There are many reasons why a person decides to do a fast. Some do it as a part of their religion, such as for Ramadan and Lent. Some participate in a fast to express their political views in a form of protest. Recently, there are new trends in the fitness world to fast for 24 hours twice a week and eat normal the rest of the week. What happens to our bodies when we fast and is it harmful or helpful?
A fast, by definition, is abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink. This is different from a cleanse where you’re eating foods that flush out toxins from your system.
A case FOR fasting: With a fast, you abstain from food for a set period of time and your body uses its stored up energy (fat) to use as fuel to keep going. Even with fasting on alternate days and eating all you want on non-fasting days, there is going to be a drastic loss in weight. Fasting can also help reset and improve the digestive system, increase mental clarity, and promote an inner stillness that enhances spiritual connections. Some say that fasting is called the “miracle cure” because it allows the body to initiate it’s own healing mechanisms.
A case AGAINST fasting: Our bodies are programmed to keep our energy stores up. Our ancestors would sometimes have to go periods of time without food – whenever they ate, their bodies would store up the extra energy for them to use when food wasn’t available. This is why going back to your normal diet after a fast, usually results in putting the weight back on, or possibly gaining more weight.
If you do partake in a fast*, it’s important that you maintain adequate fluid intake, not to fast for long periods of time, and take a multi-vitamin like Vitamin Code everyday. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients in order to stay healthy and when you deny your body those nutrients it can lead to fatigue, dizziness, dehydration, constipation and cold intolerance to name a few. As always, when you reduce your caloric intake over long periods of time, you will lose weight, but you need to provide your body the necessary vitamins it needs to keep everything working in proper order.
Your Turn: Have you ever fasted? How did you feel after?
*Always check with your doctor or physician before starting on a new dieting plan.