You’re either considering fasting or connected to someone who is fasting and you want to know what the heck is going on? Why on earth would anyone want to go without food? Makes no sense, right? This article is a very basic run-down of fasting that will help you determine if going without food is helpful or harmful. Watch this quick 10 minute video!
You’re probably concerned that it’s unsafe! How in the world can going without food, be healthy?!
Fasting is EXTREMELY healthy! It is the fastest way to lose extra fat while preserving muscle. NO other diet does this.
I have never been able to over feed someone into better health! However, when I remove food, their health improves! By this very simple and powerful observation, I think you can use a little common sense here and surmise that adding more food doesn’t equate to better health.
In fact, the ONE thing that the 3 most influential people in all of human history (Jesus, Buddha, and Mohamed) agree on is that fasting is good for the body and the spirit.
Fasting means going completely without food. When you are not ingesting food, your body uses it’s own food. First, it uses the glycogen (sugar) it has stored in the liver. Your body will keep your blood sugar at a certain level at all costs. When the liver runs out of glycogen (24-48 hours), your body then goes to it’s stored food (your FAT stores! Yes!) and this is what we want! Your body is now living on it’s own food that you’ve stored. You are now in a state of “ketosis,” because when your body uses fat as a fuel, it creates a new source of energy called ketones.
There are 2 types of fasts.
1. Liquid fast. This is where you only drink a calorie free drink like water, and unfortunately, water is not a great way to fast. It “bottoms you out!” … Water pushes your electrolytes out, and you don’t feel good. There is a solution to this, and I’ll address it below.
2. Dry fast. This type of fasting method is where you refrain from food or drink. You’re body will use it’s own “metabolic water” and this will also come from fat as adipose tissue is 60% water. Your fat literally has all you need regarding nutrition to live…including water. Dry fasting is used mostly for healing a medical problem or disorder, i.e. skin problems, illnesses, cancer and more. The most common dry fast is called a “soft dry fast.” This means contact with water is allowed such as brushing your teeth and taking a shower. A “hard dry fast” simply means absolutely no contact with any liquid – no shower, no swimming, no brushing teeth, no washing your face, etc.
Here are the top fasting concerns:
First of all, know that they are NOT GOING to DIE! Hospitalized , comatose, dying people who have the feeding tube and IV removed (no food, no water) will literally live 7-9 days! Now the person fasting may feel like they’re going to die as they begin the process of breaking their addictions to carbs, caffeine, and whatever else they’ve been pounding their body with. These “detox” symptoms are temporary! And in my opinion, these symptoms are a bit of a punishment for abusing the body all these years 😉
1. Isn’t fasting basically starvation? Absolutely NOT!
What differentiates fasting from starvation is the hormonal response. When you fast, your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels and adrenaline increase thus preserving your muscle. The moment you put any food substance in your mouth, you go into a “fed” state and this hormonal response stops. Your body is now waiting on food. If you don’t eat enough to meet your caloric needs, then your body will catabolize itself to achieve this caloric need – it will take from muscle and fat. So yes, you will lose weight, but part of that weight is muscle! The very tissue that burns fat. This is starvation!
ALL DIETS that have you eat multiple times a day but do not meet your caloric need are basically putting you into starvation mode. You will lose weight, but you will lose muscle and fat. Most people who can stick with it end up being “skinny fat” people as their body fat percentage remains high due to the loss of muscle.
2. How long can you go without food?
As long as you have extra fat reserves on your body! Literally. That fat on your body that you can feel plus the fat all around your organs (the dangerous kind) that you can’t feel is basically food! It has all that you need to survive when you’re not stuffing your face.
It is not uncommon for very obese people to fast for 30 days with liquid only. The longest recorded fast is 382 days! It was done in 1973 in Scottland. Fasting is nothing new.
There is a myth that you can only last 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. It’s the “rule of 3’s,” and it is simply WRONG. I do 72 hour (3 day) dry fasts while I’m working, and I have no problems doing this!
3. Why drink salt water instead of regular water?
Plain water flushes your electrolytes (mainly sodium and potassium), and you can feel really bad. When you drink an electrolyte solution, you keep your electrolytes balanced and you’ll feel as good as possible. This strategy also helps break food addiction. Many people do fast with water only, but I don’t recommend it. You only need to use electrolyte solution during a prolonged fast of 2 days or more. For those doing a 1 meal a day (OMAD) fast, water is fine. You’ll get plenty of sodium and potassium from your food.
GO HERE to see how to make the electrolyte solution!
