Intermittent fasting also has a number of added benefits over strict calorie restriction. For starters, it's a lot easier to comply with, and compliance is everything. The calorie restriction route is also extremely dependent on high quality nutrition — you want to sacrifice calories without sacrificing any important micronutrients — and this can be another hurdle for many who are unfamiliar with nutrition and what actually constitutes a healthy diet.
If you've ever tried to diet, you likely know how it feels when you inevitably fall off the wagon. While some people can get right back on, others end up way off-course. "If you're not perfect and overindulge on dessert, you might think 'OK, I screwed up; now I'm going to go home and eat that bag of ginger snaps my kids left in the cabinet,'" says Jubilee. IF prevents you from going down that rabbit hole, because you're never worrying about what you're actually "allowed" to eat; instead, you just concentrate on sticking to your fast schedule.
If you're worried you’ll be starving while fasting, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Intermittent fasting decreases your hunger hormone ghrelin, which in turn can increase dopamine levels in the brain. (Just another example of the gut-brain axis at work.) Fasting can also help free people from emotional eating and kill cravings by transitioning your metabolism from unstable sugar-burning to steady fat-burning.
Fasting should not be considered a "dieting method" either. We shouldn't fast to lose weight, but rather to gain deeper fellowship with God. Yes, anyone can fast. Some may not be able to fast from food (diabetics, for example), but everyone can temporarily give up something in order to focus on God. Even unplugging the television for a period of time can be an effective fast.
If you have spent any time looking for a diet program on the internet, you know exactly what I am talking about. Every few years there’s some new miracle health secret being discussed or marketed all over social media sites like Facebook and Reddit. These fads even infiltrate top-level health forums and have fitness “gurus” swearing they are the answer to your prayers.
Biblical fasting brings us into a closer union with God. While our bodies are being deprived for the purpose of drawing near to God, He has promised in return to draw near to us. This is a spiritual certainty. As we decrease, the Spirit increases. As individuals we are strengthened and renewed. “...Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
”A lot of organs start shrinking [during a periodic fast],” Longo explained. “A lot of cells start dying and we have evidence a lot of the cells killed by this process are the bad cells. Then the stem cells get turned on, and we see the body starts regenerating itself.” What’s more, he added, certain inflammatory markers and biomarkers for cancer seem to be lowered when animals and humans fast.
Cons: On the flip side, if you have a hard time handling cheat days the healthy way, this method might not be for you. Additionally, because the plan is pretty specific and the fasting/feeding schedule varies from day to day, this method can be a bit confusing to follow. (However, the plan does come with a calendar, noting how to fast and exercise each day, which may make it easier.)
Christian fasting is more than denying ourselves food or something else of the flesh - it's a sacrificial lifestyle before God. In Isaiah 58, we learn what a "true fast" is. It's not just a one-time act of humility and denial before God, it's a lifestyle of servant ministry to others. As Isaiah tells us, fasting encourages humility, loosens the chains of injustice, unties the chords of the yoke, frees the oppressed, feeds the hungry, provides for the poor, and clothes the naked. This concept of fasting isn't a one day thing - it's a lifestyle of servant living for God and others.
Cons: Going 24 hours without any calories may be too difficult for some — especially at first. Many people struggle with going extended periods of time with no food, citing annoying symptoms including headaches, fatigue, or feeling cranky or anxious (though these side effects can dimish over time). The long fasting period can also make it more tempting to binge after a fast. This can be easily fixed… but it takes a lot of self-control, which some people lack.
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.
Wesley Duewel, a twentieth-century writer, said, “You and I have no more right to omit fasting because we feel no special emotional prompting than we have a right to omit prayer, Bible reading, or assembling with God’s children for lack of some special emotional prompting. Fasting is just as biblical and normal a part of a spiritual walk of obedience with God as are these others.”
Wesley Duewel, a twentieth-century writer, said, “You and I have no more right to omit fasting because we feel no special emotional prompting than we have a right to omit prayer, Bible reading, or assembling with God’s children for lack of some special emotional prompting. Fasting is just as biblical and normal a part of a spiritual walk of obedience with God as are these others.”
I’ll share some of my experiences, now doing heavy strength training for 3 years in a fasted state: For my first “fasted” workout or two after starting an IF protocol, it was very weird to not eat before training. However, after a few sessions, I learned that my body could certainly function (and even thrive) during my training sessions despite not eating a pre-workout meal.

