When pictures of a newly svelte Chaka Khan hit the web, folks went crazy. Although she was a certified brickhouse back in the ‘70s, Chaka had packed on the pounds over the years. But when she stepped out in her catsuit looking like she hadn’t aged (or gained a pound) since 1976, people wanted to know how she did it.

Recently, Khan sat down with Huffington Post Black Voices to talk about her new album and her dramatic weight loss, and despite rumors that she’d had surgery, the singer said she dropped the extra pounds by changing her diet and fasting.

The soul diva explains:

They can say whatever they want. Only I know what’s really going on. My weight loss had to occur, because I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes and I also had high blood pressure. And I’ve been on medication for that since last year until the beginning of this year. And I ended up going, “Oh, no, no, no, no, this is enough. I can’t live like this.” And I have a new little daughter to raise [my granddaughter], I adopted her so I have to be here. … [She] was really my first and major influence to lose weight and get healthy so I can be here for her. What I did was stopped eating and went on a strict unconditional fast for a couple of months. And went off meat, became vegan, stopped all the dairy, stopped all the meat.

Hearing that Khan went on a “strict unconditional fast” for a few months gave me pause. While I’m also in the process of eating healthier, I can’t imagine giving up food all together….for months.

While Chaka’s fast may have been related to her medical condition, other celebs have often used fasting and “cleanses” to drop significant amounts of weight in a short amount of time.

Back in 2006, Beyonce admitted to using the Master Cleanse—basically drinking spicy water–to drop 20 pounds in two weeks for the film Dreamgirls. And while many others are Master Cleanse devotees, most nutritional experts will tell you that prolonged fasting (not under the care of a doctor) can do more harm than good.

While you may lose a lot of weight, most of it will be water and/or muscle mass, not fat. And what’s worse? Fasting slows your metabolic rate, so as soon as that fast is over, you can almost guarantee the pounds you lost will return with some friends.

So why do people continue to do “cleanses” and fasts in the hopes that it will help them fit into their super cute Little Black Dress?

Perhaps it’s the lure of quick weight loss or finally slaying the fat dragon. Whatever the case may be, there is no quick fix or ridiculously easy way to lose weight. You’ve got to do it the old fashioned way: good eating habits, getting some exercise, and a whole lot of patience.

Have you ever tried to fast to lose weight? How did it work out for you?

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