Fasting For Weight Loss
Hi all, and welcome to my weight loss website. Today I’m going to be discussing Fasting and the important role it plays for health and weight loss. Fasting has many healthy benefits, apart from weight loss, other benefits include, Improved blood sugar levels, feeling mentally clearer, with better focus and concentration, reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and possible reduction in overall inflammation, the possibility of type 2 diabetes reversal, and fasting long-term could potentially add years to your life. With so many health benefits its difficult to argue against Fasting for weight loss.
Fasting For Weight Loss
If followed properly, a fasting diet should see you lose weight at a steady and sustainable rate. This is due to number of factors. First, as mentioned above, you are forcing the body to exist in its fasted state for longer, meaning that it will have to start burning your excess fat a fuel to get through the day. This will then lead to overall weight loss.
You are helping the body to find a balance between eating and fasting so that it can use all the fuel stores that it is designed to access. Second, you are reducing your overall caloric intake by dropping the amount of calories that you eat in a week, even by doing nothing else, you should start to see weight come off. Simply reducing the amount of food you eat will have an effect.
However, if you are fasting for weight loss, in order for the diet to be really effective, there is little more to it. What you eat on your non-fasting days is just as important. If you are eating a lot and relying on a couple of fast days or a long fasting window for weight loss, your progress will be slow. But if you ensure that when you’re not fasting you are eating a healthy well-balanced diet with the right amount of calories for your height, weight and activity level, the results will be more significant.
Add in some exercise too and you are moving towards a sustainable lifestyle that can help you get to and maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight brings about many benefits. The NHS UK states that even losing 5% of excess weight, if kept off, can bring about a number of health benefits. It states that being overweight or obese increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, osteoarthritis and back pain.
By losing weight safely. Following a healthy diet and increasing your activity level, you can start to reduce your risk level. So why should you choose a fasting diet over a conventional diet if weight loss is your primary aim? There isn’t really any solid evidence that following an intermittent fasting diet over a conventional diet (one that restricts calorie intake on a daily basis) will make you lose weight any quicker.
But that is based on following each diet to the letter, as they will both broadly reduce your calorie intake over a week by the same amount, resulting in a similar level of weight loss. Many of a fasting diet’s benefits are actually more practical than physical. If you know that you need to lose weight but find it hard to stick to, a fasting diet only limits what you eat temporarily. You can eat normally, albeit making good healthy food choices, most of the time.
This makes it very simple – there are no special meals or ingredients needed, you can eat what you enjoy and you are not restricted. It’s not a time-intensive diet quite the opposite in fact, as there is very little prep required for a fasting day. It won’t cost you anything extra, you don’t have to give up anything and you never feel deprived as your next proper meal is never more than a day away.
Other Health Benefits
Fasting has been widely associated with a number of significant health benefits. It is most commonly used as a weight-loss method, at least initially, but its effects can be far more important. There have been links that show fasting can prevent insulin resistance and help to control, and even potentially reverse, Type 2 diabetes.
It’s important not to get too caught up in the hype, so if you have type 2 diabetes, you should never start an intermittent fasting diet without speaking to your GP. It’s really important to note that intermittent fasting is unlikely to be recommended for those who use insulin or other medication like sulphonylureas or glinides, as fasting could increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
Those who have type 1 diabetes, an intermittent fasting diet could make diabetes management more difficult and that this kind of diet should never be followed without a professional monitoring your progress.
There are many other reported health benefits, which are again based on smaller-scale studies and anecdotal evidence. Many followers of these diets have said they feel mentally clearer and have better focus and concentration. This is one of the benefits reported by those who follow fast diets for religious or spiritual reasons, and why is fasting considered so important to help build a connection with one’s deity or one’s self.
Other benefits may include short-term increases in Human Growth Hormone, improved cholesterol levels, a reduction in the risk of Alzhiemer’s disease and a possible reduction in overall inflammation. It’s also thought that fasting long-term could add years on to your life.
Top Tips For Coping With Hunger
Getting used to feeling hungry can be hard, but here are my top tips for getting through the day.
You will feel hungry on a fast day or fast period to start off with! But here are things that you can do to help you manage your cravings and get through the day. It does get easier with time too.
- Drink some water
Water fills your stomach and helps you feel less hungry. Some dieters also suggest trying fizzy waters the bubbles make you feel even fuller.
- Distract yourself
Hunger pangs tend to come and go, so if you can distract yourself, you’ll probably find that they will go away. Try reading a book or doing a puzzle – anything that engages your brain so you don’t think about hunger.
- Plan ahead
If you have been feeling very hungry on fast days, make sure that you’re eating enough the day before. Plan your last meal to have lots of protein and fiber to keep you fuller for longer.
- Have a coffee
Coffee can help restrain your appetite and make you feel less hungry. Have it black if you can and don’t add sweetener.
- Do some exercise
Some gentle exercise can help with hunger pangs – go for a walk or, if you’re at work, try just walking up and down the stairs or over to a colleague’s desk.
- Have a nap
It’s not always practical, but if you happen to be at home, you can have a short nap, which can give you some energy back to get through the day.
- Think ahead
Motivate yourself to keep going by planning your next day’s meals. Having something to look forward to and knowing it’ll be worth it can keep you track.
- Join a community
Join a Facebook group for chosen diet, as then you can chat to like minded people who are doing the same thing as you for support.
Fasting And Mindfulness
There is a link between acts of fasting and being mindful
There is reason that fasting is part of spiritual and religious teachings. In these circumstances, weight loss and health are not the point; these facts are designed to help you get more in touch with yourself and feel a deep a sense of connection and peace.
Mindfulness is very closely linked to the art of fasting, but its something that is not practiced enough in today’s busy world. We are often suffering from stress and not enough sleep, all of which is exacerbated by unhealthy diets full of junk and processed foods. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress levels, aid sleep and even be a tool to use in general health and well being. Used correctly, it could even help with weight loss.
You can incorporate mindfulness into your new lifestyle in a couple of ways. First, you can be more mindful about what you eat. When you only have 500 calories on a fast day, you should try to be more aware of what you are eating. Enjoy the process of preparing your meal, savor each bit and eat slowly. Don’t eat with the TV on and focus on what you are putting in your mouth.
This will help you feel more satisfied with what you have eaten and more aware of what you are putting into your body. You can also use mindfulness to help when hunger strikes. Do something that you can get fully involved in – go for a walk, for example, and make a conscious effort to note your surroundings, feel the wind on your face and hear the crunch of grass under your feet.
Focus On Health
What it all comes down to really is that you need to prioritise your health and not weight loss. While Losing weight is good for your health if you need to lose it, you do need to be mindful about overall effects of fasting and your well being. There is no point losing weight if fasting leaves you feeling under the weather, weak, tired or miserable.
You should always put your own health and well being above anything else. It might take a while to get used to a fast, so a few minor side effects are expected, but these should lift. You should start to feel better not worse, and you should start to find that your health and well being improve. If this is not the case, it is much better to admit that fasting might not be right for you and to consider changing the way you fast or looking at different diets.
If you have any fasting experiences I would love to hear about them. Please email me if you have any questions.
Shawn founder of Weight Loss Pro