Do you ever think that intermittent fasting isn’t for you? You may be someone who has always had trouble understanding the complicated rules of weight loss plans. Or, you could be a person who wants to shed those extra calories, without ditching your favorite foods. Whatever the case, a 36-hour fasting plan could turn your weight loss dreams into reality.
Also known as a monk fast, this is a category of intermittent fasting where you must survive on water for 36 hours once a week. Its lack of complicated restrictions and limited time makes it popular among those looking to cut a few pounds fast. Some diet experts have criticized this plan for being too extreme and unsustainable. It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before trying any type of fast or fasting regimen. It isn’t safe for everyone, and any medical conditions or medication use must be taken into consideration.
Know that one should consume copious amounts of water during the fasting window. This can help you to stay active and full. You can also drink sugar-free tea or coffee without milk or cream, but no other beverages should be taken during this period (5).
Below there are some essential points about a 36-hour fast. A monk fast could be your way to hit that weight goal you always wanted. Read on to find your answers!
How Much Weight Can You Lose On a 36 Hour Fast?
Weight loss isn’t the same for every person following the 36-hour fast. Some people can witness the results quickly, while others must wait patiently to notice improvement. This can depend on genetics, caloric deficit, and other factors. The following are some of the factors that can impact how much weight you can lose during 36-hour fasts:
Individual genetic factors influence things like where we tend to store excess fat, as well as how quickly we gain or lose weight. This is true regardless of what method you are using to try to lose weight.
The amount of weight you can lose is connected with the calories you consume. Any fasting regimen works for weight loss by helping you to consume fewer calories overall than you burn. If you overeat during your eating windows, you might not achieve that deficit and weight loss will be more difficult.
As stated earlier, weight loss may vary from one person to another. Age, BMI, and stored fat can impact how and when you lose weight. Those 36-hour fast success stories may be true for some people, but others may not witness the dramatic outcomes.
Studying all aspects of a 36-hour fast is essential before creating a regimen for yourself. One should opt for easier plans rather than taking it as a quick fix. Because no matter how appealing it seems, you may find it tough to stay without food for 36 hours straight, and it might not be right for you.
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Can I Lose Weight by Fasting for 36 Hours?
But almost every registered dietitian or nutrition expert will advise you to take it slow initially. Just like running a five-mile course on your first running lesson isn’t advisable, you shouldn’t fast for 36 hours before experiencing 16 or 8 hours.
People fast for many reasons, including weight loss. Some other possible benefits may include: :
Reduced Risk of Heart Diseases
Taking breaks from eating now and then has been observed to lower the risk of coronary artery disease in certain populations (14).
Improved Cognitive Functions
Some studies have suggested that intermittent fasting may be beneficial in managing or preventing brain conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease (13). There should be more research to determine the long-term impacts of 36-hour fasts on these cognitive issues.
Improved Blood Sugar Levels
Intermittent fasting may help in regulating blood sugar levels. When the sugar level stays low, less insulin is released (10). It is thought that over time, this may help improve insulin sensitivity.
Know that fasting can reduce blood sugar levels. One should try to stay hydrated and be cautious. If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, you should treat it and speak to your healthcare provider.
May Induce Autophagy
Our bodies have a built-in cleanup system called autophagy, which means “self-eating.” It helps eliminate old and damaged cellular components and makes new ones (4).
Promoting autophagy is thought to be beneficial for longevity.
Looking at these advantages makes us believe there is more in the 36-hour fasting package than anticipated. A 36-hour fast once a week might benefit your weight but also carries possibilities that could improve your quality of life. You can choose to take it to an advanced level and fast for twice a week or more. We strongly advise you to seek advice from a professional before you curate a fasting plan for yourself.
Is A 36-Hour Fast Better than a 24-Hour Fast?
During the initial hours of fasting, your body tends to break down and digest the last meal you had before you started the fast. Usually, our bodies need 6-8 hours to digest the food (9). Once the body has burned or stored all the glucose from the meal it then starts using the glycogen reserves, the stored form of glucose in our liver.
Over 24 hours, the glycogen reserves in the body are completely used up, and our bodies begin to break down stored fat. This window is termed “ketosis.” It is one of the most raved-about benefits of intermittent fasting. These facts have often made nutrition experts question the difference between 24 and 36-hour fasts.
The effectiveness of each fasting duration depends on the individual goals, preferences, and body types. Here is what you should know about every kind of fast:
- It involves fasting for a whole 24 hours once or twice each week.
- Considering this is a shorter fasting period, it could be easier for some people to add it to their lifestyles.
- Benefits might include improved insulin sensitivity, weight loss, and potential autophagy (3).
- This type involves fasting for 36 hours once a week.
- It can be challenging for some people because of its extended duration.
- The 36-hour fast autophagy could be more enhanced due to the longer period.
You should carefully study 24 vs. 36-hour fast to make a pick.
If you are new to fasting, we suggest you begin with smaller windows. This could be 8 hours, 16, or even 24 hours. You can gradually increase the duration as your body adapts to the lack of food and your favorite drinks.
It is certainly not advised to go overboard during the periods when you aren’t fasting. You should try to consume healthy, balanced meals. Focus on improving your overall lifestyle, and you may notice the benefits of intermittent fasting sooner than expected.
Will a 36-hour Fast Put Me in Ketosis?
Yes, a 36-hour fast is likely to put you in ketosis. Even though the time required to hit ketosis may differ between individuals, it typically happens between 12 – 36 hours after consuming your last meal.
Note that your body may enter ketosis with shorter fasts as well. Once you have spent 24 hours or sometimes less without eating anything, your body releases fatty acids and converts them into ketone bodies. Later, the brain and muscles can use these bodies to release energy.
