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
- 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:
- Juicing and juice fasts
- 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.
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.