Fasting is a very old practice done by millions of people around the world to lose weight fast. Few even consider it as the best way to get rid of those excess fats. Others see it as a dangerous and severe method of losing weight which can cause different kinds of health problems in the long run. There are those who fast as part of their religion while those who follow this practice say that it helps them remain healthy. Fasting is also done to get rid the toxins of the body which is often referred to as detox fasting.
A lot of people consider fasting as the easiest method to shed weight since they no longer have to cook, reduce their cravings and so on. However, is fasting really the best option when trying to lose weight?
How Does Fasting Work?
Fasting allows a person to reduce their calorie intake dramatically in order to shed pounds. This helps in reducing one’s appetite making them eat less and in turn, prevent weight gain in the long run. Fasting without consuming food but taking water and fruit juice can provide substantial loss of weight while still retaining one’s energy levels.
Advantages of Fasting
Fasting is considered to be an advantageous practice by many especially when it comes to losing weight and boosting their metabolism. Other advantages of fasting are:
- It helps the body’s entire system clean.
- It provides numerous medical benefits such as body detoxification, physical lightness, letting the digestive system rest, provide inner peace in the body, and so on.
- It reduces excess fats in the body, making you look thinner.
- It can help enhance spiritual connection that helps revive their mental health.
- It is known to help people lose about 20 pounds in a month through a controlled diet.
- It can treat digestive problems such as constipation.
- It can boost good health in people especially when they use juice fasting, five fruits fasting, and even vegetable broth fasting.
- It provides mental stability.
Disadvantages of Fasting
Fasting should be done carefully as it can lead to various health problems. Here are some of the disadvantages of this practice.
- When done improperly, fasting can cause the body’s metabolism to slow down which can make you gain weight even more.
- It can cause dehydration at times especially when water intake is low. This can lead to organ failure, renal problems, premature ageing, and even death.
- Quick weight loss is apparent during the early stages of fasting but the weight gain can be quicker once fasting is discontinued.
- In some cases, fasting can lead to breakdown of muscles, vitamins and mineral deficiency.
- Certain types of fasting can cause obesity, kidney and lung failure, anemia, and others.
- Fasting for long periods can hinder the growth in children and teenagers which can lead to malnutrition.
Suggested Fasting Methods for Weight Loss
There are certain types of fasting that are recommended by dietitians to those who want to lose weight. The methods mentioned below can be used without worrying about any side effects.
- Intermittent fasting. This method uses the 5:2 rule where you get to eat your normal meals for five days while you go on a diet on the remaining two days. The calorie intake for the 2 days are cut to ¼ of their usual level which helps in improving blood pressure, cholesterol level, and sensitivity to insulin.
- Transition fasting. This type of fasting is where you transition to being a vegan or vegetarian slowly through alternate fasting. Quitting non-vegetarian food immediately may not be for everyone but transitioning through fasting can help.
- Alternate day fasting. This fasting method is a good way for you to increase your overall health. One day you can eat anything you like then the following day you will have to have some restrictions. Consuming about 300 calories in one day without going beyond 500 calories the following day can aid in your digestion.
- Complete fasting. In this type of fasting, you shouldn’t have anything except water for the entire day. This fasting can run the entire day and applying this method once a month can help extend your life.
How much can you lose when you fast?
Fasting can actually help you lose a pound every day. Losing more than a pound in just a day is not a good fasting technique. Regardless of what type of fasting you want to use, you should always consult with a dietitian, a family doctor, or fitness expert. Swap instant soups with boiled vegetables or even the water once you strain the boiled veggies.
- If you want to lose weight by fasting, follow a vegetarian diet. You can always eat white meat that doesn’t contain fat.
- Ask for help from a licensed dietitian when following any kind of fasting to ensure that what you are doing is safe for your weight loss goals.
- You can drink fruit juice without sugar or ice just so you stay hydrated during fasting.
- Consume boiled vegetables and plenty of fruit before you fast. This will help you stay energized and hydrated.
- Combining fasting with basic exercises such as treadmill, walking, and jogging can help you lose more weight.
- Relying heavily on weight loss supplements that reduce your appetite can have long term effects on your health. Don’t consume more than is necessary.
- Fasting to minimize post-pregnancy fat or belly fat is a myth. Do not do strict fasting when trying to get rid of belly or post-pregnancy fat.
- Fasting is said to be the best way to cleanse the body. This is not true. Avoid following any detox diet.
- Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean that you can lose considerable amounts of calories. For example, you cannot just consume 1000 to 1500 calories in one day just to lose weight since this can cause nutrition deficiency.