FROM THE BUCHINGER WILHELMI EXPERTS
Thanks to more than 100 years of clinical fasting expertise and ongoing scientific research, Buchinger Wilhelmi can draw on a wealth of experience with plenty of fasting tips. Every year, some 6,000 guests from a total of 60 countries come to our two fasting clinics in Germany and Spain. They are supported by our medical teams, nurses, therapists and nutritionists, who do all they can to make fasting a holistic, effective and above all enjoyable experience. Here are ten tips on fasting from our experts.
Fasting tips from Buchinger Wilhelmi:
Tradition, experience and scientific research
Our founder Dr. Otto Buchinger developed therapeutic fasting more than 100 years ago. He established our clinic in Überlingen on Lake Constance, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2023. Twenty years later, in 1973, his daughter Maria Buchinger and son-in-law Helmut Wilhelmi opened a second clinic in Marbella. We work with renowned research institutions to drive research in fasting with the aim of constantly refining our method, and integrate the latest scientific insights into our programme.
We share our expertise based on many years of experience and innovative research, and which we are constantly enhancing, via our YouTube channel. In this article, we present our ten best tips for a positive fasting experience, whether in the clinic, at home using our FASTING BOX, or in a fasting community.
Please consider that these are general fasting tips. Everybody has their own, individual experience of fasting, and you may find that some tips are more relevant for you than others. Take with you those ideas that help you personally and do you good.
Fasting tip 1: Prepare yourself well for fasting
When you fast at one of our Buchinger Wilhelmi clinics, you will be given detailed advice before you embark on your fasting journey, and can turn to our medical and therapeutic staff any time during it. If you are fasting at home, you should get medical advice beforehand, especially if you have underlying illnesses, are on medication, or are unsure whether fasting is the right thing for you. Incidentally, when you use our FASTING BOX at home, you can contact our experts by e-mail at any time.
Mental preparation is also important when you fast. Try to avoid stress if possible before you start, so that you can adjust fully to this special experience and reap the benefits.
Fasting tip 2: Allow your body to gently adapt
Make sure your transition to fasting is smooth, both at the start and at the end of your fast.
The day before you start fasting in one of our clinics, you will be given a light meal with few calories to gradually prepare your body for fasting.
Depending on the length of your fast, it will be followed by a phase in which you are given very light, nutritious food over a period of at least three days. This is very important for the success of your fast, because it enables your body to build healthy cells from good “raw materials” and aids digestion.
Fasting tip 3: Structure your day
A clearly structured day is tremendously useful during fasting. If you fast in the clinic, there are fixed times during the day, such as your morning check with a nurse, or the midday rest after your fasting soup. In between, you have plenty of time to plan with your doctor which therapies and activities feel good for you. If you are fasting at home, we also recommend giving your day some structure. If possible, you should take the time off work in order to really enjoy the break from your everyday routine.
Our recommendation for your daily routine while fasting
- Write down your thoughts and dreams in a diary every morning or evening.
- Start the day with some exercise—if possible in the fresh air—then drink a herbal tea, maybe with a little honey.
- NAfter your fasting soup at lunch, we recommend you take a rest, ideally with a soothing liver compress like the one we offer in the clinic.
- In the afternoon, you can exercise outdoors or take time for yourself (with a good book, for example).
- Avoid television or other screens in the evening so that your body gradually feels tired and you soon sink into a restful sleep.
Giving your day some rhythm makes fasting easier and allows your mind to rest.
Fasting tip 4: Dealing with hunger pangs
At the beginning of your fasting journey, you may feel slightly hungry from time to time. The good news is that when you fast for longer, this feeling will pass after the first few days. You can drink a cup of tea or some vegetable consommé to relieve the hunger. Our recommendation: If you observe and note down the situations in which you feel hungry, you will gain valuable insights into your eating habits.
Fasting tip 5: Movement and rest — listen to your body
When you are fasting, you may notice that you not only have plenty of energy, but often feel even fitter than usual.
