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by Christine Chang as told to Allison Goldstein
“It’s not just about not eating, it’s about replacing my meals with time to focus on my mental health.”
My name is Christine Chang, and I am 42 years old. I’m an actor, and I live in Los Angeles.
I have always been a cardio queen. Last year during the pandemic, I was running up to twelve miles a day. But I could tell I was still gaining weight, and all that running was really starting to tax my body. I’ve struggled with body image on and off over the years, and running for more than an hour at a time was not mentally healthy for me.
Things really started to change for me when I downloaded Zero Plus. All those articles and tutorials helped me shape my fasting to suit my individual needs. The detailed graphs helped me track my progress. Even the little chart where my goal is to get to “avocado,” which means I’m in ketosis — all of those features really made a difference. And it’s been a difference I can see in all aspects of health. Not only did I lose weight, and not only did my doctor cut my thyroid medication in half, but I’m a mentally stronger person thanks to fasting.
A Boost in Confidence
Accomplishing something pretty difficult, like completing 100 fasts in a row, gives me the confidence that I need to do more difficult things and set harder goals (like completing one more fast!).
Here’s an example: I previously had a fear of buying clothes, especially jeans. You know when you put on a pair of jeans and sometimes it doesn’t fit? For me, that’s a little soul-crushing. When I used Zero to help me fast, my weight stopped yo-yoing. This helped me give myself permission to clear out my closet and start all over again, and this time it was a joyful experience. I was able to express my creativity through fashion. I really got to understand my style and lost my fear of buying clothes. Fashion finally became fun for me again.
A New Outlook, a New Lifestyle
What I’ve learned is that fasting isn’t just about not eating, it’s about replacing my meals with time to focus on my mental health. I’m such a task rabbit — I’ve always jumped from one thing right into another. Zero has helped me slow down and be more deliberate about how I spend my time.
For instance, instead of breakfast, I’ll start my morning with yoga. Then, if I have time, I will meditate. If not, I’ll meditate at lunchtime. Or I’ll go for a walk or read a book. I use these times when I’m not eating to do something that’s just for me.
Here’s how I exercise: As I became more mindful of what my body needs, I took up weight-lifting and boxing, and I also do a lot more yoga. I’ll still go out for a 30-minute run sometimes, but I won’t pressure myself like I used to; it’ll just be a nice jog to get out and enjoy the weather.
Here’s my favorite Fast Breaker: Chocolate milk (chocolate collagen powder + almond milk) and two eggs
These three changes contributed the most to my fasting success:
Change 1: Starting the week with a fast. On Sunday and Monday, my 36-hour fast helps me find that mental strength that allows me to put my best foot forward throughout the week.
Change 2: Replacing mealtimes with things like meditation, yoga, and other productive activities. I make a list: Are there things around the house I need to do? Is there a book I’ve wanted to read? When I’m fasting, I’m able to check those things off.
Change 3: Having self-compassion. There are some days where you stop the Timer after one hour and you’re like, “Not today. We’ll try another day.” That’s okay. Fasting will always be there.
My advice is to start slow and to be consistent. Celebrate the little victories. Even a 7-hour fast counts for a lot because when you record it with Zero, you can see it alongside all the other fasts you’ve done. Together, they will build up your progress. And seeing progress is really motivating.