The Bible has only one command regarding fasting: God’s people are commanded to fast on the Day of Atonement from sundown to sundown (Leviticus 23:27-32 Leviticus 23:27-32 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
Fasting for special purposes or before or during special sacred times remains a characteristic of major religions of the world. In Jainism, for example, fasting according to certain prescribed rules and practicing certain types of meditation leads to trances that enable individuals to dissociate themselves from the world and reach a transcendent state. Some Buddhist monks of the Theravada school fast as part of their meditation practices. In India, Hindu sadhus (holy men) are admired for their frequent personal fasts for various reasons.
Studies on every-other-day fasting show mixed results. One published in 2010 in the Nutrition Journal suggested that the technique was effective among a group of obese patients. A group of 16 participants ate only one meal – lunch – every other day, and they were limited to about 500 calories. That's the same amount of calories women consume on the Fast Diet's fasting days. On the days when the study participants were not fasting, they were not constrained to any rules. Over the course of eight weeks, the participants lost an average of 12 3/10 pounds.
The purpose of fasting is never explicitly stated in Scripture but its connection to penitence, mourning, and supplication suggests a self-denial that opens one to God and to the immaterial aspects of life. Inasmuch as food and drink typify life in the flesh and all its demands and satisfactions, their absence or rejection speaks to the reality of a higher dimension, one in which the things of the spirit predominate. The theology of fasting, then, is a theology of priorities in which believers are given the opportunity to express themselves in an undivided and intensive devotion to the Lord and to the concerns of the spiritual life.
Keep the benefits of fasting in mind. Although fasting is simply a response to sacred moments rather than a way to obtain benefits, often God will choose to bless you through the process of fasting. Some of the benefits include a deeper sense of God’s presence with you, freedom from bad habits that had previously controlled you, answers to prayer, and justice for people in need. But always keep in mind that these benefits emerge out of your response to sacred moments.
Improves cholesterol: Intermittent fasting diets impact cholesterol by decreasing your levels of LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the bad stuff). While improving your cholesterol won’t directly lead to weight loss, overweight and obese people are more likely to have dangerously high LDL and VLDL cholesterol, and the cardiovascular risk that comes with it.
In a sense, everyone fasts. When we are in bed asleep, we go without any food or drink. That is fasting. That is why the first meal of the day is called breakfast. However, when people speak of fasting, they usually mean a longer period of time of deliberately choosing not to eat and drink. It can be for a whole day, part of a day or more than a day.
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.
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."
Abstinence from food and/or drink as an element of private or public religious devotion. Fasting is nowhere commanded in the Torah and, in fact, is never attested earlier than the time of the judges of Israel (cf. Judges 20:26 ). The fact that Jesus and the disciples sanctioned it by their own example ( Matt 4:2 ; Acts 13:2-3 ), however, is sufficient justification for its practice in biblical times and, in fact, in modern times as well.
Fasting is a practice in several Christian denominations and is done both collectively during certain seasons of the liturgical calendar, or individually as a believer feels led by the Holy Spirit. In Western Christianity, the Lenten fast is observed by many communicants of the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, Methodist Churches, Reformed Churches, Anglican Communion, and the Western Orthodox Churches and is a forty-day partial fast to commemorate the fast observed by Christ during his temptation in the desert. While some Western Christians observe the Lenten fast in its entirety, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are nowadays emphasized by Western Christian denominations as the normative days of fasting within the Lenten season.
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fasting is total abstinence from food and drink accompanied by prayer. Members are encouraged to fast on the first Sunday of each month, designated as Fast Sunday. During Fast Sunday, members fast for two consecutive meals (24 hours); this is usually Sunday breakfast and lunch, thus the fasting occurs between the evening meal on Saturday and the evening meal on Sunday. The money saved by not having to purchase and prepare meals is donated to the church as a fast offering, which is then used to help people in need. Members are encouraged to donate more than just the minimal amount, and be as generous as possible. The late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley asked: "Think ... of what would happen if the principles of fast day and the fast offering were observed throughout the world. The hungry would be fed, the naked clothed, the homeless sheltered. … A new measure of concern and unselfishness would grow in the hearts of people everywhere." Fasting and the associated donations for use in assisting those in need, are an important principle as evidenced by Church leaders addresses on the subject during General Conferences of the Church, e.g. The blessing of a proper fast in 2004, Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen? in 2015
Fasting has also been used in nearly every religion in the world, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Many of history's great spiritual leaders fasted for mental and spiritual clarity, including Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. In one of the famous political acts of the last century, the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi fasted for 21 days to promote peace.