Physical activity helps to stimulate your circulation and gives you an energy boost. However, you should avoid strenuous workouts, but do gentle exercise instead, such as yoga, walking or stretching.
At the same time, you should allow yourself more rest than usual during fasting. We recommend a midday rest of at least 30 minutes and sufficient sleep.
This will help your body adjust to the fasting metabolism day by day.
Make sure you find the right balance between rest and movement. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do this. Listen to your body’s signals. It is perfectly okay to just sleep for a day if you need it. Especially in the clinic, you should not take on too much and book too many therapies. And even at home, we urge you to take enough breaks and pay attention to the signs your body is sending you.
Fasting tip 6: Make sure you drink enough
It is imperative that you drink plenty of liquids while fasting, preferably still water and soothing herbal teas. You can add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for flavour. We recommend drinking at least two litres a day. This will help you avoid hunger pangs, headaches or dizziness.
Your skin also needs extra hydration now. Treat yourself to a massage with oils or use face masks and rich creams to prevent dry skin (if possible, only with natural ingredients).
Fasting tip 7: Prevent side effects
Many of the tips we have already given you, such as exercising and drinking enough, will help to prevent the undesirable side effects of fasting.
If you do experience symptoms, they are more likely to occur in the first few days. For example, some people say they suffer from headaches, dizziness and circulatory problems, as well as back pain and cold feet. Do not worry if you notice these symptoms. They usually disappear within a short time and are simply a sign that your body is adjusting to the fasting metabolism.
Plenty of fluids and fresh air are good for preventing headaches, while alternating hot and cold showers will help stimulate your circulation. A dry brush massage, foot baths and compresses with specific oils may also do you good. In this video you can learn more about how to alleviate different symptoms.
Don’t forget to seek advice in case of doubt! At our clinic you will be supported by a medical team and be cared for around the clock. If you are fasting at home, we recommend you talk to your doctor if symptoms persist.
Fasting tip 8: Try a digital detox
Fasting is a time to regenerate and recuperate. In our everyday lives, we are almost always accessible and constantly looking at screens. If you break this pattern during your fast, this will help you return more consciously to the here and now.
In our clinics, you have the option of leaving your smartphone at the reception desk, where it will be kept safe for you. This “withdrawal” will allow you to free yourself from the distractions of being constantly available and become more aware of what is happening around you. You may also notice how often you reach for your phone out of habit. Of course, you can also simply switch off your smartphone or leave it in your room for a few hours.
If you would try out a digital detox at home, you can also put your phone in a drawer or switch it off for a while. We guarantee you will be amazed how much time you suddenly have on your hands!
This digital time-out is especially important to stimulate your creativity. Because inspiring thoughts are often blocked by the constant barrage of social media, emails and phone calls.
Fasting tip 9: Turn your attention inwards
You may find that fasting is above all a physical experience. But therapeutic fasting according to Dr. Otto Buchinger also deliberately includes an interpersonal and a spiritual and emotional dimension. So pay attention to your thoughts and dreams, and listen to them closely!
This is an ideal time to turn to your inner self and come to terms with issues affecting you. This often happens automatically, because emotions that we otherwise suppress frequently come to the fore during a fast. To help you deal with this, we offer various psychotherapeutic methods in our clinics. At home, we recommend you write down your thoughts and have meaningful conversations with friends and family. Meditation techniques can also feel particularly good right now.
Fasting tip 10: Find other sources of pleasure
Fasting gives you a completely different view of the world. Your everyday life fades into the background and you find peace and calm in body and mind. With a positive mindset, you will quickly find other pleasures to replace food.
This might be a walk in the sunshine, a massage or a good book. Enjoy having time to yourself and feed your mind.
This is how our founder Dr. Otto Buchinger expressed it: “During fasting, the body thrives, but the soul goes hungry.”
At our clinics, we provide “nourishment” for the soul such as hikes and outings, as well as music, art exhibitions, inspiring workshops and talks on personal growth and other topics.
We wish you every success and a great fasting experience!