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Water Fast vs. Juice Fast: the Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

Water Fast vs. Juice Fast: the Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

Fasting.

Some swear by it as the cure for every ailment. Some only do it when they are stranded by accident in the woods and can’t catch a chipmunk. For those who have never tried it, it sounds, at the best, intriguing, or at the worst, miserable. For those who embrace it, it is enlightening, empowering, and healing.

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Let’s peel back all the hype and just look at the basics of fasting. Are there health benefits? Absolutely… when done correctly.

Fasting can be as complex or simple as you make it. Some people consider cutting a certain food group or favorite indulgence out of their diet a type of fasting. Others think fasting should be performed for religious reasons and nothing should enter the mouth—not even water. Since the first is much too broad and the second is only for the devoutly called, I will focus on a fasting that is a bit more mainstream. The two most well-established types of fasting are juice fasts and water fasts.

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Water Fasting

The name is self explanatory: you just drink water for a set number of days. I have only done one long water fast in my life; I didn’t follow the rules and started the fast when I was working a very physically-demanding job. I made it to day five, and then broke it.

If you decide to do a water fast, I highly recommend doing so when you don’t have to do large amounts of physical exertion. I was a sales rep that walked throughout offices carrying multiple 25-pound boxes of product, and I also got a shipment in my storage shed during my fast of over fifty heavy cases that I had to unload and stack by myself. By the final day, every time I got out of my car, I had to lean against it for a few minutes to make the world stop spinning.

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The main benefit people claim from water fasts is the body’s ability to detox with the energy normally utilized for digestion. Your GI system also gets a needed break. I did lose weight quickly on the water fast, which was another nice benefit, and the hunger pains stopped after the second day. I felt miserable most of the time, however, with headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and general weakness. I tried to push through it, as I couldn’t slow down due to work. Had I done it correctly and rested, I’m sure my experience would have been much different. Those who swear by water fasting say they notice a clarity of mind, peacefulness, increased energy, weight loss, and general healing as positive results.

Juice Fasting

Juice fasting is done by using a juicer to extract fruit and vegetable juices from fresh produce. You then drink different recipes throughout the fast. It is a much gentler way to fast vs. straight water fasting, in my experience. You don’t slow down your metabolism as much as you would drinking only water, as you still consume calories and important nutrients from the juices.

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I am a much bigger fan of juicing and have completed multiple juice fasts. My longest fast was 14 days: while drinking just juice, I experienced many of the amazing benefits of fasting with no unpleasant side effects. I felt healthy, energetic, calm, and lost weight. I was even able to run light training 5Ks during the fasting, although my times were not as impressive as on my regular diet. Other people, whom I have coached through juice fasts, report similar benefits.

One of the best sites that I have found for information about juicing is Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The site was created from a documentary about a very sick Australian man who did a 60-day juice fast while on a trip to America, and turned his health around. I have utilized this site and free information for most of my recipes and as a resource during my fasts.

While fasting may seem crazy to some, its benefits can’t be ignored. I have personally experienced the rewards of doing a fast the correct way, and the drawbacks of fasting the wrong way. My best advice is to do your own research and check with your doctor to determine if fasting is the right course for your health.

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Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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