Fasting: How Often and How Long [7 Great Tips for Your Next Detox]

Advice on How to Fasten Carefully But Effectively

Fasting has almost become a fad activity in the recent past with more and more people joining the bandwagon for various reasons. Religious and political justifications aside, fasting is now used as a method to “detox” and a way to drop those pounds fast.

However, intentionally denying yourself food for extended periods of time can be dangerous and detrimental to your well-being efforts. When done correctly, with meticulous planning and attention, fasting can actually work. Here, our deets on how to do it right.

Easing In and Out of a Fast

It is important to envision what fasting will help achieve. Like a roadmap, before you begin a fast, you need to establish why are you doing it, what do you intend to get from it, and how long will you fast for. Once these details are in place, you can successfully begin on this trainer and celebrity-favored method.

Keep in mind that when fasting, especially for beginners, you need to “ease” into, and out of it. Drastically beginning a fast may cause your body to react in a way that you did not anticipate.

Take, for example, if you are fasting for a month, you need to take into account, an extra 10 days for the easing in and out period. A 5-day period before beginning the fast and 5 at the end would be enough to help you reduce or increase food portions so that your body does not get shocked. Your body can go into a starvation mode if you decide to start a fast without psychologically and physically preparing first.

Choosing the Length of a Fast

Making a decision about the length of a fast may seem difficult but it is actually easy once you write down the results you want to obtain. Do not get too ambitious and take up a week-long fasting challenge just because you want to drop 3 dress sizes immediately.

Reasons for the fast can be many. Cleansing the body from toxins, keeping fit, regulating body sugar or blood pressure, and breaking a fitness plateau are common indicators when fasting can show great results.

Complete Body Detox

A complete body detox would require from 1 to 10 days of water and smoothie fasting. Make smoothies from fresh vegetables, and replace meals with these drinks throughout the day. Drink water as usual in between to stay optimally hydrated.

If vegetable smoothies put you off, blend low-calorie fruits such as berries and pears with it. Rich in fiber and antioxidants, green smoothies work on your system from the inside out, giving it a rest from bad eating habits most of us can’t seem to get rid of.

Weight Loss

If you need to lose weight for a special occasion such as a wedding, starting early is the key to achieving better, healthier results. Start 3 to 4 months ahead with reduced, yet nutritious portions of food and twice weekly fasts. Your body will slowly adjust to this change and it will not retain fats and glucose which can happen if you begin fasting out of the blue.

Remember, for this kind of a fast, the aim is to reduce calories gradually not drastically. If you fast for a whole week and resume eating normally immediately, you will probably be stuck in a constant vicious cycle. The extra weight you lost will be regained as soon as you go back to your typical routine.

A body on starvation alert will also hold onto every calorie you consume, and successful and sustainable weight loss is only possible without depriving your body of nutrients.

Blood sugar reduction

If you suffer from high body sugar levels, healthy fasting can help get it under control and reduce the harmful effects of such a lifestyle condition. A smoothie or water fast is what you should consider in this case. Water on its own is a very good cleanser but topped with a vegetable smoothie, your blood sugar levels will get in line. Diabetics need to be extra careful because you do not want to crash into an extremely low sugar bout.

Overall Rules

For fasting to achieve any tangible results, consistency is important. Fasting for a day and expecting to lose weight would be pointless; any pounds dropped is just your body releasing water temporarily. A healthy everyday diet, a planned fast regimen, and right exercise sessions of at least 40-45 minutes four to five times a week is a great way to begin.

However, it is important to note that during fasting days you should be careful not to overexert your body. Due to the reduced amount of sugar, your energy levels also drop and indulging in vigorous exercising could result in body shock, disorientation, and dizzy spells. Maintain a record of your progress by writing it down, or with the help of a fitness app. This will add to being consistent.

Fasting Cautions

As much as fasting may seem like the easiest way to get the body of your dreams, it is not for everyone. People who are elderly, expectant, sick, or underage should not fast for obvious reasons.

A person suffering from low blood pressure syndromes should be careful when it comes to fasting unless under the supervision of a doctor.

If you have no self-control and don’t think you could last for the goal days set, do not start fasting. Super cravings and giving in would only result in binge eating which again defeats the whole purpose of your clean-eating effort.

Finally, when opting for a fast that would last for a longer duration such as 10-days, eat portions of fresh fruits and vegetables to cleanse your colon. This helps get rid of debris in your digestive system. You may feel bloated and confused during a fast because you have not been consuming anything solid; the fruits and vegetables will help smooth things over during this phase.

Lastly, even if you are a fasting pro, never try a total fast where you eat or drink nothing for days. That is a sign of an early eating disorder.

Written by Breanne from ProteinPromo

BIO: Bree is a health and fitness loving blogger and editor for ProteinPromo, focusing on health, mind and wellbeing hints and tips. She enjoys regularly practicing what she preaches and encouraging others to take action for their health and wellbeing too.
Twitter @Protein_Promo
Instagram: @ProteinPromo
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Lilla Laczo

Lilla is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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