3. When should you not fast?
Once your body fat is in a normal range and you are approaching a “lean” body composition, multiple day fasts are no longer necessary for fat loss. People who are already in a low body fat range such as 4% or below and/or have an eating disorder should also refrain from using fasting strategies without proper professional supervision.
Moreover, if you have an obvious or diagnosed nutritional deficiency, you should not fast.
4. What’s that funny smell and taste?
First of all, there is no telling what toxins you’ve been storing in your fat cells all your life and now they’re being purged, or released. That could be one reason for body or breath odor, and it is very temporary.
You will also enter a state of “ketosis” which means your body is now using fat as a fuel vs sugar or carbohydrate. This is a very natural and awesome physical state to be in! However, your body is not used to it, and the ketones produced as a byproduct of fat metabolism can be temporarily noticed in your breath – it’s a little strong, sweet, fruity type flavor. This is not ketoacidosis which is a condition that type 1 diabetics experience when there ketones reach excessive amounts. It’s not possible for a non diabetic to develop ketoacidosis.
5. Why doesn’t my doctor – trainer – therapist or other professional not know about fasting?
First of all, they weren’t trained in fasting strategies. Simple as that. They are incredibly intelligent people and they’ve most likely mastered their discipline, but fasting was not a part of their curriculum.
The lowdown on carbs…
Unfortunately, there are still professionals who believe you MUST HAVE CARBS! This is sad, because it is simply not true. They are super smart people, probably some of the smartest in the world, however they are trained to practice in a certain way with a model of physiology that requires frequent feeding. I was taught the same! Glucose is the primary fuel source of the brain so we must ingest it to keep ourselves healthy, energetic, and able to live! It is also the primary fuel for our general metabolism, right? WRONG – we got fat, and it all started in 1977 when the first food pyramid came out recommending 6-11 servings of grain per day. We then started snacking (carbs make you hungry at least every 2 hours) to keep our “blood sugar” from bottoming out – laughable! Carbs are simply not essential. Fat and Protein are essential, and carbs are simply an optional energy source.
A possible exception…
Physicians that are trained in Functional Medicine are an exception as they do work to find the underlying cause of a disorder, and they are more apt to be training in the use of fasting strategies and nutritional remedies vs toxic drugs.
How to mess up your metabolism
Trainers are educated to diet folks multiple times a day and create a caloric deficit while exercising you in some way. Metabolism drops as your weight does, you feel exhausted eventually, and you quit. The weight comes back just like all the participants experienced on the show “The Biggest Loser.” Eating less calories and exercising your butt off is not a sustainable way to drop extra fat. Besides, what it took these folks about 9 months to achieve can be achieved in 3 months with fasting!…And without all the exhausting exercise, mental fatigue, drop in metabolism, loss of muscle, and ultimate failure. People who fast continue to live their lives, work, go to school, and they actually perform better!
You will only find a few professionals “in the know.” The food industry that is a large part of our economy, especially the grain industry that has a huge profit margin, stands nothing to gain by people choosing healthier options such as fasting. They only stand to lose. So be prepared to see the media come out in force with fake stories like …”the dangers of fasting,” “low carb kills,” “Keto Dieters Shorten Life Span’s,” “Meat Diet Causes Heart Disease” on and on!
As you read this right now, you are basing your decisions on what you believe. What you believe is what you’ve learned mostly from the media. The media is paid by the food industry to advertise it’s food. You literally believe that oatmeal is heart healthy, right? Why? Because you were told so in advertisements. It’s a lie – plain and simple. The purpose of this lie is to get you to buy oatmeal – not get healthy. No grain is considered heart healthy, and grains are the reason we have some much obesity, digestive problems, diabetes, alzheimer’s and other chronic disease.
6. Should vitamins and minerals be taken while fasting?
No, not necessarily. On most fasting regimens which are typically spread throughout the week, you get plenty of the essentials from your own fat and the re-feeds (when you eat.) People that fast for 30 days or more do incorporate vitamins/minerals on a limited scale. There is no evidence that vitamins/minerals should be included in prolonged fasts.
7. Can you lose weight too fast?
Everyone loses weight at different rates. It is not uncommon for heavier people with a lot to lose to drop 10 pounds a week and/or 30 pounds a month. As you grow leaner the fat loss slows. When you get down to the last 10-15 pounds is when you don’t need to do aggressive fasting. One meal a day and a few 48 hour fasts once to twice a week works well and is very comfortable. Exercise can also be implemented at this stage, but again, it’s not necessary for fat loss. Exercise is excellent for strength, muscle gain, and overall fitness and function.
