IF might sound wacky to some, but there’s evidence that intermittent fasting for weight loss does work. One 2016 study in the Journal of Translational Medicine found that people who practiced IF for eight weeks lost more body fat than those in the control group. Another 2012 study from the Nutrition Journal suggests that IF can help obese women lose weight as well as lower their heart disease risk.
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."
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.
The findings were clear: Fasting just five days per month improved people’s health outcomes. The group that fasted lost weight (about 7 pounds on average), lost some body fat, lowered their blood pressure, and decreased their IGF-1, a genetic marker for diseases such as cancer. (Their total cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides didn’t budge.)
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).
That breakthrough might be in the realm of the spirit. It may be in the realm of your emotions or personal habits. It may be in the realm of a very practical area of life, such as a relationship or finances. What I have seen repeatedly through the years-not only in the Scriptures but in countless personal stories that others have told me -- is that periods of fasting and prayer produce great spiritual results, many of which fall into the realm of a breakthrough. What wasn't a reality . . . suddenly was. What hadn't worked . . . suddenly did. The unwanted situation or object that was there . . . suddenly wasn't there. The relationship that was unloving . . . suddenly was loving. The job that hadn't materialized . . . suddenly did.
Also, for many people, a full 16 hours of fasting just isn’t realistic, says Cynthia Sass, a New York City– and L.A.-based performance nutritionist. She recommends 12 hours of overnight fasting at most and believes the 16-hour gap is especially tough on those who exercise early in the morning or late at night. “If fasting makes you feel miserable and results in intense cravings and rebound overeating, it's not the right path for you,” she says.
We tend to think of fasting as going without food. But we can fast from anything. If we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is fasting. It is helpful to think of the parallel of human friendship. When friends need to be together, they will cancel all other activities in order to make that possible. There’s nothing magical about fasting. It’s just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with him, sorting out whatever is necessary, and you have cancelled the meal, party, concert, or whatever else you had planned to do in order to fulfil that priority. [James I (J. I.) Packer].
In Northern Ireland in 1981, a prisoner, Bobby Sands, was part of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, protesting for better rights in prison. Sands had just been elected to the British Parliament and died after 66 days of not eating. His funeral was attended by 100,000 people and the strike ended only after nine other men died. In all, ten men survived without food for 46 to 73 days.