In nine days I will start a SEVEN-day fast. Here’s how I am setting myself up for success.
I’ve already outlined the reasons for going on a seven-day fast as well as a background on how I normally follow an Intermittent Fast along with elements of a Low-Carb, Slow-Carb and Keto diet.
In THIS article … I will do a DAILY update as well as provide information and resources on Fasting.
My plan is to spend TEN days getting ready for my fast. The purpose of doing this is to make it easier to attain success on my fast, by preparing my body and mind. I will basically EASE into the fast so it is easier to start and so the transition isn’t a HUGE shock to my body.
There are loads of people who successfully go cold turkey and just stop eating. I have found that to be difficult in the past. What HAS worked for me, is a combination of physical and mental preparation, as follows:
#1 Narrowing down my eating window.
On an Intermittent Fast, your eating window is the time during which you can eat. MY normal eating window starts at 2PM to 4PM and ends at 8PM. Five to seven hours during which I can eat. I normally have two “meals” or one larger meal and a snack just before 8PM.
#2 Easing into a strict Keto Diet.
In spite of the fact that strict Keto Diets are VERY low carb, you never feel physically hungry.
#3 Reducing the amount of temptation.
During the final days of my prep, I remove as many trigger foods from my pantry as possible.
#4 Mental and Emotion prep.
Being around food, preparing food and thinking about food can be fatal to a fast. There are ways to totally distract yourself so that the thought of food is not always in your face.
I started the countdown to my Ten Day Prep yesterday. Here’s what happened.
For the past four months, I have been eating erratically, eating junk food and most of all eating emotionally. Last week I sorta decided to do the 7-day fast. Two days ago, I committed to the 7-day fast along with a 10-day preparation for the fast.
On day 11, I threw out some junk food, and purchased: some chicken, shrimp, salad greens and cream cheese. This is to see me through my first three prep days.
My intention for Day 10 is to start easing into Keto and start narrowing my eating window.
I am happy to report that Day TEN was a successful start.
I managed to make it until 4PM on only a big cup of bullet coffee, regular coffee and water. That gave me an eating window of five hours.
I had two meals consisting of:
a roasted chicken breast,
sour cream sauce
one keto bomb (to up my fat grams)
The total amount of CARBS for both meals was NET 17 grams which is well under the average low-carb diet.
What IS an average low carb diet? Under 150 grams of carbs. I consider this to be high and stick to under 100 when not following Keto.
Here’s the “RECIPE” if you want to print it out.
Low Carb Roast Chicken Dinner
- 2 chicken breast
- 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 6 carrots (medium)
- 10 asparagus spears
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- minced fresh herbs (optional)
- Heat oven to 350F
- Peel carrots, cut woody ends of asparagus off
- Put chicken breasts, carrots and asparagus on baking pan. Liberally cover with oil. Get your hands involved to make sure every piece is coated with oil.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear when you poke a sharp knife into the thickest part
- If carrots are still hard, remove the chicken and asparagus onto covered plates. Bake carrots five minutes more or until soft.
- In the meantime: Prepared powered chicken broth if necessary. Add chicken broth to sour cream 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing as you go. Before serving, cover and microwave 30 seconds at a time, until heated.
- Serve chicken and veggies, pouring sauce over both liberally.
My biggest challenge was my recently acquired TV habit that consists mainly of COOKING shows. On day 11 I purchased some wool for an afghan. This kept my hands busy, but after my eating window closed at 8PM I kept on thinking about food. My solution was to switch to a movie. It actually distracted me enough to make it to bedtime without any further cravings.
Here’s the crazy thing about starting ANY food restricted diet. All of a sudden you start thinking of foods you regularly don’t dwell on. For me? Doughnuts, pancakes, big hunks of bread covered with sugar-filled jam.
Our minds and our imaginations can be the BIGGEST SABOTEURS ever.
WE have to BE the boss and teach our minds that we ARE the boss. We have to enforce our own wishes and ignore the saboteur mind when it wants to tempt us with the things we don’t want.
Writing down exactly WHAT we want and WHY, really helps.
Here’s MY manifesto:
I WANT to, and CHOOSE to return to my regular Intermittent Diet.
I WANT to, and CHOOSE to stop eating junk food.
I am CHOOSING health.
I am CHOOSING to go on a 7-day fast. I WANT success with that fast.
IF I am not successful with my 7-day fast, I WILL have to start again. So I CHOOSE and WANT success the FIRST time.
I am entering into this DECISION willingly. This is what I WANT and desire with all my heart. I WILL keep my promises to myself because this is IMPORTANT to me.
I read my manifesto ALOUD in the morning when drinking my bulletproof coffee. When I start making eating bargains with myself (starting to cave in), I read it again … while I am still in a state where I can make pro-active decisions and take positive steps.
I am GRATEFUL that I made it though Day TEN.
RESOURCES: One of the things that has really helped me with fasting is Dr. Jason Fung’s book on Fasting (yes, that’s an affiliate link). I’ve now read the book a dozen times, and am reading it again. I probably won’t read it from front to back this time, but I’ve already picked it up several times for encouragement.
My plan for day TWO is to narrow my window by 30 minutes … which means a start time of 4:30 PM. I have shrimp on my menu.
Yeah … success on two fronts … I stuck to low carb AND I narrowed my eating window to 3.5 hours. I had my first meal of the day at 4:30PM and stopped eating at 8PM.
