Fasting is a common weight-loss method that focuses on abstaining from food consumption regularly, often by schedule. This restricts caloric intake significantly, which aids the weight loss process. There are also many ways to do fasting, which essentially only vary in the length and frequency of fasting periods.
In comparison, most diet plans revolve around the types of food you should eat, but fasting will only require you to stop eating at a specific time. And although most people would rather switch to healthier meals than alter their eating patterns, there are ones that engage in prolonged fasting periods to reach their target weight loss goals faster.
However, fasting also comes with dangers, especially if it’s done too long or it wasn’t planned carefully. To avoid risking your health and compromising your wellness, keep these tips in minds if you’re planning to go on a fast:
1. Start Small
Beginners in fasting are always recommended to start small. If you intend to do intermittent fasting, start on the lowest fasting hours first. You can start with an eight-hour fast for two weeks, and if it seems to work for you without any adverse effects, you can move on to more hours by the following week.
When deciding which method you must follow, it’s important to consider your current health status first. If you have any health issues, fasting may not be for you. Consulting your doctor before embarking on any drastic weight loss plans is also ideal.
But once you’ve decided on a method, stick to it and avoid switching methods abruptly to avoid risking your health.
2. Avoid Fasting Too Long
It’s more ideal to maintain shorter fasting times to avoid compromising your health. Longer fasting periods, especially those that go beyond 24 hours, are dangerous, and should only be done with professional supervision.
Most of the dangers associated with fasting come from the effects of excessively prolonged fasting such as dehydration, starvation, muscle loss, and fainting. If you have any health conditions you’re not aware of, like diabetes, prolonged fasting may even be more dangerous.
3. Maintain Hydration
Dehydration is one of the most dangerous effects of improper fasting. For one, individuals who fast often think they should reduce fluids too, which is dangerous when done too long. Dehydration causes electrolyte imbalance, and if left too long, it can be fatal.
When fasting, especially on longer hours, getting enough fluids is important to help keep normal cellular function. Moreover, staying hydrated while fasting will help your transition to eating whenever you break your fast.
4. Use Supplements
If you’re regularly fasting, there’s also a chance you’re missing out on important nutrients. This is especially true if you’re not planning your food choices. To avoid deficiencies that may lead to health problems, consider taking health supplements that can augment your nutritional intake.
The goal of fasting is to dramatically reduce calorie intake, so taking nutritional supplements won’t affect your fast.
It’s also important to know that fasting isn’t just about restricting eating schedules. Fasting works better if you also eat healthier meals, which should consist of nutrient-dense whole foods. Binge eating unhealthy food can also be a hindrance to your weight loss, that’s why you must be wary about your food choices.
5. Stop When You Feel Unwell
At any time during your fasting, if you start to feel like you’re under the weather, you should stop your fast. It may mean that your fasting has weakened your immune system, or you have an underlying health issue that’s been aggravated by your fast. If you contract any illness while fasting, it’s also dangerous to continue fasting.
When you’re sick, your body’s nutritional requirements will be higher than normal. If you’re fasting, you’ll be depleting your body of much-needed nutrients, and recovery will be difficult.
Furthermore, it may also mean that fasting isn’t for you. Consult your doctor right away if you get sick while fasting to ensure proper recovery, and to find out if you have any underlying health problems. If you’re fasting to lose weight, your doctor will also be able to recommend alternative methods that are more suitable for your case.
Achieving your health and fitness goals requires not just your time and effort but also your dedication and determination. One of the best methods you can use to effectively lose weight may include fasting. However, despite the quick results it can offer, such practice may also pose potential harm to your health.
The truth is fasting is not for everyone, especially for individuals with health issues. To find out of fasting is safe for you, it’s recommended to consult your doctor first.