In her blog, Gospel Taboo, Amanda Edmondson writes, "Biblically, fasting is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament it was often a way of expressing grief or a means of humbling one's self before the Lord. In Psalm 35:13, David humbled himself with fasting. In the New Testament it was a means to grow closer to God through mediating and focusing on Him. In Matthew 4:1-2, Jesus went to the wilderness to fast for 40 days. In Matthew 6:16-18 we learn that we aren’t to look somber while fasting so that it’s not obvious to others when we are fasting. Throughout the New Testament fasting and prayer are often mentioned together. In Acts 13:3, ‘they had fasted and prayed.’ In Luke 2:37 a widow worshiped day and night fasting and praying."

This handy reference guide, Seven Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer, will help make your time with the Lord more spiritually rewarding. I encourage you to keep it with you during your fast and refer to it often because it gives easy-to-follow suggestions on how to begin your fast, what to do while you fast, and how to end your fast properly.


Sikhism does not promote fasting except for medical reasons. The Sikh Gurus discourage the devotee from engaging in this ritual as it "brings no spiritual benefit to the person". The Sikh holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib tell us: "Fasting, daily rituals, and austere self-discipline – those who keep the practice of these, are rewarded with less than a shell." (Guru Granth Sahib Ang 216).

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:
Seven ways to do intermittent fasting Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular dietary choice for weight loss and health. There are many different types of intermittent fasting program, so it can be hard to find the one that is right for you. Here, we discuss the most popular types of intermittent fast, such as the 16:8 fast and the Warrior Diet. Read now

Yes, by cutting out an entire meal each day, you are consuming fewer calories per week – even if your two meals per day are slightly bigger than before. Overall, you’re still consuming fewer calories per day. This is highlighted in a recent JAMA study[b] in which both calorie restricted dieters and intermittent fasters lost similar amounts of weight over a year period.
Thursday fasting is common among the Hindus of northern India. On Thursdays, devotees listen to a story before opening their fast. On the Thursday fasters also worship Vrihaspati Mahadeva. They wear yellow clothes, and meals with yellow colour are preferred. Women worship the banana tree and water it. Food items are made with yellow-coloured ghee. Thursday is also dedicated to Guru and many Hindus who follow a guru will fast on this day.
But a troubling flaw has popped up in this system. (You knew there was a "but" coming, right?) In a recent study, people on an alternate-day fasting plan for six months lost about 6 percent of their body weight—the same as those on a conventional low-cal diet—but 38 percent of fasters dropped out, nearly 10 percent more than in the other diet group. A similar problem has surfaced in other trials.
Surprisingly, since I've started intermittent fasting I've increased muscle mass (up 10 pounds from 205 to 215), decreased body fat (down 3% from 14% to 11%), increased explosiveness (set a personal best with a clean and jerk of 253 pounds a few months back), and decreased the amount of time I've spent training (down from 7.5 hours per week to 2.5 hours per week).

Jesus equates supplication and fasting when he teaches that the removal of mountains comes about only by prayer and fasting ( Matt 17:21 ). The godly prophetess Anna looked for the redemption of Israel with supplicatory prayer and fasting ( Luke 2:37 ). Before Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for the various churches, they committed them to the Lord with prayer and fasting ( Acts 14:23 ). In all these instances there is the clear implication that fasting is an effective adjunct to petition.
Researchers have demonstrated that fasting counteracts a variety of ailments including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even diminishing cognition but these findings were based on studies of rats and other laboratory animals where the researcher controlled the animal’s fast. Even if fasting was as beneficial for humans as it is for rats and mice, the reality is that most of us don’t like to be hungry and there’s no researcher to enforce the fast. 

