’d doing better and feeling better than you are right now.

Having an unattainable goal weight stuck in your head might just be making you miserable. That’s not the key to long life or happiness at all. Time and again, when we interview centenarians, they say “being content” was key to their long life. They all seem to be genuinely happy, thankful people.

So stop fixating on your “goal weight” that may or may not happen. Instead, think of some ways that you can make your life better in a genuine way, that may not have anything at all to do with weight. Go for daily walks with a friend or loved one, volunteer at a charity, write and share something useful and positive, fast for a few days and focus on your own wellbeing and spirituality while you do so.

It doesn’t matter how you make your own life better. Everyone’s version of happiness is different. Just like everyone’s goal weight. Which might or might not ever happen.

So smile. Be content. Be happy. Enjoy the sun when it shines.

Life is too short for numbers on a scale anyway!