Ok, truth be told, I am not Catholic. I have never “given anything up for Lent”. However, I have seen many a person give something up and then hate life for the duration. But, that’s totally another topic for definitely another time and place.
So if you aren’t fasting for Lent, then why are you fasting? Oh right, someone told you that it was the ticket to losing weight, right?? So maybe you got sucked in and decided to give it a go. And I can assume that you may have thought it was really working. You were seeing results and your scale was dropping. But let’s talk about why the numbers on the scale plummeted, why it isn’t effective, and why it is definitely not the smartest or healthiest way to drop the weight.
Typically fasts are composed of a very strict regimen that allows for little to no solid foods, while allowing for water, juice, or some other crazy concoction to drink. What this boils down to is a massive decrease in your overall calorie consumption. For instance, I remember not long ago when the drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper and syrup plan was all the rage. Gross, right? I’m not even kidding. This was the best cleanse apparently. But common sense should tell you that if basically all that you’re consuming for a set number of days is this weird mix, then you probably will lose weight. YOU AREN’T EATING ANY FOOD FOR GOD’S SAKE. So, you drank your potion like a champ for a week (or 2 whatever) and you drop weight!! Tell me what happens when your “fast/cleanse/detox” is over? You go back to your regular eating schedule, of course. And the weight jumps right back on, plus some extra pounds in many instances. Why? Because your fast wasn’t a maintainable way to lose and keep the weight off. It was a “quick fix”. You got the results you wanted immediately, so you were ecstatic. But I bet now that the scale is creeping back up you aren’t so happy. This is why we need to stop looking for immediate gratification with our weight loss plans. If you want to lose the weight, and keep it off, it ain’t happening overnight. Did you go to sleep one night and gain those extra 20 pounds until morning? NO WAY. So, why do you expect to lose them all so quickly?
Let’s think about this…the initial weight you lose on a fast is mainly water weight, not fat. That’s why it happens so quickly, and also why when you stop the fast, the weight comes back like a freight train. Even worse, the weight you have added back is likely all fat. You can’t add muscle without trekking into the gym. Of course, I get it, seeing that scale drop so quickly is motivating. You feel like you’re finally doing something right. But the bottom line is that in order to lose weight AND keep it off, you have to adopt a healthy (maintainable) lifestyle. The same goes for bodybuilding competitors. There is a reason they look fantastic on stage, but typically very different in their “off season”. That shredded physique and extremely low body fat percentage is not maintainable year round. Our bodies were meant to be fed- not starved, cleansed, or detoxed.
So feed your body. Follow the Undiet Diet and live a healthy lifestyle. I bet you’ll even lose some weight this way.