If you're interested in fasting to lose weight, you're on to a great idea. Fasting does help immensely at dropping pounds, although maybe not for the reasons you think. While the numbers on the scales will go down during a fast, many factors come into play as to how much of that weight will stay off.
Fasting will put you on the right track to losing weight if it's used with proper attention and awareness. A commitment to lifestyle and behavior changes is still necessary or the weight will come right back. But a fast will make those changes easier as new decisions flow from you naturally.
This is because fasting offers a unique vantage point from which to view your life. It's effects aren't just physical, but allow greater understanding and clarity on mental and emotional issues. There is much opportunity to expand and enhance your life as a whole, including any weight issues, if you are willing to pay attention.
Your body is already showing you the effects of the foods you're eating and the mental and emotional patterns you're holding. Some combination of these things must change in order for your body to change. And fasting can lead you to that special combination.
"Sometimes when people try to make major dietary changes without the benefit
of fasting they become frustrated. Beneficial changes that can take months or years with careful eating happen quickly if
a fast is utilized. Once a person begins to realize the health potential and can see the results, he or she is more likely
to become committed to a lifetime of healthful living."
~ Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Fasting and Eating for Health
Fasting has been called a "reset" button for your sense of taste; the body and palette get cleansed of chemicals and impurities, giving you a keener ability to fully taste foods and more fully enjoy the true flavors of simple foods. There are often many foods that hold less appeal after a fast, especially "dead" foods and ones full of chemicals which you can clearly taste after a fast.
Once you've tried fasting and understand how powerful (and easy) the process is, you will prefer a day of fasting over days or weeks of dieting. Since what we typically call "hunger" disappears in the first couple of days, it becomes much easier to fast than to diet.
But it doesn't take days of fasting to achieve results; one-day fasts bring about many internal (and external) changes. No matter how long you choose to fast, it can be such a relief to just quit eating for awhile, rather than stressing and worrying over everything you put in your mouth. Also, intermittent fasting offers unique plans to help in losing weight.
Stories abound on quick, radical fasting weight loss. Losing twenty pounds in a week is a common one. As is 4 pounds a day. But these numbers don't reflect the weight gain that occurs naturally when one resumes eating, nor are they typical for everyone.
Weight loss occurs most drastically in the early days of a fast (water weight being a big part of this), then declines as the fast progresses. During a water fast, women generally lose about 14 ounces per day and men, on average, lose 17 1/2 ounces per day. This is an average, some days you may lose nothing.
With a fasting plan including around 200 calories per day, such as fruit or juice or broth, these figures lower by about 1 3/4 ounces per day. The Master Cleanse, which supplies anywhere from 650-1300 calories, would have lower numbers yet.
Of course, these figures vary from person to person, and typically it is those who have the most excess weight that lose the most. Thinner people often lose weight a bit more slowly, just as they often don't maintain as high an energy level during fasting. Their bodies are working harder to conserve energy since they have less reserves to supply fuel for the body.
Those with lower metabolisms may also lose weight a little more slowly as their bodies are already adept at conserving energy.
In the end, results will always vary from person to person.
It's imperative you understand that there will be some weight gain right after the fast. The first few days after breaking your fast, water weight returns as the body rehydrates and begins holding more water to compensate for the salt intake in our normal foods.
This can create a huge emotional let-down to those not expecting it, and in a worst-case scenario lead straight back into over eating.
The figures above for typical fasting weight loss, do reflect the water weight gain that occurs right after the fast. Sustained weight loss being approximately one pound per day of fasting.
Instead of focusing on any discouraging feelings that come up during this weight increase, keep in touch with that feeling
of empowerment that can linger after a fast. If you're looking for it, that clarity and inner knowingness can last for days
Fasting to lose weight is best undertaken as a jumping off point, leading you into better eating behaviors and a more healthy lifestyle, as these better decisions will be made easily and naturally. If you're paying attention to your emotional being during a fast, many doors will be opened. And that is actually the greatest benefit of fasting to lose weight -- the insights it gives into ourselves.
More information on fasting and weight loss is available at Using Fasting for Weight Loss.
For general information about getting started with fasting, read Fasting Overview for Beginners, which includes guidelines for a one-day fast.
Make sure you meet the criteria necessary for fasting at Who Can Fast?
Know the Precautions to Fasting before beginning.
How to use Cleansing Diets as a partial fast or as preparation for other types of fasting.
Kitchari for Cleansing Information and recipes for using this healthy traditional Indian dish for a partial fast or for every day meals.
Understanding What Fasting Is and Is Not will dispel any doubts about fasting being akin to starvation.