Chris Pratt! Hugh Jackman! Halle Berry! Kourtney Kardashian! What these celebrities have in common, other than a gratuitous exclamation point after their names, is a professed fondness for intermittent fasting, the diet craze turning the fitness world on its sweaty, well-toned head. For help determining whether you, too, should incorporate this into your 2019 resolution-related plans, we asked a few experts to explain what it is, why people love it, and whether it’s really worth the pain of forgoing on-demand snacks for the rest of the winter.
Biblical fasting is a spiritual discipline which was encouraged by Jesus, Himself, while He was on earth. When questioned as to why the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist fasted while Jesus disciples did not, Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15).
But it wasn’t until the 1940s that the first experiments began as an outgrowth of CR studies. Researchers started withholding food from lab animals on alternate days, says Michelle Harvie, a research dietitian in Manchester, England. And in 1946, The Journal of Nutrition published the first study on fasting, showing that rats deprived of food every third day lived longer and were less likely to develop tumors than control animals. Later work showed that fasting spurs metabolic changes similar to those of CR.
Lastly, I always start each day (on fasting days I take them with my meal) with a dose of bioavailable multivitamins to fill any nutritional gaps. If you plan on doing the same in the future, just remember to go for all-natural and organic multi-vitamin because synthetic vitamins tend to have no oral bioavailability. New Chapter (the one I linked above) has a high oral bioavailability and is one of the best multis on the market.
While I am working in my office, I use my head phones to listen to worship songs or preachings from men of God that the Holy Spirit will lead me to listen too. That helps me to concentrate on my work and prevent me from having distractive conversation with my co-workers. To keep my self in God's presence I do the same while I am driving, listening to worship songs and teachings. I decided to not watching movies which I like to do and read my bible or books to remain encouraged.
A study published in the World Journal of Diabetes found that intermittent fasting in adults with type-2 diabetes improved key markers for those individuals, including their body weight and glucose levels. (3) And another study found that intermittent fasting was as effective as caloric restrictions in reducing visceral fat mass, fasting insulin and insulin resistance. (4) If you’re struggling with pre-diabetes or insulin sensitivity, intermittent fasting can help normalize things.
5) A new satisfaction. When you finish your fast, renewed, full of energy, detoxed, with a new desire, a new praise and a sensitivity to God’s voice, you’ll find that the absence of food was small in comparison to what you gained. When Christ’s disciples noticed that He hadn’t eaten all day and tried to get Him to slow down to eat, Christ said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about….My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”
DU: The biggest benefit of fasting is disciplining us to focus on God long enough to be changed by Him. I have seen brothers and sisters who, after spending much time in God’s presence through prayer and fasting, have been significantly empowered to carry out God’s call on their lives. From a medical perspective, there are a significant number of credible studies showing that fasting substantially reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. I reviewed scientific literature on the health benefits of fasting going back up to 70 years, and what I found is that fasting improves our health span if it is done consistently and intermittently as a lifestyle.
Coach.me is another fantastic resource that I’ve used to maintain healthy habits (some for more than 560 days). It helps you build habit streaks, find others doing the same, and get personalized coaching. [Editor’s note: I’m the founder of Coach.me and would have taken this out if not for the bit about the writer’s streaks. I’m not commissioning these articles to pitch our product, but I think the bit about multiyear streaks is a relevant part of his story.]
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.
Catherine Gates is Senior Director of Content & Partnerships for Workmatters. She oversees the development, distribution and support of Workmatters content to equip marketplace leaders to live out their faith at work. She also builds partnerships with clients and other marketplace ministries. Catherine has a broad range of experience in technology, sales, training, public speaking and curriculum development. She’s passionate about her faith and helping people tap into more of God’s best for their lives while bringing God glory.
The Hebrew verb sum [Wx] is the only one used to describe fasting as a religious exercise. It (and its cognate noun som [/x]) conveys the explicit meaning "to abstain from food" and thus occurs regularly as a technical religious term. The Greek verb nesteuo [nhsteuvw] and its companion noun nesteia [nhsteiva] occur consistently in the Septuagint as translations of Hebrew sum [Wx] and som [/x] and as the usual terms for fasting in the New Testament.
In terms of your comment regarding water yes millions of people may do this and as you say it has little impact and harm. I however prefer to drink water on a regular basis; it is what the body is primarily made up of and what the cells need for repair and regeneration. That and because many of us often think we are hungry when in fact we are dehydrated and the body is wanting more water – wanting more fluids this is why I encourage people to drink more water during fasting days than do a total fast.
Another perk? There are no “forbidden foods,” and no counting calories, weighing food or restricting your diet, which makes it a bit easier to follow. That said, this isn’t a free-for-all. “You still have to eat like a grown-up,” Pilon says. It’s all about moderation: You can still eat whatever you want, but maybe not as much of it. (A slice of birthday cake is OK, he says, but the whole cake isn’t.)
