It’s been a hallmark of cultures and as many religions.
While spiritual beliefs don’t have logical explanations for sexual or hedonistic abstinence, food abstinence is widely studied in science.
You know how it is… Western, Middle-east or Sub-continent cultures all restrict themselves from taking certain types of food. But of late, water fasting has become a prominent subculture among many cultures, even among people who don’t associate themselves with cultures.
But what is water fasting?
You must be wondering how water fasting is different from general fasting or what is water fasting exactly?
Well, water fasting is resisting every type of food except water. Cultural and religious reasons are indeed attached with it, for not one or two but thousands of years. But since water fasting benefits in weight loss, the entire buzz around it is worth a try.
Now how long should you water fast? Or how long should you go without food or drinking anything except water? Well, there’s no specific time limit for water fasting. Yes! You can be a camel or rat in your population, but medical advice suggests 1 to 3 days are enough to go without food.
We won’t lie that human studies on water fasting are limited, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have any research on it. Limited studies have been gold so far in showing positive water fasting results.
The research speculates:
- Water fasting helps minimize the risk of chronic diseases
- Stimulate autophagy (breaking down and recycling cells)
- Water fasting weight loss therapy
10 Water fasting myths
With not much human-controlled study, there are lots of water fasting myths like… is fasting good for your health or is just a thing blown out of proportion! And a lot more myths we’re going to cover in the coming section.
The idea is simple: we want you to be making the right decisions related to water fasting! So let’s find out these myths and make informed decisions:
Water fasting myth#1
Begin it the very first day
Very rare that anyone wakes up today and decides to cut off food intake all at once. Let’s tell you: that’s not how water fasting is done. Sure, you may think it gives quick water fasting results, smaller waist circumference, and fitter-self. But that’s not how it works.
It needs a bit of planning to go about water fasting. First, you have to lower your calorie consumption for a week. It’s like… making your body accustomed to less food.
When your body adapts less food intake for a week, or say, when you know how to control your appetite— that’s when you begin your water fasting session.
Again, not all bodies are made equal. So you might not adapt to low-calorie intake in a week. So don’t be afraid of giving yourself an extra cushion of 2-3 days. Simply put, you’re trying to be a creature of habit for a week and then nailing on water fasting weight loss goals.
Water fasting myth#2
Taking it as a challenge more than a healthy act
Not everyone water fasts for a healthy-self. Some take it as a serious challenge to keep up with their Joneses. But that’s the last bit of the action you want to perform water fasting for.
First of all— it’s not a challenge! You’re not in a competition with anyone. So instead of following a water fasting schedule rigidly because the boy next door did it 2x your time, try to make your customized schedule and stick with it.
Because it’s not water, fasting is not safe for everyone if you follow it mindlessly. So stick to the plan! Don’t improvise just because you want to defeat “someone” having more endurance than you.
Water fasting myth#3
You’ll lose weight permanently
As much as we’d like to believe water fasting helps lose weight permanently, somehow, that doesn’t come out to be true. Sad! Isn’t it? Does that mean your efforts go in vain? No! Yes, you will lose a lot of weight, but be ready to have the fats back once you resume your regular diet.
Water fasting weight loss is not a permanent result, but you can manage your weight more smartly. For a permanent result, change your dietary habits and add fewer calories to your body. Think of water fasting as a triggering point for weight loss! Continue to manage the results with a brand new diet.
Water fasting myth#4
You can start a regular diet the day fast ends
It’s one of the most common water fasting myths. Remember we made an adaptable environment for the body a week before water fasting? You have to follow the same process post-water fasting. So planning water fasting before and after is very crucial.
The state of mind and hunger may force you to gulp as many mouth-savory dishes as soon as your fasting ends. But go slowly about it. You can’t start eating heavy meals in a snap. Again, your body needs to be a little habituated, and that comes with feeding as little as you can.
You can then gradually increase intake every three hours.
Water fasting myth#5
Water fasting is only for people looking to lose weight
Big time false! Yes, people water fasts for natural health and wellness, of which most of them look to lose weight. But there’s no point in limiting water fasting for weight loss only.
Some respondents do it for detoxifying their bodies. There has been enough science to prove body detox helps with skin glow and healthy hair. So if you’re wondering if water fasting is for you despite the standard weights, the answer is yes! You can follow a water fasting schedule to free yourself of free radicals and toxins.
Water fasting myth#6
Anyone can water fast
No, wait! While water fasting may benefit a percentage of the population, there are still specific criteria when you shouldn’t go for it. It would help if you didn’t water fast when you:
- are bearing a baby in fetus or breast-feeding
- have heart/cardiovascular problems
- have type 1 diabetes
- have uncontrolled migraines
- have been through blood transfusion
Again, please don’t see it as a societal challenge! You’re not trying to compete with anyone but your past, unhealthy self! If you fall in any of the brackets above and still want to give it a try, get yourself in touch with your medical expert first and know the ins and outs of it.
Water fasting myth#7
It’s healthy if you follow it for a long period
It has to be the most ridiculous myth for water fasting! Seriously? Humans aren’t designed like rats yet! We have a long way to go. There’s no proof that states “more fasting” leads to “better health.”
And following it for an extended period doesn’t guarantee the best version of you. In fact, there may be a complete inversion in your health. You might even find yourself in problems like losing the wrong types of fats, dehydration, and orthostatic hypotension (drop in blood pressure).
So everything boils down to how your body copes up with fasting.
Water fasting myth#8
You can’t perform any physical activity
It’s the most obvious myth! Why would anyone indulge in physical activities when they run out of gas and energy? But that’s more of a personal choice rather than science.
You’ll be surprised to know it’s alright to do light exercise even while you’re water fasting. So you might ask, is water fasting safe under such conditions?
Yes! It’s when you’re following light activities like walking, playing indoor games, and little workout that doesn’t demand a lot of energy. You have to be a bit extra cautious and ensure you don’t run out of gas! And if you know, it’s time for a regular schedule.
Water fasting myth#9
It can accompany depression
In most cases, depression is a physiological condition. But many people have reported depression after water fasting. Is it a physiological condition? Not really!
Water fasting has become a competition lately! Everyone wants to compete for wellness; forgetting the competing mindset only affects their mental health and leads to depression. So it’s not the fasting, but the mindset with which you fast leads to depression.
Don’t feel disheartened if you fail to accomplish water fasting goals. And set unrealistic goals in the first go. You can divide your goals into small hours, like an hourly basis and gradually increase the time.
Water fasting myth#10
You can follow the same sleep cycle
Sleep is the biggest challenge when you’re water fasting. How do you starve-sleep? Many people think the regular sleep routine should suffice. But you’ve to make minor changes to your rest routine to feel efficient during the day and night and less drained.
Nights are tougher to control as you can’t really convince the hungry stomach. So plan your sleep routine or resting routine in a way it reserves the most energy for you.
How long should you follow water fasting?
Hashtag 21-days fasting challenge! Hashtag 15 days water fasting challenge! Insanity is littered worldwide, especially on social media. Taking long fasting challenges despite the health experts’ otherwise recommendation is nothing but axing your own feet.
It’s not healthy! Period! It can put you in a constipation problem (long term) and aggravate other medical conditions. There’s no way you should go for such a long fasting period.
If you plan to fast, 1 to 2 days are enough! Keep yourself at bay from food; every weekend, and it should work wonders for your weight loss plan. So follow it four times a month and manage your detox/weight loss goals without starving for an extended period.