What to eat AFTER you fast

by Brad Pilon

What should I break my fast with?

What should I eat after my fast?

What’s the best thing to eat after my fast?

The answer to all of these questions is exactly the same.

When you finish your fast you need to pretend that your fast NEVER HAPPENED.

No compensation, no reward, no special way of eating, no special shakes, drinks or pills.

The minute you decide to stop fasting, you need to wipe the fast from your memory, and eat the exact way you would normally eat at that specific time of the day (responsibly of course).

If you end your fast at dinner time, have dinner. If you end your fast at 4 PM, and you don’t typically have dinner until 6 or 7 PM, then have a light snack…but nothing larger than you would normally have at that time.

There is no magic way to end your fast. The absolute best thing you can do is simply pretend your fast never happened and begin eating in the exact way you would normally eat at that specific time of day.

BP

{ 31 comments }

Jules March 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

That sounds encredibly hard!

Anna March 26, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Hi Brad, this is exactly what I do when I break my fasts. I don’t overthink it and just eat what I would normally eat on a regular day. Of course, I do find that I feel more satisfied when I eat a well balanced meal that includes meat, veggies, and fruits.

Anna

Brad Pilon March 26, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Hi Jules,

It takes a little practice, and you have to fight some OCE style guilt, but it’s worth it!

B

justin March 26, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Seems like this mentality applies across the board of dieting (as you’ve noted here before!). We are so good at justifying things — so we think, “I should eat a big steak tonight to counteract the lack of protein I got from fasting” — and we justify our way into poor diet results.

Lani Muelrath March 26, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Brad,

I got some questions about this yesterday as well – particularly when it came to some challenges with the “break” going smoothly.

I encouraged people, especially if just starting out, 1) not to be compulsive about the 24 hours and to shorten if necessary, and 2) to plan appetizers before dinner to start to warm up to eating and have a more leisurely approach to dinner – if indeed that is your “breakfast” that day! I am sure you would agree with these ideas.

Also, related yet a bit OT – what is your advice regarding Type II diabetics and the benefits of ESE? I know your book addresses diabetics in general, yet I’m thinking that must refer to Type 1.

Thanks as always!
Lani

Damon March 27, 2009 at 12:27 am

Good stuff. I’ve lost three pounds in the past week or so. That doesn’t sound like much, but for me it’s hope that I really can get this 40+ pounds off and keep it off without being obsessive with what/how I eat. I can’t tell you how liberating this feels.

I’ve been wanting to get back into weightlifting anyway, so ESE fits perfectly into my life. Good stuff.

Deb March 27, 2009 at 1:17 am

Thanks for the post Brad. It can be so easy to justify over indulgence. Like you’ve said before…you can’t work out a bad diet. I love ESE lifestyle and have never had results like this with any other program I’ve tried. And it’s not only the fat loss results that I’m pleased with it’s the behavior modification benefits like exposing obsessive compulsive habits and the protein guilt thing or just plain guilt in general.

Wazzup March 27, 2009 at 3:24 am

Yeah, that’s what I do.. I count how many calories I want to eat on a day and split them up in meals…

So to break the fast with … breakfast (yoghurt with muesli usually). On workout days I break the fast pre-workout with some milk with whey and a cookie (or even work out fasted). Basically it doesn’t make an ounce of a difference what you eat, as long as you don’t start overcompensating the fast and stick to the alloted daily calories. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not magic either.

pnw fitness March 27, 2009 at 4:31 am

Well I guess this takes care of my reply to @Chris.

I normally eat that well, so I guess I’m eating the exact same. I need to work on forgetting. That’ll probably be about as easy as forgetting protein guilt ;)

Donna March 27, 2009 at 4:51 am

Brad,
Glad you have addressed this as I was wondering the same thing. If I fast 24hr from 1 pm to 1pm after lunch is it more important to keep to the 24 hr or the fasting of the 3 main meals. I usually break the fast with a piece of fruit around 2 pm and wait for dinner. That way I am not just compensating by having a late lunch.
Thanks
Donna

Yavor March 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I was thinking about this and came up with this – for folks just starting out who have a hard time NOT eating a ton of food after a fast, I’d suggest first to eat a ton of salad or veggies and then proceed to your normal meal.

