Wicked kings, destined for destruction, received mercy from humbling themselves and fasting (1 Kings 21:29). The entire city of Nineveh, including animals, fasted upon hearing the pronouncement of judgment from the prophet Jonah -- and God spared them (Jonah 3:10). Jesus received divine preparation for His earthly ministry while fasting and enduring temptation. Moses waited upon God forty days and received the divine revelation of God’s commandments.
What about us? There's an element of good in foods and substances that are ultimately bad for us, even if it's just the good appearance, smell, or taste. Have you ever noticed how beautiful all the colored and distinctly shaped bottles look in a bar? Those bottles always seem lighted in just the right way to make them look very special, very festive, very appealing. Many foods are pleasant to the eyes. Many drinks are presented in ways that make them appear pleasing. We buy into the lie that what is pleasing is also nutritious and beneficial.
Fasting, by definition, is going without food and/or drink for a period of time. Typically it is done for religious reasons and involves a person refraining from both food and drink (Esther 4:16), although there are variations that may be done for health reasons (a juice fast, for example, where one would refrain from eating and only drink juice for a period of time).
Fasting isn't appropriate for everyone and, in some cases, could be harmful. Any person undertaking a first fast longer than three days should seek medical supervision. Those with health conditions should always have medical support during fasting. Plenty of water should be taken by fasters since dehydration can occur. Saunas and sweating therapies are sometimes recommended to assist detoxification, but should be used sparingly. Those fasting should significantly slow down their lifestyles. Taking time off of work is helpful, or at least reducing the work load. Fasters should also get plenty of rest. Exercise should be kept light, such as walking and gentle stretching.
Fasting is not the first dietary approach to excite researchers. Before fasting, there was caloric restriction, or CR. The methods have much in common. Overall, they both drastically reduce energy intake and bring about similar health benefits. They’re like siblings in a way, especially since fasting studies emerged from work on CR. And now, many former CR researchers are exploring fasting, often setting the two against each other in the lab.
Pros: According to the founders, while everyone is technically fasting every day — during the hours when we’re not eating — most of us do so haphazardly, which makes it harder to reap the rewards. Fat Loss Forever offers a seven-day schedule for fasting so that the body can get used to this structured timetable and reap the most benefit from the fasting periods. (Plus, you get a full cheat day. And who doesn’t love that?)
The Church of the East strictly observes the Nineveh Fast (Som Baoutha). This annual observance occurs exactly three weeks before the start of Lent. This tradition has been practised by all Christians of Syriac traditions since the 6th century. At that time, a plague afflicted the region of Nineveh, modern-day northern Iraq. The plague devastated the city and the villages surrounding it, and out of desperation the people ran to their bishop to find a solution. The bishop sought help through the Scriptures and came upon the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. Upon reading the story, the bishop ordered a three-day fast to ask God for forgiveness. At the end of the three days, the plague had miraculously stopped, so on the fourth day the people rejoiced.
No, it's not a cure-all for creaky joints, wrinkled skin, or brittle hair, but IF prompts an increase in human growth hormone (HGH), which promotes cellular repair, says Foroutan. She explains that not eating for several consecutive hours creates a slight stress on your cells' mitochondria (the energy powerhouses), which gives them a nudge to rev up their functioning. IF might also be helpful for brain health; animal studies suggest that this eating pattern might serve to ward off age-related cognitive decline.
Is fasting worth the effort? A recent metanalysis combined the results of six studies of intermittent fasting found the average weight loss of 15.4 pounds was equal to continuous dieting but both were significantly better than no treatment. It’s hard to draw definitive conclusions based on the results of six studies. Since fasting is difficult for most people, even if it proved to be effective, it might not be a long-term solution to weight control. The 5:2 diet would be more acceptable than a strict fast but many folks would still be miserable on Mondays and Thursdays if they tried to follow Jimmy Kimmel’s example.
When you fast, be sure your devotion is to God. It is not necessary to tell the whole world what you are doing. If your fast is for man's praise and not God's approval, then your fast is in vain. Matthew 6:16-17 says, "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Often when we slip up on a fast, we can let ourselves feel condemned and defeated. Breaking your fast in NOT a sin. If anything, you’ve proven your humanity, and 2 Corinthians 12:9 states that, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (NKJV). God’s strength often shows up in our weakest moments. Don’t let a momentary lapse define your fast. We’re not pushing towards our stomach, we’re not even pushing to ourselves, but we are pushing to be closer to God.
By the ninth century b.c. fasting had become institutionalized or formalized to the extent that days or other periods of fasting were called as occasions for public worship. The usual way of describing such convocation is "to call for" or "proclaim" a fast. Thus, Jezebel, to provide an occasion whereby Naboth would be unjustly accused and condemned, proclaimed a fast ( 1 Kings 21:9 1 Kings 21:12 ). Jehoshaphat later, and with much nobler motives, called for such an assembly in order to implore God's intercession on Judah's behalf ( 2 Chron 20:3 ). The same formula appears in ezr 8:21 and jon 3:5, in the last instance initiated by the people of Nineveh as an expression of their repentance at Jonah's preaching.