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Rest at its best !

As I mentioned in my previous article (which I invite you to read if you haven't yet =)), exhaustion, like stress, is a general problem. These two phenomena are closely linked ; for the majority of the time, stress results from chronic exhaustion.

If you've been following my news recently, you should know what I'm going to talk about in this article. I'm not going to make the suspense last any longer for those of you who don't : it's fasting.

And now you're probably thinking, "But she's completely insane, fasting when you're exhausted already is masochism ! "... a state of mind that is understandable, if you are not familiar with the concept of fasting.

But through this article, I will show you that the two are not necessarily contradictory, quite the contrary ! Fasting is the ultimate form of rest !

Basal metabolism

It is the energy your body uses at rest to maintain its vital functions : digestion, breathing, thermoregulation, cardiac and nervous activity. And digestion is a very energy consuming process ; it can take up to 80% of it !

You have most probably already experienced this big slow after eating a hearty meal (especially if it was mostly starchy foods and proteins !) Well, now you can see why this happens. Especially since digestion is a rather long process (between 24 and 72 hours depending on the content of the food bowl) which induces the production of "toxins", or waste, which must then be eliminated... or not... because most of us have a very tired elimination system... which, as you can imagine, can also be the cause of your exhaustion !

Anyway, you may be starting to see things more clearly : if you reduce your food intake, it is therefore a considerable gain of energy for your body, which it can use for other things (tissue regeneration, nerve balance, and... your daily activities ^^).

A delicious fruit salad I had in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland (wait and read the rest of the article to understand why this picture is here :p)

Back to homeostasis

I mentioned it in my previous article, homeostasis is the state of equilibrium to which your body constantly tends to return, when the optimal conditions are respected.And I'm going to teach you something amazing ; homeostasis is nothing more than a state of complete health ! It is the nature of life : it is a law of nature. This is where fasting takes on its full meaning, because it allows this law to take effect, it is a global return to homeostasis : your endocrine, nervous, cardiac, eliminative and of course digestive systems will benefit greatly !It is detox at its best, a global cleansing, because it greatly optimizes the eliminating functions of your body. By the way, did you know that many sick or injured animals fast in order to optimize their healing ?

Multiple virtues

It is a known fact, the benefits of fasting and calory restriction have been scientifically proven to be an effective way to prevent many degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cancer (don't hesitate to read the scientific study that is inserted here).

Fasting also improves weight loss and boosts the production of a growth hormone, HGH, oh so sought after by bodybuilders, because it contributes to muscle mass gain and fat loss.

It also helps normalizing ghrelin levels, the hormone that stimulates appetite, thus reaching satiety more quickly.

And finally, you should know that the people with the longest life expectancy in the world, in Okinawa, practice food restriction on a daily basis. Fasting therefore slows down aging in general.

Typical Okinawan bento, made from local vegetables, grown on Iriomote Island

What about deficiencies ?

If you are not normally deficient in anything, you will not be deficient when fasting ! Don't worry, your body has many resources and will be able to handle it wonderfully.

In practice

Although this may come as a surprise, there are several types of fasting :

  • Dry fasting, the most common form of fasting, in which people abstain from food and water for a given period of time ;

  • Water fasting, where only food is not allowed ;

  • Fruit fasting, where only whole fruit (or fruit and leefy green juices) are allowed, because they assimilate quickly and produce very few toxins ;

  • Intermittent fasting, where a period of fasting is alternated with a period of food intake (in general, over a 24-hour day, the breakdown is based on a 16 hours of fasting / 8 hours of food intake ratio).

Which one to chose ?

As always, the best way to go about this is to listen to your body, because your journey is probably different from mine. It is quite possible to alternate between these different types of fasting. There are no rules. Go gradually.

This being said,, if you are not used to fasting, you can start with intermittent fasting, which is usually the easiest, especially if you work.

From personal experience, and according to many people around me, when you have more experience with fasting, then dry fasting becomes the easiest ; or at least it is the case for longer fasting periods (especially compared to water fasting, because when you drink water, you have the feeling yout body is "waiting" for something, i.e. food...). And it is also the most effective form of fasting in terms of benefits.

It is normal at first to feel tired from fasting, especially if you are not used to it. But your body is a great machine that adapts all the time, and you will see later that this fatigue will disappear and give way to a renewed flow of energy.

My experience

I won't spend too much time on this because I have written an article about this topic already, but by doing a fruit fast, I was able to recover from a bad injury and run again two months after a marathon that went wrong, when my doctor had told me at the time that I would need a year... My sister also completely recovered from an ankle sprain in 4 days thanks to a watermelon juice fast.

I do intermittent fasting almost every day, and I sometimes do fruit fasts that last a few days. I also dry fast on or two days per week. My longest dry fast was 48h long.

It is worth noting that I perform much better in sports when I fast. I have an easier time concentrating too.

In any case, know that you get into any kind of fasting, you can be proud of yourself, because it requires considerable commitment and mental strength, in an environment where temptations are everywhere !

Feel free to let me know if you go down this road ! It is always more encouraging to know that you are supported =)

Finally, know that fasting, like cold exposure, is part of what is called hormesis, or the stimulating of your body with external agression to make it become stronger.

Thank you for reading me :D

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