I have had a couple of comments about my decision to fast twice a week, and I'm sure I'll have more in the future. I will take it as people who genuinely care for my health, and that is a wonderful thing. However, I would like the oppurtonity to tell people why I've decided to fast twice a week. I want to make it clear that this post is simply to educate people as to my decision. I encourage anyone who has considered fasting to thoroughly research it and consider speaking to their doctor. Read at our own risk kind of thing I guess.
Fasting is not for everyone. Before you even consider fasting you should know that it is not a good idea for;
"Thin people, and those who are particularly sensitive to cold, can have a particularly hard time. Also, too much physical activity while fasting may also be a cause of headaches......It is also important to know that no matter how short the duration, fasting is unwise and potentially dangerous for some people. This group of people includes pregnant and lactating women, people with cancer, diabetes, gout, hypoglycemia, stomach ulcers, liver kidney, or lung disease. It could be potentially dangerous for anyone with a compromised immune system."
Why don't I go through a couple of questions and objections that I first had about fasting?
What is fasting?
"In a medical context fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, and to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting, and many medical diagnostic tests are standardized for fasting conditions. For most ordinary diagnostic purposes a person is assumed to be fasting after 8-12 hours. Many of the metabolic shifts of fasting begin as absorption of a meal is complete (typicaly 3-5 hours after a meal.....Finally, extended fasting has been recommended as therapy for various conditions by physicians of most cultures, throughout history, from ancient to modern."
You will just lose muscle!
"Glucose is the body's primary fuel source and is essential for the brain's functioning. When denied glucose for more than 4-8 hours, the body will turn to the liver for glycogen, a storage form of glucose, to be used for fuel. A process called glycogenolysis converts glycogen into a usable form of fuel. At this point, the body will also use small amounts of protein to supplement this fuel. This fuel will last for up to 12 hours before the body needs to turn to muscle stores of glycogen, lasting for a few more days. If glucose is still denied at this point, muscle wasting is prevented by temporarily switching to fat as the fuel source, meaning fat is converted into ketone through catabolism. Ketones, while not sugars, are able to be used by the brain as a fuel source as long as glucose is denied." -Wikipedia
So yes, if you are on a long term fast you will lose some muscle. However, I would like to point out I am only fasting for 24 hours at a time, before the process of using protein (muscle) occurs.
Your body will go into starvation mode!
"The body will generally indicate to the faster when fat levels are running extremely low (less than 7% and 10% of body weight for males and females respectively) with an increased urge for food. Fasts are usually broken long before this point. If the fast is not broken, starvation will begin to occur, as the body begins to use protein for fuel. Death can occur if fasting is pursued to the point of complete starvation."
I'm just going to come right out and say this is not a problem for me :)...I've got some fat to eat up before I ever enter starvation mode.
You just lose water weight & Health Benefits...
On a short term fast, yes, you do lose a lot of water weight. But that is because your body is cleansing itself. While I'm happy if the fasting I do results in long term weight loss, I am fasting for the health benefits beyond losing weight.
"Research suggests there are major health benefits to caloric restriction. Benefits include a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance, immune disorders, and more generally, the slowing of the aging process and the potential to increase maximum life span......other health benefits include stress resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. Long-term studies in humans have not been conducted. However, short-term human trials showed benefits in weight loss. The side effect was the participants felt cranky during the three week trial."
"Advocates of fasting believe that it periodically give the body a break from digestion, and also allows it to eliminate the toxins that cause disease, while promoting healing and reversing the aging process. Studies indicate that fasting helps health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headache, and some skin diseases as well. Acute illnesses such as colds and flu, colon disorders, allergies, obesity, and respiratory diseases may also respond to a fasting diet. Proponents claim a one-day fast creates a clearer mental state and increased energy of the body, that a three-day fast rids the body of toxins and purifies the blood, and that a long-term fast promotes healing, alleviates food allergies, sheds pounds, and rebuilds the immune system."
There have got to be some cons!
"On the other hand, critics believe that fasting depletes the body of important nutrients, essential minerals and energy. They think fasting may be unsafe, and is an ineffective weightloss aid. The few pounds that are lost near the beginning of a fast are from water. They believe this weight will return as soon as the fast is over."
I am not fasting for weight loss, I am fasting for health. I plan on fasting at least once a week once I am to my goal weight, so this is part of the healthy lifestyle I am creating for myself. I also keep well hydrated during my liquid fasts. I also allow my self a V8 Splash if I want one and take my vitamins.
I hope this post may have answered some questions, and I welcome other questions/critisizms if anyone has any. I know fasting isn't for everyone, it is just a choice I've made.
Thanks for listening and have a great day!