Fasting is the act of purposely refraining from consuming any solid food for an extended period of time. Fasting has been used in religions such as Mormonism, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Benefits of fasting for a prolonged time include reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as a slowed aging process. Recent research even suggests that prolonged fasting can even lead to an extended life span, and most importantly, rapid weight loss. To find out how to lose weight quickly and effectively using this method, read on.
Understand and Acknowledge the Health Risks of Fasting
Fasting for a period of time can cause a starvation response in your body that can lead to serious health risks. It is essential that you understand the fasting process and what happens to your body when it is deprived of calories.
During a fast, your body can go into starvation mode, a state in which your body reacts to extremely low caloric intake. First, the body responds to the change by burning fat reserves. The fat in your body is converted into energy, a process which creates organic byproducts known as “ketones”.
After a few days of fasting, the body increases ketone production to satisfy the brain’s constant need for energy. This causes the body to burn energy very quickly, with a corresponding fat reduction of up to a 1 lb per day. Potential complications of this rapid weight loss can include: thinning/loss of hair, electrolyte imbalances, cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest which may lead to death if prolonged to the point of complete starvation.
Additionally, excessive fasting for calorie restrictive purposes accompanied by intense fears of becoming overweight are associated with mental illnesses including anorexia nervosa.
You should never start a fast abruptly. It’s very important to prepare yourself physically and mentally before beginning a long or short-term fast.
To prepare your body, begin eating smaller meals prior to your fast. Not only will this prepare your body for fasting, it can also help you reduce your appetite. A good place to start is to cut your normal food portions in half and to try skipping or limiting some meals. It’s much easier and healthier to skip dinner than to skip any other meal. In fact, as a general rule it is a good idea to limit the amount of food you take in before bedtime and never eat any food within four hours of going to sleep.
Cut down on caffeine, salt, sugar, cooked/fried food and meats very slowly. If you stop too suddenly, you will experience discomfort. It is important to limit meat and fried foods, but you cannot do this all at once. As a general rule, eat things that are fresh rather than cooked food, i.e. salads and fruits. Fruits, berries and nuts contain enzymes that your body needs, and consuming these foods will make it easier for you to keep to your diet. Additionally, whenever possible you should select organic fruits and vegetables that have been grown in natural sunlight and that have completely ripened in the Sun.
Drink a lot of water. This is very important in preparation for a fast. Water helps keep you full and reduces your appetite.
Always Check With Your Doctor or Physician Before Fasting
While few of us enjoy going to the doctor, this is nevertheless a precaution that does have its merits. As we’ve seen, unsupervised fasting can be dangerous.
Go see a doctor, but ask your doctor at least two questions.
“Have you ever fasted?”
“Do you really know anything about fasting?”
If they answer no to both questions then go see another doctor. You will probably have to visit a doctor that specializes in natural medicine and natural healing methods. Look in the yellow pages as a starting place. Your goal is to find a specialist that knows what they are doing concerning fasting.