Expect funny looks if you spend a lot of mornings with breakfast eaters.  A few weeks back I had a number of friends staying with me, and they were all completely dumbfounded when I told them I didn’t eat breakfast anymore. I tried to explain it to them but received a bunch of blank stares. Breakfast has become so enGRAINed (zing!) in our culture that NOT eating it sounds crazy.  You will get weird looks from those around you…embrace it. I still go to brunch or sit with friends, I just drink black coffee and enjoy conversation.

There are many studies documenting the benefits of fasting which include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, reducing cholesterol levels, enhancing the body’s resistance to oxidative stress (which is connected to aging and many chronic diseases), reducing inflammation (a key driver in many common diseases) and… weight loss! The weight loss benefit is how I first got introduced to Intermittent Fasting (or IF for short).
Fasting has been used therapeutically since at least the 5th century bce, when Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness. Some physicians recognized a fasting instinct, whereby patients in certain disease states naturally experience a loss of appetite. Some physicians believed that administering food during such states was unnecessary and possibly even detrimental, since fasting was thought to be an important natural part of the recovery process.
Current research on intermittent fasting – the general term for diets like 5:2 – suggests that the approach is at least as effective as ‘normal’ dieting. Further research is investigating potential benefits in terms of blood sugar, and the ‘inflammatory response’ in the body that is a factor in many medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness”. Another ancient Greek writer and historian Plutarch is also credited with penning “Instead of using medicine, better fast today”. In more recent times one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, stated, “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting”.
Basically, the 12:12 plan is a type of intermittent fasting where you eat for 12 hours of the day and fast for the other 12 hours. This method requires you to limit your daily calorie intake within a 12-hour window (meaning 12 hours eating, 12 hours fasting), rather than eating whenever you want throughout the day. For instance, if you eat your evening meal or dinner at 8 p.m., you should have your breakfast around 8 a.m. the following morning while on this plan. The 12:12 is claimed to be the simplest type of intermittent fasting, especially for beginners who are trying to lose weight or simply want to improve health. Read - Weight loss: All you need to know about the 16:8 diet and 6 tips to burn belly fat using intermittent fasting
Thirty-six young healthy male volunteers were placed on a 24-week calorie-restricted diet of about 1,600 calories per day. They also had to walk for about 45 minutes a day. But instead of resulting in continuous weight loss, at 24 weeks their weight had stabilized, and no more weight loss could be elicited even when he reduced calorie intake down to 1,000 or less per day.
You'll probably lose weight on the Fast Diet because you’ll consume significantly fewer calories than you normally would on two days of the week. If you actually stick with the plan, you'll steadily drop weight. And because the two fast days are nonconsecutive and allow for at least some eating, the diet authors have found that people don't typically binge and overeat on the nonfasting days.
It is also considered to be an appropriate physical preparation for partaking of the Eucharist, but fasting is not necessary for receiving the sacrament. Martin Luther wrote in his Small Catechism "Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training, but a person who has faith in these words, 'given for you' and 'shed for you for the forgiveness of sin' is really worthy and well prepared."[70]
“…a progression should be observed in your fasting, especially if this discipline is new to you and you are unfamiliar with its physical effects. Don’t start out with a weeklong water fast! Begin by skipping one meal each day for two to three days and setting aside the money it would have cost to give to the poor. Spend the time praying that you would have used for eating."
Don’t forget that God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. His love is stronger than any thing you’ve ever done. When you decide to commit to fast, you’re going to want food. This isn’t abnormal, it happens to everyone. Unfortunately, for all of us, we’re human. Sometimes our stomach gets the best of us on a fast and we grab a bite of something we’re supposed to be fasting. This isn’t the end of everything. It doesn’t even have to be the end of your fast. Pick back up where you left off; we’re in a marathon not a sprint.

Once or twice per week you can have a treat. Remember you will have 600-1000 calories to work with in the main meal. This should make it pretty easy to enjoy some of your favorite foods or go out to a restaurant with friends/family. Just make sure to not go over the calorie budget for the day. If you do end up going over the calorie budget for the day then you can compensate by slightly reducing calories the following days.

Studies show that intermittent fasting accelerates weight loss. In a 2015 review pooling 40 different studies, participants shed on average 10 pounds in a 10-week period.[1] Another study found that obese adults following an “alternate day” intermittent fasting schedule (eating 25 percent of their daily calories on one day, and eating normally the following day) lost up to 13 pounds over 8 weeks.[2]
If you have spent any time looking for a diet program on the internet, you know exactly what I am talking about. Every few years there’s some new miracle health secret being discussed or marketed all over social media sites like Facebook and Reddit. These fads even infiltrate top-level health forums and have fitness “gurus” swearing they are the answer to your prayers.
That said, I have heard that women may find a wider window of eating to be more favorable when doing daily intermittent fasting. While men will typically fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8 hours, women may find better results by eating for 10 hours and fasting for 14 hours. The best advice I can give anyone, not just women, is to experiment and see what works best for you. Your body will give you signals. Follow what your body responds favorably to.
You’ll eat lunch and dinner within a six-hour window, which gives you an 18-hour fast. Most people will have no problem intermittent fasting every day. Some women may need to do intermittent fasting every other day or a couple of times a week and build up from there. You can learn more about intermittent fasting and women here. The key is to experiment to see what works for you.
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."
"If you’ve never fasted before, be aware that in the early stages you may get dizzy and have headaches. This is part of the body’s cleansing process and will pass with time. Be sure that you break the fast gradually with fresh fruit and vegetables. Do not overeat after the fast. Chili and pizza may sound good after several days of not eating, but please, exercise a little restraint and say no!” – What Christians Need to Know about Fasting by Sam Storms
^ Buchanan, Colin (27 February 2006). Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism. Scarecrow Press. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-8108-6506-8. In the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, there is a list of "Days of Fasting, or Abstinence," consisting of the 40 days of Lent, the ember days, the three rogation days (the Monday to Wednesday following the Sunday after Ascension Day), and all Fridays in the year (except Christmas, if it falls on a Friday).

