What happens if you don’t eat anything for a day? Fasting is a popular practice among weight loss enthusiasts. It’s a great way to utilize stored fats to burn it as energy. Over the years, fasting variations have sprouted like mushrooms, promising to yield amazing results. This makes us wonder about the 24 hour fast benefits and if it indeed works in the weight loss department.
In this post, we’ll discuss how fasting happens inside the body and if it’s actually healthy for burning fats. Experts say that the 24-hour fasting method has a ripple effect in the body. Here’s what you need to know about it:
Your body during fasting
It’s a fact that your body needs energy. So what if you stop eating calories for a whole day? Carbs from grains, vegetables, and fruits are the common fuels of the body. If you stopped the supply, the process becomes interesting for weight loss.
During a typical day, the glucose that came from carbs is stored in the muscles. This becomes fats and will only be released once needed. However, that need becomes limited if you’re ingesting more calorie surplus than what your body actually uses.
When you fast, your body changes this process. At the 8th to 10th-hour mark, the liver will use its last supply of glucose. With that, the stored energy will be released. Not just that, your body uses more calories during the fasted stage. This makes fasting a very effective mode of losing weight. However, it’s important to note that it’s not suited for everybody.
At this point, also, your body enters the gluconeogenesis or fasting mode. Since there is no new glucose supply coming in, the body would synthesize the new supply using stored fats.
Generally, the benefits of 24 hour fast once a week is safe, but it’s important to remember that the body will reach a breaking point when the fasting mode turns into starvation. When this happens, your body will start to break down muscles and your metabolism will begin to slow down. It’s best to break the fasting mode even before this condition takes place.
Does fasting cause weight loss?
Yes, it does if practiced properly. But remember that this is only the case for healthy practitioners. Post-fast-binging and the false sense of security can easily endanger the benefits of fasting. So whether if it’s an excellent weight loss tool or not, we’ll have to consider some important aspects.
Fasting will only work if it fits your lifestyle. Those who used to live an unhealthy lifestyle may tend to quit fasting faster than those are used to a healthier setup.
The biggest problem about fasting is that it gives practitioners a false sense of security. This makes them feel less alarmed about eating high-caloric food after the fasting phase. Also, some experts say that fasting might be a little difficult to maintain over time.
Take note that even if you fast for 24 hours, feasting right away after breaking it will just defeat the benefits. Fitness experts have found that the guaranteed way to derail weight loss benefits of fasting is by flooding the system with sugar. This will activate higher insulin levels to store the new energy supply as fats.
So if you want to enjoy 24 hour fast benefits, you have to stick to it and consider it part of your lifestyle.
How the 24-hour fast work
The 24-hour fast is simply not ingesting any calories for a whole day. This is also called as 24-hour water fasting since practitioners are only allowed to drink water to survive the day. Drinking water during the fasting phase serves a lot of purposes.
First, it hydrates the body. Drinking at least two liters a day is necessary to sustain body processes. Another benefit of water is it kills hunger pangs. Not eating for the whole 24 hours can make you hangry but packing up with fluids can make the pangs of hunger easier to deal with.
Some variations of the 24-hour fast allow drinking unsweetened coffee, tea, and sparkling water. This is so you won’t get tired of water for the whole day. However, never ever consider using non-caloric stevia. Although this doesn’t have calories, the sweet taste will release brain signals that will spike insulin levels on your bloodstream. When this happens, gluconeogenesis shuts down and your body goes back to its normal function.
After the fasting hours, it’s imperative to break the fast properly. Never eat a whole feast right away. At the end of this post, I’ve outlined a short guide that you can follow.
Like what I mentioned earlier, the benefits of 24 hour fast once a week isn’t for everyone. There are risks associated with this practice, especially for those with poor health. Make sure that you rule these points out before diving into fasting:
➕Hypo and hyperglycemia. Some of those who practice fasting tend to feel dizzy and light-headed in the middle of gluconeogenesis. If you feel uneasy and extremely lethargic when fasting, it’s best to break it and consult a physician right away. The same goes for diabetic individuals since fasting will affect the sugar and insulin levels of the blood.
➕Medications. If you are currently taking medications with food, it would be risky to subscribe to the 24-hour fasting. Taking medications supposed to be digested with fat will cause diarrhea among other serious complications.
➕Adolescents and kids. Teenage years are a crucial growth period. It’s not recommended that teens and kids undergo 24-hour fasting.
➕Breastfeeding and pregnant women. Pregnant women need all the nutrients they can get to sustain the fetus inside their body. The same goes for lactating mothers as well as those trying to conceive. Fasting will be a risky move.
➕Those with eating disorders. If you have an eating disorder, fasting may not be advisable. Seek the opinion of a medical professional first to reap the 24 hour fast benefits.
