If you’ve never fasted before, it may be something to consider adding to your routine. Fasting has become a trend among health and wellness gurus lately, and an increasing number of people around the world are opting to abstain from food or drinks in some way. There are many health benefits to fasting, and there are also many different types of fasting, so you can choose an option that makes sense for your lifestyle. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most popular and effective ways to fast, as well as the benefits of fasting.
Types of fasting
Everyone’s body processes food differently, and because of this, there are many different approaches to fasting. If you’ve always thought that fasting wasn’t for you, you may just need to try a different approach. Here are some of the most popular types of fasting.
A juice fast is one of the most popular types of fasting right now, and they are one of the easier fasting options if you have never fasted before. During a juice fast, you drink only fruit and vegetable juices for a set period of time, usually a few days. The juice allows you to get the nutrients you need while sending your body into a fat-burning state. When completing a juice fast, you should make sure you are consuming several different types of juices so that you get all of the nutrients you need.
These fasts are designed to cleanse the toxins from your body. During a cleansing fast, you consume only a specific liquid with cleansing properties, often some form of lemon juice or even a cleansing tea. You consume only this liquid for a day or two, and it will essentially give your digestive system a refresh. These fasts can be dangerous if they are done for too long, so you may want to consult a health professional for guidance during the process.
If you’ve never fasted before, this is probably going to be the easiest place to start. Intermittent fasting means that you designate a certain period of time each day to eat and then fast for the rest of the day. A popular approach to this is to fast for 16 hours a day and eat during the other eight hours. For example, you might opt to fast between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM. For many people, this just means skipping breakfast or dinner, or reworking their daily eating schedule. You can adjust this in a way that works for you, and increase the amount of time you fast each day as you get comfortable with it.
Alternate fasting days
If you’re ready for a bigger fasting challenge, you can try fasting every other day. This approach can be very challenging, but once you get in the habit of it, you’ll notice major weight loss benefits without sacrificing nutrition. Many people who use this method still eat a very small amount on their fasting days to keep them going, about 500 calories. However, you can also opt to drink only water on your fasting days if you prefer.
This approach requires you to eat very little during the day and eat one larger meal at night. Many people pair this approach with the ketogenic diet, which is designed to get your body into a fat-burning state quickly. If you decide to go with this approach, stick to small healthy snacks during the day, and one nutrient-dense meal at night.
A fat fast is a more extreme option for people who are already used to fasting and want to give their weight loss journey a bit of a boost. During a fat fast, you consume as many of your calories as possible from fat, but limit your caloric intake to about 1200 calories. You can opt to break it up into very small snacks throughout the day if you want. This fast should only last for two or three days.
Many religions also encourage fasting as an act of spiritual devotion. Fasting is commonly associated with Islam, but fasting is common in Christianity, Judaism, and other religions as well. Muslims practice fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan, and observant Jews follow the Tzomot, which consists of seven fasts practiced throughout the year. Many Christians like to follow the Daniel fast, which is modeled after the Book of Daniel.
Benefits of fasting
There are so many health benefits to fasting, which is why it has become so popular over the last several years. If you’ve never tried fasting before, you may be shocked by just how effective it is for weight loss and maintaining your health. Here are some of the benefits of fasting.
Blood sugar control
If you are at risk for developing diabetes, fasting can actually have huge benefits for you. This is because it reduces your risk of developing an insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can develop over time and it prevents your body from properly absorbing insulin, which transports glucose to your cells and is an important part of energy production. Fasting decreases your blood sugar levels, which directly affect your insulin levels.
Makes weight loss easier
One of the most common reasons people choose to fast is so they can lose weight. When you fast, you’re depriving your body of calories, which forces it into a starvation mode where you will be burning fat. Fasting forces your body into this situation quickly, which is why it’s one of the easiest ways to lose a few pounds quickly. Another interesting benefit of fasting is that it boosts your production of a neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which can boost your natural metabolism.
Reduces chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is very common, but it’s something that can have serious negative affects on your health if it isn’t kept under control. Fasting can actually reduce inflammation throughout your body. In the long run, this can help prevent chronic condition like arthritis and heart disease. You also might notice that you just feel more energetic and healthier when you aren’t experiencing inflammation in your muscles or in the fluids between your joints.
