Is Fasting Part of Healthy Weight Loss?

Losing and Maintaining Weight Naturally

As we’re now firmly into the season of Lent (Easter is April 1st this year), many people are taking time to reflect, slow down, and sacrificially give up something they enjoy. Coffee and chocolate are among perennial favorites. Maybe you’ve considered occasional fasting, and perhaps you are wondering if fasting is actually a help or a hindrance to losing and maintaining a healthy weight.

In this post, we’ll also explore whether occasional fasting is compatible with a healthy diet such as Weight Watchers. Personally, I love Weight Watchers’ method of gradual, healthy weight loss through proven means and great community. If you’re interested in joining, save yourself $10 with my Ebates link here.

Purposes and Traditions of Fasting

Fasting, or abstaining from food and often drink besides water, is a common tradition in Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam. The traditional purposes of fasting are many, but unsurprisingly, are not connected with weight loss. First world, modern day problem, am I right?

But we can still gain some perspective from looking back in history. In the Old Testament, we can see Jews observing a fast for several occasions and reasons. There were fasts on calendar-specific days of remembrance, in times of mourning, in times of seeking the Lord’s favor, for atonement, and for personal piety, to name the major ones. Did you know, some Medieval Jews even observed fasting after a bad dream, in order that it not come true?

Stages of Fasting for Your Body

Some health proponents of fasting discuss several stages of progress and change as fasting moves through days, and perhaps weeks in duration. The phases cited in a prolonged water fast include:

  • Hunger, lack of energy
  • “Battery save mode,” in which your body uses energy very efficiently
  • Increased heart health
  • Ketosis, in which your body burns primarily fat
  • Weight loss
  • Detoxifying
  • Clear-mindedness
  • Deeper healing and resolving of health issues

Types of Fasting

You may think, fasting is simply not eating, right? I thought so too, until I looked more into the wide world of fasting and various diets that employ it. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Dry fasts, as practiced during Ramadan
  • Water fasting
  • Cleansing fasts, such as for the colon, which employs only liquids with lemon juice, a bit of sugar, and cayenne.
  • Partial fasts, which requires abstaining from particular kinds of food. An example is The Daniel Fast.
  • Liquid protein fasts, often medically supervised for weight loss for obesity.
  • Diagnostic fasts, in preparation for a medical test or procedure.

Getting Back into Regular Eating After Fasting

After a period of fasting, it’s important for your body to ease back into regular, healthy eating with foods that are easy to digest. According to Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist,

“The correct way to break a fast after eating no solid food whatsoever for 10 days is gently and slowly with foods that are very easy to digest like homemade soup or perhaps eggs and fruit and maybe a slice or two of bacon .  .  .”

Fasting: the Takeaway

Bottom line, your body and your health are your own. If something in the health world sparks your interest, it could certainly be worth taking a harder look into.

People have had success treating Lyme disease with a raw milk fast? The GAPS diet, which begins with a bone broth fast, is employed to heal a range of issues from digestive to neurological?

It is fascinating to me after looking into fasting what a break from “regular” foods can do for our bodies. I for one now see fasting less as a fad or extreme way to lose weight but as an age-old way to reset and heal. When done safely and properly, fasting can additionally be part of a health regimen for long-term weight maintenance.

Inspiring People who Lost Weight and Gained Health

Who doesn’t love a story filled with only good news? With all the drama happening all around the world 24 hours a day, it can be refreshing to take a break and read or watch something inspiring.

Better yet, an inspiring story you can relate to! Have you been at a point in your life where you’ve wanted so badly to lose the weight once and for all?

Inspiring People Who Lost Weight and Gained Health

Maybe you are there now. Have you wondered, what would it really take to make a complete lifestyle 180? How can I lose weight without a fad diet and without dangerous results to my health?

Weight Watchers Inspiring Me

Here at One Badass Life, I enjoy the support of the Weight Watchers community. With its tailor-made plan for gradual, healthy weight loss that is individualized to you, the results are often positive and lasting. It has sure worked for me.

If you’re ready to begin a healthy road toward weight loss and would like to join Weight Watchers, I invite you to use our $10 off Ebates coupon!

Inspiring People Who Lost Weight and Healed their Lives

And now, on to those inspiring people we can celebrate with and perhaps emulate. They vary in age, location, and situation, but in many ways, their goal is the same: lose that weight!

Inspiring People Who Lost Weight

An Indiana Couple, Lexi and Danny

Couple loses 400 pounds in inspirational weight loss journey

What greater challenge can you overcome as a married couple than transforming your entire lifestyle and losing a collective 400 pounds?

But against all odds, this Indiana couple did it. Reevaluating their health, taking a hard look at how they used food as therapy, learning to meal plan and cook together, and pushing each other to hit the gym consistently – all were keys to their success.

“The hardest part of our journey was changing our relationship with food,” shares Lexi. But now, the gym is both therapy and quality time well spent for the now fit husband and wife.

Check out our recent article on the success Weight Watchers couples can share on the journey!

Celebrities Open Up About Weight

The Most Stunning Weight Loss Transformations Hollywood Has Ever Seen

An inspiring rundown of celebrities showing their real life battles and victories with weight and overall health. Kirstie Alley, Wendy Williams, Jennifer Hudson, Oprah, and so many more lovely leading ladies.

A Will to Walk Again

Arthur, with help from Diamond Dallas Page

From a disabled veteran 100 pounds overweight who was told he would not walk unassisted again, to . . . well, you will simply have to watch and find out. Many of us do not have nearly this far to go on our journey toward health, and it is inspiring to see someone like Arthur achieve so much. A beautiful video filled with hope.

What do These Inspiring People Have in Common?

