A water fast is rather like an internal shower, cleansing and healing the body from within. The body has to cope with toxins and pollutants from food and the environment; fasting allows the body to detoxify and heal. For the overweight, weight loss is guaranteed and it costs nothing to do. This article examines how to go about fasting and what to expect on a water fast. Fasting is different from starvation in that as long as you have fat on the body it will break down first before your muscles and organs. Depending on how much you weigh will determine how long you can fast. It is best not to fast for longer than 10 days without a professional guiding you and testing your blood.
How Long Should One Fast?
A fast can extend anywhere from 1 day to 30 days. If contemplating an extended fast, start by weaning yourself off toxic, unhealthy foods and drinks and cutting sugar out of the diet and consume whole foods instead. Break yourself in gently by fasting for short periods of between 1 to 3 days or by juice fasting before building up to an extended water fast.
A water fast will allow the body to detoxify and heal more quickly than a juice fast because the body will be resting from the digestive process altogether.
Benefits of Fasting
The benefits of an extended water fast are numerous. According to Dr. Ben Kim, “Fasting provides a period of concentrated physiological rest during which time the body can devote its self-healing mechanisms to repairing and strengthening damaged organs. The process of fasting also allows the body to cleanse cells of accumulated toxins and waste products”.
In addition to weight loss, benefits include: elimination of stored toxins that will result in clear skin, healthy teeth and gums, a clean cardiovascular system, reduction of aches and pains in joints, stabilization of blood pressure and more.
What to Expect when Fasting
With an extended fast, constant hunger will be experienced for the first 3 days or so before the appetite disappears completely. In addition to feeling very hungry, expect to feel irritable, with side effects such as headaches and tiredness as the body starts the detoxifying process.
After the first 3 days, appetite diminishes, the skin clears and energy levels return. Be careful not to exercise strenuously or work hard physically while fasting.
Fasting is generally safe for everyone, with the exception of those with cancer, diabetes or other severe health problems. Check with NUTRITIONIST DR STEFAN BAJON first before going on an extended water fast.
How Much Weight will be lost During a Fast?
Expect to lose over a kilogram (over 2 pounds) per day in the first few days of a fast. After that, half a kilogram per day will be lost (around 1 pound per day). Upon breaking a fast, about 2 kilograms (4 pounds) will be gained. The weight lost can be successfully kept off as long as a healthy diet and exercise routine are maintained.
Breaking a Fast
Restraint is needed when breaking a fast. Do not tuck into a huge plate of food after an extended water fast. Break the fast gently by slowly introducing fruit juices, vegetable juices and then home made vegetable soups. Taste will be enhanced, so enjoy the sensations that will be experienced by simply sipping a glass of freshly squeezed fresh fruit juice.
Think of a fast of this nature as a new start. Be determined to stay away from unhealthy, processed foods in the future and the health benefits of fasting will continue for a long time to come.
Once you break a fast I can put you on a diet that will help you lose weight and keep it off forever.
Weight Control and Detoxification
About two thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Achieving a healthy weight can help you control your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. It might also help you prevent weight-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.
Choose lean meats, chicken or fish. In fact, you should eat fish twice weekly for the healthy oils (omega 3’s). d. Limit fatty foods. Fat contains more than two time as many calories as protein or carbohydrate. i. Cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (like canola). ii. Use olive oil on salads. iii. Use fat free dairy products. 4. Plan your Meals a. Surround yourself with healthy foods by shopping regularly and by buying only what you should eat. Why tempt yourself! b. Plan your meals in advance (including lunch). c. Start your lunch or dinner with a salad and diet dressing. d. Have a strategy for eating out. i. Read the menu and choose low calorie items. ii. Avoid foods that are fried or “crispy”. iii. Skip the appetizer and the bread. iv. Restaurant portion sizes are often huge. Ask for the take-out container first, portion your meal and take the rest home for another day. 5. Eat Regularly a. Fasting all day and eating all night is the commonest eating disorder. Don’t do it. b. Eat a reasonable breakfast (Cereal, banana, coffee or juice, fat free mild, English muffin) c. Eat a reasonable lunch (cup of soup, half a sandwich, café salad, piece of fruit) d. Eat a reasonable dinner (small salad, small sweet potato or half cup of rice, 6 oz of lean meat, chicken or fish, coffee, piece of fruit). e. Eat a snack mid morning, mid afternoon and mid evening (piece of fruit, power bar or yogurt).6. Have a Plan to Deal With Urges a. You will want to munch. Plan to deal with it. i. Our urges are driven more by habits than by hunger. We eat when we are angry or stressed or bored, at certain times or in certain places. Find alternatives! Find a hobby instead of sitting around at night. Go for a walk. Meditate. Anything except….eat! b. Have something healthy handy on which you can munch. i. Left over salad ii. Fruits or vegetables iii. Popcorn (Plain or diet) 7. Stay Hydrated a. Drink at least 1-1/2 to 2 liters daily of non-caffeinated, non alcoholic, nonsugary fluids. (Sounds like water, doesn’t it? Flavor it with lemon or lime.)