How does fasting produce these benefits? Professor Valter Longo of USC, one of the leading researchers on fasting and longevity, hypothesizes that fasting forces your body to recycle many of its immune cells, particularly white blood cells. Then your body works hard to replenish its white blood cells, essentially re-setting parts of your immune system. Longo is also the inventor of the fast-mimicking diet, where you eat a special diet for 5 days every month, one that makes your body think you're fasting even though you're getting adequate calories and nutrients. (See Alice Walton's story in Forbes for more about that.)
Then began a long period of struggle. My weight bounced up alarmingly in September 2011. It was alarming in part because I was continuing with the same exercise and careful eating that had been working so well. One thing I think I have learned about weight loss is that the same regimen that works for losing weight when you’re heavy won’t work as well (or perhaps at all) when you’re considerably lighter. That seems to be in part just because you naturally need fewer calories just to maintain your weight when you weigh less. But that would only explain why my weight didn’t continue to go down; it couldn’t explain how, keeping the same regimen going, my weight would suddenly bounce back up so alarmingly. I suppose that could just be chalked up to my seasonal pattern of gaining weight in the Fall/Winter, but to me, because the bounce was so unusually sharp, this also seems to be going on: Sometimes, I think, when you lose weight, your (or at least my) body freaks out, thinking that it’s starving, and starts to “try,” as it were, to gain weight back, with some of its efforts not going to try to make you eat more (which efforts one can resist), but to slow down your metabolism. Or something. I didn’t and don’t really understand what was happening there, but what had been working was for some reason clearly no longer working. [So, there appears to be some research suggesting that metabolic changes are caused by weight loss that make it hard to keep the weight off. Some of this research is reported on in this New York Times piece by Tara Parker-Pope. See esp. the 6 paragraphs that begin with the sentence “Leibel and his colleague Michael Rosenbaum have pioneered much of what we know about the body’s response to weight loss.” I didn’t see there any suggestion of the kind of almost violent “freak-out” I’m conveniently positing here, though.]
Hoddy suggests trying a plan for two weeks and keeping a record of how you feel and what you eat. You can switch to another one if it's making you grumpy, or you can modify it; when Hoddy fasted, she split one meal into two smaller ones on fast days so she could have dinner with her husband. Or follow a plan partway, says Peterson. "Any form of fasting helps burn fat, and extending your overnight fast a little—say, eating dinner earlier—is an overall health benefit."
When you go to drink this weight-loss tea, give it a good, long sniff. Preliminary research from Wheeling Jesuit University found that people who inhaled the fresh, minty scent every two hours for five days ate fewer calories and sugar. It appears the scent is a powerful—and yummy—way to quash hunger. Luckily, unlike peppermint candies, peppermint tea is one calorie-free indulgence. (Sniffing these foods could help you slim down.)
Try a new kind of brew! Adventurous dieters must not resist the urge to experiment with watermelon detox water. These lively beverages will change their lives forever. It is an unabashedly brilliant combination, and the clash of flavors is always a delightfully sharp surprise. The melon should be chunked for maximum derivation of flavor. Basil should be gently muddled with a wooden spoon to activate its flavors and effects. These leaves coax the digestive system into behaving properly, and they instill a mild boost in energy. Anyone who wants to take a break from alcoholic drinks should try this elixir on for size!
Clean Green Drinks isn’t just about weight loss, but better-fitting jeans is often a happy side effect of juicing. That’s because most fruits and vegetables are low calorie, low in fat, and packed with fiber and vital vitamins and antioxidants that will keep you satisfied and full of energy as you lose weight. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that dieters who drank an eight-ounce glass of low- sodium vegetable juice daily over a 12-week period lost, on average, four pounds more than dieters who did not drink the juice. Replace your regular breakfast or lunch with a divine low-calorie, nutrient-packed juice or smoothie and cleanse away the pounds!
Some foods, like fennel, increase levels of melatonin in your body, a hormone that helps you drift off at night—and per University of Granada research—may help buffer weight gain and lessen heart disease risk in healthy people. Truth: you might not find fennel tea to be palatable on its own, particularly if you’re not a licorice fan. You can buy mixed weight-loss teas like this one from Celestial Organics, which combines peppermint and fennel. (Besides this weight-loss tea, we bet you didn’t know these essential oils promote weight loss, too!)
“Tea does contain compounds such as polyphenols and caffeine, which [may slightly increase] metabolism, but this boost isn’t enough to have a meaningful impact on body weight,” she says. “If it did, these tea manufacturers would be raking in millions and millions of dollars.” Plus, so-called weight-loss teas often contain added ingredients that don't have the health-promoting benefits of pure tea and may not be safe, like various stimulants.