Because of a sedentary and stressful lifestyle and plenty of options for ready-to-eat food, obesity has become a serious health problem at this age. Several Western and European countries are facing severe health issues and chronic diseases like heart-related diseases and thyroid and blood pressure because of the increasing rate of obese people.
There are several ways to lose weight. The most common way is Fasting, but how to fast to lose weight is the primary concern because only some people are familiar with fasting techniques and other diets and styles.
There are many options for weight loss, like online weight loss programs and weight loss medications, but fasting is the best way to lose weight quickly and helps improve your physical and mental health.
1. What is Fasting?
Fasting involves eating periods when eating is allowed and fasting periods when only liquids like water, green tea, or any zero-calorie drink are permitted. Fasting could be of few days, three days a week, five days a week, or a longer duration of 8 weeks.
Fasting is a religious practice in almost every religion, like Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, etc.
Detachment oneself from the pleasure of food is the fundamental objective of fasting in Buddhism. But fasting could have many other benefits like weight loss, reduced risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and heart diseases, body inflammation and glucose levels, and insulin sensitivity. It can also help in hormone balance.
When you fast regularly, your body stops using glucose as the primary energy source and starts using stored fats and ketones instead. Fasting helps you get healthier, lose weight, and improve your metabolism.
Fasting also repairs your broken and damaged cells and makes you less sensitive to insulin, strengthening your immune system and helping you avoid illnesses.
Fasting was a standard way for our ancestors to get through times when there wasn’t enough food.
2. How to Fast to Lose Weight?
Fasting could be a powerful way to lose weight. You can go for any fast, like intermittent or water fasting, whatever is convenient for you, per your schedule and lifestyle.
Before going for any fast, it is advisable to consult your physician first because you need to know the primary status of your physical health like if you have type 2 diabetes, then you should start slow because having a deficient sugar level can cause serious side effects.
- Check your BMI(body mass index). It will give you daily calorie requirements, which will further help you to understand the importance of restricted calorie intake.
- To get the best result, you need to eat clean and exercise. A small exercise regime can make a big difference as you can burn more fat.
- If you feel tired and sleepy all the time, consult a physician and take rest and go for a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink immediately.
- Consistency is the key to this game.
3. Types of Fasting for Weight Loss
You can do fasting in several ways. The few most popular methods of fasting are;
3.1. Water Fasting
Water is the only thing that you can have during the Water fast. It’s become more famous recently as a quick way to lose weight.
Studies have shown that fasting on Water could have several benefits, including insulin resistance and good gut health as you are not eating anything, so it can effectively reduce inflammation.
Water fasting is not for everyone, especially older people and breastfeeding mothers. It is advisable to do Water fasting under the guidance of a doctor or an expert because it can severely affect health.
3.2. Dry Fasting
Eating or having any liquid like water or green tea is not allowed in Dry intermittent fasting schedules. It has several health benefits from intermittent fastings, like water retention, and helps maintain blood sugar levels.
It also resets the immune system by removing the damaged cells and generating new ones.
Though it is the quickest way to lose weight, it is still not advisable to do it continuously because it can cause nutrition and energy deprivation, as the body needs fuel for regular functioning, and can also cause severe dehydration.
3.3. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a trend these days. The best part and benefit of intermittent fasting are you can easily alter it as per your requirement and convenience.
There is a specific time limit for eating and fasting. For example, fasting for 12/12, you will fast for 12 hours and finish your feeding period within the remaining 12 hours. It’s a time-specific eating-fasting pattern.
Intermittent Fasting is gaining popularity because it is a flexible type that is doable for almost everyone, like older adults, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, and teens.
You can adjust the fasting hours per your calorie intake and weight loss requirements. Some popular types of intermittent fasting:
3.3.1. The 16/8
It involves eating in a short span of 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours. If you are a morning person, you can have breakfast and lunch and skip dinner or skip breakfast and have lunch directly and then dinner. You can alter it as per your dietary preference.
3.3.2. Alternate Day Fasting
It is another prevalent style of intermittent fasting, with fasting every alternate day. You can generally eat one day, and the next day you have to fast for 24 hours without any meal. All you can have is water, green tea, and black coffee.
3.3.3. 5:2 Diet
It is a straightforward style of fasting as you usually eat for five days and fast for two days with zero calories or a limited daily calorie intake of 500-600 calories.
Intermittent Fasting could benefit weight loss and other health-related issues like blood pressure, inflammation, and insulin sensitivity. Because while fasting, insulin level goes down, and it encourages your body to burn stored fat; thus, human growth hormone levels go up, and the body also starts generating new cells.
That’s why it is advisable to incorporate exercise and a nutritional diet with loads of fruits and green vegetables for a more sustainable result.
3.3.4. Weekly Fasting
Once per week, This fast is very simple and easy to include in a busy lifestyle. It can help to reduce inflammation, improve the bacteria in the digestive system, and helps to improve the health and wellness of the stomach as a whole.
During a fast, you should avoid high-carb diets and prefer liquids like herbal tea, water, and black coffee or coffee without cream, and some people like eating no more than 500 calories during the fast.
But you must ensure you have restricted calories while getting enough fiber-rich food with loads of green veggies and fruits. Also, eating slowly and thoroughly chewing your food can help to keep your gut healthy.