But, once you fast for a while, breaking the fast will be easy and you won’t stuff yourself.

Jerry March 27, 2009 at 6:25 pm

This is working out beautifully. Ending four weeks shortly and I’m down about eight lbs. Actually, to avoid too quick of a drop in fat I’m eating a bit more to keep the loss at 2 lbs. per week.

Ain’t that something — I’m eating more to lose slower?!!!

I’m almost 60, haven’t been under 200 lbs. in 15 years (been as high as almost 240 and began EatStopEat at 224), and was resigned to the slippery slope of declining health.

That was then (a month ago) and this is NOW.

I’ve got more energy and my workouts are intensifying. I’m looking at ramping up a bit, now that I’m convinced that ESE is the dead simple program Brad said it was — and it works.

For the first time in years I can actually see myself breaking 200. In fact, I’ve set incremental goals of 209, 199, then 183 (what I weighed when I was hitting heavy iron 22 years ago and had a 31-inch waist).

And best of all, I convinced my wife to start and she just finished her first fast today. She got a little light headed, but she’s excited about it.

This is so remarkably simple.

No pills. No weird stuff.

I love it.

Where were you 15 years ago, Brad?

Jerry

Donna March 30, 2009 at 5:29 am

Hi Brad,
Couldn’t find an email address for you but am still wondering ig you could respond to my question above. In a 1pm to 1pm fast is it more important to fast for 24hrs or be without the 3 main meals ie a dys calories. I have read the book and know someone who only skips tea and beakfast but still has lunch the following day?
Donna

Brad Pilon March 31, 2009 at 12:23 am

Hi Donna,

I’m not sure there is a difference really. I would go with what fits best in your lifestyle.

If it helps at all, I do 24 hours, but only miss two meals and snacks.

B

Johnny March 31, 2009 at 1:38 am

Brad – in your experience what are the most noticable effects from started regular IF? I have done 3 or 4 over the course of the past few weeks. My body fat is decreasing as expected with my overal diet and fitness programs and I already feel great so are there specific changes you would attribute to the fasting?

Brad Pilon March 31, 2009 at 2:09 am

Easily the most noticeable thing has been how my relationship with food has changed.

I don’t think about good foods and bad foods anymore..I don’t freak out when I eat something “treat like”…

The freedom is energizing.

I love the way fasting makes me look, but it’s the mental freedom that I love the most.

B

Kia April 6, 2009 at 6:02 am

The “eat what you want” approach only works if your fast has not been one of great length! Beyond three days of a complete fast (no food, just water and pure juices and broths), the body needs to start with light soups and citrus fruits before it can go back to eating normally. If someone fasted for more than a week without food and then immediately sat down to a steak, they could kill themselves! It is very difficult for the body to go from inactivity to digesting one of the hardest foods to process: meat!!! The longer the fast, the more someone should wean him/herself back into eating complex carbs and the like.

Ben April 7, 2009 at 7:55 am

thanks for the good info!

Rusty - Fitness Black Book April 8, 2009 at 12:11 am

Brad,

Great point. I think some people assume they can eat a ton of food, like The Warrior Diet. Before I read your ebook this past summer that was how I approached Intermittent Fasting and it didn’t work as well. Plus, The Warrior Diet was an everyday fast.

What I love about Eat Stop Eat is that you still encourage healthy eating and regular portions (without getting obsessed). I have been able to stay much leaner by following this approach than my old way of Intermittent Fasting.

As far as not pigging out after a fast…If I’m exceptionally hungry, I will eat a Fuji Apple and glass of water 15 minutes before consuming my first meal out of the fast. It is only 60-80 calories and the pectin gives me a feeling of being full.

Love the ebook and I encourage people to buy it as well, to have a full understanding and not just “guess” what they are suppose to do.

