At first I questioned, “Is this truly God's call for me?” Forty days was a long time to go without solid food. But with each passing day, His call grew stronger and more clear. Finally, I was convinced. God was calling me to fast, and He would not make such a call without a specific reason or purpose. With this conviction, I entered my fast with excitement and expectancy mounting in my heart, praying, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
But while these diets have gained popularity, there have been only a few longitudinal studies on whether they actually lead to sustained weight loss. (U.S. News & World Report has a breakdown of past research into fasting diets.) Now there’s a new credible study to add to the mix: This 50-week study of 150 obese and overweight adults published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that the 5:2 fasting diet was “equivalent but not superior to” conventional dieting in terms of weight loss and the prevention of metabolic diseases.
Prepare yourself to encounter God through fasting. When you realize that your intimacy with God is superficial and you long to experience Him more directly, respond by fasting, and you may find that you encounter God more deeply and powerfully. Through fasting, render yourself freer to hear from God through prayer than you may be when you’re not fasting. Let your love for God motivate you to reach out to Him through fasting.
When obese people structured their schedule so that they fasted for 16 hours a day, but were free to eat whatever they wanted in the other eight hours — known as the 16:8 diet, or time-restricted feeding — they modestly lost weight and lowered their blood pressure after 12 weeks on the regimen, a new early study published in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Aging found.
Secular Music Fast: Instead of listening to Top Hits on the radio, you can choose to listen to the Christian radio station for a period of time. Pop in a CD of your favorite worship leader when you're driving to work. Listen to a Christian podcast or audiobook. You can even turn the stereo off completely and spend that time in prayer. You'll be amazed what this little change will do for your life.
In many ways, the devil uses this same tactic today. He calls our attention to how beautiful and refreshing certain foods and beverages appear. It's difficult to go through a day without seeing enticing food and beverage commercials on billboards, on television, and in magazines. Foods are presented in the most tempting ways in stores, restaurants, and on menus. The devil says the same thing to us he said to Eve:"Has God really said you can't have a bite of this?"
Those desiring to receive Holy Communion keep a total fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before (see Eucharistic discipline). The sole exception is the Communion offered at the Easter Sunday midnight liturgy, when all are expressly invited and encouraged to receive the Eucharist, regardless of whether they have kept the prescribed fast.
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.
Although it’s possible that fasting helps manage blood sugar and insulin, fight inflammation, and ease sleep problems, most people follow a fasting diet to lose weight. Fasting is believed to help in this goal because of the effects that caloric restriction and extended periods without food have on metabolism, or simply because people eat less during the restricted feeding window. (Some dieters benefit from the structure and clear boundaries fasting plans offer.)
IF might sound wacky to some, but there’s evidence that intermittent fasting for weight loss does work. One 2016 study in the Journal of Translational Medicine found that people who practiced IF for eight weeks lost more body fat than those in the control group. Another 2012 study from the Nutrition Journal suggests that IF can help obese women lose weight as well as lower their heart disease risk.
Through evolution, the body became very efficient at storing energy and handling situations when no food was available. For many centuries, fasting was probably a normal occurrence for most people, and the body adapted to it. It is estimated that even very thin people can survive for 40 days or more without food. The body has a special mechanism that is initiated when no food is eaten. Fasting is not starvation, but rather the body's burning of stored energy. Starvation occurs when the body no longer has any stored energy and begins using essential tissues such as organs for an energy source. Therapeutic fasts are stopped long before this happens.
Still, it's important to note that the results of intermittent fasting are no better than a calorie-restricting diet. A 2017 study in JAMA showed that alternate-day fasting doesn't produce superior benefits for weight loss than daily calorie restriction, and similar conclusions were drawn in a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. So if you don't think fasting is right for you, restricting calories works just as well.
When we pray and fast, God promises that He will liberate us. He will loose the chains of injustice. He declares that He’ll untie the cords of the yoke and will give the oppressed their long-awaited freedom. He will set us free from the bondage of what others think, making us realize that any comparison we make with others is a guaranteed fast track to misery. When we fast and pray, God steps in and frees us from the perceived alienation with Him that has kept us immobilized, fearful, and disobedient for so long. As you consider God’s call to fasting, perhaps for the first time, you may choose to start slowly, fasting and praying for only one day. Perhaps you’ll decide to fast and pray one day each week throughout the year where you declare that specific twenty-four hours as your time of obedience to be alone in the intimate presence of God. As you do, God will give you grace, comfort, and a new direction in your Christian walk. In the end you will be set free.
Carbs are only problematic when eaten excessively, beyond what your body requires. As long as you are eating low calories then carb intake will make very little difference in respect to fat loss. In other words, two diets of equal calories with varying levels of carb intake will result in the same level of fat loss. If you are still unsure then you can read this brilliant article by Lyle McDonald, Low Carbohydrate Diets Have No Metabolic Advantage. In addition, carbs in the main meal serve very important functions such as increasing leptin (improved satiety and metabolic rate), refilling depleted muscle glycogen stores and triggering the release of serotonin which will improve your quality of sleep and make you feel good.
And there are many plans, because there are many schools of thought about what’s considered fasting, what food or drink should be consumed during eating windows, and how long these windows should last. Here are a few of the most common methods: Intermittent fasting means eating normally four or five days a week and consuming minimal calories on two or three nonconsecutive days. Time-restricted eating requires setting a window for consuming food, such as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, and having nothing but noncaloric liquids the rest of the time. The “fasting mimicking diet” involves eating a small number of calories daily for a specific period of time — say five consecutive days every other month. These protocols all have benefits and drawbacks. One approach may work well for some while being entirely unsustainable for others.
How It Works: Warriors-in-training can expect to fast for about 20 hours every day and eat one large meal every night. What you eat and when you eat it within that large meal is also key to this method. The philosophy here is based on feeding the body the nutrients it needs in sync with circadian rhythms and that our species are “nocturnal eaters, inherently programmed for night eating.”
There were [no statistical] differences between the low- and high- [meal frequency] groups for adiposity indices, appetite measurements or gut peptides (peptide YY and ghrelin) either before or after the intervention. We conclude that increasing meal frequency does not promote greater body weight loss under the conditions described in the present study.
The Bible has only one command regarding fasting: God’s people are commanded to fast on the Day of Atonement from sundown to sundown (Leviticus 23:27-32 Leviticus 23:27-32 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
The increase in longevity is also clearly associated with a decrease in disease states that would cut your life short, and calorie restriction is associated with a number of health improvements, including reduced visceral fat, reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improved insulin sensitivity,5,6 just to name a few. Earlier research has demonstrated that calorie restriction helps extend the lifespan of animals by improving insulin sensitivity and inhibiting the mTOR pathway.
So what accounts for this heightened mental state? It seems fasting triggers a dramatic switch in the body’s metabolism, according to a paper Mattson and colleagues published in February in the experimental biology journal FASEB. In humans, fasting for 12 hours or more drops the levels of glycogen, a form of cellular glucose. Like changing to a backup gas tank, the body switches from glucose to fatty acids, a more efficient fuel. The switch generates the production of ketones, which are energy molecules that are made in the liver. “When the fats are mobilized and used to produce ketones, we think that is a key factor in accruing the health benefits,” says Mattson.
We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and our need for the love and forgiveness shown to us in Jesus Christ. I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a Holy Lent, by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by practicing works of love, and by reading and reflecting on God's Holy Word.