The combination of fasting and praying is not a fad or a novelty approach to spiritual discipline. Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.
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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).
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.
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.
Forms of intermittent fasting exist in religious practices in various groups across the world. Religious fasting regimens include, but are not limited to, Vrata in Hinduism, Ramadan fasting (Islam), Yom Kippur fasting (Judaism), Orthodox Christian fasting, Fast Sunday (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and Buddhist fasting. Certain religious fasting practices, like Buddhist fasting, only require abstinence from certain foods, while others, like the Jewish fast on Yom Kippur, last for a short period of time and would cause negligible effects on the body. Islam is the only major religion that engages in a fasting practice reflective of intermittent fasting in terms of both food consumption and diet consistency. The duration of the Ramadan fast is between 28 and 30 days, depending on the year, and consists of not eating or drinking from sunrise until sunset. During the holiday, Muslims eat twice per day: once in the morning before dawn and once in the evening after dusk. A meta-analysis on the health of Muslims during Ramadan shows significant weight loss during the fasting period of up to 1.51 kilograms (3.3 lb), but this weight was regained within about two weeks of Ramadan ending. The analysis concluded that "Ramadan provides an opportunity to lose weight, but structured and consistent lifestyle modifications are necessary to achieve lasting weight loss." Negative effects of Ramadan fasting include increased risk of hypoglycemia in diabetics as well as inadequate levels of certain nutrients.
"There is a good evolutionary explanation for the difference in the calorie restriction response when comparing short-lived and long-lived species: famines are seasonal, and a season is a large fraction of a mouse lifespan but a small fraction of a human life span. Thus only the mouse evolves a relatively large plasticity of life span in response to food scarcity."
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.
The boss expects this to be done this afternoon, so you'd better work fast. He ran as fast as he could. This is fast becoming a national problem. You need to act fast to take advantage of this offer. I don't know what caused the accident. It all happened so fast. She's a woman who can think fast in a crisis. He's going to have to talk fast to get himself out of this mess. The window was stuck fast. She held fast to her belief in justice. We must stand fast and not surrender!
As fasting has grown in popularity, scientists and nutritionists have developed different methods of the practice. Some, such as Allen, practice time-restricted feeding, like the 20:4 regimen. Some push the approach to 23:1, cramming all their eating into one hour of a 24-hour day. Other approaches space out fasting days throughout the week, such as the 5:2 method — two days of fasting over seven days. Some enthusiasts supplement their practice with dayslong fasts.
Human growth hormone, or HGH, is naturally produced by the body, but remains active in the bloodstream for just a few minutes. It’s been effectively used to treat obesity and help build muscle mass, important for burning fat. HGH also helps increase muscle strength, which can help improve your workouts, too. Combine these together and you have an effective fat-burning machine on your hands.
Jesus was teaching that after His departure, the entire dynamic would change and the disciples would need a different type of preparation and provision. Fasting was to be a vital part of this new preparation. The new covenant is based on the truth that we have received everything in Christ, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
I know people who say they go without television or movies, and they call these "fasting" times. I'm not opposed to that definition of fasting-fasting does imply that we are giving up one thing in order to replace it with something else, and in the Bible sense, specifically to replace it with prayer. But in the main, I believe fasting has to do with our abstaining from food. Second, biblical fasting is linked with serious seasons of prayer. The more seriously we approach prayer and fasting, the more serious the results we will experience.
“…a progression should be observed in your fasting, especially if this discipline is new to you and you are unfamiliar with its physical effects. Don’t start out with a weeklong water fast! Begin by skipping one meal each day for two to three days and setting aside the money it would have cost to give to the poor. Spend the time praying that you would have used for eating."
Harvie believes fasting might be here to stay, partly because it’s flexible. People can choose a fasting practice and nutrient plan that fits their lifestyle, she says. “We twitter on about which diets are better. But at the end of the day, a diet is only as good as the person who follows it,” says Harvie. “For some people, the 5:2 will be perfect, and for others, it will be absolutely awful.”
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
But here’s something important to note about what we know from science about fasting: Though a lot of the popular interest is in weight loss, many of the key researchers who study fasting aren’t focusing on that at all. In fact, many of the studies on fasting come from institutes of aging, like this one, and the researchers behind the studies actually focus on longevity and disease prevention.
How It Works: Fast for 14 (women) to 16 (men) hours each day, and then “feed” for the remaining eight to 10 hours. During the fasting period, you consume no calories. However, black coffee, calorie-free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar-free gum are permitted. (A splash of milk in your coffee won’t hurt, either.) Most practitioners will find it easiest to fast through the night and into the morning. They usually break the fast roughly six hours after waking up. This schedule is adaptable to any person’s lifestyle, but maintaining a consistent feeding window time is important. Otherwise, hormones in the body can get thrown out of whack and make sticking to the program harder, Berkhan says.
Before you start your IF plan, it's important to talk with a professional to make sure it's right for you. Women should be especially cautious as there are some mixed opinions on whether or not certain fasting protocols are healthy for female hormone balance. In addition, if you have adrenal fatigue or gut health issues you'll want to proceed with caution. If you have a history of disordered eating, you'll probably want to avoid fasting altogether..
Fasting must also be done in an attitude of humility. It is not necessary for others to know we are fasting; it is directed towards God. “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” (Matthew 6:17-18).
Again, I wouldn't say intermittent fasting is for everyone, but it has made a big difference in my life. It has allowed me to feel in control of my relationship with food and less anxious about it in general, which is always a good thing. I feel more energetic, I'm continuing to lose weight, and I generally feel amazing. I'll definitely be doing intermittent fasting for the foreseeable future.
As long as you are in a calorie deficit then meal timing is irrelevant. In some cases large late night meals have been shown to preserve muscle mass better on a diet and result in a greater loss in body fat percentage. I highly recommend reading Martin Berkhan’s article on the subject – Is Late Night Eating Better for Fat loss and Health. Check out this post for more on the differences between the Kinobody approach and LeanGains (Martin Berkhan’s approach).
This depends. If you’re on a time-restricted fast and you’re in no-eating hours, it’s best to stick to no- or low-calorie drinks like water, coffee (with no milk) and tea. If you’re on an alternate day diet or something similar, even during low calorie hours, you can technically drink whatever you’d like — but remember, this will count against your calories. Would you rather spend 100 calories on an apple or a glass of milk? It’s your call.
By the 21st century, although fasting clearly was applicable in some instances of disease, such as in certain acute diseases (particularly when accompanied by a loss of appetite), whether fasting in other instances was beneficial to human health remained unclear. For example, whereas research in humans had suggested that intermittent fasting carried out over 15 days improved insulin-mediated glucose uptake into tissues, studies in rodents had indicated that such fasting, carried out over the long-term, promoted glucose intolerance and the release of damaging oxidants from tissues.
Fasting or intermittent calorie restriction may affect cancer and tumor development, but are not currently used as a form of treating cancer. In 2011, the American Cancer Society recommended that people undergoing chemotherapy increase their intake of protein and calories, but provided evidence that a short-term period of fasting may have benefits during chemotherapy. Chronic fasting is not recommended for people with cancer at risk for weight loss or a suppressed immune system.