What really helped me get to 4:30 with no problem was visiting my Mom in the hospital later than usual. I timed it so I was in the hospital during the later part of the afternoon. I arrived home at 4:15 and immediately started cooking.
Today’s menu consisted of a big mess of fried shrimp (olive oil, garlic with a big sprinkle of fresh lemon juice). I added sauteed asparagus as a side on my first meal at 4:30, and added an almost zero-carb custard to my second meal which started at 7:30 and ended just before 8PM.
My total NET carbs for the day was 25 grams which is very close to my Keto Diet carb count of 20 grams.
Lemon juice is not only a major taste treat but is low in carbs. The juice from one medium lemon contains just over five grams of carbs. Subtract the fiber grams … giving you NET 3 grams of carbs.
Some of you may be wondering about the Keto Diet I keep on talking about. Here is an article outlining how the diet works and the benefits of it.
I’m not sure if it is getting easier or if I am just getting used to it. This is the third day of my fasting prep — day eight on the countdown. My eating window is now 3 hours. Starting at 5PM and ending at 8PM.
Yesterday I found an 8 ounce flank steak lurking around in the back of my freezer. I let it thaw through the day and at 10 minutes to 5, I started and slicing and dicing for a stir fry. I still had a few carrots lurking about, so I used them up along with some crunchy chestnuts.
For many people, the CRUNCH factor, is an important part of their diet. The crunch factor is why people resort to bags of potato chips, tacos and some kinds of candy. I’ve learned to regularly incorporate crunch into my meals. Low or zero carb ingredients like Pork Rinds really help!
I made a huge stir fry, and divided it into two meals. I also had a keto FAT bomb with each of my meals to up my fat content.
My total carb count for the day was 45 NET carbs.
Yes, I consider food ingredients to be resources. Having your pantry stocked with these helpers makes a difference between success and failure.
My goal for today was to get closer to strict Keto carb numbers, because tomorrow the plan is to transition to a STRICT Keto Diet … which consists of 20 grams of carbs for the entire day.
I got to 30 grams of carbs BUT wow was it ever hard. I found it difficult to get to 5PM and even more difficult to stop eating at 8PM. After 8PM I used the “put it off” strategy about six times and then the desire for food simply disappeared!
I was going to reduce my eating window by another 30 minutes. I CRASHED and BURNED on that, BUT I managed to stick to 3 hours, the same as Day Eight. I’ll confess to eating my first meal of the day at exactly 5PM … I felt DESPERATE for food.
Tomorrow I am determined to reduce the window to two and a half hours. I’ve already got a plan. I’m timing my visit to Mom at the hospital to cover the last part of the day. I’ve been back and forth to the hospital so many times I’ve got the driving time down to minutes. So I’ll leave the hospital at 4:45PM getting me home at 5:15. My cooking time will be about 15 to 20 minutes because I plan on making a huge batch of my favorite egg sauce … enough for the rest of the week.
Here are my two top Keto Cookbooks …
Here is a fabulous cookbook, filled with filling and delicious recipes: The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook
This is a how-to do Keto guide: The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle
I narrowed my eating window down by another 30-minutes to 2.5 hours. My window opened at 4:30PM and closed at 8:00PM
One of the things that really helps on a Keto Diet is to eat the same thing every day. This is a big part of The Slow Carb Diet and something I use when on strict Keto.
Today I made a double batch of Shakshuka Sauce. Middle Eastern Shakshuka Eggs is a nice spicy dish that is filling and makes me happy. A serving of the sauce and 3 eggs is only 13 grams of carbs, so is perfect for a 2-meal day.
Half way there.
I chopped another 30 minutes off my eating window. It is now down to two hours. My start time was 4:30PM and my stop time was 7:30PM
Yesterday I told you about my first meal of the day — Middle Eastern Shakshuka Eggs. A serving is 13 carbs … leaving me with 7 carbs for the rest of the day.
It’s actually NOT as hard as you might think.
I roasted a half dozen chicken thighs. Skin on and bone in. The skin not only helps keep the chicken moist, but adds fat … yeah I know it is saturated fat, but I’m OK with that. The bones actually add to the flavor of the meat.
I also made a cup of sour cream sauce. It’s easy … 3/4 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Mix together and you have a nice creamy sauce. Two tablespoons of the sauce is 1 gram of carbs.
Romain Lettuce is a Keto miracle … it is only 1.5 NET carbs per cup of shredded lettuce. I can load my plate up with four cups of Romain using up my remaining six carbs.
My second meal: chicken thighs, 4 cups of Romaine and 2 tbsp of sour cream sauce totals 7 net grams of carbs.
For a perfect strict keto day of 20 Net Carbs.
I will repeat this exact menu for the next three days.
Pork Rinds can absolutely save you on a Keto diet … they satisfy your need for “crunchy” and are exactly ZERO carbs! Use them to bread chicken nuggets or as a dippers for Keto friendly dipping sauces.
I maintained my two hour window today (5:30PM to 7:30PM) and my two meals — Shakshuka Eggs and chicken thighs with sour cream sauce, on a bed of lettuce.
My biggest challenge is keeping busy with activities that don’t trigger food cravings. At this point, the cravings are not hunger pangs … but just THINKING about food.
My solution was to spend a few hours wandering around the mall … looking at the fabulous decorations.
I have a feeling I will be visiting the mall more often in the coming days.
Here’s more information about Keto Dieting …
See you tomorrow …