It can feel great when we’re fasting, but there are a few things that can make us feel not so great. One of them being dehydration.
Sometimes, especially if you’re starting out it takes a lot of willpower to get through the day. So some of us might reach for tea of coffee to keep us going.
Before you go brew another big cup of black coffee to perk you up, consider whether all of that caffeine is really going to help your fasting results.
You may feel pumped and it might even curb your hunger for a little while but if you’re drinking caffeine all day, you may be pushing your body into a state of dehydration which can make your fasts feel terrible. With no food going in (which is where much of our daily water intake comes from) and too much water going out (from the diuretic effects of caffeine) you can quickly become dehydrated and your body’s natural detoxification process can be compromised. Meaning that you won’t feel so good. Headaches, irritability, low energy, aches and pains and even poor sleep.
Most of us are in a constant state of mild dehydration. Maybe you don’t like the taste of water. Perhaps you just forget to drink, or you exercise without remembering to rehydrate afterwards. Regardless of the reason, the symptoms of dehydration can be amplified by intermittent fasting making it a very unpleasant experience.
When we fast our body immediately takes the opportunity to detoxify. Our liver processes the toxins we’re carrying and then those toxins need to be excreted out of the body. Water is needed for that process to pass it out via the urine, or sweat or whatever means it can. So water is crucial. If we don’t drink it, our body will just use the water stored in our body instead. The side effect? Dehydration.
Often, it’s not until we are rehydrated that we realise how awful we were feeling.
Studies have shown that athletic performance decreases after just a 1% loss of water. Your brain alone is 75% water, so mental performance also takes a dive when you’re moderately dehydrated.
In fact, studies have shown that although your ability to concentrate does not suffer, simple tasks may seem far more challenging and you may struggle with maintaining a constant focus due to increased fatigue.
If you want to make the most of your fasts and allow your body to focus on burning fat, cleaning and repairing your system (and mental tasks), try alternating your caffeine intake with water or switch to a non-diuretic herbal tea.
It’s crucial when fasting to replenish all of the water that your body might use to detox and heal your body and to avoid feeling worse than you need to. So keep your fasts productive and stay hydrated.