Weight loss fasting is one of many methods of weight loss that are touted by weight loss companies. Those looking to lose weight are certainly at no loss for finding someone or some company promising them the “real secret” to easy, breezy, no effort and fast-acting weight loss.
While the vast majority of medical science has long held that the “real secret” of weight loss is simply eating a healthy diet and exercise, that hasn’t stopped the claims of magic weight loss secrets from coming fast and furious. One of these programs is the idea of weight loss fasting.
What is Weight Loss Fasting?
Weight loss fasting is essentially just what it sounds like. Practicing fasting (going without food) in order to lose weight. The idea is that all of those spiritual leaders, monks, ascetics, etc., who have been fasting for millennia were not only taking their spiritual life to a new level but practicing a perfect way for you or anyone to lose weight.
True fasting means absolutely nothing is eaten or drunk. No food, no water, no nothing. However this practice has always seen some variations, and those variations remain today, especially with weight loss fasting. Here are a few of the basic methods of weight loss fasting.
Water Fasting You don’t eat anything, and you don’t drink anything but water.
Juice Fasting This is an increasingly popular form of weight loss fasting where you don’t eat anything, but get some nutrients and energy from various fruit and vegetable juices.
Periodic Fasting Fasting doesn’t have to be done straight. Take, for example, the Muslim fasting during the month of Ramadan. While they cannot eat anything during the daylight hours, this changes once the sun goes down.
Miscellaneous Fasting It is difficult to categorize all of the other forms of fasting out there. Many weight loss fasting programs will not call for a complete break from food but only certain types of food, such as not eating meat, not eating processed foods, etc.
The Promises of Weight Loss Fasting
Weight Loss Since it is called weight loss fasting, obviously the idea is for you to lose weight. If you’re not eating anything it means you aren’t taking in any calories, which means that your body is going to have to draw from energy stores in your body. Hence, weight loss.
Body Detoxification By ceasing intake into the system, you can allow your body to cleanse itself of many of the toxins that can be built up from your diet.
Spiritual Awakening Fasting is not just a physical experience, but a spiritual one. When we worry less about putting food into our bodies it gives our minds time to focus on the spiritual realm.
Building of Confidence and Discipline For most of us, fasting does not come naturally. Weight loss fasting is a test of will, and can be used as a method for developing discipline and increasing confidence in yourself.
Problems With Weight Loss Fasting
Fasting is a serious issue. Our bodies require nourishment in order to operate properly, and ceasing to take in nourishment can greatly damage our bodies. There are many risks involved with weight loss fasting.
Malnourishment If fasting is undertaken it could cause the faster to become malnourished. This can lead to a whole host of health problems.
Losing Muscle, Keeping Fat One of the potential problems with weight loss fasting is that although you will lose weight, it might not be where you intend it. When we are undernourished, especially if we are not being active, our bodies tend to take energy not from fat but from muscle, meaning that your weight loss fasting could lead to muscle loss while keeping the fat that you wanted to get rid of.
Impairing Metabolism When your body is not receiving the nourishment it needs, it can often impair your body’s metabolism. Since it is no longer getting what it expects, it can throw your whole system out of whack and when you do start to eat it can cause you to actually gain weight rather than losing it.
Mental Concerns Fasting could severely impair your mental faculties. It can cause fatigue, even hallucinations. Its no secret that ascetics and monks would often see visions, revelations, etc. while out in the desert on fast. While some will chalk this up to contact with the spiritual realm, it is also a fact that going without nourishment for days at a time can have many of the same psychological effects as drug use.
So is Weight Loss Fasting a Good Idea?
If you are looking to lose weight and have a healthier, more balanced life, looking for a quick fix solution is never a good thing. As said earlier, the way to lose weight properly, and have a much higher probability of keeping it off, is not to go on a fad diet or go through some program like weight loss fasting. It is to simply eat a more balanced diet and exercise.
Fasting itself brings many risks, and could do far more damage to your health than good. If properly undertaken weight loss fasting is not necessarily harmful to your health, however if you are looking for weight loss it is hardly an ideal solution. The best advice is to stay away from weight loss fasting and anything else promising a quick fix weight loss solution.