In the religions of ancient peoples and civilizations, fasting was a practice to prepare persons, especially priests and priestesses, to approach the deities. In the Hellenistic mystery religions (e.g., the healing cult of the god Asclepius), the gods were thought to reveal their divine teachings in dreams and visions only after a fast that required the total dedication of the devotees. Among the pre-Columbian peoples of Peru, fasting often was one of the requirements for penance after an individual had confessed sins before a priest. In many cultures the practice was considered a means to assuage an angered deity or to aid in resurrecting a deity who was believed to have died (e.g., a god of vegetation).
As a whole, however, fasting appears to be a private matter in the Bible, an expression of personal devotion linked to three major kinds of crisis in life: lamentation/penitence, mourning, and petition. Without exception it has to do with a sense of need and dependence, of abject helplessness in the face of actual or anticipated calamity. It is in examining these situations that the theological meaning and value of fasting are to be discovered.

If you haven't met someone who's into intermittent fasting (IF), that's likely to change pretty soon. As one of the biggest diet trends in 2018, people who swear by IF say it has helped them lose weight and accelerate fat loss, gain muscle, and feel healthier overall. Although the idea behind this controversial eating plan isn't exactly a new one—it was used in the early 1900s to treat disorders such as diabetes and epilepsy—it's been gaining traction with dieters today with new intermittent fasting methods such as The Fast Diet (aka the 5:2 program) and the 16:8 method. But what is intermittent fasting exactly—and how can you use it to help you lose weight?

There are a couple of other caveats here. Fasting diets require working through hunger, saying no to the bagels and muffins put out in your morning meeting or the food at your business lunch. So it’s no surprise that many people can’t stick to fasting diets long enough to keep the weight off. In another 2018 review of the literature on fasting’s impact on weight, the researchers note, “Dropout rates have been as high as 40 percent. Thus, despite the statistical significance of weight loss results, the clinical significance and practicality of sustaining an [intermittent fasting] regimen are questionable.”


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.

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.

Keep in mind; the purpose of a fast is to draw closer to The Lord. You are setting aside a specific time to fill up with more of God. It’s not a competition; don’t overthink it. Jesus lived as one of us for over thirty years, and fasted often. He understands what you’re going through. Matthew tells about one of Jesus’ fasts in Matthew 4:2, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (NIV). This happened just before Jesus was tempted in the desert and then started His full-time ministry. Don’t underestimate the power of taking a step closer to God.


What makes fasting seem so novel is that, with all the diet advice out there, the easiest might be to simply not eat. Of course, fasting isn’t the same as starving yourself, which is what many people think when they hear “fasting.” And yet, fasting isn’t a diet, either. The literal definition of fasting is to abstain from food and drink from a specific period of time; it’s been around for thousands of years, as spiritual fasting is a part of many religions. But in this context, I prefer looking at fasting as simply a change in eating patterns.
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.[26] Long-term fasting may cause eating disorders or malnutrition, with increased susceptibility to infectious diseases.[26]

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.
Hi Karen Congratulations on your success. Yes you may find that you have hit a plateau of some sort. Most people experience this earlier on not after 16 weeks. Just because you have hit a plateau of sorts does not mean that you give up. Many people write in and tell me they thought they had plateaued and then 3 weeks later they get back on the scale and have lost weight again or rather they measure themselves and have lost more inches even through it is not reflected back as a lower number on the scale. You have achieved great results and I would hope this has now become part of your everyday routine so just like any form of diet, weight loss program or exercise your body will hit levels. If your goal is to continue to keep losing weight and inches then keep it up but try incorporating some other changes, such as being more mindful of what you are doing on your non fasting days, incorporating more exercise and looking at your overall nutrition. In addition ask yourself have you hit a plateau because of a change to your lifestyle or environment? Are you sleeping less, more stressed or not being as active?
I am on my 5th week on 16/8.i have lost significantly amount of weight.i just love it,feel lighter.usually eat proteins ,vegetables ,fruits sometimes a little carbs..i break my fast and eat through out till 8pm.between 8pm and 12pm ,i constantly drink water and green tea which makes me feel good when i am on ketosis.i think 16/8 and keto is almost one thing.they just work the same,but what i have noticed is that 16/8 combined with keto diet works perfectly well.good like guys,this is the way to go especially for us ladies!!!
On its web site, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that although there is evidence that intermittent fasting diets may help prevent chronic disease, more research is needed. It doesn't recommend the diet because "it is not a realistic long-term solution.” The academy also notes that "any variation of fasting may make a person irritable, cause daytime sleepiness/sleeplessness at night, and can even lead to dehydration."
American King James Version×). Isaiah 58 gives both bad and good examples of fasting, contrasting wrong attitudes and actions (Isaiah 58:3-5 Isaiah 58:3-5 3 Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors. 4 Behold, you fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: you shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
Often, the major argument for periodic caloric restriction is that we did not evolve to eat three meals a day, every day. Some fasting proponents argue that our bodies were designed to be able to run on little or no food for as long as several weeks or even months. After all, we didn’t have access to a steady food supply until the advent of agriculture, and it wasn’t until the neolithic revolution that humans adopted a more regular meal pattern.
When I was forty-two years old, I went to an Assemblies of God camp in Alexandria,Minnesota, to speak for a women's retreat. The first two days of the retreat went very well, and then I had one day in between the first retreat and the second -- so many women had registered, the camp could not host all of the women at the same time. I took that day in this lovely place in Minnesota to enjoy the lakes and trees -- it was a gorgeous environment -- and to fast and pray about God's will for my life. I felt as if I was doing a lot of good things, but I also thought I might miss God's best for me. I longed to hear from God and to receive a revelation from Him about my life.
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.

Often when we slip up on a fast, we can let ourselves feel condemned and defeated. Breaking your fast in NOT a sin. If anything, you’ve proven your humanity, and 2 Corinthians 12:9 states that, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (NKJV). God’s strength often shows up in our weakest moments. Don’t let a momentary lapse define your fast. We’re not pushing towards our stomach, we’re not even pushing to ourselves, but we are pushing to be closer to God.
Researchers have demonstrated that fasting counteracts a variety of ailments including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even diminishing cognition but these findings were based on studies of rats and other laboratory animals where the researcher controlled the animal’s fast. Even if fasting was as beneficial for humans as it is for rats and mice, the reality is that most of us don’t like to be hungry and there’s no researcher to enforce the fast. 
Pros: While 24 hours may seem like a long time to go without food, the good news is that this program is flexible. You don’t have to go all-or-nothing at the beginning. Go as long as you can without food the first day and gradually increase fasting phase over time to help your body adjust. Pilon suggests starting the fast when you are busy, and on a day where you have no eating obligations (like a work lunch or happy hour).
I asked him what happened after he stopped fasting. He laughed and said, "I am still very clear on these things, but there's also a time after I end fasting that the whole world seems more vivid and more colorful than ever before. I can distinguish tastes again. The sky seems bluer than before. The air seems crisper in the mountains. All of my senses seem to be heightened toward what is God's creation-which is always good- and what is man's invention-which very often has an element of evil to it."
In the process of revising the Book of Common Prayer in various provinces of the Anglican Communion the specification of abstinence or fast for certain days has been retained. Generally Lent and Fridays are set aside, though Fridays during Christmastide and Eastertide are sometimes avoided. Often the Ember Days or Rogation Days are also specified, and the eves (vigils) of certain feasts.
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