Rusty

Kim K April 8, 2009 at 5:44 am

I just want to thank you Brad for finally freeing me from a life long addiction (or so I thought) to food. I’d exercise and workout and be wasting all my darn time because I could not seem to curb my calorie intake for anything but a short period of time. Now I understand why thanks to you Eat-Stop-Eat book. Brad you ROC! I am currently fasting 3 times per week…because I have found I feel way better on my fast days. I am also not making it a hard and “fast” rule…but It’s not hard at all and I find it simply AMAZING. I notice I’m never hungry anymore so I can eat way healthier and have NO craves, NONE. You sir have saved my life. I’m documenting my weight loss and will share that with you in time. EAT-STOP-EAT has saved my life. There are not enough words to express my gratitude…..THANK YOU BRAD!!!!!

kristen May 20, 2009 at 5:51 pm

NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! you do NOT eat like you did before your fast. you do NOT just go back into your regular routine. you can get very very sick from this, as toxins are coming back into your body thru those foods you’re eating once you break the fast, and you can actually be hospitalized because of it! you need to EASE back into eating, and of course the point of fasting is to CHANGE the way you eat as well as cleansing the body. the first few days you’ll need a protein shake once a day to reintroduce your body to protein again. keep juicing regularly, and add a salad with tons of greens for lunch or dinner with NO dressing. drink your broths for your other meal. you can slowly add healthy dressing, like olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon or make your own, and keep adding things SLOWLY. after two or three days you need to reintroduce healthy grains, like brown rice or quinoa. veggies go with one or the other… protein or grains. protein and grains together are not good because it’s hard for your body to digest it. fruits should not be eaten with anything. they’re good as a snack. gradually you build up your meals again till you reintroduce meat, preferably chicken or fish. red meat is bad for you. another pointer is however long you fasted, cut that time in half, and that’s how long you should ease into eating normal again. remember green veggies are the best for you and can heal your body! a great book to have is 21 pounds in 21 days by roni deluz.

Brad Pilon May 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm

@kristen
Kristen,

Eat Stop Eat fasting is a 24 hour fast once or twice a week, it is not a long-term or ‘cleansing fast’. With a 24 hour fast (which is really just a short break from eating) you do not need to take such drastic measures after your fasts, you can go right back to eating as if the fast never even happened.

This is one of the biggest benefits of the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle.

B

Elsa June 2, 2009 at 2:21 am

Brad, I saw your pics and they look amazing. I’d like to know what you eat after you come off a fast. What would be your typical meals for the day? Thanks.

mantha June 11, 2009 at 6:29 am

@kristen
I think Kristen has the right idea, B. Even if you don’t take it all that slowly and cautiously after a short fast, it’s smarter to ramp down. I’ve never done a really long fast, but I have been doing 24-hour “lunch to lunch” fasts for years, and the cup of warm vegetable broth an hour before the (light-ish) meal is more comfortable than just tucking in cold.

will hardy September 5, 2009 at 12:45 am

Hello,

I came to your website to find out how to properly break a fast. I just came off a spiritual fast 6 days no food and water 2 simple meals and then another 6 days no food and water. (toal 12 days)

The spiritual experience, no comparison! Now that I am off, I am trying to find a proper way to reintegrate back into a routine of eating. Yes, I want to eat all the time, but control is not the problem. I have tried soups, yogurts, broths, pasta, and other soft foods. My system seem to take it all in but release nothing back out.

It seems that all I am intaking is locking up in my system and turned into rocks in my intestines. I am now on day 5 of breaking the fast.

If anyone knows of a proper diet (foods) to eat) I would appreciate the info. (I thought the fast would be the difficult part and it would be simple to come off.) I am finding just the opposite.

Brad Pilon September 5, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Hi Will,

6 days is really outside of my expertise. I studied up to 72 hours, so I could hazard a guess, but it would only be guessing.

I apologize for not being able to help.

B

Dilek November 1, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Soup could be a good starter for breakinig fast as it is light and easy on the digestive system, especially after along break of not eating anything. I would build it up throughout the day slowly….. cheers……. ;D

viviana April 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm

do you guys drink water wile you’re fasting? thanks

Brad Pilon April 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

yes

John Pincaro July 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Hi Brad,

I’m on the 3rd day of my 3 days fast and will be finished tomorrow. I think your suggestion is very sound together with the comment of Dilek. This is what I’ll be doing tomorrow. Thank you for your site I believe it’s a great help for first time fasters.

Yvonne January 6, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I am a 62 year old British woman who has tried everything for 11 years to lose 40lbs. This sounds good, am starting today. Hope this time success beckons.

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