What and when you eat during the feeding window also depends on when you work out. On days you exercise, carbs are more important than fat. On rest days, fat intake should be higher. Protein consumption should be fairly high every day, though it will vary based on goals, gender, age, body fat and activity levels. Regardless of your specific program, whole, unprocessed foods should make up the majority of your calorie intake. However, when there isn’t time for a meal, a protein shake or meal replacement bar is acceptable (in moderation).
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.”
The second one is more subtle: The body shifts into fat-burning mode when it doesn’t get food for an extended period of time. That’s because the body’s first source of fuel is glycogen, and it only turns to burning body fat once that quickly available energy source is depleted. So when you fast for long enough, you drive down stores of glycogen and start burning fat tissue. “In people, we see a change in fasting glucose — it’s lower — and abdominal fat is affected without much of an effect on the muscles,” Longo explained.

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.


Fasting isn’t merely an act of self-deprivation, but a spiritual discipline for seeking more of God’s fullness. Which means we should have a plan for what positive pursuit to undertake in the time it normally takes to eat. We spend a good portion of our day with food in front of us. One significant part of fasting is the time it creates for prayer and meditation on God’s word or some act of love for others.
Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."
You’re consuming less food and thus spending less money. Rather than overeating to put on 1 pound of muscle and 4 pounds of fat in a week or two, you’re aiming to eat exactly enough to put on 1 pound of muscle without adding much fat on top of it.  Yeah, it’s a delicate balance, but there’s far less swing involved. You are just slowly, steadily, and consistently building muscle and strength over many months.
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.
If you find yourself eating that sandwich, and start to beat yourself up, stop. We as humans fail at many things, but God’s love is proven time and time again. Eating on the fast does not make you a failure. To be considered a good hitter in baseball you only need to hit thirty percent of the time at-bat. If you eat something you meant to be fasting, just get back into the fast and finish strong.
So what’s the first step in getting started? Each method has its own guidelines for how long to fast and what to eat during the “feeding” phase. Below, you’ll find the five most popular methods and the basics of how they work. Keep in mind, intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Those with health conditions of any kind should check with their doctor before changing up their usual routine. Note that personal goals and lifestyle are key factors to consider when choosing a fasting method.

Fasts can be performed for varying lengths of time, depending on the person and his or her health requirements. For chronic conditions, therapists recommend from two to four weeks to get the most benefits. Seven-day fasts are also commonly performed. A popular fasting program for prevention and general health is a three-day fast taken four times per year, at the change of each season. These can be easily performed over long weekends. Preventative fasts of one day per week are used by many people as well.
Often fasting is done for medical or health reasons, or in an attempt to lose weight. For many other people, fasting is an important part of their religious observance. Fasting is done by Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Jews, among other groups. Fasting comes from fast, which in turn has an Old English root, fæsten, "voluntary abstinence from food or drink, especially as a religious duty."

The bigu (辟谷 "avoiding grains") fasting practice originated as a Daoist technique for becoming a xian (仙 "transcendent; immortal"), and later became a Traditional Chinese medicine cure for the sanshi (三尸 "Three Corpses; the malevolent, life-shortening spirits that supposedly reside in the human body"). Chinese interpretations of avoiding gu "grains; cereals" have varied historically; meanings range from not eating particular foodstuffs such as food grain, Five Cereals (China), or staple food to not eating anything such as inedia, breatharianism, or aerophagia.
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.[1][3]
3) A deeper praise. Because the body does not have to do the work of digestion, it has more energy to focus on other things. In the same vein, since we are not consumed by what we are going to eat next and when, we have more energy to devote to God. While we’re experiencing a new desire for Him through fasting, we should also emit a deeper praise as we think about everything God is to us and all He has done. Once we get caught up in our desire for God and our praise for His mighty acts, we won’t have time to be hungry or count down the hours until our fast is over. We’ll be celebrating the whole time!
If the better part of wisdom for you, in your health condition, is not to go without food, consider fasting from television, computer, social media, or some other regular enjoyment that would bend your heart toward greater enjoyment of Jesus. Paul even talks about married couples fasting from sex “for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer” (1 Corinthians 7:5).

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
Once when the Buddha was touring in the region of Kasi together with a large sangha of monks he addressed them saying: I, monks, do not eat a meal in the evening. Not eating a meal in the evening I, monks, am aware of good health and of being without illness and of buoyancy and strength and living in comfort. Come, do you too, monks, not eat a meal in the evening. Not eating a meal in the evening you too, monks, will be aware of good health and..... living in comfort.[25]
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