How do you fast to lose weight?
You’ve probably heard all the news about fasting and how it helps people lose weight. You may even know someone who has lost weight with fasting.
The fasting movement is increasing in popularity and for good reason…it has many health benefits. In a broad sense it helps with overall health by allowing your body to do its thing to clean itself up – so that you’re detoxing your body. The result of course that many enjoy is a big boost in fat burning.
It’s to the point where it might be easier to ask, “What doesn’t fasting help?” But diving into all of the benefits isn’t the question that we’re asking and answering in this article.
Rather, you’re looking specifically at weight loss. So then, once again…
How do you fast to lose weight?
The answer to this question is seemingly obvious. In fact, the answer is built into the question itself. If you simply ask, “How do you lose weight?”, your answer might be, “you fast”.
That is, in fasting’s simplest and purest form, you stop eating food and only drink water.
If you do this, I guarantee you’ll lose weight.
But there are different varieties of fasting these days. You can extend your fast for a few hours beyond the time you spend sleeping at night and increase it from there. (In fact, the longest fast I’ve seen on record went for 382 days!)
With the different types of fasting out there, I think there’s a better question to ask, like:
Which form of fasting is best for losing weight?
This is a better question to ask and perhaps is what people are looking for when they ask how to fast to lose weight.
What kinds of fasts are out there?
You can break down fasting into two major categories:
1. The timing of your fasting.
2. What you consume during your fasts.
So, then, starting with the timing of your fasts…
How long should you fast?
I was talking to a friend about all of the benefits of fasting and she was quickly convinced that she wanted to do an extended fast for 5 days.
However, she had no experience fasting and didn’t really know what she was getting into…
So I explained to her that she should think of fasting like lifting weights at the gym. If you go to the gym for the first time in your life, you’re not going to start with the heaviest weights. Instead you’re going to start small and progress your way up to heavier weights.
I would recommend something similar for fasting. That is…
Start with the “minimum effective dose”.
You can start by fasting for just 8 hours while you’re sleeping at night and work your way up from there.
But you want to do the minimum amount of fasting to get the benefits. In this case, you could look at a study in which recurrence of breast cancer dropped significantly for women who went 13 hours or more without eating at night.
And, although this wasn’t a study on weight loss, I think you can draw some conclusions that there are significant health benefits when you simply go without food for 13 hours or more.
Then you can work your way up from there to the point where you’re getting the benefits you want.
What can and should you eat when fasting?
This is a tricky question to answer because every body is different and nobody really knows exactly how certain things will affect you.
I would say that, if you want to be on the safe side, you would do a pure water fast (while making sure you get enough electrolytes).
However, you may be okay consuming anything that has zero calories – like coffee.
Some people do juice fasts which some find beneficial. I prefer to keep things simple and do mostly water fasting because the idea is that I’m letting my body recover and not eat. Drinking juice will not give you the same fat burning and cellular cleaning benefits of a pure water fast.
Pick your timing and what you’ll consume.
That’s it. In the simplest form, to lose weight from fasting, you simply decide how long you’ll fast and what you’ll consume during your fast.
But one word of warning…
You may not lose weight as quickly fasting as you would “dieting”.
If you think of “dieting” as restricting calories, then you’ll find that you’ll lose more weight on one of these “crash diets”. How so?
Well, when you practice fasting, your body does a good job of preserving your lean body (muscle) mass. But, when you diet and restrict calories, your body is more likely to use your lean body mass for energy.
Thus, when you crash diet, and you step on the scale, you’ll likely see dramatic changes. What you may not be considering is that you are losing lean body mass and lowering your metabolism.
This means that when you stop dieting, you’ll put on even more weight! And you’ve burned lean body mass so you’re now weaker than before with less muscle and lower bone density.
So the question then becomes:
Do you REALLY want to lose weight?
Or do you want to improve your body composition?
What you really want is to burn fat while maintaining and building lean body mass. This may or may not result in weight loss.
Thus, you should use fasting not to lose weight but to burn fat and improve the way you look – and feel.
How do you biohack your fast – so that you boost the weight-loss benefits?
There are many ways to biohack your fast. You can take supplements – like curcumin in turmeric among many others.
To learn more about biohacking your fast, keep reading…
Curious about fasting but don’t know where to start?
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