My Fasting Journey with BetterMe
Fasting can sound like a scary idea at first. It evokes images of going without food or drink for days on end, and many people just don’t believe that it’s possible. However, once you take a look at the research and all of the benefits it can offer your body, you may think twice about this idea.
Fasting has been used for thousands of years to treat disease and promote health. The old saying “starve a fever and feed a cold” is evidence that early civilizations understood that we can benefit from fasting.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with the knowledge you need to do water fast safely and effectively. We’ll also discuss some of the research behind fasting, its possible side effects, and who should (and shouldn’t) try it.
So let’s start by looking at what fasting involves.
What Is a 7-Day Fast?
A 7-day fast is when you stop eating and drinking for a full seven days. This means that you’re only consuming water during this time, although black tea or coffee without any sweeteners is okay too. So, the upshot of this is that your body goes through several biological changes as a result of not consuming food.
The week-long fast is a way of radically changing your diet and resetting the way you think about food. It can also be a great practice in self-control.
Is 7-Day Fasting Dangerous?
Many people worry about going 7 days without food. It’s worth noting that fasting is different from starvation. The human body is great at adapting to scarce food, and how you go about doing this can result in many benefits.
For the average person, fasting is safe. However, fasting can be dangerous if performed incorrectly. Improper management during the 7 day fast can pose a real risk especially if it results in more than 8-10% weight loss within the period. Losing too much weight too quickly can limit critical functions in your body and result in unpleasant side effects.
The Dangers of Fasting
When fasting, there are some potential concerns and risks you should be aware of.
Hypotension: Fasting can cause a drop in blood pressure, which is known as orthostatic hypotension. This is why it’s really important to drink plenty of mineral water and supplements during a 7 day fast.
Lower heart rate: Fasting has been shown to lower heart rate, which means that if you have a pre-existing heart condition or are at risk of cardiac issues, then fasting is probably not for you.
It’s important to restrict your fast to 7 days. More than this can put you at risk. The body takes time to adequately react and adjust to fasting so it’s best to start with shorter fasts and increase time afterward if necessary.
7-Day Fasting: Are There Side Effects?
Sometimes, we just don’t get the process right, and side effects may show up. These are typically not severe, but it’s still important to know what these are so that you can avoid them.
Mineral deficiency is one of the most common fasting side effects. It can cause issues like headaches, cramping, fatigue, weakness, irritability, and nausea. It occurs due to insufficient intake of minerals during the 7 day fast. The solution is to drink lots of mineral water and take supplements.
Fasting may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions. This includes those who have gallbladder issues, adrenal fatigue, a history of eating disorders, diabetes, and people who are on medications. Talk to your doctor if you want to try fasting and see if this is something you can do.
Always check any adverse effects with a doctor. Remember, fasting can have many health benefits but it needs to be well-managed. It’s wise to prioritize the quality over the duration of the fast.
Get It Right: Fast Smarter
Paying attention to detail and having a smart plan guarantees that you get the most out of fasting.
BetterMe provides expertise and structure to get 7-day fasting right. Coaching and guidance take out the guesswork and maximize results.
BetterMe offers a free initial quiz so you can customize your fast around your needs. The app guides you through each day of the 7-day fast to ensure you get the best results. It also helps you avoid side effects and guides your refeed.
Using the BetterMe app helps you become a smarter dieter—it gives you access to intermittent fasting techniques that work. It’s this kind of smarter approach to fasting that means less struggle and better results.
Benefits and Functions: Why Fast with BetterMe?
Fasting actually has some interesting health and mental functions. Some of the science-backed benefits of this practice include:
Cell Health and Autophagy
During a fast, the body cleans out toxins and dead cells. This gives way to new cell formation, which has been linked to various health benefits such as improved mental clarity and reduced risk of heart disease.
It’s thought that fasting is particularly effective at increasing autophagy, which is important for preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Reduced Appetite and Cravings
Fasting has the ability to reduce habitual cravings, especially for sweet and fatty foods. There’s even research that shows that fasting can help increase self-control when it comes to food. This is a huge deal if you’ve failed diets because of cravings for junk food. You can use the 7 day fast to transition into a new diet with a clear head. Instead of craving foods, you can plan foods and make sure they suit your health and goals!
Fast Metabolism and Metabolic Flexibility
What is metabolic flexibility? Well, your body needs to use fat as its main fuel source. If it’s too reliant on carbs, you’ll store the excess as fat. This leads to weight gain and makes it difficult for your body to burn fat.
