From a Christian perspective, there are many options. One may go on only fruits and vegetables for a day or more. One may do a complete fast, involving only water and no food for a specific period of time. One may skip breakfast intentionally to pray and focus on God, and then eat lunch. Caloric restriction, especially when one is not doing complete food fast, offers the opportunity to live what some have described as a “fasted life.” The key is to choose a plan that works for you at that time and to start small. In all cases, the important thing is to intentionally focus on God in prayer.
In some specific periods of time (like Caturmasya or Ekadashi fasting) it is said that one who fasts on these days and properly doing spiritual practice on these days like associating with devotees -sangha, chanting holy names of Hari (Vishnu, Narayana, Rama, Krishna) and similar (shravanam, kirtanam vishno) may be delivered from sins.
The best long-term diets, no matter what their rules entail, are the ones that are least difficult to maintain—and again, in this regard, intermittent fasting isn’t inherently superior to anything else. “Are you making changes in your behavior? Have you learned positive habits so that when you go back to not fasting, you’re going to be a healthier eater?” Sasson asks. “I know people who fast because they think, Okay, I’m going to be really bad and overdrink or overeat, and then two days a week I’m going to have a clean life, and that’s just not how it works.”
When we fast and pray, God teaches us how to share with those who have physical and spiritual needs. “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Isa. 58:7 NIV). The book of Proverbs complements this passage by reminding us that when we give to the poor, we lend to the Lord. Fasting and prayer put the self-life into perspective. You are never more like God than when you give. Prayer and fasting can build within you the character to give. Giving is a joy, and we need to be willing to pour ourselves out to those who can do nothing for us in life. We need to be willing to pour out ourselves to anyone, anytime, anywhere. This is the heart of Jesus, and it needs to be our heart. Prayer and fasting build within you the power to give.
Jesus’ statements concerning fasting are simple and straightforward. His disciples will fast (Luke 5:33-35 Luke 5:33-35 33 And they said to him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but your eat and drink? 34 And he said to them, Can you make the children of the bridal chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Fasting can take some time to get used to, as your body sheds old habits and learns new ones. But listen to your body! If you’re in hour 10 of 16 hours of fasting and feel like you absolutely need a snack, then have one. If your fasting time is up but you’re not hungry yet, wait until you are. There are no hard and fast rules here. You’re not “messing up.” You might find it helpful to jot down a sentence or two each day about how you felt; you might find that certain times of the month or year, different types of fasts work better for you.
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).
When it comes to intermittent fasting, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting fits all your eating into a 6-hour window, leaving you with an 18-hour-fast each day. This is often called “18:6” fasting. You can also try variations such as the one-meal-a-day method, or fasting every other day. The key is to experiment and listen to your body to see what works best for you. If intermittent fasting causes fatigue or other negative symptoms, try fasting just once or twice a week, and build up from there.
^ Guéranger, Prosper; Fromage, Lucien (1912). The Liturgical Year: Lent. Burns, Oates & Washbourne. p. 8. St. Benedict's rule prescribed a great many fasts, over and above the ecclesiastical fast of Lent; but it made this great distinction between the two: that whilst Lent obliged the monks, as well as the rest of the faithful, to abstain from food till sunset, these monastic fasts allowed the repast to be taken at the hour of None.
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..
To begin, you may wish to try spending about 1 week, or so, eating smaller meals and abstaining from sugary foods and caffeine to prepare yourself for total fasting. The 2 days before you begin your actual fast, you might eat only fruits and vegetables, while drinking only water. This will prepare your appetite (physically) and your mind for going without your favorite foods.
Making sure you’re hydrated in general is not only healthy, but can also help stave off hunger. Drinking water before a meal and during the day can help temporarily stave off hunger pangs by putting something in your stomach. Plus, water helps keep your body functioning properly throughout the day. When you’re fasting, remember to get plenty of fluids.
Once you start your IF journey, you’ll most likely find that you feel fuller longer and can keep the meals you do eat very simple. There are a few different ways you can fast, so I broke up each of the different plans below into beginner, intermediate, and advanced along with a typical meal plan for each day. The combination of nutrients will give you the energy you need to enhance the benefits of your fasting journey. Just make sure to take into account any individual food intolerances, and use this as a guide for your particular health case, and adjust from there.
