Food For Thought

water being poured from a water bottle into a glass for a hydration concept

Why You Should Consider a Water Fast

Sean Baron, 06/06/2016

Though you may have transitioned to a healthy diet and lifestyle, there might be excess fat and toxins in your body that are years old clogging your system and making you prone to chronic disease.

But there’s a way to cleanse your system of these deep-rooted toxins.

“How?” you might ask.

With a water fast!

I recently tried one, and of course many people asked me, “Why do you have to starve yourself? What’s the point?!”

“I’m not starving myself,” I’d say, “I’m fasting.”

There is a difference between the two. Fasting is intentionally choosing not to eat for a limited amount of time. Starving happens after 50-75 days of no consumption, when the body literally starts cannibalizing and breaks down the tissue from vital organs to get its energy.


Fasting for Detox


Fasting as a method for improving health was popularized in the early 1900s by Herbert Sheldon, N.D.. He coined the term Natural Hygiene, which says that a properly nourished body has the power to heal itself.

But just like you may need to take a vacation to “recharge your batteries,” fasting is a way to give your body a break.

The goal of a detox is to get rid of non-vital tissues in your body, made up of cells that are either dead or not properly functioning.  

Fasting gives the body a rest from digestion and strenuous activity, allowing it to dedicate energy towards autophagy (the body’s mechanism for recycling and packaging unwanted junk for excretion). It also puts your body in the high fat-burning state calledketosis, which gets rid of fat deep within your body. For instance, unwanted tissue around your blood vessels is removed and results in improved blood flow.

It’s important to know that when you stop eating your body will not immediately enter the beneficial state of ketosis, which typically takes 2 days for women and 3 for men to reach.

Energy consumption stages your body goes through before reaching ketosis.

Stage 1: Daily Food – your body first uses up all the glucose in the food you’ve eaten within the past 24 hours.

Stage 2: Glycogen from the liver – glycogen is converted to glucose in the liver, which is then used for energy.

Stage 3Glycogen from the muscles – there is some minimal muscle loss, but your body stops burning muscle relatively quickly and then switches to fat when you reach ketosis (when you’re fully fasting).

By day 6 I had been in ketosis for 3 days and had lost 10 lbs! I felt great physically, and noticed some other non-physical benefits.


The Benefits of Fasting


Mental and Emotional Clarity

By day 4, my mind was calm and uncluttered. It felt like coming out of steam room after an extended period of time. I was emotionally balanced, too--without worries.

Want to know more about the neurological and cognitive benefits of fasting? Check out thisarticle.

Improved Relationship with Food

When I finished the fast, food tasted exaggeratedly flavorful. After eating, I felt very satisfied, but I no longer craved food. I was less dependent on an eating schedule and more productive.

Heightened Sense of Smell

On day 4 or 5, I was experiencing smell like never before. Simply being outside, smelling freshly cut grass in the breeze was a new experience.


Pointers for Your Own Fast


Do It with a Group

It’s much easier fasting with the support of other people. We created a virtual group since we weren’t in one location and updated each other every day or so. We were able to keep things comical and inspiring (as long as people didn’t start listing all the things they couldn’t wait to eat).

Choose a Leisurely Week

The more you rest during a fast the more you enable the detoxification process, so the best time to fast is during a leisurely week. You don’t want to be working out during a fast!

Listen to Your Body

Pick a length of time that you feel comfortable fasting for. Six days is a good number if you’re the type of person to jump in 110% for the first time. Otherwise, I recommend 3 days for women and 4 days for men at minimum (this gives you time in ketosis where the real benefit is).

If you’re planning to fast beyond a week, it’s best to consult a doctor or check in to a medical center for supervision.

Drink a ton of water and listen to your body – oh, except for when it’s tempting you to eat!

Here’s more information on fasting to help you get started:

Intro to Fasting
Science of Fasting
21-day Fasting Journal

Have more questions on fasting or other ways to lose weight? Schedule a free session with an expert nutrition coach.

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