4. Benefits of Fast to Lose Weight Quickly
Fasting is an eating plan also commonly known as dieting or calorie-restricted eating. Fasting can lead to body fat and weight loss.
With the increase in eating disorders, obesity, blood sugar, and hormonal imbalance issues, people are more inclined towards fasting to overcome health concerns and hazards by following a synchronized and healthy diet plan and lifestyle.
- Fasting simplifies eating healthily, which is one of its main benefits. In the long run, we can get many health benefits from fasting.
- Fasting can help burn fat, lose excess body weight, and helps to gain other health benefits like improved blood sugar level, good mood, and body positivity.
4.1. It Improves the Health of Your Heart
When you fast regularly, your insulin level goes down because it burns stored fat while maintaining muscle mass and using up all of the glucose and cholesterol in your body.
When you fast with little exercises like brisk walking and cycling, it can help to improve overall cardiovascular health.
4.2. Fasting Can Help in Fat Loss
Our body needs the energy to do all the functions like breathing, standing, and walking, keeping our heart beating. Where exactly do we obtain all of this energy? From food… right? When we consume more food than necessary, extra calories are turned into fat.
When we fast, we lose muscle, and our fat is stored, and the body uses this accumulated fat to get power. We can still maintain muscle mass by adding lean protein again to our diet, which helps make new muscles.
4.3. Fasting Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Eating patterns have changed drastically in the last decade, causing severe health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and hypertension. Irregular eating habits and poor lifestyles cause weight gain and obesity in many kids and adults.
By fixing one problem of obesity, we can manage many issues like high cholesterol and diabetes. Fasting doesn’t mean that you need to stop eating. It is just a regularized eating pattern of your daily diet plan with healthy food alternatives.
If you make fasting a part of your lifestyle, it will become an integral part of your daily routine which will help you to lose weight, reset your mood, and feel more energetic and positive. You can attain excellent physical and mental health with consideration of food intake, exercise, consistency in fasting, and mindful eating habits.
5. Effects of Fasting on Hormones
Fasting is a popular way to lose weight, but some research shows it can affect our overall health, especially hormone levels. Intermittent fasting with healthy foods may help to keep insulin sensitivity under control, which can help to improve overall hormone balance, especially for women, because long hours of fasting can cause an irregular menstrual cycle and a decrease in estrogen levels.
Fasting is the most effective and consistent approach to decreasing insulin levels.
When we eat, our body’s insulin level increases, so restricting food intake for particular hours in a day can help to maintain the balance. Fasting for long hours, like more than 16/18 hours a day, can help significantly maintain insulin resistance. Regular fasting is the most effective way to reduce insulin levels.
5.2. Growth Hormone
Growth Hormone is an essential hormone. When we age, our body starts to decline the generation of this hormone. A decrease in growth hormone causes a lack of elasticity in skin and pigmentation.
Fasting is one of the most effective ways to make your body generate growth hormones. A consistent five-day fast can show a significant result by indicating the growth hormone released and significantly decreasing your body fat and weight.
Cortisol is a hormone that regulates body functions and responds to stress. Its levels change throughout the day. They are at their peak in the early morning and lowest in the late afternoon when you are empty stomach.
Cortisol levels can increase when you fast, affecting how your body deals with your blood sugar levels and uses energy. Fasting can also make you feel more stressed and set off your “fight or flight” reaction, which may not suit everyone.
Oxytocin is also known as a feel-good hormone. When the amount of oxytocin is higher in our bloodstream, it increases glucose absorption and insulin sensitivity and starts the breakdown of fat cells. It may help us to boost our metabolism.
Oxytocin also regulates the female and male reproductive systems and elements of human behavior. It can also boost feelings like love, happiness, security, and trust toward someone you care for.
Fasting can escalate the production of oxytocin in the body. This hormone plays a prominent role in controlling other hormone functions as it is the primary functional hormone of our body.
6. Side Effects of Fasting
Fasting offers multiple benefits, including losing weight and improving overall health, but some research shows it also has drawbacks.
6.1. Weakness and a Lack of Energy
When you start fasting, you may feel weak and tired because the body needs time to adjust to the calorie-restricted diet. It should disappear with rest, and regular fasting as your body adapts to this lifestyle change. If it continues, then you should talk to a medical professional.
6.2. Disorders of Digestion
When you fast for more than 15 hours a day with a calorie-restricted diet, it can cause issues related to digestion, like constipation. Few diets program of limited food groups can also cause bloating and cramps.
Dehydration can worsen constipation, which could be a side effect of intermittent fasting. Because of this, drinking enough water while fasting is essential.
Choosing foods high in fiber like whole grains, fruits, and green salads and nutrients may also help keep you from constipation.
6.3. Sleep Deprivation
Some people have trouble sleeping when they fast. Trying to sleep on an empty stomach can be challenging and uncomfortable. Fasting can cause cortisol and noradrenaline levels to rise, making it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
You can sleep better if you,
- Don’t get too hungry before bed.
- Stay hydrated, as dehydration can also cause trouble in sleeping.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes loads of fiber.
Fasting is the best way for weight loss if you do it properly with a healthy diet and exercise.
How to fast to lose weight depends on your approach, like what diet you select and how many hours you fast because to reduce the weight, you need a calorie deficit which you can easily maintain by fasting and exercising together with a nutritious diet plan which includes healthy fats, protein, and low carb.
It will help if you are consistent and regular because losing weight needs patience and consistency.