Fasts can be performed for varying lengths of time, depending on the person and his or her health requirements. For chronic conditions, therapists recommend from two to four weeks to get the most benefits. Seven-day fasts are also commonly performed. A popular fasting program for prevention and general health is a three-day fast taken four times per year, at the change of each season. These can be easily performed over long weekends. Preventative fasts of one day per week are used by many people as well.
Lisa Jubilee, MS, CDN, co-founder of Living Proof Pilates in New York City, who follows time-restricted eating herself, believes that IF has multiple benefits for many people, though there are specific groups who should steer clear or work closely with a doctor. How do you know which camp you fall into? When in doubt, consult your doctor or dietitian. But here are some intermittent fasting benefits that can help you decide whether this eating plan is right for you.
Now there's certainly an issue of food that is associated with many seasons of prayer and fasting, and let me quickly add this: control of eating is a valid reason to fast. The purpose is not the number of pounds you might lose during a fast, but rather, trusting God to help you regain mastery over food during a fast. Jesus said, "The spirit is . . . willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). Fasting is a means of bringing the flesh into submission to the Lord so He can strengthen us in our mastery over our own selves. Fasting in the flesh makes us stronger to stand against the temptations of the flesh. Those temptations very often deal with food.
The fasting phase of The Warrior Diet is really more about “undereating.” During the 20-hour fast, you can eat a few servings of raw fruit or veggies, fresh juice, and a few servings of protein, if desired. This is supposed to maximize the Sympathetic Nervous System’s “fight or flight” response, which is intended to promote alertness, boost energy, and stimulate fat burning.
”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.
Discipline your body through fasting. When you become especially aware of your own sins and weaknesses and your resulting need for God’s grace, consider fasting as a way to learn discipline that will help you grow. If you discipline your body through fasting, your spirit will follow, and you’ll grow closer to God – which will transform you into a more loving and holy person. Routinely schedule one or two days each week to fast. Use the time to respond physically to the reality of a broken world, the presence of sin in your life, and your yearning for more love and holiness. But beware of using fasting as a weapon to battle your body’s appetites. Remember that food isn’t an evil to be battled; it’s a good gift from God that you’re simply choosing to refrain from for a time in order to focus on responding to a sacred moment.
Cons: On the flip side, if you have a hard time handling cheat days the healthy way, this method might not be for you. Additionally, because the plan is pretty specific and the fasting/feeding schedule varies from day to day, this method can be a bit confusing to follow. (However, the plan does come with a calendar, noting how to fast and exercise each day, which may make it easier.)
”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.
Fast from Going Out: Take a look at your calendar and pick a night when you'd usually go out and spend the time instead diving into Scripture. Maybe there's a book of the Bible you've always wanted to read but didn't have time. Perhaps you want to pray through the Psalms. Is there a person in the Bible you'd like to know more about? Give this time to God and let Him show you the great treasures of His Word!
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.
Of course, fasting — regardless of the method — isn’t for everyone. If you have any medical conditions or special dietary requirements, it’s smart to consult a doctor before giving intermittent fasting a shot. Anyone who tries it should also plan to be highly self-aware while fasting. If it’s not agreeing with you, or if you need to eat a little something to hold you over, that’s just fine. It takes our bodies time to adjust, and some require more than others. Keep in mind that hormones can make it harder for women to follow a fasting plan than for men. “Be cautious at first, and start slowly [with a shorter fast],” Shanks recommends. If it doesn’t make you feel better, try something different, or accept the fact that maybe fasting isn’t for you.

It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before starting (and then again at the same time each week), and also to take chest, waist and hip measurements. The rate that you’ll lose depends on your age, levels of activity and your own body – so don’t be disheartened if you’re losing a pound a week while others are losing five or more. Typically weight loss will be faster at the beginning of the diet, and for those with a lot of weight to lose to reach a healthy weight (see this calculator to find out what a healthy weight - or BMI - is for someone of your height and weight).
While these five methods are the most well-known in terms of integrating periods of fasting into your eating schedule, there are many other similar philosophies based on meal timing. For those who prefer a more fluid, less rigid method, there’s also the concept of eating intuitively. Primal Diet proponent Mark Sisson is a supporter of the Eat WHEN (When Hunger Ensues Naturally) method, where dieters simply eat whenever their bodies ask them to. However, some believe this can also lead to overeating or overconsumption of calories, since our bodies’ hunger-induced choices may be more caloric than otherwise.
Just began this 16:8 IF with Keto. I track macros and split them into two meals for my eating window. It works out to 40grams of protein each meal.. Isn’t this a lot of protein in one meal? Should I do less than my macros say because it’s two meals instead of three? Just checking because I thought I read somewhere about not consuming too much protein in a meal. Thank you.
I'm searching for help. I was once fit and trim and beautiful. Now, today, I feel gross we helpless. From 170lbs to 237.4lbs.... And I hate it! I'm going to begin trying intermittent fasting starting now. The last I ate was approximately 30 minutes ago, so 7 p.m. This means tomorrow my breakfast/lunch should fall at around 1p.m to give me a 16 hour fast and then dinner at 6 to begin my fast again at 7 p.m.. Correct? Can you also tell me how to proceed with my fasting schedule? Still add 15minutes/half an hour gradually building to 20 hour fasts? Is it acceptable to fast for.longer, perhaps 22-24 hours? Want to be sure to make this work! Thank you for the information. This has to work.
Hello Adrian, my name is Rita. I am 61 years old and just retired from 30 years of teaching! The last 12 years I taught 3rd grade! I have gained weight and become very depressed! I am 5'4" and weigh 208 pounds! Terribly obese! I have just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and I take blood pressure meds! (And antidepressants) Please help! I use to be energetic and a lot of fun! I would love for my husband of 37 years to find me desirable again! Please tell me how I should start to see quick results! I would like to weigh 135 pounds, which is 73 pounds to lose! Is this possible? I am desperate!😧 but lack motivation! After reading your articles, I am ready to try! Thanks for hearing me out! Your guidance on how I should begin will be greatly appreciated! With gratitude, Rita from Mississippi!
Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."
A systematic review of 40 studies found that intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks. [2] There was much variability in the studies, ranging in size from 4 to 334 subjects, and followed from 2 to 104 weeks. It is important to note that different study designs and methods of intermittent fasting were used, and participant characteristics differed (lean vs. obese).  Half of the studies were controlled trials comparing the fasting group to a comparison group and/or a control group (either continuous calorie restriction or usual lifestyle), with the other half examining an intermittent fasting group alone. A brief summary of their findings:
"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.”
Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].
On the other five days of the week, there's no calorie cap, and no food is off-limits. This freedom isn't permission to binge and make up for your two fast days, but it does mean you shouldn't feel guilty about eating a slice of cake. U.S. News experts evaluate the Fast Diet poorly in all rankings, mostly due to its tough-to-follow nature and health risks in some populations.