Third, you've probably already fasted many times, even though you don't know it. Have you ever slept in late on the weekends and then had a late brunch? Some people do this every weekend. In situations like these, we often eat dinner the night before and then don't eat until 11am or noon or even later. There's your 16–hour fast and you didn't even think about it.
Prayer and fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God's glory that they reach their full effectiveness. Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what you desire. Rather, it is simply forcing yourself to focus and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.
Physiologically, calorie restriction has been shown in animals to increase lifespan and improve tolerance to various metabolic stresses in the body. [4] Although the evidence for caloric restriction in animal studies is strong, there is less convincing evidence in human studies. Proponents of the diet believe that the stress of intermittent fasting causes an immune response that repairs cells and produces positive metabolic changes (reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, fat mass, blood glucose). [3,5] An understandable concern of this diet is that followers will overeat on non-fasting days to compensate for calories lost during fasting. However, studies have not shown this to be true when compared with other weight loss methods. [5]

Juice fasts are also used by many people, although these are not technically fasts. Juice fasts are less intensive than water fasts because the body doesn't reach the ketosis stage. The advantage of juice fasts is that fruit and vegetable drinks can supply extra energy and nutrients. People can fit a few days of juice fasting into their normal schedules without significant drops in energy. Juice fasts are also said to have cleansing and detoxifying effects. The disadvantage of juice fasts is that the body never gets to the ketosis stage, so these fasters are thought to lack the deep detoxification and healing effects of the water fast.


Intermittent fasting (intermittent energy restriction or intermittent calorie restriction) is an umbrella term for various eating protocols that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting over a defined period. Intermittent fasting is under preliminary research to assess if it can produce weight loss comparable to long-term calorie restriction.[1][2][3][4][5]
Research7,8,9 has shown that intermittent fasting results in many of the same benefits as calorie restriction — even if you don't place any restrictions on the number of calories you consume when you do eat. This was demonstrated in a 2013 review,10 which found a broad range of therapeutic benefits of intermittent fasting, even when total calorie intake per day did not change, or was only slightly reduced. Research included in that review, and other published studies, indicate that intermittent fasting can help:
Fasting has been used in Europe as a medical treatment for years. Many spas and treatment centers, particularly those in Germany, Sweden, and Russia, use medically supervised fasting. Fasting has gained popularity in American alternative medicine over the past several decades, and many doctors feel it is beneficial. Fasting is a central therapy in detoxification, a healing method founded on the principle that the build up of toxic substances in the body is responsible for many illnesses and conditions.

Jessica Galán encourages her readers to embrace malleability in the midst of life’s difficult moments. She spends her day teaching amazing students from diverse backgrounds in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She’s wife to a super-creative man and the proud mother of three resilient young women. She’s served as a writing facilitator for Lysa TerKeurst through COMPEL Training. She enjoys daily cups of steaming hot café con leche and breaks out in sporadic salsa dancing when no one’s looking. You’ll find her stories at http://www.jessicagalan.net/. Connect with her here: Twitter || Instagram ||Facebook
"I also discourage the idea of fasting for those who struggle with eating disorders that are making intake of food a challenge and concern in their daily living. The point of the fast is to combine it with a more intense, focused time of prayer that brings a greater communion with God, a greater empowerment of the Spirit, and a greater earnestness in your soul.”
One reason experts tell people not to cut way back on calories is that it can slow your metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight. But studies show that fasting from time to time can be an effective strategy for weight loss. In addition, cutting calories on a couple of days instead of every day may help preserve muscle, so you lose mostly fat.
The Bible also gives instructions about the attitude and approach we should have in fasting. Jesus warned about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us.In the New Testament, Anna, the prophetess, is described as serving God day and night with fasting and prayers (Luke 2:37). We read that John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast and Jesus Christ said His disciples would fast after His death (Mark 2:18-20). Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted when they ordained elders in the Church (Acts 14:23). And Jesus Christ fasted 40 days and nights before facing Satan in an epic battle of spiritual will (Matthew 4:2).

Basically, the 12:12 plan is a type of intermittent fasting where you eat for 12 hours of the day and fast for the other 12 hours. This method requires you to limit your daily calorie intake within a 12-hour window (meaning 12 hours eating, 12 hours fasting), rather than eating whenever you want throughout the day. For instance, if you eat your evening meal or dinner at 8 p.m., you should have your breakfast around 8 a.m. the following morning while on this plan. The 12:12 is claimed to be the simplest type of intermittent fasting, especially for beginners who are trying to lose weight or simply want to improve health. Read - Weight loss: All you need to know about the 16:8 diet and 6 tips to burn belly fat using intermittent fasting


In addition to the fasts mentioned above, Roman Catholics must also observe the Eucharistic Fast, which involves taking nothing but water and medicines into the body for one hour before receiving the Eucharist. The ancient practice was to fast from midnight until Mass that day, but as Masses after noon and in the evening became common, this was soon modified to fasting for three hours. Current law requires merely one hour of eucharistic fast, although some Roman Catholics still abide by the older rules.
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