At some point, almost every woman starves herself to lose a little extra weight — literally. They’ve skipped meals for days, drank green juices in favor of eating solid food and suffered in silence (or maybe quite loudly) for the sake of shaving off a few extra pounds. But should you be long term fasting to lose weight as a dieting technique?
The Fast Way to Lose Weight?
Fasting has been used for thousands of years, though not necessarily as a diet. Fasting for religious purposes is a well-known practice. People who go “on a cleanse” are also essentially fasting from solid food, as cleansing requires eating little to no food but drinking liquids instead. You’ve probably even heard of people using laxatives in order to flush calories from their bodies in a last ditch effort before a deadline.
And mathematically, if you take in fewer calories than you consume you will lose weight. But there is a better method than a multi-day fast.
Not So Fast!
The weight you lose from when you begin fasting isn’t really fat; it’s mostly fluid, or “water weight.” Not only that, once your long fast is over you may start gaining all the weight back right away. In fact, you might even add some extra pounds to the equation because you have forced your body into “starvation” mode for a long period of time. As a natural self-defense mechanism, your body’s metabolism slows down and begins stockpiling fat in order to protect you from future fasts. To prevent this from happening, the longest periods of fasting should be at an absolute maximum of 18-24 hours, and fasting should also not be done if you are too young, elderly, pregnant, or have health problems.
Intermittent fasting is something most people can do to help regulate their bodies and get into quick fasting modes without risking their health or wellness. Intermittent fasting can be anything from skipping one meal a day, typically dinner, for a few days a week. This type of fasting puts your body into a fat burning mode while also knowing it is not in starvation mode.
The Healthy Way to Fast
There are some benefits to fasting. Religious leaders, including Gandhi, have praised the benefits of fasting. People have used it to clear toxins from the body and lose a little extra weight. But fasting is not a long-term diet solution, and it should not be used to lose 5 pounds of weight or more. Intermittent fasting is something that helps you regulate your food intake while giving your body time to essentially take a break from working often to digest food. Many studies have shown how great short term fasting is for heart health and general overall health. Be sure to get that exercise in as well during the non fasting hours of the day.