Whether you're a speedy eater who overeats before your brain gets the message that you're full or you just never seem to be satisfied, IF might help. “When you're not eating all the time, your hunger hormones don't need to be released that often,” says Jubilee. “The body gets in a better hormonal balance, which enables you to get a grasp on your appetite.”
The very simple and direct conclusions I draw are these: First, if the Bible teaches us to do something, I want to do it. I want to obey the Lord in every way that He commands me to obey Him. And second, if fasting and praying are means to a breakthrough that God has for me, I want to undertake those disciplines so I might experience that breakthrough!
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.
If you have an addictive relationship with food and you struggle with portion control, track your calorie intake in your meals to make sure you’re not overeating. If you skip breakfast, you might be so hungry from this that you OVEREAT for lunch and this can lead to weight gain. Again, the important thing here is that with intermittent fasting you’re eating fewer calories than normal because you’re skipping a meal every day.
Even with these results, one of the concerns with fasting is that people will binge on non-fast days. But the results of two months-long trials, published in 2018 in the journal Food Science & Nutrition, showed that dieters, specifically those following 5:2, didn’t binge. “When you impose a two-day 70 percent calorie restriction, what they do on the natural days is eat about 25 percent less,” says Harvie, one of the authors of the study and a co-developer of the 5:2 diet. “And that is why the diet is so effective.”
Even though this plan is advanced, it's very simple. Don't eat anything every other day. This is the most intense form of fasting but can produce amazing results. Every other day, eat healthy fats, clean meat sources, vegetables, and some fruit, and then on your fasting days, you can consume water, herbal tea, and moderate amounts of black coffee or tea.
In the religions of some tribes of Native Americans, fasting was practiced before and during a vision quest. Among the Evenk of Siberia, shamans (religious personages thought to have the power to heal and to communicate psychically) often received their initial visions not with a quest but rather after an unexplained illness. After the initial vision, however, they fasted and trained themselves to see further visions and to control spirits. Historically, priestly societies among the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest fasted during retreats before major ceremonies connected with seasonal changes.
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.
The general idea behind the 5:2 diet is calorie restriction on the two (non-consecutive) given days. That is, for two of the 7 days in each week, you eat very low calorie (but high in nutrition) foods, while the other 5 days you can eat what you would usually eat. This diet isn’t a full fast (as in water only), but is a carefully planned eating plan for a couple of days each week.
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."
Although certain benefits of caloric restriction have been demonstrated in animal studies, similar benefits of intermittent fasting in humans have not been observed. It is unclear that intermittent fasting is superior to other weight loss methods in regards to amount of weight loss, biological changes, compliance rates, and decreased appetite. Certain people who typically eat one or two meals a day or do not eat for long stretches of time may show better compliance with this type of regimen.
Not only does fasting and prayer help us focus on God, but through that time, it brings us closer to Him and changes our hearts. Niles and Little write, "When we fast and pray, we are taking time away from a meal or an activity to devote our entire being to focus on God. We find we are more sensitive to the voice of God, more attuned to hearing what He has to reveal to us. Gently, God whispers in our mind what we were really thinking at the time of our sin, what our true intent was and we are shocked…momentarily. Then like a light turned on in a pitch black room, we see it. We did mean harm. We were manipulative. Even though our recognition makes us want to hide our face, our loving Savior lifts our chin to look into his forgiving eyes. As we repent, we no longer want to hide, but to praise and worship the very one who confronted our wrong."
Fasting proponents will also note that there’s a long tradition of religious fasting, though the focus there tends to be more spiritual than health-oriented. “Many religious groups incorporate periods of fasting into their rituals,” this article points out, “including Muslims who fast from dawn until dusk during the month of Ramadan, and Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus who traditionally fast on designated days of the week or calendar year.”
In a physiological context, fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, or to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting. Some diagnostic tests are used to determine a fasting state. For example, a person is assumed to be fasting once 8–12 hours have elapsed since the last meal. Metabolic changes of the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3–5 hours after eating).