Typically, the idea behind fasting is to either drop some weight very quickly, or to cleanse the body of toxins. There are various religious groups that routinely practice fasting for religious reasons, but for the most part, weight loss seems to be the main reason. And while most people will say that our high tech bodies are capable of extracting toxins all on their own without going on a fast, the idea of following a fasting diet as a means to lose weight is still effective – to a degree.
Fasting can be done a number of ways. While some people fast by placing themselves on a liquid-only diet (just water and juice), others choose to fast on alternating days, and still others simply cut calories drastically while eating very limited portions.
The effect of fasting on your body will result in your energy level dropping, meaning it will look for energy elsewhere, causing you to lose weight. Your metabolism will slow down and you will become sluggish and lack energy. Your appetite will drop as well, meaning you will get hungry less often.
The problem with all of this begins when you return to your regular diet and/or eating habits. Once fasting ends, your appetite hormones will start raging, meaning you may fall victim to binge eating. More often than not you will gain the weight back as fast as you lost it, and many people report gaining back even more weight than they lost during the fast. Fasting is a quick fix for sure, but not a long term one.
It is not recommended that anyone try fasting without first consulting their physician. You should be prepared though for them to suggest alternate methods for weight loss such as exercise and a healthier eating plan. Most doctors don’t seem to be big fans of fasting, especially for their patients who may have health issues that can be negatively affected by going without food for any length of time.
Fasting in general, if done properly and only for the length of a day or so, isn’t dangerous to anyone who is in fairly good health, and in fact can be beneficial for most people. However, it is not recommend as a long term fix in any way. The body needs vitamins and nutrients in food that keep your body healthy. Problems that could arise from going on an extended fast include chronic fatigue, dehydration, and a break down in your immunity system.
You know your body better than anyone. You’ll know if fasting is having an adverse effect on your body and it is up to you to do the wise and sensible thing if an issue should arise. Fasting can be quite effective if done correctly, but it’s important to realize that it is a short term fix. The only way to lose weight and maintain it for any period of time is to make permanent lifestyle changes subtly over time. Cold turkey fixes are band aid solutions at best.
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