In looking at all these healthy achievers, I discovered some commonalities:

  • Taking their “bad days” in stride. Not allowing a setback or even a seeming failure to give them the excuse to call it quits on their goals. Getting right back in the saddle!
  • Persistence in routine, whether with diet or exercise. Waking up every day and deciding, “I will continue to make healthy choices.”
  • Relying on relationships and the accountability of being real with others about your goals and dreams.
  • Developing healthy habits that become natural – rather than relying on will power alone.

Do You Have an Inspiring Story?

Perhaps you are an inspiring story . . . or will be in the near future! Share in our comments below!

Juicing While on Weight Watchers

Is it a Good Idea?

“One ginger-kale-apple-carrot-pineapple juice to go, please.”

Juice bars boasting the best in freshly pressed juices have been popular for several years, perhaps only eclipsed recently by the bone broth phenomenon. 

And the appeal of juicing to the masses is manifold. Juices are colorful, organic, tasty, easy to consume, and packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and immunity-bolstering power. What’s not to love?

Juicing While on Weight Watchers

But do these superfood juices really help or hurt one’s weight loss goals? And we can simply eat (or drink) as much as we want of any “health food”?

These are some questions I’ve needed answered on my own health journey. And it’s a big reason why I’m part of the Weight Watchers community. It takes out the guesswork and streamlines healthy eating, while allowing so much flexibility.

On WW, you can be vegetarian, vegan, paleo, kosher, traditional, low-carb, dairy-free, or gluten-free . . . and as we’ll see, a juice lover, too. If this is you – if you have particular food preferences and you’ve been interested in the unique accountability and support of Weight Watchers, save yourself $10 with my Ebates link here.

Joe Cross and Juicing Success

As fellow Weight Watcher Martha of Simple Nourished Living discusses, juicing was at first a hard sell for her. It seemed extreme. And she saw some fellow Weight Watchers members actually gaining weight while juicing. After fruits became valued at zero SmartPoints a few years ago, many members inadvertently began consuming too much fruit, especially in smoothies and juices.

But does this mean that juicing isn’t healthy at all? It took another WW member’s testimony of losing weight through juicing and then meeting Joe Cross at a book signing to change her mind.

Have you seen the inspirational film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead from a few years back? In it, Australian Joe Cross road trips and juices across America. Pounds are shed by the dozens, his health and energy improves dramatically, and he helps others regain their lives along the way.

Joe’s singular experience is so powerful, I bought several copies of the film that year for family and friends. My husband and I purchased a juicer, planned out meal-replacing juices for several days, and went gung-ho on our own “juice cleanse” of sorts.

Results? Consuming nothing but freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices for several days was challenging . . . but ultimately refreshing. It cleared our skin and digestion and flattened our tummies noticeably. But one thing I realized was that, for me, it was unsustainable in the long-term. And that’s the point – a juice fast, detox, or cleanse is temporary.

Has juicing been beneficial for Joe, us, and others? Undeniably. But should juicing be a cornerstone of a healthy, balanced diet?

Is Juicing Part of a Balanced Diet?

As I read more about traditional nutrition, such as Weston A. Price‘s research of pre- industrialized peoples, I realized that juice in human diets historically has been a special, seasonal treat. Generally, fruits and veggies traditionally have been consumed as a whole. Juice, flesh, stalks, and even leaves were usually eaten together – depending on the produce, of course.

Furthermore, because drinking so much juice without the rest of the plant is not really “natural” or historical to us humans, there are consequences to going overboard. According to Nourishing Our Children, reasons not to juice regularly or extensively include:

  • Foods should be consumed in their whole state for best nutrient assimilation.
  • Over-consumption of raw vegetables stresses the thyroid.
  • Over-consumption of fruit sugars causes a spike in blood sugar.
  • Juice’s nutrients are not able to be digested without fats.
  • Lack of chewing food, as in a liquid diet, inhibits digestion.
  • Tooth enamel experiences more decay with a diet high in juice.

What a conundrum! I’m both inspired by extreme juicer Joe Cross and yet engaged with the traditional nutritionists’ wisdom. So what’s a girl on Weight Watchers to do?

Weight Watchers Zero Points Fruits and Veggies . . . Does this Mean I Can Juice all I Want?

So now that fruits and vegetables are all zero points on the new Freestyle Program, does this mean we can juice fruits and veggies to our heart’s desire? Well, no. While fruits and vegetables in their whole form are indeed “free” zero point foods, these healthy powerhouses of nature are not free if juiced.

I’m thinking that Watchers recognizes the inherent issues with juicing, and this informs their SmartPoints for produce in its various forms. Juice is an easy food to overindulge. After all, it’s easier to consume the juice of four oranges in a few long gulps than sitting down, peeling, and eating those four oranges. But while oranges are zero points, orange juice is more – a whopping 3 points per 8 oz glass.

As fellow Weight Watchers member Gabrielle discussed, once she discovered this difference in how points count for produce, her lackluster weight loss over several weeks made sense. She had been enthusiastically consuming green smoothies daily, in addition to regular meals. But overall, it simply provided too many calories for her weight loss and maintenance goals.

Juicing While on Weight Watchers . . . The Bottom Line

The beauty of the Weight Watchers lifestyle is that everything is on the menu. Nothing’s off limits, and if you really enjoy the unmistakably fresh, sweet, tart zing of homemade juices . . . then go for it! But in order to experience success in your weight loss and weight maintenance goals while indulging in a juice, you may wish to keep in mind that juicing is a healthy indulgence.

In other words, juicing is not necessarily a daily part of a weight loss diet, but a treat. If you add a fresh-squeezed juice to a light breakfast or replace a meal with a juice once in a while, you’ll probably stay within your daily points and still experience Weight Watchers’ signature results.

What do you think, Weight Watchers friends? To juice or not to juice?