Improves brain health
Some preliminary studies also indicate that fasting can improve your neurological health. The anti-inflammatory effects of fasting can prevent neurological diseases from developing and keep your cognitive skills healthy for years to come. In particular, there’s some preliminary research to suggest that fasting can improve neurological function for people with Parkinson’s disease or even Alzheimer’s disease. Fasting can also improve the generation of nerve cells in your brain, which improves your brain function in general.
Improves growth hormone production
HGH, or human growth hormone, has so many benefits for your body. Athletes in particular love it because it helps you build muscle and burn fat quickly, and it also helps you recover after a workout. When you fast, HGH production increases, so your body will start burning fat without any muscle loss. When monitored carefully, you can use fasting and the rise of HGH that it causes to dramatically change your body.
An interesting benefit of fasting is that it has the potential to actually extend your lifespan. Some recent animal studies have shown that rats who fast do not age as quickly as those that don’t fast. Their life span is also longer. If you make healthy fasting a habit at a young age, you could end up living much longer and staying very healthy even when you are elderly.
May prevent cancer
While there are still more studies to be done on this particular benefit, there is a positive indication that fasting could actually help prevent the formation and development of cancer. Rat studies have shown that fasting can prevent tumors from developing, and other studies have shown that fasting can also keep existing tumors from growing. Although these results aren’t completely conclusive, they are very positive and bode well for the future.
Fasting can be tricky, and it may take some practice to get comfortable with it. If you’ve never fasted before, start slow and be sure to listen to your body. Although fasting has very important health benefits, it also can be dangerous if you overdo it. It may help to consult with a health professional before starting a fast. Here are some tips you can use when fasting to help the whole experience be more productive and comfortable.
Just because you are staying away from food for a designated period of time does not mean you should stop drinking water. In fact, quite the opposite - it is very important to keep hydrated while you are fasting. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, and take a swig every time you find yourself feeling hungry. You might be surprised at how much this helps - often when we think we feel hungry, we are actually just thirsty.
Do your research
Before fasting, it’s important to determine exactly why you are doing it and know the benefits and the risks. Spend time reading up online about the specific type of fast you are doing, and read about other people’s experiences with the fast. This way, you will know exactly what to expect and be able to prepare for it mentally. You should also keep your goals in mind throughout the fast, whether you’re focusing on your physical health or your mental and spiritual health. Remembering why you are doing it will make fasting a bit easier.
Take time to rest
It is very important that you take time to rest while fasting instead of trying to continue to work at your normal pace. If you don’t rest, your body won’t be able to reap the benefits of the fast. It can also be dangerous to try to continue to work out or even just work while you are fasting, because your body isn’t going to have the energy that it needs to keep going. You should plan your fast for over a weekend or any time when you don’t have much going on in your schedule so that you can do it safely.
The biggest challenges that arise during fasting are actually mental, not physical. You might find yourself thinking that you can’t do it, but it’s very important to fight this by having a positive mindset. Before you start fasting, come up with a positive mantra that you can go back to if you’re feeling mentally tired during the process. Remind yourself why you are doing it - it can help you feel healthier, stronger, and lighter. You should also remember that humans are capable of going for well over a month without food, so fasting for a day or two isn’t going to be dangerous.
Eat healthy when your fast ends
After a fast, your digestive system is going to be very sensitive. Because of this, you need to be very careful with what you put into it. Start with something small to see how your body reacts, and then go from there. It can be tempting to eat a huge amount right after a fast, but this isn’t going to be helpful in the long run when it comes to your weight loss goals. The end of a fast is the perfect opportunity to start over with a healthy diet.
If you’ve never tried fasting before and are looking for an easy way to jump start your weight loss progress, fasting is a great way to do it. Your fast doesn’t have to be extreme - you can start with small intermittent fasts and see how your body reacts. Over time, you will find that you experience dramatic health benefits from fasting, both internally and externally. As fasting is becoming a much more mainstream health practice, you will find that it’s easy to do, and you may even have friends around you that are doing it too.