Is it safe to lose weight while fasting?

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Answered by: Heath, An Expert in the Weight Loss 101 Category
There is a small, but growing movement afoot for fasting. There are millions of people who fast on a regular basis, sometimes over 40 days in a row. 40 is that magical number because that was the number of days Jesus (from the bible, not Mexico) fasted. The main concern people have when considering a fast is, it is safe? And, do you actually lose weight while fasting? Not just water weight, but real fat loss that stays gone once the fasting is over.

Evidence suggests that fasting in moderation, such as a few days every month is very healthy for our bodies. As for more than a few days at a time, there is a huge debate between experts whether it is healthy for you or not. Apparently there are some rats in some laboratory that are living a very long time from extreme fasting. What that means for us humans, remains to be seen.

Most experts agree that you should not fast for the sole purpose of losing weight, because although you will lose weight, anywhere from one pound to two pounds a day, most of it will return as soon as you start eating again.

However, the fasting experts say that fasting for longer than a few days at a time, does in fact cause you to lose fat and if you use the fast to kick start a diet and do not return to your old eating habits, you will keep most of that weight off. And then there are a myriad of other benefits, such as detoxifying and resetting your body's various internal systems.

The key to successful fasting is doing it safely. This means for most people, fasting under your doctors supervision. How long should you fast, can be determined by your current health. What ailments do you have? What medications do you take? Many medications require that you take them with food. Children under the age of 18 should not fast, their bodies are still growing and are completely dependent on the nourishment food gives them. Fasting is very unhealthy for those suffering from irreversible wasting diseases, such as AIDS or Tuberculosis. Any person that is malnourished or has a weak immune system or has a liver or kidney disease should not fast. The bottom line is that any fasting over a day or two, you should consult with your doctor.

So what happens to a persons body as they fast? Generally speaking, it takes about three days of not eating to stop feeling hungry. During this time your body is detoxifying itself. This process can result in headaches, cramps and dizzyness, the severity is determined by how healhty or unhealthy you were before starting the fast. Your breath will become foul and you will notice an increase in body odor, these are normal reactions as toxins leave your body. After three or four days, you will notice some of these symptoms lessening and even going away. It is at this point that many people claim to experience a sharp increase in mental acuity. The science behind it says that in the absence of food, oxygen rich blood flows more easily through your brain. Resources that your body once used to digest food are now free to be used by other parts of your body.

Your body converts food into energy. When food is not available, your body begins to generate its own energy by using stored fats, carbohydrates and sugars. Because these sources of energy are not as efficient as food, your body's metabolism will slow down and your core temperature will drop. As these reserves along with glycogen from your liver are used up, your body begins to search for other sources of energy. While fatty reserves will continue to be used, it is not uncommon to experience significant muscle loss. Obviously, fasting for too long can cause serious health risks, even death.

Some "fasters" compare fasting with a snake that sheds their skin, they are reborn with new healthy skin. The same thing occurs by fasting, as the toxins leave your body, your internal organs rebuild themselves and become more efficient in their functions. So to answer the question, "will you actually lose weight while fasting?" The answer is a resounding yes, but even more than that, you will cleanse your body and heal your mind.

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