How to fast during stressful times

By Jason Fung, MD

We’re experiencing unprecedented circumstances with COVID-19. It’s important for us to do our due diligence required to reduce the spread of the virus. But it’s also critical to remember this too will end, and when it does, we need to be strong and healthy in order to face the challenges ahead.

Do not let yourself go during this time indoors. As my Life in the Fasting Lane co-author Eve Mayer said, you will regret eating your way through the pandemic and gaining 50, 60, or 70 pounds. And you don’t want to be on more medication for type 2 diabetes either. You need to be ready to face the challenges ahead of getting your life back on track post-coronavirus.

When coronavirus first hit Canada, I panicked like everyone else. I let some of my healthy habits slide. I started snacking and my daily routine went out the window. But I realized this isn’t sustainable and I can’t live like this. It’s going to be a few months of uncertainty before life can return to normal, and I refused to lose three months of my life.  

What did I do? I did what relaxes me the most. I took a hot shower, washed my hair, and scrubbed away the last few days and I followed my regular bedtime routine. This enabled me to have a good night’s sleep and conquer the following day.


In last week’s blog post, I shared some of my best strategies for acclimating to life at home under these unusual circumstances. I know many of our Fasting Method Community Members are struggling like I was the other week but are now trying to find ways to get back on track as well.

This week I’m going to share with you what I’m doing to get back to my regular fasting routine. I am determined to be stronger and healthier by the end of the chaos!  

Here are my top strategies for fasting through a stressful time:

1. Don’t snack – try to stick to eating windows as much as possible.

It’s perfectly OK to eat those almonds or pieces of dark chocolate, but make sure to eat them with your meals and not in between! Every time you snack you cause your body to produce insulin. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eating carbohydrates, fat, or protein. Your body will secrete some insulin. If you’re struggling to lose weight or reverse your type 2 diabetes, then you already have too much insulin in your system preventing fat loss and causing insulin resistance.  

2. Meal prep – set aside specific time to do meal prep so you’re not always in and out of the kitchen.

This is critical if you have to cook for others, especially children. I set aside a few hours on Sundays and Thursdays to do meal prep while I listen to an inspirational podcast or audiobook. This means I spend less time in the kitchen, which drastically reduces my desire to snack, and I have healthy meals prepared in advance. Now there’s no excuse to eat quick and easy processed foods – eating healthy can be stress free too!


3. Stick to healthy, natural fats – they’ll satiate you and you won’t regret them later.

If you are so stressed out your appetite feels out of control, then try fat fasting! You can find my guide to fat fasting here. Essentially, you want to eat natural fats, such as avocados, bacon, and eggs, until you reach satiation. Overtime, your body will naturally start to fast.  



4. Practice mindfulness eating – think about the short-term vs. long-term impact of the food.

While mindfulness meditation is important for our stress, mindful eating is a priority for our overall health. Think about the long-term consequences of what you eat before you put it in your mouth. Those potato chips might make you feel comforted for a few minutes, but you’ll feel terrible an hour later. But those macadamia nuts will leave you feeling satiated and won’t leave you with a nasty carb hangover.



5. Join a group fasting and eating challenge in the The Fasting Method Community!

Our Fasting Method Community hosts weekly fasting and eating challenges led by me! We’re being very sensitive to what’s going on in the world right now and working with our members to find out what struggles they’re having. Each weekly challenge is created with that in mind. You don’t have to try to fast alone – you can do it with your friends in the community!

Megan Ramos, Co-founder of The Fasting Method



By The Fasting Method

For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.


Jason Fung, MD

By Jason Fung, MD

Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.

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