Fasting is simply the restriction of our usual eating. Whether a fruit fast or a water fast or a fast from meat, or beef or sweets, fasting is a restriction of our food, a diet.
Fasting can be a real life saver for the overweight person. The benefit of fasting is not in weight loss. Fasting will make you lose weight. A water fast will result in an average of 1 to 2 pounds per day of weight loss. But that is not the benefit of fasting for weight loss. The power of fasting is not in losing weight during the fast, but in gaining control of your appetite.
Benefits of Fasting
- During a fast, the body burns its own fat. As the body burns its fat there is a release of chemical compounds called “ketones”.
- Second, your digestive system is cleaner. The villi in the intestines are cleaner, the stomach lining is cleaner, the colon is cleaner.
When you combine those two elements, a cleaner more efficient body with a slower metabolism, you need less food for the same level of activity. Food is absorbed and utilized better in a clean digestive system.
If it takes less food to do the same thing, it means one of three things:
- You need to cut down on the food you were eating before the fast since you do not need as much food for the same level of activity.
- If you eat the same amount of food after the fast as before, you need more physical activity to use the extra efficiency and slowed metabolism.
- If you eat the same, and have the same activity level, you may get fatter!
Fasting on a periodic basis allows a person to gradually gain control over their appetite. Do not gorge before or after the fast! Learning to control your desire for food as you break your fast is a great aid in controlling it daily.
In a study, 22 women, were divided into three groups, ate meals Mondays through Fridays at the Cornell Human Metabolic Research Unit for four weeks. During the first week, all groups ate all they wanted. Each of the following three Mondays, one group was chosen to fast, one to consume only 1,200 calories, and one to eat unrestrained. For the rest of the week, all the women were free to eat as they liked. During each session, participants were weighed, and all food consumed was measured.
For those who fasted or ate a restricted diet on Monday, body weight declined significantly the following day, though it did not change for the unrestrained eaters.
By the end of the week, the fasters and dieters had recovered their lost weight (but not all their body tissue) — without any increase in food consumption beyond normal levels. The fact they were burning fewer calories due to their slowed metabolism accounted for the weight gain; the paper estimates that it would take 10 days for the ratio of fat, bone and muscle to return to pre-fast levels.
Dangers of fasting for weightloss
- Medical personnel claim that rapid weight loss often causes dangerous deficiencies; these deficiencies force the person to overeat and regain even more weight afterward. Long fasting robs your body of vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, protein) as your favorite juice may not contain them. Long fasting without proper medical supervision can be dangerous.
- Fasting should not be used as a means for weight loss, I think you can do it to get your body ready for a healthier way of living. Use it as a way to cleanse your body out and get rid of all the toxins clogging your system.
- During the fast you may not be able to carry on your normal social interactions. It’s not so easy to sit around sipping carrot juice while the rest of your family is eating a normal meal.
- Finally, a major problem with this kind of fasting is that once you stop fasting and resume eating your normal diet, you are likely to gain back all the weight that you have lost during your crash weight loss fast.
How to do proper fasting
Here is a method of doing one day fasts: taking no food and (if your body is strong) no water in a period from the sunrise of one day to the sunrise of the next day.
Successful fasting has three stages:
- Preparation– If you are not prepared both mentally and physically you will find it difficult to go one day without food. The mental preparation is simple, but very important. The night before the fast you have to take a firm determination that tomorrow you are going to fast, that you are not going to eat any food. If you fix your mind in advance then you will not start deliberating during the fasting day whether you should continue or not to continue. Physical preparation is also important. The day before you fast you should eat a normal amount of food and take a good amount of liquids (especially if you are going to be fasting without taking any liquids). If you miss some meals on the day before fasting, then you may start feeling hungry during the fasting period. If you do not take enough liquids, especially during the night before the fast, then you will feel uncomfortable when you are fasting. Once you decide to fast, your hunger just “shuts off” for the fasting period.
- The actual fast- It is best to do light physical tasks and concentrate more on intellectual and spiritual work during the fasting period. It is not a good idea to spend your time thinking about what you are going to eat tomorrow! If you have prepared yourself properly this shouldn’t be a problem and you can use the time that you gain by not eating to do some constructive things that you normally don’t get time to do.
- Breaking the fast – One of the benefits of fasting is that it helps to eliminate toxins from the body. However, you can only get this benefit if you break your fast correctly. On the morning following the fasting day, take two glasses of lemon water. Put the juice of have of a lemon in one glass and add a bit of salt. (The drink should taste both lemony and salty). After some time, you can eat your breakfast. The lemon water will help you to flush your digestive system with a strong bowel movement and many toxins will be eliminated.
Each one of these stages is important.
One day fasts like this can be done twice a month. This kind of fasting will give rest to your digestive organs, help eliminate toxins, build your will power and strength of mind. On top of this, the overall reduction in calories that you get from going two days without food each month, will definitely be one of the elements of a balanced and sustainable weight loss program.