All Oriental Orthodox churches practice fasting; however, the rules of each church differ. All churches require fasting before one receives Holy Communion. All churches practice fasting on most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year as well as observing many other days. Monks and nuns also observe additional fast days not required of the laity.
Those desiring to receive Holy Communion keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before (see Eucharistic discipline). The sole exception is the Communion offered at the Easter Sunday midnight liturgy, when all are expressly invited and encouraged to receive the Eucharist, regardless of whether they have kept the prescribed fast.
Many people who want to try IF choose the 16:8 method because it allows you to eat whatever you want for an 8-hour window and then fast for 16 hours. During the fasting period, you can drink water, tea, coffee, and even diet soda. The trick is to figure out what 8-hour eating window works best for you. Are you fine with skipping breakfast? Or do you work out in the morning and prefer to forgo dinner? Experiment with the eating and fasting intervals that work best for you. However, like all restrictive diets, there are some drawbacks. For one, drinking caffeinated drinks while fasting can disrupt your circadian rhythm, and therefore, your metabolism.
Repent through fasting. Empathize with God’s grief over your sins by fasting. Engage your entire person in repentance by using your body to turn away from self-indulgence and toward God. At church, schedule some times to fast with others for group repentance, just as you all sometimes gather to feast together in celebration (at church parties, potluck dinners, etc.). Express your personal repentance through fasting at times like during Lent and Holy Week, when God seems absent from your life, and when you realize your own complicity in society’s moral wrongs.

When we pray and fast, God promises that He will liberate us. He will loose the chains of injustice. He declares that He’ll untie the cords of the yoke and will give the oppressed their long-awaited freedom. He will set us free from the bondage of what others think, making us realize that any comparison we make with others is a guaranteed fast track to misery. When we fast and pray, God steps in and frees us from the perceived alienation with Him that has kept us immobilized, fearful, and disobedient for so long. As you consider God’s call to fasting, perhaps for the first time, you may choose to start slowly, fasting and praying for only one day. Perhaps you’ll decide to fast and pray one day each week throughout the year where you declare that specific twenty-four hours as your time of obedience to be alone in the intimate presence of God. As you do, God will give you grace, comfort, and a new direction in your Christian walk. In the end you will be set free.
”A lot of organs start shrinking [during a periodic fast],” Longo explained. “A lot of cells start dying and we have evidence a lot of the cells killed by this process are the bad cells. Then the stem cells get turned on, and we see the body starts regenerating itself.” What’s more, he added, certain inflammatory markers and biomarkers for cancer seem to be lowered when animals and humans fast.

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?)
Hi, I posted yesterday and my results are in after 4 days. I started the week at 140lbs and I’m now at 134lbs – 135lbs. I eat between 1500 – 1800 and walk every day 45 minutes. I weight trained on Tuesday and Wednesday, cardio Thursday, weight train again today with cardio(Friday). Only for 45 minutes per session – I can’t afford much time on my lunch hours. More details for you women out there who are mothers and who work full time: start with walking 30 minutes a day, fast pace.
Every person I know needs a breakthrough in some area of his or her life. I am no exception. I need breakthroughs all the time -- it may be a breakthrough in understanding a situation, a breakthrough answer to a problem, a breakthrough idea, a breakthrough insight, a breakthrough in financial or material provision, a breakthrough in health. If you have any need in your life, you need a breakthrough from God to meet that need! Fasting and prayer break the yoke of bondage and bring about a release of God's presence, power, and provision.
I have found that the 4:3 style fasts have worked well for my friends and me based on our work/life schedule and our personal health goals. I like that full day fasts feel like an on/off switch — I don’t think about eating on fast days and on eat days if I happen to overeat, I don’t feel guilty about it (since I’m eating at a deficit during the week). I find it more manageable to cut calories over a week (using the 4:3 style of IF) instead of every day (trying to eating less daily).

4) A sensitivity to God’s voice. The New Testament prophetess Anna is praised in the book of Luke for being a devoted servant to God and His temple. Because she regularly fasted and prayed, she was able to hear the voice of God speak clearly to her the day that Baby Jesus was brought into her temple to be dedicated. She knew He was the Christ and told everyone who would listen about His arrival. When we detox the spirit and become consumed with desire and praise for God, we become sensitive to His voice. Like Anna, when God speaks to us in the midst of chaos, we’ll still be able to pick out His voice and know what He wants us to do because we have trained our ear to hear Him through fasting, prayer, study and praise.
But while these diets have gained popularity, there have been only a few longitudinal studies on whether they actually lead to sustained weight loss. (U.S. News & World Report has a breakdown of past research into fasting diets.) Now there’s a new credible study to add to the mix: This 50-week study of 150 obese and overweight adults published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that the 5:2 fasting diet was “equivalent but not superior to” conventional dieting in terms of weight loss and the prevention of metabolic diseases.
Worried about losing muscle if you fast? Maybe this will put your concerns to rest: a single 24-hour fast increased human growth hormone (HGH) by 2000% in men and 1300% in women.[2]  HGH plays an integral role in building muscle. Boosting your levels this high will have huge effect on your physique. Research shows that higher levels of HGH leads to lower levels of body fat, higher lean body mass and improved bone mass.[3]
Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don't know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery -- or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I'd die! I couldn't possibly do that!
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?)

