3 Common Fasting Myths Debunked
Whatever information you’ve heard or been told that says fasting is bad for you is either wholly unsupported or very plainly wrong. Following are three myths broken down so you can fast with peace of mind and defend your actions against all those individuals who may question them.
Myth 1: Fasting slows your metabolism
Your metabolism is the energy cost to keep your cells alive; it’s the summation of all the biological processes that sustain your life. For the most part, your basal metabolic rate is tied closely to your weight.
No matter where this myth came from, it’s simply not true, because despite popular belief, researchers have proven many times over that only the amount of food you eat matters, not the pattern in which you eat it. That’s to say, how frequently you eat or when you eat doesn’t dictate your body composition.
The only thing that matters and the only thing that has ever mattered is how much you eat in terms of weight and body composition. In terms of health, the quality of what you eat matters very much as well.
Your metabolism is the collection of all the entire biological processes that sustain life. It’s not some mystical fire in your gut. And it’s not something that you should be trying to constantly speed up. Rather it’s something you should be trying to optimize.
Fasting doesn’t decrease your metabolism, nor does it put you into starvation mode. Starvation mode is a myth, unless of course, you’re actually suffering from starvation. But you’re not starving with fasting, not even close.
The truth is, you’re going to burn whatever amount of calories you’re going to burn. Aside from adding in exercise, there’s really no other way to burn more calories. The only way to lose weight is to eat less, move more, or both.
Eating all the time improves your metabolism to the very same extent that keeping your eyes always open improves your eyesight, which is to say not at all. In fact, fasting gives your digestive system a chance to rest, like blinking does for the eyes.
You may have known some people who eat frequently and who still lose weight. Frequent feeding diets still work, as long as they put someone in a calorie deficit. The only problem, however, is that over time too much frequent feeding may lead to decreased insulin sensitivity and other health problems.
Gaining the weight back after eating
Some people claim that fasting, or dieting in general, is a waste of time because you’ll simply just gain the weight back after you stop. That’s why fasting is a lifestyle change. It’s not a diet. It’s a permanent fixture.
If your goal is to lose weight, then the reason you’re thinking of or have already started fasting is because you were consuming more calories than you were expending, and you needed to reverse it. If you stop fasting, and so reverse it again, of course you’ll gain back the weight, because you went right back to taking in more calories than you were putting out.
You can’t just go back to your old ways and think everything’s going to be different because you spent a few weeks on a diet. If you do what you’ve always done, then you’re going to get exactly what you’ve always had.
A lifestyle change means that you form a new and permanent series of habits. In other words, you follow a new order of daily operations. You think differently. You act differently. You eat differently. This is how you produce change. And, more importantly, this is how you sustain change.
A common misconception entangled in this myth is that you’ll immediately gain back the weight after you stop fasting. That idea is true only if you overcompensate, by taking in additional calories to make up for those lost during your fast.
Other people may say that the weight you lose fasting is simply the loss of water weight or muscle glycogen. Although that may be true in some cases, it’s far from the whole truth. The truth is that you will lose weight in the form of body fat. It won’t be immediate, but, if you stick with your fasting protocol, it will be a sure thing.
Fat loss is a slow, dripping process. Anyone can cut water weight quickly. Fasting isn’t a means to reduce water weight.
Having lower energy without food
At first, you may experience a few complaints while fasting, one of which may be decreased energy. After your body and mind adapt to the fasting lifestyle, you won’t even think twice about having less energy when skipping meals. You’ll feel vibrant and vigorous. You’ll have the energy of a thousand suns.
You can also think of this: Hunger is a motivator, perhaps the most primal motivator of all. Predators hunt when they’re hungry. When they’re hungry, they expend the most energy. Think of fasting as being on the hunt, as a time when your body is primed to get its most taxing work done.
But at the same time try to not focus too much on the hunger. Keep yourself busy. Actually, when starting out, fast on a day that you know you’re going to be busy. Keeping yourself distracted and on the go makes fasting a more tolerable and pleasant experience.