How to Start Mini-Fasting the Right Way

In an earlier post I shared about the AMAZING benefits of mini-fasting and now I want to tell you how you can start incorporating mini-fasting into your lifestyle...the right way. Just because I love mini-fasting doesn't mean I love all type of fasting.

There are certain types of fasts that I don't recommend and I'll let you in on each of those types. I want to caution you--I don’t recommend most of them and some of them you should never attempt. I’ll cover this in a bit....but first Don’t fret about mini-fasting, ladies. Mini-fasting is simpler and easier than you might think. I’ve tested my Bone Broth Diet program and mini-fasting on tons of my patients, so it’s proven and bulletproof.

The Holy Grail of Fasts: Bone Broth Fasting

I love bone broth so much, I created the Bone Broth Diet. Paula D. explains my Bone Broth Diet best: “I’m only one week in and I feel really great! I lost 8 pounds, amazingly all from my middle. I am consuming more food than ever! I’m full, but more importantly, I’m satiated. I’m rarely hungry between meals, and cravings are minimal.” If you’re not familiar with bone broth, I call it liquid gold because the nutritious benefits are endless.

When you drink it, you feel good all over. And on the inside, your cells are rejoicing because of the nutrients. Think of bone broth as the magic elixir that gives you ALL the nutrients and health benefits you need while you’re fasting. Oh, and it tastes AMAZING and keeps you full! By sipping on bone broth during your fasting days, you’ll enjoy these health benefits:  

Strengthens Your Skin and Erases Wrinkles

When you cook bone broth, the collagen in bones turns into gelatin, which is commonly used to keep skin smooth. Years ago in a controlled experiment, collagen showed a significantly smoother and elastic skin. Think of collagen like a Botox without needles or surgery. It’s all natural!

Fights Inflammation

Blood sugar spikes, inflammatory foods, stress--all zaps your energy and imbalances your fat-burning, waist-plumping hormones.  Bone broth tackles this inflammation! The glycine from the gelatin inhibits both local and systemic inflammation. Less inflammation = faster weight loss, so it speeds up fat burn.

Heals Your Leaky Gut

Gelatin stabilizes your gut mucosa by decreasing damage from excess acid or increasing protective mechanisms such as gastric mucosal blood flow. Gelatin also heals and protects the gut via its anti-inflammatory, immune regulatory, and cell-protective activities. A typical diet high in sugar, carbs, and artificial chemicals can kill off huge swaths of beneficial bacteria while allowing bad bacteria to skyrocket--which damages your gut wall.

This “leaky gut” results in systemic inflammation that pack on pounds, makes you feel miserable, and shrivels up your skin. Even worse, a leaky gut makes you more prone to illness and disease--80% of your immune system is inside your gut.   So, sip on this delicious liquid gold and reverse or prevent all of that!

Strengthens Your Bones

Turns out, bone broth fortifies the bones! Bone broth is packed with nutrients your body needs for bone density and strength: calcium and amino acids, to name a few. Plus, you’ll experience less joint pain as the nutrients in bone broth lubricate your joints. Jo S. reports: “This diet is working SO well. My knees stopped aching period. Now for my Sciatica. I actually went around my garden without a cane...and it’s only been 2 ½ weeks. What a godsend. I might start taking walks again!”

How long do mini-fasts last?

It’s called, “mini-fasting” for a reason. That means you take an occasional break from food. The rest of the time, you follow basic eating guidelines (like my 80/20 diet plan). That way, you take the time to enjoy the foods you eat–lots of fresh fruits and veggies and grass-fed meat.

Remember, it’s NOT a traditional diet–it’s a sustainable lifestyle change. Mini-fasting is flexible and can be adjusted to YOU. Which means you can mini-fast for different lengths:

Some mini-fasts limit eating to certain hourly windows each day.

For example, the Warrior Diet lets you only eat within a 4-hour window each day (like 4-8 pm). Another popular mini-fasting window is 16:8, which means you fast for 16 hours and eat your daily meals during an 8-hour window (like 11:00 am to 7:00 pm)

Other mini-fasts last all day and you restrict your daily caloric intake to 500 calories.

In my Bone Broth Diet, I recommend doing 2 mini-fasts a week where you sip on bone broth throughout the day. And you do this twice a week. Easy, right? The best part is, you get to choose which days you fast every week.  Dinner party on Tuesday night? No problem, make Wednesday your fasting day. See how flexible this lifestyle change is? It works around YOU and your life, so it doesn’t feel like you’re on a diet. No complicated formulas, undesirable diet plans, or calorie counting. No more stress about what to eat!

