Fasting is to be done with the object of seeking to know God in a deeper experience (Isaiah 58:1; Zechariah 7:5). Fasting relates to a time of confession (Psalms 69:10). Fasting can be a time of seeking a deeper prayer experience and drawing near to God in prevailing prayer (Ezra 8:23; Joel 2:12). The early church often fasted in seeking God's will for leadership in the local church (Acts 13:2). When the early church wanted to know the mind of God, there was a time of prayer and fasting.
Current research on intermittent fasting – the general term for diets like 5:2 – suggests that the approach is at least as effective as ‘normal’ dieting. Further research is investigating potential benefits in terms of blood sugar, and the ‘inflammatory response’ in the body that is a factor in many medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.
The Bible has a great deal to say about both fasting and praying, including commands to fast and pray. The Bible also gives us examples of people who fasted and prayed, using different types of fasts for different reasons, all of which are very positive results. Jesus fasted and prayed. Jesus' disciples fasted and prayed after the Resurrection. Many of the Old Testament heroes and heroines of the faith fasted and prayed. The followers of John the Baptist fasted and prayed.Many people in the early church fasted and prayed. What the Scriptures have taught us directly and by the examples of the saints is surely something we are to do.
Another type of intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting has you severely restricting the amount of calories you eat during fasting days, then eating to your stomach’s content on non-fasting days. Food isn’t completely off the table, but you’ll stick to about 25 percent of your normal caloric intake. Someone eating 2,000 calories would cut back to 500, for example. Alternate-day fasting isn’t necessarily a long-term plan, because it can become difficult to stick to, but it can be helpful to get a healthy habit in motion.
As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, many people will use this time to fast and pray as a way to draw closer to Jesus. Fasting is a powerful way to eliminate distractions so we can gain clear guidance from God for our work any time of the year. We hope that this blog helps you understand the point of fasting and ways you can get the most out of this important spiritual practice for your work as well as your life.
As it turns out, the science behind these diets is still pretty nascent and exploratory — more than the acolytes might have you believe. While there’s lots of animal research, human studies on fasting are only just beginning to ramp up. And while we have learned that fasting helps people lose weight, it’s only if you can stick with it. But that doesn’t make fasting any less fascinating. Here’s what we know and don’t know.
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.
2) A new desire for God. When we acknowledge through fasting that we need God to live, and to live more abundantly, we can begin to desire God in a new way. When we realize we need God more than we need food, we can start to understand what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “Like the deer that pants after water, my soul longs for You.” God, the sustainer of all life, wants nothing more than a closer connection with us, and through fasting we can quench that new desire for more of Him in our lives.
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.
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.)
The four-hour eating window — which Hofmekler refers to as the “overeating” phase — is at night in order to maximize the Parasympathetic Nervous System’s ability to help the body recuperate, promoting calm, relaxation and digestion, while also allowing the body to use the nutrients consumed for repair and growth. Eating at night may also help the body produce hormones and burn fat during the day, according to Hofmekler. During these four hours, the order in which you eat specific food groups matters, too. Hofmelker says to start with veggies, protein and fat. After finishing those groups, only if you are still hungry should you tack on some carbohydrates.
The fasting periods were often called ‘cleanses’, ‘detoxifications’, or ‘purifications’, but the idea is the same – to abstain from eating food for a certain period of time for health reasons. People imagined that this period of abstinence from food would clear their bodies’ systems of toxins and rejuvenate them. They were more correct than they knew.
In 2017, Longo was a co-author on the first human trial of whether fasting might reduce the risk factors for diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The researchers randomized 100 people into one of two groups for three months: The first group ate anything they wanted, and the second fasted for five consecutive days each month. (By “fasted” here, I mean, they followed the fasting-mimicking diet.) After three months, the first group was crossed over into the fasting group, so the researchers could gather even more data on fasting.
Whole-day fasting involves regular one-day fasts. The strictest form would be alternate day fasting (ADF). This involves a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting period. The alternate day modified fasting (ADMF) and 5:2 diets—the latter defined as five days per week not fasting and two days per week either total fasting or modified fasting—both allow the consumption of approximately 500–600 calories on fasting days.
Jessica Galán encourages her readers to embrace malleability in the midst of life’s difficult moments. She spends her day teaching amazing students from diverse backgrounds in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She’s wife to a super-creative man and the proud mother of three resilient young women. She’s served as a writing facilitator for Lysa TerKeurst through COMPEL Training. She enjoys daily cups of steaming hot café con leche and breaks out in sporadic salsa dancing when no one’s looking. You’ll find her stories at http://www.jessicagalan.net/. Connect with her here: Twitter || Instagram ||Facebook
Well, most notably, it’s a great way to get lean without going on a crazy diet or cutting your calories down to nothing. In fact, most of the time you'll try to keep your calories the same when you start intermittent fasting. (Most people eat bigger meals during a shorter time frame.) Additionally, intermittent fasting is a good way to keep muscle mass on while getting lean.
You’ll run out of energy. When you don’t have anything in your system for several hours, your blood sugar will eventually drop below baseline. If you’ve ever had a blood sugar crash, you know how this state feels. Sleepiness, trouble focusing, lightheadedness, intense cravings, and the occasional mood swing typically accompany low blood sugar. Your cells run low on fuel and they start demanding that you give them more carbs.
But a troubling flaw has popped up in this system. (You knew there was a "but" coming, right?) In a recent study, people on an alternate-day fasting plan for six months lost about 6 percent of their body weight—the same as those on a conventional low-cal diet—but 38 percent of fasters dropped out, nearly 10 percent more than in the other diet group. A similar problem has surfaced in other trials.
Christian fasting isn't some kind of a "work" that's commanded by Christ or required by Scripture. However, that doesn't mean that fasting isn't recommended as a part of our spiritual growth. The Book of Acts records believers fasting before they made important decisions (Acts 13:4; 14:23). Fasting and prayer are often linked together (Luke 2:37; 5:33). Too often, the focus of fasting is on the lack of food. However, the purpose of fasting is to take our eyes off the things of this world and instead focus on God. Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God and to ourselves that we are serious about our relationship with Him. Although fasting in Scripture is almost always a fasting from food, there are other ways to fast. Anything you can temporarily give up in order to better focus on God can be considered a fast (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Fasting should be limited to a set time, especially when the fasting is from food. Extended periods of time without eating are harmful to the body. Fasting is not intended to punish our flesh, but to focus on God.
Saint Augustine's Prayer Book defines "Fasting, usually meaning not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and one half meal, on the forty days of Lent." Abstinence, according to Saint Augustine's Prayer Book, "means to refrain from some particular type of food or drink. One traditional expression of abstinence is to avoid meat on Fridays in Lent or through the entire year, except in the seasons of Christmas and Easter. It is common to undertake some particular act of abstinence during the entire season of Lent. This self-discipline may be helpful at other times, as an act of solidarity with those who are in need or as a bodily expression of prayer."