I've run fasting based retreats for more than 15 years and one of the most common reasons clients book is that they want to lose fat. Why is fasting is so successful at changing how your body looks in such a short space of time?
Quite simply, more of the calories you use for fuel during fasting come from your fat stores.
In one Nottingham study, findings of a fasting study showed that the proportion of energy obtained from fat rose progressively between 12 and 72 hours until almost all the energy being used was coming from stored fat. This is incredible news really.
Fasting is also better than plain old calorie restriction when it comes to maintaining lean body mass.
This is largely because it triggers the release of growth hormone (GH), which encourages your body to look for other fuel sources instead of attacking its muscle stores. This is thought to be a survival advantage - back when humans were hunter-gatherers it would not have made sense for our muscle mass to reduce when food was scarce - we needed strong legs and arms to hunt down our dinner!
The more muscle we have, the more calories you burn at rest. Or, to put it another way, the less muscle you lose as you lose weight, the less your basal metabolic rate drops. Remember, your basal metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn calories, so it is really important to make staying in shape easier in the long term.
Besides, muscle takes up less room that fat. So, a person with good lean muscle mass will take a smaller dress size, or use a narrower belt notch, than someone who doesn’t.
This means that If you are already slim, it’s especially important not to overdo it when fasting. Research published in the academic journal Obesity Research shows that within just two days of complete fasting, there’s an increase in the use of muscle for fuel in people who are already a healthy weight. This is because they have less fat available to burn overall.
On all of our retreats, our personalised approach ensures that we ensure that your body is given exactly what it needs at all times.
So, for someone who doesn't want to lose weight but wants the health benefits of fasting, we increase the caloric intake without adding to the digestive burden of the body.