As you continue this process, your body will keep burning fat, and the ketones in your body will keep going up. This phase can differ for each person, depending on how many carbs they had stored before fasting and what they ate for their last meal (8). Longer fasting periods and more ketones in the blood are not necessarily always better. Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by ketone bodies in the blood. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any fasting regimen.
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What Does a 36-hour Fast Look Like?
The idea that you don’t eat anything for more than a day may seem daunting to some people. But some people who observe the monk fast find it quite convenient. This is because no eating restrictions exist when you aren’t fasting.
Before initiating a prolonged 36-hour fast, you should think about your environment and your health. If, for instance, you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications, you should not begin without seeking medical advice. Plus, you should plan fun and engaging activities to stay stress-free and relaxed.
The following are some of the steps that will help you practice monk fast safely:
Step 1 – Work Your Way Up!
Your body may find it tough to go 36 hours without eating anything. You should start by taking baby steps. Several intermittent fasting methods could help you pave your way towards prolonged fasting. For example, you can follow the 12:12 method, the 14:10 method, or the 16:8 method. Others like the Warrior Diet, OMAD (one meal a day), and 24-hour fasting could also help you prepare for monk fasts.
Step 2 – Install a Fasting/Health App
Get a tracker to monitor your carbs and water intake. A health or fasting app can follow how much water you drink each day and whether you are eating a normal amount of calories on the days you aren’t fasting.
Step 3 – Keep Having Tea, Coffee, and Water to Keep You Hydrated
Hydration is the key to keeping you active and energetic. This means that you should drink enough water during the 36-hour fast to ensure your hydration level stays up. You are allowed to drink sugar-free tea or coffee during the fast. A shot of caffeine can boost your focus and help you to concentrate well, just don’t overdo it (7).
Step 4 – Plan Your Post-Fast Meal in Advance
You will likely be eager to get your favorite food once the fast ends. A plate full of fries and a shot of coke could be what you might be craving for more than a day.
But hold your horses!
You should be careful with your first meal after the fast. Your digestive system hasn’t had solid food in a while, so something easy to digest might be a good idea to start with (15).
It is essential to acknowledge some rules before you practice a 36-hour fast. This includes knowing what breaks a fast and how often you should do a 36-hour fast.
Take the example of bone broth in this regard. Bone broth is one of the most debated subjects regarding prolonged fasting. Some say it can be consumed during fasting, while others deny it. Some say it can break the fast if you drink 50kCal or more. Dr. Fung believes that bone broth fasting can replenish the lost electrolytes (17). This can also prevent dehydration during fasting and help overcome hunger pangs. At the end of the day, it’s your fast – you can decide what’s allowed and what isn’t.
The Bottom Line
A 36-hour fast is a more advanced version of the regular intermittent fasting plans. But it would be correct if we state that this type of fasting is a little less complicated than other types. The rules are quite simple, and you might witness results even if you practice it once a week.
Some individuals even practice a 36-hour fast 3 times a week. This could be too extreme and unhealthy for the beginners. You should talk to your healthcare provider before jump starting a 36-hour fasting plan. If you fail to witness the results of this fasting regime, you should check other aspects, like what you eat during the non-fasting period, how much you sleep, and whether you exercise or not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is a 36-hour fast better than a 24-hour fast?
The type of fasting that is better for you depends on individual factors. Some people may find it hard to fast for 36 hours straight, while it could be easy for others. You should start fasting with smaller durations and extend the period gradually.
Can I do a 36 hour fast twice a week?
If you’ve determined that it is safe for you, , you can do a 36 hour fast twice a week. But don’t forget to consult your healthcare practitioner before you leap onto a fasting regime.
Should you exercise during a 36-hour fast?
If you want to burn fat, fasting is thought to help because it puts your body into ketosis. When you’re in ketosis, your body burns fat as its primary energy source. Gentle exercise during a 36-hour fast is usually safe for most healthy people, but it can be tougher than exercising after you’ve eaten recently.
Can I fast for 36 hours 3 times a week?
If you’ve consulted with your healthcare provider and determined that it is safe, you can fast for 36 hours 3 times a week. That said, you shouldn’t do it if you are beginning intermittent fasting. Start with a shorter duration, and then extend the period gradually.
What is the longest fasting for weight loss?
There’s no fixed duration for a water fast, but doctors usually recommend fasting for 24 hours to 3 days as the longest time you should go without eating. Some people should not fast at all – talk to your healthcare provider for individual recommendations.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Mistakes That Slow Down Your Metabolism (2019, healthline.com)
- 8 Health Benefits of Fasting, Backed by Science (2023, healthline.com)
- Adverse metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of circadian misalignment (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Autophagy: What You Need to Know (2023, healthline.com)
- Can You Drink Water When Fasting? (2021, healthline.com)
- How Cells Obtain Energy from Food (n.d., ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How Coffee Actually Affects Your Productivity (n.d., todoist.com)
- How Long Does It Take to Go into Ketosis (n.d., windowfasting.co)
- How long does it take to digest food — from the time you eat it to the time you excrete it? (n.d., mayoclinic.org)
- Intermittent fasting for type 2 diabetes (2023, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Losing Weight for Women and Men – Women and Fasting Part 2 (n.d., blog.thefastingmethod.com)
- The Effect of Fasting on Human Metabolism and Psychological Health (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Brain and Cognitive Function (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Usefulness of Routine Periodic Fasting to Lower Risk of Coronary Artery Disease in Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography (2008, sciencedirect.com)
- What are the best foods to break a fast with? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What’s The Best Time Of Day To Exercise? (2022, marathonhandbook.com)
- Why are you ‘stuck’? Part 2 (n.d., blog.thefastingmethod.com)