Fasting has often been associated with extreme calorie restriction or starvation, but is it actually healthy?
When you hear the term “fasting for health,” do you immediately think of all-liquid diets, expensive supplements or short-term deprivation for short-term gains?
The truth is, a fast doesn’t have to involve any of the above—and if you fast in a healthy, supportive way, you can achieve lasting results in weight loss, energy gain and full-body health.
Fasting can be done for a few hours at time, one day, or over several days. It can involve restricting certain rich or inflammatory foods or refraining from eating food altogether for a short period of time.
In my own personal health journey, I have used partial fasting (or an elimination diet) on many occasions. That practice helped me to uncover hidden food sensitivities and sources of inflammation that I never knew I had.
It’s the main reason I am such a huge advocate of fasting for health.
Let’s address four myths you may have heard about fasting.
Keep reading to find out the truth behind these myths and why fasting might be just what your body is craving.
Fasting Myth # 1: You won’t enjoy anything you’re eating while on a fast.
While you might choose to eliminate certain foods that you enjoy, fasting for health isn’t all about eating lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil. There are many delicious recipes that can be prepared using healthy ingredients that not only taste amazing, but nourish and detox your body.
The best part is, many of them don’t involve any hard to find ingredients and can be prepared even by a cooking newbie. In fact, my program participants always discover new foods and recipes that they absolutely love that have become staples in their diets long after the fast ends.
Fasting Myth #2: You’ll constantly be hungry while fasting.
While you might end up consuming fewer calories while following a fast, you shouldn’t feel deprived or hungry. Going on an extremely low-calorie diet can actually disrupt your hormones and metabolism, making your body less efficient in the long run.
Everyone’s caloric needs are different, so a fast should never dictate how many calories you consume. By consuming whole foods that provide you with the right nutrients, you help detox your body while feeling satisfied. My participants are always amazed that they never feel hungry during my program.
Fasting Myth #3: You need to do an all-liquid detox to remove toxins from your body.
Liquid-only fasts have had more than their fair share of popularity. These types of fasts can backfire: Not only do people often gain the weight back as soon as the fast ends, but such restrictive eating for several days can be detrimental to your health. An effective fast will include a variety of whole foods to help nourish your body and produce long-term results.
Fasting Myth #4: Fasting/Detoxing is just a way for people to make money on expensive supplements.
Supplements involved in a fast should be just that, a supplementary part of the program, not the primary source of your nutrition. While on a fast, you get most of your vitamins and minerals from whole-food sources.
Supplements may be recommended to help your body make the most of the nutrients it receives from these foods. For example, by including probiotics in your diet, you help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and remove toxins from the body.
Aside from the benefits discussed above, fasting is an incredibly effective way to identify if you have any food sensitivities, balance your hormones, and establish healthy habits for the long term.
I’ve worked with program participants who not only have lost weight and kept it off, but who have also seen their energy level skyrocket, their skin clear up and even their allergies disappear.
What questions or concerns do you have about participating in a fast?
Before you try something new, like a fast, it’s normal to feel hesitant. I want to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com. I read every email that comes into my inbox and I promise to email you back personally.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DALILA JONES STITZ
Founder and CEO, Health Insurrection LLC
Dalila is a native Houstonian and currently lives in Switzerand with her husband and two kids. She received her health coach training through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Hallelujah Acres and teaches in-home bible studies and online courses.