Can Fasting Help Me Lose Weight?
One way to lose weight is to just stop eating. It sounds simple, but in reality you have to know what you are doing to get any long term weight loss benefits from fasting. Let's look at the weakness and strengths of fasting for weight loss.
Like most forms of dieting, fasting can be used to bring about dramatic but temporary reductions of weight. You can go on a long fast, taking nothing but juice or eating grapes or taking some other low calorie meal substitute for several weeks, and while you are on the fast you will certainly lose weight. However, during the fast you may not be able to carry on your normal social interactions. It's not so easy to sit around sipping carrot juice while the rest of your family is eating a normal meal.
Another problem with long fasting is that your body requires vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, protein) and your favorite juice may not contain them. Long fasting without proper medical supervision can be dangerous.
Finally, a major problem with this kind of fasting is that once you stop fasting and resume eating your normal diet, you are likely to gain back all the weight that you have lost during your crash weight loss fast.
So, does fasting have any place in a weight loss plan? Yes it does. Periodic fasting is one of the secrets of a long and healthy life. Our body's digestive organs require a rest from time to time,just as we require days off from work. One-day fasting done in a methodical and regular manner provides the kind of rest that helps our digestive system, aids in the elimination of toxins from our body, and, yes, also helps us to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
How to do proper fasting
Here is a method of doing one day fasts: taking no food and (if your body is strong) no water in a period from the sunrise of one day to the sunrise of the next day.
Successful fasting has three stages: preparation, the actual fast, and breaking the fast. Each one of these stages is important.
Preparation: If you are not prepared both mentally and physically you will find it difficult to go one day without food. The mental preparation is simple, but very important. The night before the fast you have to take a firm determination that tomorrow you are going to fast, that you are not going to eat any food. If you fix your mind in advance then you will not start deliberating during the fasting day whether you should continue or not to continue. If you are undecided or waffling you can always find a hundred reasons why you should start eating.
Physical preparation is also important. The day before you fast you should eat a normal amount of food and take a good amount of liquids (especially if you are going to be fasting without taking any liquids). If you miss some meals on the day before fasting, then you may start feeling hungry during the fasting period. If you do not take enough liquids, especially during the night before the fast, then you will feel uncomfortable when you are fasting.
If you are physically and mentally prepared you will not feel very hungry while you are fasting. Once you decide to fast, your hunger just "shuts off" for the fasting period. This sounds hard to believe, but if you do it a few times you will see that it is true.
The actual fasting day:
It is best to do light physical tasks and concentrate more on intellectual and spiritual work during the fasting period. It is not a good idea to spend your time thinking about what you are going to eat tomorrow! If you have prepared yourself properly this shouldn't be a problem and you can use the time that you gain by not eating to do some constructive things that you normally don't get time to do.
Breaking the Fast:
One of the benefits of fasting is that it helps to eliminate toxins from the body. However, you can only get this benefit if you break your fast correctly. On the morning following the fasting day, take two glasses of lemon water. Put the juice of have of a lemon in one glass and add a bit of salt. (The drink should taste both lemony and salty). After some time, you can eat your breakfast. The lemon water will help you to flush your digestive system with a strong bowel movement and many toxins will be eliminated.
One day fasts like this can be done twice a month. This kind of fasting will give rest to your digestive organs, help eliminate toxins, build your will power and strength of mind. On top of this, the overall reduction in calories that you get from going two days without food each month, will definitely be one of the elements of a balanced and sustainable weight loss program.
Also Know: The Importance of Water While Fasting
Dada Vedaprajinananda is a yoga and meditation teacher with 34 years of experience.