After six months of fasting experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that fasting is not a diet, it is a skill. Specifically: It is a time management skill (with some biological adaptation thrown in there somewhere). The more you practice fasting, the more your body adapts, the better you get at it and the easier it gets. Like any other skill, there are tips and tricks to get better.
Time-Box Your Fasts
Plan for success. Avoid doing fasts during times where you know you are going to have team dinners or family holidays. Peer pressure is going to be the #1 killer of your fast, I avoid the problem by keeping my fasts clear of these obligations. I put my longer fasts on my calendar as blocks with target weights I want to achieve during that period and avoid taking meetings or lunches that will require me to eat during those weeks.
Fast In Sprints / Recharge Your Self-Control
Fasting requires significant self-control. The good news is that self control recharges over time. However, if you attempt to fast week after week, your self-control is going to dwindle over time. For this reason, I find that fasting in “Sprints” with several weeks in between is the optimal way to do it. This gives me time to recharge my motivation and plan to be successful the next time around.
As Your Body Adapts, Fasting Gets Easier
6 months ago, a 24 hour fast would have caused me to fall over dead (I am exaggerating). I remember having issues with being light-headed and getting headaches when I first began. Doesn’t happen anymore. After some practice, I am now regularly doing 24, 36, 48 hour fasts and beyond without concern. The difference is that I have learned what to expect, how to schedule my time and my body has adapted to these eating patterns by becoming more efficient with calories / shrinking stomach effect.