As you can see all of the sample intermittent fasting meals included in the fat loss diet have a convenient source of protein, fruit and some healthy fats. This food combination is what I have personally found to be the most effective for staying satisfied on low calorie meals. The fruit is highly nutritious, easily digestible and is effective at replenishing liver glycogen.
But a troubling flaw has popped up in this system. (You knew there was a "but" coming, right?) In a recent study, people on an alternate-day fasting plan for six months lost about 6 percent of their body weight—the same as those on a conventional low-cal diet—but 38 percent of fasters dropped out, nearly 10 percent more than in the other diet group. A similar problem has surfaced in other trials.
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”.
This proved to be the most important forty days of my life. As I waited upon the Lord, the Holy Spirit gave me the assurance that America and much of the world will, before the end of the year 2000, experience a great spiritual awakening. This divine visit from heaven will kindle the greatest spiritual harvest in the history of the Church. But before God comes in revival power, the Holy Spirit will call millions of God's people to repent, fast, and pray in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14:
By taking our eyes off the things of this world through prayer and biblical fasting, we can focus better on Christ. Matthew 6:16-18 declares, "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."

MONDAY: Fast Day // On fast days I only drink coffee, tea, non-caloric drinks and water (flavored sparkling water like La Croix has been awesome during fasting, my favorite is the Peach-Pear flavor). I add a little half & half in my coffee, and those are the only calories I consume on fast days. If/when I feel hunger pains on fast days, I drink a bottle/can of sparkling water and that helps me get through the day.
You can theoretically eat whatever you want when you're on an IF plan (and not in the fasting phase), but if you overdo the carbs, you'll have trouble keeping your blood sugar stable. Refined carbs, in particular, make your blood sugar rise and your insulin spike and crash. So if you're trying to go without food for longer periods and your diet is too carb-heavy, you're going to end up pretty hungry and irritable.
There were [no statistical] differences between the low- and high- [meal frequency] groups for adiposity indices, appetite measurements or gut peptides (peptide YY and ghrelin) either before or after the intervention. We conclude that increasing meal frequency does not promote greater body weight loss under the conditions described in the present study.
Getting back to intermittent fasting, many studies have confirmed the health benefits of calorie restriction, and it seems clear that eating less is part of the equation if you want to live longer. Interestingly, research4 has shown that life-long calorie restriction in mice "significantly changes the overall structure of the gut microbiota" in ways that promote longevity. So one reason why calorie restriction may lengthen lifespan appears to be due to the positive effect it has on gut microbiota.  

^ Stravinskas, Peter M. J.; Shaw, Russell B. (1 September 1998). Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia. Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 9780879736699. The so-called black fast refers to a day or days of penance on which only one meal is allowed, and that in the evening. The prescription of this type of fast not only forbids the partaking of meats but also of all dairy products, such as eggs, butter, cheese and milk. Wine and other alcoholic beverages are forbidden as well. In short, only bread, water and vegetables form part of the diet for one following such a fast.


Alison Moodie is a health reporter based in Los Angeles. She has written for numerous outlets including Newsweek, Agence France-Presse, The Daily Mail and HuffPost. For years she covered sustainable business for The Guardian. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she majored in TV news. When she's not working she's doting on her two kids and whipping up Bulletproof-inspired dishes in her kitchen.
Equally important is the recommendation to EAT REAL FOOD when you do eat, meaning food in the most natural form you can find, ideally whole organic produce, and pasture-raised when it comes to meats and animal products like diary and eggs. To that, I would add avoiding sitting, engaging in non-exercise movement throughout the day, and getting regular exercise. Exercise will not produce significant weight loss without addressing your diet, but when done in combination it can be significantly beneficial.
When Jesus returns, fasting will be done. It’s a temporary measure, for this life and age, to enrich our joy in Jesus and prepare our hearts for the next — for seeing him face to face. When he returns, he will not call a fast, but throw a feast; then all holy abstinence will have served its glorious purpose and be seen by all for the stunning gift it was.