It may sound really hard at first, but at least eight hours of the 16 is spent sleeping. There's also a lot of downtime between dinner and sleeping that adds up. Just be patient with yourself, and you'll find your body adjusting to this new eating schedule in no time. If you're looking to get started now, what better way than planning what you're going to eat during your eight-hour eating window?
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).
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).
Those studies above, in working with small sample sizes, and different types of fasting than recommended here, would lead me to believe that fasting affects men and women differently, and that many of the weight loss benefits associated with intermittent fasting (that affect insulin and glucose responses) work positively for men and negatively for women.
Promote human growth hormone production (HGH). Fasting can raise HGH by as much as 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men.12 HGH plays an important part in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process. It's also a fat-burning hormone	Lower triglyceride levels and improve other biomarkers of disease	Boost production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), stimulating the release of new brain cells and triggering brain chemicals that protect against changes associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. (Alternate-day fasting — restricting your meals on fasting days to about 600 calories — can boost BDNF by 50 to 400 percent, depending on the region of the brain.13

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.
We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ. I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, and by reading and reflecting on God's Holy Word.[72]
Side effects of fasting include dizziness, headaches, low blood sugar, muscle aches, weakness, and fatigue. Prolonged fasting can lead to anemia, a weakened immune system, liver and kidney problems, and irregular heartbeat. Fasting can also result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle breakdown, and diarrhea. When you drink laxative concoctions during a fast, there is an increased risk of fluid imbalance and dehydration.

If you’re eating processed foods and potato chips, it’s unlikely you’ll reap the benefits of fasting. If that’s you, I encourage you to examine your diet before trying a fast. But if you practice fasting and stick to a mostly whole food diet, rich in fruits, veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats and raw dairy, you will see changes — and those occasional splurges on chocolate or cheese won’t have as big of an impact as they might if you were on a calorie-restrictive diet.
Dr. Umesiri is an Assistant Professor at John Brown University. He is a Christian author and speaker. His latest book is Fasting for Life: Medical Proof Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes. He may be reached through www.francisumesiri.com. He is married to Toyin Umesiri, a Walmart associate. They have three beautiful children.
This type of dietary pattern would be difficult for someone who eats every few hours (e.g., snacks between meals, grazes). It would also not be appropriate for those with conditions that require food at regular intervals due to metabolic changes caused by their medications, such as with diabetes. Prolonged periods of food deprivation or semi-starvation places one at risk for overeating when food is reintroduced, and may foster unhealthy behaviors such as an increased fixation on food. [7,8]

Study after study confirms that any form of intermittent fasting will help reduce weight and improve body composition, though the results are probably about the same as you’d see from restricting your calories. One study Varady ran, published in 2017 in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that after dieting for one year, people lost about 5–6% of their bodyweight whether they restricted their calories or tried alternate-day fasting.


Also, if you eat a big dinner the night before, I think you’ll be surprised by how much energy you have in the morning. Most of the worries or concerns that people have about intermittent fasting are due to the fact that they have had it pounded into them by companies that they need to eat breakfast or they need to eat every three hours and so on. The science doesn’t support it and neither do my personal experiences.

3) A deeper praise. Because the body does not have to do the work of digestion, it has more energy to focus on other things. In the same vein, since we are not consumed by what we are going to eat next and when, we have more energy to devote to God. While we’re experiencing a new desire for Him through fasting, we should also emit a deeper praise as we think about everything God is to us and all He has done. Once we get caught up in our desire for God and our praise for His mighty acts, we won’t have time to be hungry or count down the hours until our fast is over. We’ll be celebrating the whole time!
On Wednesday and Friday of the first week of Great Lent the meals which are taken consist of xerophagy (literally, "dry eating") i.e. boiled or raw vegetables, fruit, and nuts.[47] In a number of monasteries, and in the homes of more devout laypeople, xerophagy is observed on every weekday (Monday through Friday) of Great Lent, except when wine and oil are allowed.
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