Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of eating and fasting. Often we focus on our fasting period, after all, our bodies do wondrous things during these hours. But especially after long periods of fasting, it is also important to focus on WHAT we eat afterwads.
In this blog article, you’ll learn why the first meal of your eating window is crucial and how you can positively influence your fasting success.
Why your digestive organs react more sensitively after fasting
Your body goes through different phases during intermittent fasting:
- Blood sugar levels normalize,
- insulin levels drop,
- your metabolism switches from burning sugar to burning fat,
- the autophagy effect is increased, your body cleans itself.
In this process, your digestive organs also take a break. They are no longer constantly running at full speed, but can save energy during meal breaks. They do this, for example, by producing fewer digestive enzymes. Insulin sensitivity also increases, which makes your body react more strongly to sugar from carbohydrate-containing foods than it would otherwise.
During moderate fasting periods of 14 to 20 hours, these effects are moderate. But after fasting periods of 24 hours or more, your digestive organs may react more sensitively than usual.
As a general rule, long fasts (over 20h) should only be undertaken by healthy and experienced fasters. If you abstain from food for more than 48 hours, we recommend the accompaniment of a doctor, because then you leave the terrain of intermittent fasting!
How to gently get your body used to food again
After a longer abstinence from eating, it is important to gently re-accustom your body to food intake. If you eat too fast, too much, and/or the “wrong” things, there can be unpleasant consequences.
For example, a plate of pasta, pizza or other carb bombs will cause your blood sugar to shoot up immediately. It then drops just as rapidly, which can lead to cravings. In addition, the lower levels of digestive enzymes can cause food to remain in your gut longer. Nausea, bloating and diarrhea are often the results.
Break your fast the right way with these tips:
1. Drink enough water
This is crucial not only during fasting, but also when it is time to go back to eating. Make sure to start your meal time well hydrated, and make sure you stay hydrated after you break your fast. The first step: start your eating period with a large glass of water.
2. Small portions and good chewing
Start with a small portion, about half your usual size. If you are still hungry afterwards, you can always add more.
It is also important to chew well and often. 20-30 times per bite is recommended. By doing so, you trigger digestion processes through enzymes in the oral cavity. In addition, you enjoy your meals more consciously and notice earlier when the feeling of satiety sets in.
3. Gentle opening with soups
Broth or soup are a great choice after a long period of fasting. In this way, you not only do something for your hydration but also fill up your electrolyte stores. You also relieve your digestive organs. Foods such as steamed vegetables, avocado, etc. are also very suitable.
4. Combination of proteins and healthy fats
Instead of carbohydrate-rich components, choose something rich in protein, e.g. fish, tofu or poultry, prepared in healthy fats (e.g. olive, avocado or coconut oil). This combination causes glucose to enter your bloodstream more slowly and your blood sugar levels to rise more steadily.
5. Easily digestible meals
In the first 4-6 hours after an extended fast, foods that are difficult to digest are a bad choice. These include nuts and seeds, raw vegetables, cabbage, and very starchy vegetables (including potatoes, squash, legumes, or corn), as well as dairy products and alcohol.
Also note: As you gain experience, your body will adjust better to longer periods of fasting. That’s why beginners and returners in particular should start gently. But every person is different. Pay close attention to your body’s signals.
Even with shorter fasting periods (up to 24 hours) you will benefit from a high protein / low carb meal!
If your head is buzzing now after all these do’ s and don’ts, here’s our secret tip:
6. Get inspired by the recipes in the BodyFast app
Whether before fasting or after, with the special fasting recipes from the app you’ll be able to create nutrient-rich and healthy meals within minutes.
What makes it really special: All dishes were developed by our experts and provided with labels such as “before fasting” and “after fasting”. This way, you’ll quickly find a variety of recipes that match your personal preferences and support your progress in the best possible way.
This is how you break your fast right and thus increase your success with intermittent fasting
Especially after long periods of fasting, it is important to slowly reintroduce your body to eating. If you make sure not to overload your digestive organs right away, you will benefit a lot and feel much better.
The best thing to do each time you break your fast is to pick up right where you left off – doing something you and your health can benefit from. That’s why it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s on your plate – and beyond.
Still looking for the right companion for your fasting journey? In the BodyFast app you”ll find the support you need:
- Effective fasting programs
- Fasting plans tailored to you
- More than 100 delicious and healthy recipes
- Supportive challenges
- Daily motivational Coachings
- Comprehensive instant help and support from our SOS expert team
- The option to create and save your own plans