In related news, recent research3 suggests drinking 500 ml (a little more than two eight-ounce glasses) of water half an hour before your meals may help boost weight loss. Obese participants who "pre-loaded" with water before each meal lost an average of nearly three pounds (close to 1.5 kilos) more than the control group over the course of three months.
But followers beware, says nutrition researcher Michelle Harvie. Dieters going keto tend to lose weight, but the diets are low in fiber and high in saturated fat, which is a risk for cardiovascular disease. “And there is increasing evidence that its effect on the gut microbiome is pretty adverse,” says Harvie. “The gut microbiome is a poorly understood but potentially important part of our metabolic health. And if you mess that up, you’re in trouble.”
In addition to these, there is the fast of repentance which a person keeps after committing sin, it being imposed as a penance by the priest for seven days, forty days or one year. There is also a fast which a bishop keeps at the time he is consecrated. Also there are fasts that are widely observed but which have not been included in the canon of the church and which are therefore considered strictly optional such as the "Tsige Tsom" or Spring Fast, also known as "Kweskwam Tsom" which marks the exile of the Holy Family in Egypt.
DU: There are different kinds of fasting. Scientifically speaking, ‘fasting’ can be caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, or dietary restriction. Caloric restriction is simply cutting down your energy intake by 20 to 40 percent. Intermittent fasting involves forgoing food completely for a period of time, say morning till evening, and then eating normal meals the next day or so. Dietary restriction is limiting or eliminating a particular macronutrient from one’s meal, say proteins or carbohydrates, for a season.
Save high-intensity interval training and heavy weight training for feed days/during your feed window, if you can, when you have the calories for fuel and nutrients for recovery. But if your training schedule calls for a grueling workout on a fast day that can’t be moved, add the calories burned to your count for the day so you don’t burn through muscle. At 200 or 300 calories, you don’t need to compensate, but if you burn 500 or more on a fast day, instead of just 500 maintenance calories with 50g of protein, eat 1,000 calories with 80g or more of protein, Varady advises.
Intermittent fasting is the hottest dieting trend since keto. (Bonus points if you’re keto and intermittently fasting. You can probably fly now!) The gist is that people attempt to lose weight by only eating between certain hours, or they restrict their eating on certain days of the week while allowing themselves to eat normally the rest of the time. That’s the “intermittent” part: Eat regularly most of the time, restrict your eating other times. Then there’s a subset of intermittent fasting known as the 5:2 diet, in which people eat regularly five days of the week and take in a very restricted number of calories on two days.
There may also be other intermittent fasting benefits: A 2017 study from the University of Southern California followed 71 adults who were placed on a low-calorie, fasting-mimicking diet for five days each month for three months. After following the diet, researchers found that the diet reduced cardiovascular risks, including blood pressure, inflammation, and body fat, in participants. A 2018 study from the British Journal of Nutrition backs this up after overweight participants followed the 5:2 method and saw improvements in their triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Other studies have also shown that IF may help with relieving MS symptoms, but more studies are needed on a larger scale and for a longer period of time to support these claims.
Longo warned that any fasting diet should start with a visit to the doctor. Fasting studies have not been done in children, very elderly people, or people who are underweight — so it’s possible fasting could be harmful in these cases. “If you’re a diabetic and taking insulin or any other drugs, or if you have metabolic disorders, you should not fast,” he added, noting that fasts done poorly can also increase the risk of gallstones.
Understanding the potential adverse effects of intermittent fasting is limited by an inadequate number of rigorous clinical trials. One 2015 review of low-quality clinical studies found that short-term intermittent fasting may produce minor adverse effects, such as continuous feelings of weakness and hunger, headaches, fainting, or dehydration. Long-term fasting may cause eating disorders or malnutrition, with increased susceptibility to infectious diseases.
Boosts metabolism: Intermittent fasting also boosts protein, fat, and glucose metabolism in animal studies. Boosting your resting metabolism helps your body burn more calories throughout the day, even while you rest. Fasting also increases your levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that help your body free up more stored energy (that’s your body fat) during a fast.
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: