What is the Lure of Fasting?
Fasting is a fast and easy way to shed a few, unwanted pounds. Most often, fasts include drinking water or juice and allow very little to no food. Water fasting typically causes faster weight loss, as water contains no calories. Juice fasting, however, can be linked to detox diets and may cause diarrhea and frequent bowel movements, which can dehydrate the body. Fasting weight loss is a short-term solution to a long-term goal. Dieters commonly turn to fasting for weight loss when all other diets and supplements have failed.
The History of Fasting
Spiritual fasting has been part of many religious cultures for centuries. For some religions, fasting is a way to cleanse the body and offer homage to specific religious beliefs and Gods. Some religions partake in large feasts the night before fasting begins and many allow certain foods or eating during specific times of day during spiritual fasting.
A fasting diet is far different from spiritual fasting. With weight loss as the central goal, dieters often replace all food with liquid of some form. Liquids like water or juice, allow the body to stay hydrated while cleansing or shedding weight. It is known that the body can last far longer without food than water, so including fluids is a life preservation and a fine line between an attempt at weight loss and an eating disorder.
It is hard to place a finger on a specific time when fasting for health was replaced by fasting for weight loss. It may be linked to the late 1980s when super thin models were on the cover of every magazine and ultra low fat and low calorie diets starting becoming more popular. Unlike Christian fasting or biblical fasting, fasting diets lasted weeks or even months.
The popularity of fasting is also intangible, because after long periods without eating, dieters could easily move from fasting to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Within just a few short weeks, fasting effects can shrink the size of the stomach to the point where eating food is uncomfortable.
What are the Benefits of Fasting?
When done correctly, the power of fasting is quite evident both internally and externally, some experts claim. Some of the more common and outrageous fasting benefits include:
- Decreased healing time.
- Ability to overcome addiction.
- Healing uterine tumors.
- Clearing skin conditions.
- Weight loss.
- Bowel cleansing.
Many of these fasting benefits are associated with intermittent fasting or fasting juice diets. Juice fasting and detoxification is the number one method of cleansing the body via fast. However, this method of weight loss and detox can also pose the most risk for harm to the body.
The Dangers of Juice Fasting Weight Loss
There are temporary and long-term potential side effects associated with fasting cleansing. The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, acne, bad breath and body odor. Blood glucose levels can also be affected, as juice tends to be very high in natural sugar. Diabetics should never attempt a juice fast as death could occur. If the juice fast continues for a period of a week or more, additional side effects could result. These include fainting, low blood pressure, extreme hunger, vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration.
The body is a self-preserving machine. When fuel is low, stores of fat in the body are used to maintain life. However, the body does not use up these stores without kicking in mechanism to store all calories. In times when food is plentiful, the digestive system does not think twice about pushing extra calories out of the body via waste and urination. During famine, or times of fasting, the body may choose to hold on to these calories just in case stores run low. Every calorie consumed while juice fasting will be used by the body or stored for later use and this function is not easy to reverse. Once the fast ends, the body will continue to store fat for some time until the starvation mode ends. This could mean rapid weight gain beyond weight lost during fasting.
Choosing Healthy Fasting for Weight Loss
Despite all the negative press associated with fasting, there are healthy ways to utilize the power of detox fasting for better health. The best fasting guide is common sense. Skipping the first two meals of the day and replacing food with healthy, vitamin rich juice is one way to use intermittent fasting for weight loss. Fasting rules assume a daily multivitamin will also be taken during this time to assure overall body health.
Other fasting tips include eating at least one meal a day with sufficient amounts of protein to protect the body from muscle loss and drinking plenty of water to flush sugar out of the body. Too much sugar in urine can lead to a urinary tract infection.
How Much Weight Can I Shed While Fasting to Lose Weight?
With a healthy fast where food is allowed and only a couple of meals a day are replaced with healthy, vitamin rich juice, the dieter can expect to lose around 5 to 7 pounds the first week and 2 pounds a week thereafter. The rate of weight loss will be determined by daily activities, basal metabolic rate and the effectiveness of any fat burners being taken while fasting. Fasting health is something that can be taken advantage of by dieters if they ensure they are consuming at least 1200 calories a day and adding a bit of fitness into the daily routine. Some dieters even choose to utilize juice fasting only a couple of days a week as fasting cleansing can mentally and physically prepare the body for the rigors ahead.
Fasting for weight loss can be a healthy option if common sense is figured into the diet plan. Eating nothing and drinking only juice for months at a time will not result in long-term weight loss. Instead, the body will preserve all calories and kick into starvation mode where metabolism slows to a snail’s pace. This is not what any dieter wants to recover from after weeks of fasting.