With winter fast approaching, many of people try to stick to a healthy eating plan to avoid gaining the excess kilos during the colder months.
However, Susie Burrell, Australian dietitian, says regular fasting has a range of benefits and may help some people to lose weight.
‘While fasting is not a new invention, many religious and cultural groups have been fasting for thousands of years, the potential benefits it offers for weight loss is still being understood,’ she said on her blog.
‘One thing we do know is that various types of fasting offer a myriad of health benefits and as such embracing some form of regular fasting is most likely a good thing for all of us, even if we do not resort to the most restrictive regimes.’
Here are some of the main benefits of fasting:
1. It resets our hormones
Hormones can cause havoc on our weight, particularly if there’s a serious imbalance in the body.
‘While weight loss is linked to some types of fasting, it is actually our inflammatory markers – cholesterol, blood glucose, insulin, blood pressure that all improve when we fast,’ said Susie.
‘Long term controlled levels of all of these markers is linked to a reduce risk of developing a number of chronic disease including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.’
2. It reminds us what it is like to be hungry
As we move into winter, there’s no denying that many of people indulge in comfort foods and overeat.
‘Human beings rarely eat when they are hungry, rather they eat because they are tired, bored or because other people around them are eating,’ explained Susie.
She said having a low calorie diet for 16-24 hours will help remind the body of what it is like to feel hungry.
3. It helps us eat less
Portion sizes have increased dramatically in the past five to 10 years and many of people are becoming overweight or obese because of it.
‘It is safe to say that most of us eat far too much each and every day,’ said Susie.
‘A regular fast is an easy way to remind us how much we are actually eating and how little we actually need to eat to maintain our weight.’
4. It buffers our high calorie days
Sticking to a healthy eating plan all week is difficult when you might not be able to control how your food is being prepared.
In particular, social events can easily lead to overindulging in too many calories.
‘There will always be days when we eat far too much – celebratory meals, parties, elaborate restaurant meals,’ said Susie.
‘Having a day or two that helps to buffer these high calorie days via plenty of salads and soups is an easy way to balance your overall calorie intake without dieting.’
5. You may lose weight
Many view winter as a time where weight gain is almost inevitable, but you can lose a few kilograms without dieting.
‘One of the best outcomes of regular fasting – whether it is eating only in an eight-hour window or having a low calorie day or two each week is that you may even lose 1-2kg a month without dieting,’ said Susie.