But be careful…more is NOT more

Fasting at a longer length doesn’t mean you’ll reap exponentially more benefits. At a certain point, you’ll hit your maximum rewards, then it’s diminishing returns from there. For a point of reference, I recommend fasting no longer than 24-32 hours (closer to or less than 24 if you’re just starting out!). Any longer than that window will be too long. Remember to keep it balanced and don’t overdo it. Your body will thank you! So, now you know what mini-fasting really is and why it’s amazing for you.

How to Get Started And Make That Lifestyle Change Right Now

Okay, so you’re sold on the benefits of fasting with bone broth and you’ve decided it’s right for you. Before you jump into my Bone Broth Diet program, consider these tips--especially if it’s your first time fasting.

1) Don’t jump into a full 24-hr fast.

Try a 12-hour mini-fast to start--your body won’t exactly be used to it, so better to ease into this lifestyle change. That way, it won’t feel like you’re making a drastic change. Which is exactly what we want to do. We want to trick our bodies into making these positive changes. That’s how you change your way of life for the long haul. Then, you want to avoid breakfast-to-breakfast fasting. You end up going to bed hungry, which might hinder your ability to sleep. And you don’t want to lose sleep and be lethargic or cranky the next day. Instead start dinner-to-dinner, meaning finish dinner at 7pm, then begin your fast. That way, you’ll sleep through most of your fast!

2) Embrace the initial feelings of hunger.

It happens to everyone, and it’s natural for your body to feel hungry because it’s used to eating more frequently. If you think of giving up, remember this: foregoing food for a short time is actually good for you. Your body may complain in the moment, but ultimately it will thank if you complain about waking up early to go to the gym, then end up feeling on top of the world after that workout!

3) Have a support system to hold yourself accountable.

My parents both grew up healthy. They’re in their 70s and live like they’re in their 40s. They were phenomenal role models, and I believe it’s one of the reasons I’m so healthy today. Of course, you’re not alone in this. Thousands of other women throughout the country have decided to transform their health with my bone broth diet. They’re all sharing their experiences, questions, and fabulous results in my Facebook group. And every woman in this group is here to support you along the best and hardest times of your lifestyle change. Join the community of other healthy women here.

4) Eat 80/20 compliant foods you enjoy.

Mini-fasting won’t make up for an otherwise terrible diet. And remember, we don’t want to make it too obvious to our bodies that we’re changing our diet. Which is why you’ll want to make your favorite foods you already enjoy that are compliant to my 80/20 program. In my cookbook, you’ll find some of your favorite recipes tweaked to contain all the healthy nutrients, and omit all the bad foods your body doesn’t need...and STILL taste absolutely delicious! I’m talking pork chili, pecan-crusted salmon filets, blueberry poppy seed coffee cake...foods that don’t taste like they should be diet-friendly. My patients always say, “I never thought I could an apple crisp on a diet and not feel like I’m cheating!” It’s a great feeling, really. You appreciate your food more, and your body loves you for taking good care of it.

5) Busy schedule? Cut out the manual labor.

I talked before about the amazing benefits of bone broth.  One thing I will say is, it takes a while to make. To get the maximum nutrients from bones, simmering takes at least 24 hours. If you’re strapped for time (hey, I’m a busy woman, too!), let us do the cooking for you! Try my Bone Broth (just add heat!) or my instant Collagen Broth To Go (just add hot water!).

If you’re in a pitch, these two broths are the best way to easily sip away at that liquid gold...and feel the difference in your skin, gut, and waistline. They’re packed with nutrients your body needs to melt away fat, smoothen out wrinkles, and heal your gut.

Plus, they make this diet a breeze! There you have it, ladies. You now know why fasting is extraordinary for your body and skin, and you have information to transform yourself inside and out, naturally. But one last thing! There are different types of fasts that I don't recommend and ones I think should be avoided at all costs.

Popular Fasts I Don't Recommend

Water Fasting

This one is simple. You only drink water during your fast and stay hydrated. No tea, coffee, or even vitamins--only water. You’ll experience rapid weight loss as you’re not taking in any calories during this period.  But because you’re not taking in any calories, you’re also not getting any nutrients your body needs. While it may look like you’re dropping weight rapidly, it’s mostly your water weight. Which means, once you’re off the fast, you’ll gain those pounds back almost instantly.

Even worse, women tend to overdo this fast. They go for extra-long periods of no food (longer than the maximum 24 hours I mentioned earlier), and they end up cranky, light-headed, and all-around uncomfortable. Let me be clear, ladies--I do not recommend water fasting. You won’t get nutrients (like amino acids) your body desires and you’re almost set up to fail. It’s hard to maintain this type of fast when your body gets hungry throughout the day.

