Fasting Weight Loss
Is A Questionable Pursuit
Being somewhat of a fasting veteran, I can say with a degree authority, a fasting weight loss diet is not a good approach to ridding yourself of excess body fat, nor will it propel you to anti aging success. During the last dozen years, I have engaged in extended fasts of forty to sixty days five times. Added together, it amounts to 220 days of fasting. I lost a lot of weight each time I fasted. I experienced several benefits from fasting, but I'm not sure, from this perspective, that losing weight was one of them. If you are thinking of a fasting weight loss diet, I would counsel against it.
Spiritual Benefits Of Extended Fasts
If you are fasting to draw nearer to God, it can be a very beneficial spiritual experience. I discovered that the pleasures and possessions of the material world become much less important during fasting. I didn't find that I had a craving for food, but rather that it became inconsequential to me. I dissociated myself from the material thing that would keep me alive (food). As I did, both the food and the rest of all that is temporal, became less attractive; God and the eternal world became more real.
Several years ago I had the wonderful privilege of snorkeling off the Caribbean island of Roatan. When I held my breath and descended ten or fifteen feet into the crystal clear water, I was treated to magnificent views of rock, coral, and aquatic life. I wanted to stay as long as I could, but alas, I had to resurface and gasp for air, so that I wouldn't die. An extended fast is something like this. When I concluded the fast, it was the end of a brief experience of closeness with God and distance from the world, that I longed for more of.
Physical Benefits Of Extended Fasts
The first three to four days of a fast are very painful. As the fast begins, the body starts to rid itself of built up toxins. Depending upon your eating style right up to the beginning of the fast, this withdrawal can be downright miserable. To minimize this occurrence, make sure you eat high fiber, nutrient dense foods for at least a couple of weeks before an extended fast. I tried a 40-day, water-only fast the first time, and after a dozen days, I was so weak I could not function. Since that time, I have always consumed diluted fruit juices (1 part juice to 3 parts water) to give me strength to carry on my daily activities, which were minimal.
When coming off the fast, do it very gradually, over a period of at least a couple of weeks. Start with easy-to-digest foods in small quantities, and gradually work your way up to a normal diet. The benefits? I felt great! Fasting weight loss worked. I had lost a lot of fat (and I needed to!) I needed to administer an enema, but afterwards felt like my GI was clean, along with everything else inside my body. My sensory organs seemed to have a much higher awareness than ever before. I had a renewed desire and determination to walk closely with God. Life was good indeed!
Dangers Of Extended Fasts
While extended fasts help to cleanse the the interior systems of your body, they are very hard on the your lean body mass. Contrary to what I, and others have mistakenly believed, our body does not just draw its nourishment from stored up fat cells. Required energy will come primarily from stored fat. But as your body is continually reproducing its own cells, it will take material from bone and muscle tissue as well.
So, every time I participated in an extended fast, I lost lean body mass. I became smaller and weaker. As I've noted elsewhere, fasting weight loss is just like any other weight loss diet,
you will lose fat as well as lean body mass, if you don't consume a balanced diet.
If you have enough lean body mass to afford to lose some of it, a fast will likely be both spiritually and physically beneficial. But you must count the cost.
If you are determined to go on an extended fast, you might consider the value of fasting from all but the minimum macronutrients and micronutrients your body requires. You could drink liquids only, getting your carbs from diluted juices, proteins from protein powder mixed into the juices, and fats from fish oil. Take some high quality food supplements along with this, and you could find it a great spiritual and physical benefit, without the dangers.
But don't try fasting weight loss. As with any other weight loss diet, the cost is too high. At least 90% of the people will end up exchanging muscle for fat a few months after the fast or diet has ended. I know, I've done it — five times!
Speaking of spiritual and physical benefits, although a fasting weight loss diet may be a loser, beating stress is a definite winner.