Benefits of 24 hour fast once a week
If done right, you should reap the amazing weight loss benefits of 24 hour fast once a week. Here are some that may or may not take place during your fasting phase:
➕Improved cardiovascular health. According to experts, doing this mode of fasting at least once a week can help strengthen the heart.
➕Better digestion. Day in and day out, our digestive system works to break down food and flush out toxins out of our gut. By taking a break of solid foods, our tummy will get to work efficiently to repair itself.
➕Stronger immune system. Experts found that fasting for a whole day can actually boost your immune system and give you anti-aging benefits.
➕Clarity of mind. Many practitioners observe better energy levels and clarity of mind after fasting. But if you are suffering from mental or emotional conditions, you should seek the supervision of a physician.
How to prepare for the 24-hour fast
Remember that the 24-hour fast isn’t supposed to be done more than once a week. It’s also important to do holistic preparation before deciding to stop eating for a day. I suggest that you consult a doctor before fasting to diagnose any possible underlying conditions. The doctor can also guide you to the process. Aside from that, here are more of the steps you should take:
➕Reduce your vices
During the two weeks leading to your planned fasting, start reducing your intake of addictive substances like cigarettes and alcohol. This will help your body recover and remove the toxins before the fasting stage. It would also limit any withdrawal symptoms you might experience along the way. These addictive substances also include soda and heavily caffeinated and sweetened drinks.
➕Alternate your diet
Two weeks before you start the 24-hour fast, start alternating your diet. Start eating smaller portions multiple times a day to prime your digestive system. Also, it’s best to increase your intake of organic vegetables and fruits.
➕Limit your food consumption
Two days before the fasting, start reducing your food intake. This is to prevent the shock that the fasting mode may bring. Never jump into fasting without prepping your body to it. Still, don’t starve yourself for the sake of reducing food.
➕Hydrate your body
Now more than ever, you need to hydrate your body. Taking more liquids as necessary will prepare your body for the liquid-only mode during fasting. It will also help flush the liquids out of your body faster as part of the 24 hour fast benefits.
➕Try moderate exercise
If you’re not a very active person, it will help to do moderate exercise as preparation for fasting. Some people who practice the 24-hour fast prefer to do yoga to fight off hunger and the tendency to quit. You can also try this if you want to. Go as slow as you want to so you won’t tire yourself too fast.
Potential side effects
Take note that fasting isn’t without some side effects. Depending on your health, body type, age, and lifestyle, side effects may vary. Here are some of the possible effects that you might experience while doing the 24-hour fast:
➕Hunger. This is the number one and normal effect of fasting. Since you’re not putting food inside your body, the brain signals the need for it. This can be easily defeated by drinking water and meditating.
➕Weakness. If this is your first time doing the 24-hour fast, expect physical and mental weakness. This should be temporary and it should go away as you progress in fasting.
➕Cravings. During the day, you’ll imagine about your guilty pleasures including those sugary treats and oily fast food items. It’s best to get this stuff off of your kitchen to prevent the possibility of breaking the fast in the middle of the day.
➕Headaches. Take note that fasting isn’t the normal course of your body so headaches will likely take place. Don’t take any medication unless prescribed by the doctor you consulted about fasting.
➕Irritability. Have you ever heard about getting hangry? It’s when hunger and anger start to take the best of you. When your blood sugar drops, you’ll easily get cranky and annoyed. It’s best to surround yourself with things and people that make you happy.
➕Coldness. It’s possible that your toes and fingers will feel cold while you fast. This is the reaction of your body toward the spiraling levels of your blood sugar. You can defeat the cold feeling by sipping hot tea or taking a hot bath.
How to break a fast safely?
Once the clock strikes the 24-hour mark, you’re not supposed to storm to the fridge and start devouring that cake you’ve been keeping for a day now. You have to break the fast first so as not to defeat the benefits of the practice. Here’s what you have to do:
➕Drink water. If your method of fasting prevented you from taking any liquids, the first thing you should do is to hydrate yourself with distilled water.
➕Eat small. Never feast right after you fast since it will strain your digestive system. Instead, opt for a small serving of vegetable salad or anything healthy. Also, chew your food properly so your stomach won’t have to do all the tough work.
➕Cook your meals. If you think raw salad will piss your tummy, it’s best to cook your veggies before eating it. This way, the food is softer and can be digested easily. Make sure to skip the artificial seasonings. It’s about eating the right foods at the right time instead of just wingin’ it.
➕Don’t experiment. As much as you want to reward yourself after fasting, never try new food items after fasting. It’s best to stick to the meal you’ve eaten before the non-eating window. Still, make sure that it’s healthy.
There’s no doubt that 24 hour fast benefits your weight loss. However, make sure that you do it right and for a healthy purpose. If it starts to endanger your wellness, you should consult a medical professional.