I like to think that I lead by example, and for most of my daily life I take extra steps to ensure that I go through the hoops to present myself appropriately. For example, I take the extra 30 seconds to walk to the crosswalk, I always go chest to the floor in a push up, and I will pull over to answer a phone call when driving. When my students or clients ask me how something works, or what they should feel when they are trying something new, I make sure that I try it before I can give them a definitive answer. As an example, I recently had someone ask me what they should do when finishing a fairly lengthly fast. Because I haven’t had much experience fasting, I decided to give it a try.
My first fast was a skipped pre bedtime meal until breakfast. This went off without a hitch so I decided to lengthen the next fast a week later to 17 hours. This meant no bed time snack, no breakfast and then a few more hours until 11:00am. Again, no problems. Both times I simply carried on with a regular meal and I continued throughout my day as planned.
My most recent fast was Thursday night into Friday until dinner time. I had read about people binging to complete their fast with negative effects so I figured I should try it so that I could have a strong understanding of what happens when one eats a horse after a period of no food.
During my 21 hour fast I also decided to try a workout and found that the first couple of minutes were slow, until my body realized that it was in exercise mode and then everything pretty much went as it usually does in the workout phase. I drank water and tea throughout the day, and I did not eat anything from 9:00pm until dinner time the next day which happened to be at Boston Pizza because my wife wanted to get out with the kids and meet her parents.
This was fine, and I decided it would be a perfect time to see what happens when I go a bit overboard after not having to deal with food throughout the day. I ordered the spinach salad, asked for a chicken breast, a side of guacamole, and a bowl of chili along side a large chocolate milk and a large water. Generally, I would only have the water, the salad, the chicken breast and the guacamole.
I finished the food and was feeling a bit full, a bit groggy and the discussion regarding Dairy Queen’s 25th anniversary special came up so I thought this was a great opportunity to hit the ice cream and top off the fast with a bang.
After cruching my Chocolate Extreme 12oz Blizzard my wife passed me hers which was half full and without questioning the extra sugar blast, I downed it as well. Next, I looked to my right and saw a bowl of Cows chocolate caramel candies and grabbed a few for the road.
15 minutes later I was on the toilet with major stomach pains, pushing out a very smelly and uncomfortable load of crap! Once finished I went into the living room and hit the floor in the supine position until 20 minutes later the pains came rushing back, and there I was again on the toilet with a knife in my guts pinching out some more smelly stuff, but this time it was the squirts!
My theory on this experience is that when one is coming off a lengthly fast, they should take it easy, and ease into their routine bit by bit while leaving the high glycemic tasty stuff at the store! If I were able to travel back into the past, I would have had the water, the spinach salad with the chicken breast and the side of guacamole. This would have been enough as I wasn’t even hungry entering the restaurant!
Here are my suggestions on how to finish a fast:
1. Take your time, and have something small with a god balance of protein/fat and a little bit of carbohydrates in the form of vegetables
2. Don’t add extras like chocolate milk if you are not used to having them on a regular day
3. Don’t head to the DQ for a blizzard bang up! The sugar rush into my body was not fun, and I would not do it again.
4. If you still feel like enjoying a desert, wait a few hours after your meal, go for a walk, and then have something small to share with someone so that you don’t over do it. The sugar blast is not recommended.
5. Be mindful about your choices after a long fast. Think about what you have done in the hours prior, and ask yourself these 3 questions:
Lastly, keep this in mind when thinking about this post. I am no expert on Intermittent Fasting. There are lots of people in the world who have loads of experience with the topic. I have had great experiences with my previous fasts, and if I wasn’t trying to understand how terrible I could feel by overdoing it after a fast, I would have eased into my eating routine as I had in the past. Fasting actually makes me feel great while in the process, and when I am coming off the fast, I always appreciate the taste of my food that much more. Simply search Intermittent Fasting on Google and you will be introduced to hours of reading.