Perspective on Fasting & Our Current Diet
Keep in mind that homo sapiens (our species) have been on earth for about 200,000 years! Most of our time on earth has been as hunter-gatherers, and we ate animals, nose to tail to sustain us. We experienced times of feasting during a kill and fasting until the next kill. Vegetation was scarce, and virtually non-existent in many parts of the world due to the ice age. Fruit presented after the ice age when the earth began to warm about 11,000 years ago, and it was only found in a few locations. Agriculture (growing crops and cultivating grains) started about 10,000 years ago when we began to create settlements. We started to substitute vegetable oils, sugar, and grains for animal products about 100 years ago, the first heart attack was recorded in 1921.
Supermarkets started in the ’40’s, and we started increasing our grain consumption due to government dietary guidelines (the food pyramid) in 1977. Snacking became the norm in the 80’s and obesity rates, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders began to sky-rocket. Now we are ridden with obesity and chronic disease. We turn to our medical professionals, but they are trained to treat your pathology, not fix your diet that lead up to your disease. In fact, most are trained in such a way that does not teach them that diet is in any way related to disease!
Our Modern Diet
Notice that literally within the last 100 years, we’ve managed to destroy our health and make being unhealthy and overweight the norm! Even in the 70’s we fasted at least 12 hours, and obesity was not very prevalent. We ate breakfast at 7, lunch, then dinner around 7. Repeat. Now it’s breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner and dessert…maybe another snack. Refined carbs/snacks surround us, cost next to nothing, and are super addictive. Insulin spiking has never been greater, nor have our rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
For some odd reason, our governments say we should eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, and low fat dairy. This combination has never been a part of a healthy human diet. First of all, this is the first time in history we’ve had the transportation and technology to ship food to all parts of the world. Our health does no require shipments of food. It requires 2 things: protein and fat (mostly animal-based). You cannot get all your essential nutrition from plants only. Simply look at the problems the vegetarians and vegans have. It’s astounding.
We have come to the point where we’ve moved so far away from a normal human diet that it’s now unrecognizable.
You are now being taken advantage of by all the fad diets and methods meant to take your money only to have to grow fatter and unhealthier. ALL diets cause you to lose weight by caloric restriction and multiple meals a day – not fasting. ALL popular diets cause people to lose weight and regain it. There is a 99% failure rate in the industry. So yes, ALL commercial diets are basically a scam. They take your money and they don’t work.
Quit eating – it’s guaranteed. Fasting will not decrease your metabolism, cause muscle loss, or kill you. However, you will lose fat, break food addiction, resolve underlying and active diseases, and all for the grand cost of zero!
And all you really have to do is take a step back in time, take a lesson from our ancestors who did not have obesity, chronic disease, diabetes, heart disease, or bad health. They lived long healthy lives and died of injury primarily. The myth about them dying early is wrong as it uses infant mortality to calculate life span, and yes, they had a much higher infant mortality. But in general, they lived just as long as we do and in a much harsher climate.
We can simply use a fasting strategy (like we’re genetically designed to do) in order to help restore our health by mimicking the feast and famine ways.
How to Maintain Being Lean
Once we are back to a natural, lean body, we can eat a more normal caloric load usually once or twice a day in a small window of time. That may sound foreign to you, but once you are lean, healthy, and happy with tons of energy and vitality; frequent eating is simply not desired. You can still eat bad foods, and you’ll know how to “fix it with fasting!” Life is good, and now you’re in control. You can live without being a prisoner to food addiction and always wondering when and what you’re going to eat next.
Your physiology will have changed. The way you think and feel about food now is not what it will be when you are lean. It’s hard to imaging for some, because you have certain feelings and thoughts about food. Therefore, when people talk about freedom from addiction and full control of their diet, that may sound completely foreign to you! And it should! More than likely you’ve never had complete freedom from food addiction, and you’ve eaten more days in your life than you haven’t eaten.
The ones who don’t fare well on a fasting regimen (they lose weight then gain most back pretty quick) are the ones why try and fast for a long period of time right off the bat! Then they go right back to their old ways.Yo Yo fasters. It’s rare, but it does happen.
The way to succeed is to build a fasting regimen into your life and be consistent. Use a combination of 48’s, 72’s, and 96’s. In other words, set up 2,3, 4, and/or 5 day fasts that fit your lifestyle. On your feeding days, just eat once and keep it on the high protein/low carb end. Our ancestors (hunter-gatherers) ate a carnivorous diet followed by fasting, hunting, and repeating the process.
I hope you take this life saving information and put it into action. Common sense has probably kicked in by now, and you KNOW that what is going on (and will continue to occur in the food world around us) has nothing to do with helping us return to optimal health. It is to keep us eating as much and as often as possible. You now know what you can do and it’ll save you a ton of money and misery. Fast 😉