If these extended periods without delicious food sound too painful to handle, rest assured: The best available evidence indicates that a regular ol’ diet is at least as safe and healthy and efficacious as intermittent fasting. Besides, sooner or later, a shiny new fad is bound to come along for the A-listers to fawn over, she says: “There’s going to be a new darling of the month before you know it.”

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).
And because you retain this muscle, your metabolism won’t drop the way it might with calorie-restricted weight loss. In fact, fasting actually boosts your metabolism, says Tinsley. “There’s a misconception that your metabolic rate will decrease if you’re not eating. If you’re fasting, your body views it as a mild stress, so research actually that shows your resting metabolism is actually higher after an overnight fast, and 16-24 hours is the window in which you see the largest increase in fat burn,” he explains.

Keep in mind; the purpose of a fast is to draw closer to The Lord. You are setting aside a specific time to fill up with more of God. It’s not a competition; don’t overthink it. Jesus lived as one of us for over thirty years, and fasted often. He understands what you’re going through. Matthew tells about one of Jesus’ fasts in Matthew 4:2, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (NIV). This happened just before Jesus was tempted in the desert and then started His full-time ministry. Don’t underestimate the power of taking a step closer to God.
"How long you fast is entirely up to you and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The Bible gives examples of fasts that lasted one day or part of a day (Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Samuel 1:12; 3:35; Nehemiah 9:1; Jeremiah 36:6), a one-night fast (Daniel 6:18–24), three-day fasts (Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9), seven-day fasts (1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 12:16–23), a fourteen-day fast (Acts 27:33–34), a twenty-one day fast (Daniel 10:3–13), forty-day fasts (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8; Matthew 4:2), and fasts of unspecified lengths (Matthew 9:14; Luke 2:37; Acts 13:2; 14:23)." -What Christians Need to Know about Fasting by Sam Storms

The biggest concern most people have is that Intermittent Fasting will lead to lower energy, focus, and the “holy crap I am hungry” feeling during the fasting period and ruin them. People are concerned that they will spend all morning being miserable because they haven’t consumed any food, and thus will be miserable at work and ineffective at whatever task it is they are working on.

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:

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.


Whole-day fasting involves regular one-day fasts. The strictest form would be alternate day fasting (ADF). This involves a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period. The alternate day modified fasting (ADMF) and 5:2 diets—the latter defined as five days per week not fasting and two days per week either total fasting or modified fasting—both allow the consumption of approximately 500–600 calories on fasting days.[1][3]

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.
The main benefit of intermittent fasting is weight loss—fat loss, specifically. “Insulin increases when you eat, and when insulin is high, you cannot burn fat. When you fast, insulin falls, which allows your body to access its stores of food (i.e., body fat) for energy,” explains Jason Fung, M.D., a Toronto-based nephrologist and author of The Complete Guide to Fasting.

Still, researchers are exploring whether fasting might help fight cancer, or help cancer patients tolerate chemotherapy. And they’re putting serious thought into whether fasting has a role in treating and preventing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis. But while the animal literature is rich, the literature in humans is promising — though far from conclusive. As this 2017 review of the science found, the studies on fasting to control Type 2 diabetes come to contradictory results, and there’s “minimal data” comparing the effects of fasting to plain old calorie restriction in overweight or obese people with the disease. There were also no studies on fasting and human cancer rates.

The competition ended in December 2011. I won the office pool — $220 cash. A lot of people have two big criticisms of dieting. One is that diets don’t tend to work. The other is that if a diet does work, the weight loss is temporary. People call this yo-yo dieting, in that you lose a few pounds, gain a few pounds, and often end up heavier than when you started.
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.

Intermittent fasting has been most extensively studied in volunteers who are obese or overweight. Those who restricted their calories to 2 days a week lost more fat. The benefits in people who are not overweight are less clear because there have been fewer studies. In one experiment, a number of fit young men were asked to practice intermittent fasting without losing weight for a few weeks. During that time they saw improved insulin sensitivity, a marker for reduced diabetes risk.
Fasting is often used as a tool to make a political statement, to protest, or to bring awareness to a cause. A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt, or to achieve a goal such as a policy change.[citation needed] A spiritual fast incorporates personal spiritual beliefs with the desire to express personal principles, sometimes in the context of a social injustice.[17]
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