Benefits of an Extended Fast
Last month I wrote a blog post about "Why I've decided to do OMAD" . You can read about it and all the benefits I've enjoyed from eating one-meal-a-day for maintenance. This month, I'd like you to take a different journey with me. One of learning and healing. Although OMAD is amazing for prevention and maintenance, nothing beats an Extended Fast (EF) for healing and therapeutic gains.
Before I go on about all the many great advantages of an Extended Fast, and what it actually means, I leave you with a post written by Dr. Jason Fung a while back advising on "The Number 1 rule of Fasting" and the safety precautions around an EF. I quote Dr. Fung here when I say "many people forget the cardinal rule of fasting, or indeed, of any kind of dietary change – always make sure you are doing it safely." So, if and when you decide to join me on my monthly or quarterly 72-hour, or 3-day fast, make sure you know how to do it safely! If you want to know more, join our community here and follow me on Social Media.
So onto the reasons why I (and you might want to) do an Extended Fast monthly/quarterly:
1. Weight Loss
Obesity has not been my major health concern and metabolic syndrome expression BUT, like everyone else, when I get off-track, after holidays or when "life gets in the way" I notice that my weight goes up, or rather, that my body goes into "retention mode". I am more bloated and feel heavier. I don't actually weigh myself so I have no idea how much I have gained. Having said that, longer fasts will obviously yield greater weight-loss results, but not necessarily long-term IMO. My preferred weight-loss plan for my clients are shorter more consistent fasts with an occasional longer fast monthly for that "extra punch".
If you're not yet enlightened about the many great health benefits of fasting, or maybe you, like the current media, believe fasting to be the latest "trend" and "not sustainable", I encourage you to read on!
"Fasting is actually the oldest nutritional intervention in the world. It is not some exotic, never-before-tried diet miracle. Instead, fasting is an ancient healing tradition practiced by virtually every culture and religion on earth." Dr. Jason Fung, in Fasting - The Latest Fad Diet?
Scientific studies and our clinical experience have brought forth the potential of fasting for reversing Metabolic Syndrome expressions such as Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension and PCOS, to name just a few. Extended fasts, when done appropriately and safely, will be a more powerful therapeutic agent and for this reason I recommended an extended fast with proper supervision, when appropriate. Due to my most recent health concerns, I feel like an EF at this point is "just what the doctor ordered" (me, in this case, I ordered it).
3. Growth Hormone
As a woman, and for those of you interested in the increased growth hormone production for muscle building and bone health, EF is a great practice to follow on occasion. Read more here.
My DEXA scans over the years have confirmed that my current lifestyle has promoted not only fat loss but increased lean mass. The last DEXA scan I did showed that I was at 21% body fat at 41 years of age (I am currently 43). I also had under 1 lb. of visceral fat (around organs). Read more about Body Composition here.
If Autophagy sounds strange and like a foreign language, that's because IT IS! It's an ancient Greek word that means to auto- "self" -phagy "eat or digest". I don't profess to know everything about fasting and autophagy, no one does really, but the little we do know about autophagy, thanks to the Noble Prize winner Yoshinori Ohsumi, is very encouraging and for that reason alone, I do a 72-hour fast often. Think anti-aging, and potentially, anti-cancer, when you think of Autophagy. Read more here.
5. Prevention/Immune Reset
I also do an EF occasionally to help keep my immune system as fit as possible. With all that's going on in the world, I don't need to remind you of why this is so important. Keeping your Metabolic System healthy and your Metabolic Age younger, will ensure your immune system is stronger. Many people already believe that "what you eat" is key for your immune system, but I also know that "how you eat" is essential, and you should too.
There are many other great benefits to fasting (I didn't even get into the fact that it's simple, FREE and easy...) but I hope I peaked your interest and maybe you will join me this, or next, time in a safe and informed EF!