Monday, March 19, 2012

Fast Diet or Fasting and Dieting

Is a fast diet safe and effective?

What about a fast diet?


Here's the truth. Dieting is not fast or permanent, but fasting may be an important part of becoming thin forever. When you say the word "diet", you can think "life eating pattern" rather than "weight loss system", and when you say "fast diet", you can think of a "life eating pattern that uses fasting properly" rather than "system for losing weight quickly" (see the last section of this article).

How fast can I lose weight?

You can gain and lose about one to two pounds per week pretty easily over the long haul, give or take. Don't sneer; that's 50 to 100 pounds per year! Much faster than that, unless you are beginning a fast (more on fasting below), is not healthy or enjoyable. And neither is fasting improperly.
If you fast without water, you can lose up to 10 pounds in two days (I don't recommend a fast of over one day without water), but that is a very temporary weight loss. In the later stages of long fasts, when fat is being burned for energy, it is normal to lose one to two pounds per day. That's because fat has 3500 calories per pound, your body runs on around 2000 to 3000 calories daily, and there is some water and other matter associated with the fat stored in your body.
But the truth is that as you have probably heard before, any weight you lose with the word "diet" on your mind, especially a quick diet, is likely to be really a quickly forgotten and reversed change. Below we will talk about how to enjoy eating yourself to thinness and health forever.

So what is the good of a fast diet?

As you can see from the previous section, a long term fast may not really cause you to lose weight faster than you might lose weight without a fast. So if you can lose 50 to 100 pounds per year without a fast, what place does a fast have in a diet?
The main benefits of fasting as part of "weight loss", or a "fast diet", (think instead "new permanent thinness") are:
  1. a proper fast changes your attitude toward food
  2. a proper fast increases your ability change other factors (spiritual, psychological, emotional, and social) that are at the root of your weight problem
  3. a proper fast improves your overall health

What is a proper fast?

A proper fast is a fast with rest that is either of similar length and type to what you have experienced in the past, or a fast in which you have the close attention of an experienced guide. Beyond that proper fasts come in all flavors, lengths, and frequencies, any of which may be helpful to you:
Flavors of proper fasts:
  • 12-hour fast dry or with water nightly
  • 24-hour to 48-hour fast with water weekly
  • 2-week fast with juice or water and possibly enemas yearly
  • 3-week to 6-week fast with juice or water and possibly enemas once or yearly
There are many opinions about fasting. But all the flavors of fasts above and more have been and are continually practiced by thousands of people. To learn more, research "Herbert Shelton", "Nathaniel Bronner", "Elson Hass", and "water fasting". Shelton, who supervised over 30,000 fasts of chronically ill and terminal patients, losing only three, said that enemas are not necessary in a fast. The most important factor of a fast is to follow the definition I gave of a proper fast.

What diet will make me thin fast?

I have reviewed and harmonized many major diets, including some that seem on the surface diametrically opposed like Atkins (no carbs!) and McDougall (go carbs!). All of them contain an element of wisdom. I have read the stories of many peoples' successes and failures in trying to be thin. I have listened to the conventional wisdom of thin people. And I have distilled universal diet principles that you already know:
Universal diet thinness principles:
  • Thinness is good. You feel springy, petite, shapely, and fun when you can pinch only half an inch.
  • Thinness isn't about dieting fast. It is about a wonderful life diet including a fast here and there.
  • Refined food (white flour, white sugar, oil, trans fats, and all those "unpronounceable" ingredients), is a serious obstacle to thinness and health.
  • The more natural color in the diet, the better. This is important. Are your meals light green, red, deep green, purple, yellow, black, and orange vs. indistinct shades of white to brown?
  • Small permanent changes make big long-term differences. You can go slow, trading up a little at a time, and see big dividends toward permanent thinness. Learn and change, learn and change, learn and change. I started a long slide in weight when I changed my breakfast habit from oats, salt, milk, and honey to oats, orange juice, and raisins.
  • Thin food is more fun, enjoyable, and tastes better. In the words of "Star McDougaller" Mike Teehan, "I used to eat such large quantities of greasy globs of guck that taste was never the issue. Today food is an experience of pleasure." And I never enjoyed my oats so much before when I was using milk, salt, and honey.
  • Eat all you want. See John McDougall's Maximum Weight Loss Plan for one way to eat yourself to health. It is much more fun and effective to control what you eat than how much you eat. My oatmeal breakfast is so large and sinfully delicious that I have no munchies for chips and candy bars all morning.
  • Envision one small change you can make immediately to one of your food habits. Deprivation doesn't work. You can find a whole new world for your food life. Do it one dish at a time.

So, Tom, if you are so thin, what do you eat?

Yes, I am thin. I am 72" tall, and I weigh 155 lb today. My pulse rate and blood pressure are around 58 and 110/70. Here's what I eat (I have to confess I am currently slack on the exercise front):
  • Breakfast: 1 quart oats, raisins, and oj. Sometimes I add nuts for calories. Sometimes I skip breakfast if I want to prolong my nightly fast. Skipping often backfires by leaving me hungry at the office where my all-you-can eat food is not handy, and I end up eating popcorn, V-8 juice (not bad), or even a salted nut bar or energy bar (not good).
  • Morning snack: no morning snack except as above.
  • Lunch: I am often too busy for lunch. Or I have Taco Bell tostadas Fresco and burritos Fresco or leftovers from dinner.
  • Dinner/Supper: enormous helpings of combinations of these staple dishes
    • All-fruit smoothie with frozen banana, frozen berries (straw-, blue-, black-, or rasp-), frozen pineapple, orange juice, and room temperature water for help thawing
    • Beans, brown rice, spinach, lime, salsa, onion, garlic, generous salt, cilantro, tortillas (corn or white flour)
    • Stew of potatoes, brown rice, frozen mixed vegetables, suprise ingredients (squash, bell pepper, avocado, mushroom), generous sage, onion, garlic, generous salt
    • Spaghetti with white beans and $1 canned sauce in the most animal-(meat/milk)-free styles I can find
    • Potatoes and salsa
  • Treats:
    • popsicles and soda pop for fun a couple dozen times yearly
    • ice cream, chicken, and burger a couple dozen times yearly when I don't say no socially
    • sugary Mexican fruit drinks or artificially flavored drinks for fun a couple of dozen times yearly
    • chips a couple of dozen times yearly
    • popcorn with oil here and there lightly (see morning snack)
    • candy when I am in the mood less than weekly (I love smarties and candy corn, but don't like chocolate much)
    • 2017 update: I eat far fewer treats than in 2012.
  • Rarely: medicine yearly or less except melatonin and herb tea occasionally
  • Never: alcohol, tobacco, coffee, caffeine drinks
  • Water: I keep my urine faintly yellow
  • Fast: I fast with water, but no enemas, 12 hours nearly every day, 24 to 36 hours nearly every Sunday, and 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 days about monthly. (2017 update: I no longer fast more than 16 to 20 hours very often, and my 16 to 20 hour fasts are often unintentional.  I usually fast more only if I am sick.  I am focusing on eating enough and properly.)

About the author

Tom Haws is 45 years old (in 2012), has three children, and weighs less than he did in high school. He is a civil engineer, computer programmer, and freelance writer. You can contact him for a chat or for personal thinness counseling by searching the web for "Tom Haws" or "Thomas Gail Haws".

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