It’s no secret that fasting is an excellent tool for both weight loss and better health.
And the two really go hand in hand.
But there are a few differences in how you approach fasting, depending on what you’re trying to achieve the most.
Let’s look at those differences.
Fast duration considerations
If you’re fasting for weight loss, you might choose to stick with Intermittent Fasting.
Options like OMAD (One Meal a Day) or 19/5 (fasting 19 hours a day with a five hour eating window) are great for losing fat.
While it’s usually true that Extended Fasting can get you to your weight loss goals quicker, Intermittent Fasting will still get you there.
And for some people it’s a lot more doable.
On the other hand, if you’re fasting to improve metabolic health, Extended Fasting is optimal.
You’ll spend much more time getting some serious autophagy benefits.
Autophagy is the body’s very own built-in recycling system. And it peaks between 36-72 hours of fasting.
So obviously the longer your fast is, the more ramped up autophagy you’re going to get.
Body fat considerations
If you decide to try Extended Fasting, you’ll need to make sure you have enough body fat to maintain a longer fast.
World leading expert on fasting, Dr. Jason Fung, says that anyone with a BMI of less than 20 should not fast longer than 24 hours.
If your BMI is lower than 20 and you still need to fast for health reasons, you should speak to your doctor. They should be able to come up with a fasting plan that is definitely safe for you.
Clean fasting … or not so clean
Whether you’re aiming for weight loss or better health will also affect how clean you’ll need to keep your fast.
If your goal is weight loss, you can get away with a few extras. You can have the following beverages and fats during your fast:
- Water – plain, sparkling water, or mineral water are all fine, as well as fruit infused water
- Coffee or tea
- Bone broth or veggie broth (think sips, not bowlfuls)
- Sips of pickle juice as needed
- Fats such as butter or heavy cream (a few tablespoons a day is fine)
If you’re aiming for autophagy, you will need to stick to plain water, coffee, and tea, with no added sweeteners or fats. Basically keeping it zero-calorie with no exceptions.
Whether your aim is weight loss or improved health, you’re going to need to stay motivated.
The difference is, when it’s your health on the line, you tend to find that motivation a little bit easier and a whole lot quicker.
Not that weight loss isn’t important. Losing weight will help to assure that you stay healthy.
The point is, if losing weight is your goal, you might need to dig in a little more to find your motivation when the going gets tough.
Working with your doctor
We always recommend consulting with your doctor before you begin fasting.
But it’s going to be even more vital for someone who is facing serious health issues.
If you’re fasting for weight loss alone and doing Intermittent Fasting, it might be enough to check in with your doctor periodically.
But if you are doing Extended Fasting for health reasons you will need to be monitored by your doctor a lot more closely.
Especially if you are on any medications, as these will need to be adjusted.
A few things that apply to both
Whether you’re fasting for weight loss or health benefits, or both, these all apply:
- Stay hydrated
- Take your electrolytes
- Listen to your body
- Check in with your doctor if you feel unwell
Either way, fasting is good for you!
Are you fasting to lose weight? Or do you need to heal your body? Or both?
No matter what your goals are, you can reach them with fasting.
Author: Roo Black
Roo is a fasting coach with over 5 years of experience. She leads the admin team of the Official Fasting for Weight Loss Facebook group – one of the largest fasting communities on social media with over 125,000 members. We highly recommend this group for anyone who is looking for fasting advice or coaching.