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.
“…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."
Thirty-six young healthy male volunteers were placed on a 24-week calorie-restricted diet of about 1,600 calories per day. They also had to walk for about 45 minutes a day. But instead of resulting in continuous weight loss, at 24 weeks their weight had stabilized, and no more weight loss could be elicited even when he reduced calorie intake down to 1,000 or less per day.
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.
The Bible also gives instructions about the attitude and approach we should have in fasting. Jesus warned about hypocritical fasting, trying to show off or make others feel sorry for us.In the New Testament, Anna, the prophetess, is described as serving God day and night with fasting and prayers (Luke 2:37). We read that John the Baptist taught his disciples to fast and Jesus Christ said His disciples would fast after His death (Mark 2:18-20). Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted when they ordained elders in the Church (Acts 14:23). And Jesus Christ fasted 40 days and nights before facing Satan in an epic battle of spiritual will (Matthew 4:2).
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fasting is total abstinence from food and drink accompanied by prayer. Members are encouraged to fast on the first Sunday of each month, designated as Fast Sunday. During Fast Sunday, members fast for two consecutive meals (24 hours); this is usually Sunday breakfast and lunch, thus the fasting occurs between the evening meal on Saturday and the evening meal on Sunday. The money saved by not having to purchase and prepare meals is donated to the church as a fast offering, which is then used to help people in need. Members are encouraged to donate more than just the minimal amount, and be as generous as possible. The late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley asked: "Think ... of what would happen if the principles of fast day and the fast offering were observed throughout the world. The hungry would be fed, the naked clothed, the homeless sheltered. … A new measure of concern and unselfishness would grow in the hearts of people everywhere." Fasting and the associated donations for use in assisting those in need, are an important principle as evidenced by Church leaders addresses on the subject during General Conferences of the Church, e.g. The blessing of a proper fast in 2004, Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen? in 2015
For charismatic Christians fasting is undertaken at what is described as the leading of God. Fasting is done in order to seek a closer intimacy with God, as well as an act of petition. Some take up a regular fast of one or two days each week as a spiritual observance. Members of holiness movements, such as those started by John Wesley and George Whitefield, often practice such regular fasts as part of their regimen.
On this plan you'll eat clean five days of the week but will not eat anything for two nonconsecutive days of the week. For example, you can fast on Monday and Thursday but eat clean meals on the other days. Food on these five days will look just like the rest of the fasting plans—healthy fats, clean meat sources, vegetables, and some fruit. Keep in mind that this plan is not for beginners, and you should always talk to your doctor before starting any fasting regimen, especially if you are on medication or have a medical condition.
For example, in the graphic below you would eat dinner on Monday night and then not eat again until Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, however, you would eat all day and then start the 24–hour fasting cycle again after dinner on Wednesday evening. This allows you to get long fast periods on a consistent basis while also eating at least one meal every day of the week.
The Armenian Apostolic Church (with the exception of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem) has followed the Gregorian Calendar since 1923, making it and the Finnish Orthodox church the only Orthodox churches to primarily celebrate Easter on the same date as Western Christianity. As a result, the Armenian church's observation of Lent generally begins and ends before that of other Orthodox churches.
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Hello Adrian, my name is Rita. I am 61 years old and just retired from 30 years of teaching! The last 12 years I taught 3rd grade! I have gained weight and become very depressed! I am 5'4" and weigh 208 pounds! Terribly obese! I have just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and I take blood pressure meds! (And antidepressants) Please help! I use to be energetic and a lot of fun! I would love for my husband of 37 years to find me desirable again! Please tell me how I should start to see quick results! I would like to weigh 135 pounds, which is 73 pounds to lose! Is this possible? I am desperate!😧 but lack motivation! After reading your articles, I am ready to try! Thanks for hearing me out! Your guidance on how I should begin will be greatly appreciated! With gratitude, Rita from Mississippi!
Determine the length of your fasting experience, whether this is for 1 meal, 1 day, 3 days or a week (Jesus and Moses fasted for a period of 40 days, but that is no sign that anyone else might do that). You may wish to try a shorter fast, and start slowly at first, if you have not previously fasted. You can also pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how long you should fast.
Fasting is always practiced prior to surgery or other procedures that require general anesthesia because of the risk of pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents after induction of anesthesia (i.e., vomiting and inhaling the vomit, causing life-threatening aspiration pneumonia). Additionally, certain medical tests, such as cholesterol testing (lipid panel) or certain blood glucose measurements require fasting for several hours so that a baseline can be established. In the case of a lipid panel, failure to fast for a full 12 hours (including vitamins) will guarantee an elevated triglyceride measurement.