For some girls, fasting
is part of a religious observance performed during important holidays like Ramadan
, Yom Kippur, or Lent
. But some girls skip meals thinking they'll lose weight. Less food equals fewer calories
, which means fewer pounds, right? Not exactly. Depriving your body of nutrients
by fasting may lead you to get so hungry that you overeat or binge
. And that can make you gain weight. back to top
Does fasting help you lose weight?
Drinking fruit juices and water for a day instead of eating once in a while probably won't hurt you. But when your body doesn't have enough fuel (food) to burn, it goes into starvation mode
. True, you may lose weight over time, but your metabolic functions
will slow down, leaving you with no energy, little ability to concentrate, a weakened immune system
, and anemia
. And, in starvation mode, your skin becomes thin, pale, and furry, and your hair falls out. Even if you aren't seriously underweight, fasting regularly can cause you to have irregular periods or stop menstruating
altogether, a condition known as amenorrhea
. And, as your body loses nutrients like calcium
your bones become brittle and age prematurely. back to top
What happens when you fast?
Fasting can make you tired, dizzy, and weak because your body is short on fuel and the nutrients you need
to function. You may lose some water and muscle weight as your body robs its reserves for fuel. But as soon as your body clues in to the fact that it's being starved, it slows down all of your systems. It's like when the screen saver pops up so your computer will use less power. The bottom line is that your starving body does everything it can to conserve energy until you eat again. back to top
What happens when you eat again?
As soon as you eat after fasting, the water you lost (and the weight that naturally goes with it) comes right back. And you may build back more fat than muscle. That means your postfast body burns calories more slowly. And, because you've changed your body composition
, your body will use fewer calories than it did before you fasted. After starving your body for nutrients, you may be more likely to eat more calories
than your body can use and end up gaining weight.
If losing weight permanently is your goal, you need to eat a healthy diet
AND increase your activity level through regular exercise (like walking home from school or dancing to your favorite songs). Not only will this help you stay slim, but it will also help you increase your fitness level
. back to top
Will fasting clean out my system?
Some people believe that fasting cleanses or detoxifies the body by flushing out waste. In fact, the opposite may be true. Over time, your body begins to break down its own fatty acids
to fuel your metabolic functions like breathing and blood circulation. When that happens, your body releases chemicals called ketones
, which collect in your blood and can cause serious damage to your kidneys
. Ketones also give you bad breath. The best way to keep your body clean is to eat a healthy diet
that includes plenty of water
. back to top