(NaturalNews) A water fast is rather like an internal shower, cleansing and healing the body from within. The body has to cope with toxins and pollutants from food and the environment; fasting allows the body to detoxify and heal. For the overweight, weight loss is guaranteed and it costs nothing to do. This article examines how to go about fasting and what to expect on a water fast.
How Long Should One Fast?
A fast can extend anywhere from 1 day to 30 days. If contemplating an extended fast, start by weaning yourself off toxic, unhealthy foods and drinks and cutting sugar out of the diet and consume whole foods instead. Break yourself in gently by fasting for short periods of between 1 to 3 days or by juice fasting before building up to an extended water fast.
A water fast will allow the body to detoxify and heal more quickly than a juice fast because the body will be resting from the digestive process altogether.
Benefits of Fasting
The benefits of an extended water fast are numerous. According to Dr. Ben Kim, "Fasting provides a period of concentrated physiological rest during which time the body can devote its self-healing mechanisms to repairing and strengthening damaged organs. The process of fasting also allows the body to cleanse cells of accumulated toxins and waste products".
In addition to weight loss, benefits include: elimination of stored toxins that will result in clear skin, healthy teeth and gums, a clean cardiovascular system, reduction of aches and pains in joints, stabilization of blood pressure and more.
What to Expect when Fasting
With an extended fast, constant hunger will be experienced for the first 3 days or so before the appetite disappears completely. In addition to feeling very hungry, expect to feel irritable, with side effects such as headaches and tiredness as the body starts the detoxifying process.
After the first 3 days, appetite diminishes, the skin clears and energy levels return. Be careful not to exercise strenuously or work hard physically while fasting.
Fasting is generally safe for everyone, with the exception of those with cancer, diabetes or other severe health problems. Check with your naturopathic physician first before going on an extended water fast.
How Much Weight will be lost During a Fast?
Expect to lose over a kilogram (over 2 pounds) per day in the first few days of a fast. After that, half a kilogram per day will be lost (around 1 pound per day). Upon breaking a fast, about 2 kilograms (4 pounds) will be gained. The weight lost can be successfully kept off as long as a healthy diet and exercise routine are maintained.
Breaking a Fast
Restraint is needed when breaking a fast. Do not tuck into a huge plate of food after an extended water fast. Break the fast gently by slowly introducing fruit juices, vegetable juices and then home made vegetable soups. Taste will be enhanced, so enjoy the sensations that will be experienced by simply sipping a glass of freshly squeezed fresh fruit juice.
Think of a fast of this nature as a new start. Be determined to stay away from unhealthy, processed foods in the future and the health benefits of fasting will continue for a long time to come.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.