Juice Fasting, a.k.a. Juice Cleanse

Juice shops are popping up everywhere. You may have seen a sign at your local juicer selling a “Juice Cleanse.”  What’s different about these cleanses is, they typically last for at least a few days in a ROW, where I’m recommending only mini-fasts. For example, you can purchase a 3-day cleanse where you get 18 bottles of cold-pressed juice (kale, spinach, apple, celery, mint, to name a few) and consume 6 per day.

Did I mention these cost at least $129 for 3 days? Of course, you can also make your juice yourself. All you need is a pricey juicing machine and TONS of veggies and fruits. And don’t forget all the labor involved! Wash the vegetables, chop them, put them in the juicer, then clean up the chopping board and juice machine. It’s a lot of work for such a small glass of juice. In a juice cleanse, you’re not getting all the nutrients of the fruit--like fiber for digestion or amino acids. Which brings me to the most common side effect--uncomfortable bowel movements.

A lot of people on juice cleanses end up spending more time in the bathroom than they normally do. And that’s a little inconvenient for our busy day, isn’t it?  So, skip the $129 juice cleanse. Your wallet and belly will thank you.

Fruit Fasting

In a fruit fast, you can eat whole fruits during your fasting period.  They must be fresh and raw in order to qualify. In some cases, you use only ONE fruit throughout the entire fast...and then you could never eat that fruit again because you’re sick of it!

In a fruit fast, you consume fewer calories than you would on a juice cleanse while maintaining the fiber of the fruit. But you’re still missing protein in your diet. And all that fruit has all that sugar. A fruit fast is slightly better than a juice fast, but it’s still not ideal or sustainable. We need a fast that’s easy to do AND healthy for us. Something that will give us all our nutrients and can follow in the long-term.

Warning: Avoid these fasts at ALL costs

I’ve gone over the good (Bone Broth), the bad (water, juicing, fruit) fasts, and now it’s time for the ugly.  These fasts don’t just lack benefits--they often lack safety, too. You already know my Bone Broth Diet is your absolute BEST option. So now, I want to caution you about any other trendy fasts out there, in case you’re ever tempted.

Complete or Dry

This extreme fast doesn’t contain all the benefits we’ve talked about with fasting in general. An absolute dry fast contains NO food or water. That even means you can’t brush your teeth or take a shower!  The good news is, you won’t be allowed to wash the dishes on an absolute dry fast. The bad news is, you won’t be able to clean yourself and you WILL be dehydrated.  I always recommend against this fast to my patients, and I advise against it for you, too. There’s no reason you shouldn’t hydrate or cleanse yourself.  

Long-Term Juice

I once stumbled upon an article about juice cleanses where a local juice shop owner bragged at how she can go 21 days on a juice cleanse. Why was she bragging? I have no clue. Like I mentioned before--once you hit a certain time frame with fasts, there are diminishing returns. And I’m pretty sure this juice shop owner hit that point at day 4.

The truth is, 21 days is an insanely long time to go without protein, healthy fats, and good carbs your body needs. I’ll repeat this again: even though on the surface the weighing scale says you lost 15 pounds on the juice fast, most of it is water weight. Which means when you get off the fast, you’ll gain it back almost immediately. Remember, we want to lose the pounds from fat, not water. This long-term juice cleanse is certainly not a lifestyle change--it’s a way to get back into yo-yo dieting.  

The Ugly Side of Fasting

Are the benefits of fasting too good to be true? Well, no, but what I haven’t mentioned yet is it’s difficult at first, just like most worthy challenges. And results certainly don’t happen overnight. You will experience increased cravings at first. That’s because your mind is telling your stomach to feed because it’s used to eating more frequently--not because it’s a true feeling of hunger. Your body developed this habit your entire life, and won’t drop it immediately. Other short-term side effects your body may experience:
  • Headaches (withdrawals from food and caffeine)
  • Dizziness/lightheaded
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart beat/palpitations
  • Low blood sugar

Push through it, and you’ll get past this rough phase. Then, you’ll reap the rewards!

Who Should NOT Fast?

Now you know all the phenomenal benefits of fasting. Before you proceed, make sure you consult your doctor if any of these apply to you:
  • Diabetes
  • gallstones
  • cancer
  • Pregnant/nursing
  • kidney and liver disease
  • malnourished/eating disorder
  • Children under 18
  • Medication interactions

Let’s make sure we do this safely and do it right!  We’re doing this because we love our body and want to take care of it. Which is why safety comes first before anything else.

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!