Tuesday, April 01, 2008


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My recent experience with sickness-induced fasting got me thinking about fasting as a method of improving one's health and fitness, especially for those of us who are overweight. From the outset, I'd like to say that fasting for the purpose of losing weight is a poor idea at best, and down right dangerous at worst.

One thing to be considerate of with fasting is that it can cause the body to go into a reduced metabolism, which would reduce the number of calories burned. If you're fasting specifically for the purpose of loosing weight, you'll have a tough time getting to your goal this way. Another problem with fasting for weight loss is that you're trying to address the symptom (excess weight) with a "quick fix." You might get rid of a few pounds this way, but like other yo-yo diets, you'll probably gain it back, and more. Letting go of extra weight on your body, and becoming a fit person is something that you need to do for life - fasting is not a sustainable lifestyle, and any diet or regimen that is not truly sustainable isn't for you.

My personal experience was that the forced fasting helped to reset my body's food gauge. I find that whenever I'm sick such that I loose my appetite, I find that for the next few days I don't eat as much. I suspect that if I were watchful, I could take advantage of the reset, and keep to the smaller portion size standard, instead of stuffing myself back to my previous portion sizes. Still, though, the better choice would be to learn to moderate portion sizes at all times.

I have fasted for spiritual purposes, and find it to be a valuable exercise. I know of others who have fasted as part of a "cleanse" and thought it was very helpful as well. Just be sure that if you are considering fasting, that you do your research, and understand the real reason behind choosing to fast. In spite of the name, fasting does not feel quick. I know when I'm not eating if feels like forever until I get to eat again!


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