How to retain your energy level while fasting

February 23, 2021

How to retain your energy level while fasting

In this article:

  • How does fasting work?
  • How to retain your energy during a fast
  • Natural supplements for an energized fast

How does fasting work?

Rather than a diet that restricts what you eat, intermittent fasting (IF) determines when you eat to burn through fat stores. In fact, many advocates of fasting consider it to be more of a lifestyle than a diet or nutrition plan. Fat burning and weight loss are not the only health benefits of fasting. Intermittent fasting can also benefit people with diabetes by reducing insulin resistance and controlling blood sugar, as well as protecting against obesity. It helps to manage inflammation and bloating, improve cognitive function, and may even promote longevity. It's also a great way to improve your heart health by lowering your cholesterol, decreasing blood pressure levels, and preventing diabetes. You’ll also hear top-performing entrepreneurs and biohackers talk about fasting as a way to optimize their energy, concentration, and ability to focus during the day. With that said, all of those lunch-deprived days seem to fly in the face of intermittent fasting. If food is our primary source of energy, how could purposefully going without it make us feel better and more alert? Here's how it works.

Intermittent fasting narrows your eating windows into a few hours, and limits caloric intake for the rest of the day. Common methods of intermittent fasting are the 16:8 (in which a 16-hour window of fasting is followed by an 8 hour eating window), alternate-day fasting, overnight fasting, and 5:2 fasting in which you can eat normally five days a week but restrict your calorie intake for two days of the week. As hunter-gatherers, our bodies are programmed for short-term fasts. During fasting periods, the body exhausts its blood glucose, then turns to the digestive system for food, and finally, starts burning body fat. By restricting our food intake, it forces our body to use fat as its source of energy.

Don't worry, fast days don't necessarily have to be 100% food-free. Your doctor can help to create a specific fasting plan for you, but in general, your caloric intake should be restricted to ~200-300. Snacking on veggies and low-calorie foods like yogurt, drinking coffee and tea, and taking supplements can help you to retain some of your sanity and satiate cravings. Additionally, your body adapts. Many people find fasting regimens difficult at the beginning until they get used to this new style of feeding their bodies. There is no one-size fits all solution to fasting.

During eating windows, you may be able to maximize your results by following the keto-diet and eating a healthy meal. This diet is characterized by low-carb foods that are high in healthy fats, as well as getting an adequate amount of protein. This helps to jump-start ketosis, a metabolic state that forces your body to burn fat for fuel rather than carbohydrates because your body is deprived of glucose.

So, how can you make sure that you're alert and energized throughout the fasting day without your daily caramel latte or mid-day snack? Here are some tips.

How to Retain Your Energy During a Fast (Especially when you’re just starting out).

  • Get moving: You definitely don't want to exhaust yourself with a HIIT session while you fast, but you should try to keep your blood flowing and your mind active! Try doing yoga, stretching, going for walks, or doing some bodyweight exercises to get moving without draining your body.
  • Socialize: There's nothing like using some office gossip or catching up with a friend to take your mind off of things - even off a hungry belly. Socializing with friends can recharge your batteries and add a bit of excitement to your day. While it may be difficult to socialize face-to-face these days, schedule a virtual catch-up with friends or join a group online.
  • Drink lots of water: Staying hydrated is an integral part of any healthy, effective fast. Water will keep you energized and help to quell signs of hunger.
  • Keep up those electrolytes: Electrolyte deficiencies are a common cause of mid-fast fatigue. In addition to regular water, you can drink a low-calorie electrolyte drink or make your own by adding salt to your water followed by magnesium and potassium pills.
  • Use caffeine wisely: Coffee and tea are virtually calorie-free so technically, they are fast-friendly. However, if you go too heavy on caffeine while on an empty stomach you're likely to become anxious and jittery. Caffeine causes the calcium in your system to be excreted through your urine. This can make you hungrier and even cause the shakes.
  • Aromatherapy: A nice, rejuvenating essential oil such as grapefruit, peppermint, or orange can help you to feel more alert and energized throughout the day without having any effect on your blood sugar!
  • Listen to music or a podcast: Keeping your mind busy and upbeat is hard when you're only listening to the sound of your stomach rumbling. To help get your mind off of the fast and add some pep to your step, try listening to a good podcast or playlist. You can even save them as little rewards for getting over certain milestones in your fast!
  • Take power naps & get enough sleep: A good 15 or 20-minute nap can be the perfect "reset button" for your day. It gives you a burst of alertness and gives your body what it's craving most - sleep. Aim for 8hrs of sleep per night and try to go to bed at roughly the same time.
  • Have sex: Sex sends a rush of endorphins to our brains and can leave us energized for the long run! Even if it might not be the first thing you think of when fatigued, it's great for providing a general sense of total body wellness and energy.
  • Laugh: Laughter is the best medicine! It reduces stress and increases energy and can leave us buzzing for hours. Plus, it's contagious so if you start to laugh, it might just come back to you! Try watching or listening to a comedy if you’re having difficulty finding giggles in everyday life.

Natural Supplements for an Energized Fast

When you're cutting out calories, naturally your body is going to notice and feel depleted. Luckily, there are supplements that can leave you feeling fuller longer and provide much-needed energy without breaking the calorie bank.

  1. Marine Collagen: Marine collagen can be ideal for a hungry faster! Be sure to check the nutrition label of your favorite collagen supplement, as many can hide artificial sweeteners that jack up the calories in each scoop. In an all-natural and unflavored collagen supplement, however, you'll get about 35-40 calories in one 10g scoop. This can easily be added to your lemon water, your tea, or coffee to help you feel fuller! Amandean's marine collagen is completely tasteless so it can be added to your favorite drinks without skipping a beat.
  2. Collagen peptides: Just like above, collagen peptides (from bovine sources) are also a great choice during a fast. When you hear "collagen", this is probably the type you're thinking of. Similarly, you'll have to check the nutrition label to make sure you're only getting pure collagen peptides and none of the added sweeteners, flavors, or any preservatives.
  3. Vitamin C: Vitamin C that comes in a liposomal formula is gentler on your stomach and is one of the most popular supplements for fasters. It's great for boosting your energy and busting fatigue, on top of its many other benefits for skin and your immune system. Opt for a liposomal formula with the highest absorption and the best value for your money.

Now before you jump into the intermittent fasting game, know your risks. Speak to your doctor first and ask if you should try intermittent fasting, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. Fasting can also be dangerous for diabetics and is not recommended for people who have had an eating disorder. Fasting doesn't have to drain you! In fact, fasting today might even bring you better sleep and even more energy for the next day!

Summary Points

  • Intermittent Fasting helps to manage inflammation and bloating, improve cognitive function, and may even promote longevity
  • During fasting periods, the body exhausts its blood glucose, then turns to the digestive system for food, and finally, starts burning body fat
  • Try doing yoga, stretching, going for walks, or doing bodyweight exercises to get moving without draining your body
  • Staying hydrated is an integral part of any healthy, effective fast
  • Coffee and tea are virtually calorie-free so technically, they are fast-friendly, but don't go too heavy on caffeine
  • Marine collagen can easily be added to your lemon water, your tea, or coffee to help you feel fuller (it has only ~35-40cal per 10g scoop)




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