Recently, fasting diets have become all the rage amongst the health-conscious and waistline wary. So what exactly is the deal with this latest craze? If you’ve ever been on a diet before and you’ve experienced those longing, drool-inducing moments when a Krispy Kreme donut comes your way, then perhaps fasting might be for you. The problem with traditional diets is the system of constant abstaining and avoidance of certain foods. If you’re on a diet and your friends all want to go out to dinner, you may even be tempted to stay in for the night because you know you’d be tempted to order that onion ring appetizer or try just a bite/eat the whole double chocolate fudge dessert du jour. With fasting, you don’t have to live in a constant fear of food because you don’t have to cut out all of the foods you love. This actually makes fasting much easier to stick to compared with traditional diets.
So what exactly does fasting entail? Rather than giving up your favorite foods for months on end until you achieve your ideal weight, when you fast you give up virtually all food for a short space of time. Once your fasting period is over, you can go back to eating whatever it is that you want without feeling guilty for it. People who manage to maintain a fasting diet can lose as much as 2-3 lbs a week – all while continuing to eat their favorite foods!
There are a number of different types of fasting regiments; the two most popular are intermittent fasting and weekly fasting. With intermittent fasting, you fast on a daily basis for several hours. The three most popular intermittent fasts are the 20/4 (used to denote a repeating pattern of 20 hours of fasting followed by 4 hours of non-fasting), the 19/5, and the 16/8. Practitioners of these fasting methods often start the fasting period at the commencement of nightly sleep. Daily fasting is a little more extreme; rather than reorganizing your eating schedule, you simply don’t eat for 1-2 days each week. Both are widely practiced; however, daily fasting is not recommended for people with blood sugar issues. Before you start a fasting plan, it’s always a good idea to consult a physician to see if such a diet is right for your body.
The benefits to a fasting diet extend well beyond the realm of weight-loss. Many people practice fasting as a way to nourish their emotional and spiritual lives. There are physical benefits as well. Fasting can also help the body cleanse itself of stored toxins. Because no solid food is consumed during a fast, your digestive organs do not have to work as hard. The liver gets a little bit of a respite during this time and can focus on cleaning stored toxins out of the body instead. Fasting also stimulates the body to clear out toxins, either by passing them through the kidneys or by creating excess mucus. Because it is such a powerful detox tool, fasting has even been proven as a way to ease the difficulty of overcoming addiction, whether it be to drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol.
If you find that traditional diets based on depriving yourself of your favorite foods just aren’t working for you, maybe it’s time to give fasting a try. As previously mentioned, consult a physician before you decide to give it a go. The entire point of fasting is to be healthier, so getting yourself into a fasting situation that is unhealthy for your unique body is just a tad counter productive.
So how ’bout it, Rockheads; do you have your very own fasting tale that you’d like to share? Have a diet that you’d like to recommend? Leave your views in the comment section!