Metabolic flexibility refers to how well your body switches between using carbs and fats for fuel. It’s an important part of weight loss and overall health.
You can increase your metabolic flexibility by fasting because it makes your body more efficient at using fat as the main fuel source instead of carbs. This gives you more energy and can result in faster weight loss.
Building metabolic flexibility through the 7 day fast is a great way to transition to keto. With reduced cravings and better fat burning, you’ll be ready to rebuild a smarter diet.
Overweight people lose significant amounts of weight in a short time using fasting. This is probably because the body releases weight quickly after it stops relying on food for energy.
Some studies showed a weight loss of around 4–6kg within the first week alone. This is not all fat, however, as the weight loss also contains water and muscle glycogen. Still, it’s a great way to kick-start your diet.
Preliminary Evidence for Other Conditions
There are other possible benefits of 7 day fasting on:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Chronic pain syndromes
- Mood and psychological well-being
These are all areas where research suggests that intermittent fasting may have a beneficial effect. However, more research needs to be done to determine if fasting is a safe and effective treatment for any of these conditions. At the very least, there is proof that fasting can improve how you feel even if it won’t treat any of those conditions.
Adjustments: Getting the Most out of a 7-Day Fast with BetterMe
During a 7 day fast, you can do more than just restrict your food intake. Use that time and these habits to get the most out of your fast:
Step One: Maintain a Regular Exercise Schedule
It’s important to keep up with your exercise even during a 7 day fast. Fasting can make it a little more difficult to lose weight, and you’re going to need the extra push from exercising to see results.
Start your workout slowly if you’ve been sedentary or have never exercised before. You may not feel up to your usual exercise routine, but it’s important that you don’t skip out.
Make sure the first few times are lower intensity workouts to get your muscles used to the new routine. Once your body gets in the swing of things, ramp up how hard you work out!
Step Two: Supplement Vitamins and Minerals
First, remember that this is a calorie-restriction diet. It’s not a religious or spiritual fast, so nutritional supplements should be used.
Your focus should be on electrolytes and minerals instead of vitamins because electrolytes are lost in higher amounts during a water fast. These include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Supplementing these nutrients helps to reduce headaches, cramping, and other symptoms. It also helps to prevent other side effects like fatigue and muscle weakness.
Step Three: Mineral Water
Even though you’re fasting, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated. Drinking as much as possible is the best way to ensure that your body recovers properly after a week without food.
You need to stay hydrated, but mineral water also provides electrolytes. The minerals in it can help reduce symptoms of fasting like headaches and muscle weakness. Specifically, look for water brands that are high in sodium, potassium, and bicarbonates.
Step Four: Choice of No-Calorie Fluids
You can also use non-caloric fluids like herbal tea, coffee, water, or broths to supplement your fast. This is especially beneficial if you are exercising. You can even try different combinations of these drinks to see which ones give you the most energy and hydration.
For example, the EGCG in green tea is great for helping metabolize fat and supporting energy levels during a fast. This quality pairs perfectly with the fat burning that occurs during a 7 day fast.
The Refeed: Transitioning Back Into Eating
Once you’ve completed a 7-day fast, you need to eat again. How you eat during this period makes a big difference.
You can’t just eat whatever you want when you’re done fasting. Since the fast ended with a calorie restriction, it’s important to transition back into eating by taking in nutritious foods.
The best way to do this is to start with protein and vegetables. Keep your portions small when they are reintroduced so that your digestive tract can get used to getting food again.
You want to spend roughly 3 or 4 days refeeding. Each day, eat more than the previous, but do it slowly.
Try to eat regularly throughout the day instead of three large meals because it’s easier on your system. You can also get away with snacking on some fruit or nuts every few hours.
During the refeeding period, focus on cultured dairy and other probiotics. This includes yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. These help to replenish the beneficial bacteria in your gut and get it ready for more food. Together with nutrient-rich vegetables, these will help to restore your body’s natural balance.
The idea is to use the refeed period to completely reset your body’s systems as well as your diet. A fast is the start of a better diet, not a quick fix.
7-day fasting can seem intimidating to start with. However, it’s a great way to reset your dietary habits and help you lose weight. It’s also been proven beneficial for both the body and mind.
The benefits outweigh the risks and it can be used as a great way to jump-start your dieting goals. If you have any doubts or special needs, you can always consult your doctor.
To get the most out of your fast, focus on choosing quality, calorie-free drinks, and the right supplements. When your fast is over, refeed patiently with the right foods. Doing so will help you shift gears into a new, healthier diet and lifestyle.