The competition ended in December 2011. I won the office pool — $220 cash. A lot of people have two big criticisms of dieting. One is that diets don’t tend to work. The other is that if a diet does work, the weight loss is temporary. People call this yo-yo dieting, in that you lose a few pounds, gain a few pounds, and often end up heavier than when you started.
The sense of "living an unrestrained life" (usually of women) is from 1746 (fast living is from 1745). Fast buck recorded from 1947; fast food is first attested 1951. Fast-forward first recorded 1948. Fast lane is by 1966; the fast track originally was in horse-racing (1934); figurative sense by 1960s. To fast talk someone (v.) is recorded by 1946.
Prolonged very low calorie diets can cause physiological changes that may cause the body to adapt to the calorie restriction and therefore prevent further weight loss. [2] Intermittent fasting attempts to address this problem by cycling between a low calorie level for a brief time followed by normal eating, which may prevent these adaptations. However, research does not consistently show that intermittent fasting is superior to continuous low calorie diets for weight loss efficiency.

Having issues with an eating disorder, I feel equipped to answer your question. The purpose of fasting is to take the focus off of being fulfilled by anything other than God. You can confess your addiction to the Lord and fast with the anticipation that He will free you from this addiction. Fasting and praying can help you gain mastery over your thoughts and behaviors. The enemy will try to attack you with all kinds of nonsense, but if you are prepared for the attack with God's Word, you will stand strong. After breaking the fast, employ the wisdom and self control that you gained during the fast and refuse to accept your former behaviors.
I’ll share some of my experiences, now doing heavy strength training for 3 years in a fasted state: For my first “fasted” workout or two after starting an IF protocol, it was very weird to not eat before training. However, after a few sessions, I learned that my body could certainly function (and even thrive) during my training sessions despite not eating a pre-workout meal.

Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Churches, held that fasting served to "kill and subdue the pride and lust of the flesh".[63] As such, the Lutheran churches often emphasized voluntary fasting over collective fasting, though certain liturgical seasons and holy days were times for communal fasting and abstinence.[64][65] Certain Lutheran communities advocate fasting during designated times such as Lent,[37][66] especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.[39][37][67][68] A Handbook for the Discipline of Lent delineates the following Lutheran fasting guidelines:[69]
This is a type of spiritual fasting. Based off of Daniel’s experiences in the Bible’s Book of Daniel, the Daniel Fast is a partial fast where vegetables, fruits and other healthy whole foods are featured prominently, but meat, dairy, grains (unless they’re sprouted ancient grains) and drinks like coffee, alcohol and juice are avoided. Most people follow this fast for 21 days in order to experience a spiritual breakthrough, have more time to reflect on their relationship with God or just to feel closer to what Daniel would have experienced in his time.
Thank you very much for the great article. As a Muslim, we are encouraged to fast two days a week (Monday and Thursday)! It is not a must, just preferred. We fast from sunrise to sunset. No food or drink is allowed during this period (no water). As you mentioned a true fast can be a mental and physical cleansing time. From a personal experience, fasting is really great. I strongly believe it has many benefits on the mind and body as well if done correctly.
Why try a plan with a high dropout rate and hours of hunger? Beyond the health benefits, some people actually like it—and find it the easiest way to control their weight. Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, has studied intermittent fasting since the 1990s and himself been on a plan for years. "Once you get used to it, it's not a big deal," he says. "You adapt." Other fans? Reportedly, trendsters from Beyonce to Silicon Valley techies; and Jimmy Kimmel has said he lost 25 pounds fasting too. So... should you experiment?

When your empty stomach starts to growl and begins sending your brain every “feed me” signal it can, don’t be content to let your mind dwell on the fact that you haven’t eaten. If you make it through with an iron will that says no to your stomach, but doesn’t turn your mind’s eye elsewhere, it says more about your love for food than your love for God.

Save high-intensity interval training and heavy weight training for feed days/during your feed window, if you can, when you have the calories for fuel and nutrients for recovery. But if your training schedule calls for a grueling workout on a fast day that can’t be moved, add the calories burned to your count for the day so you don’t burn through muscle. At 200 or 300 calories, you don’t need to compensate, but if you burn 500 or more on a fast day, instead of just 500 maintenance calories with 50g of protein, eat 1,000 calories with 80g or more of protein, Varady advises.
There are many studies documenting the benefits of fasting which include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, reducing cholesterol levels, enhancing the body’s resistance to oxidative stress (which is connected to aging and many chronic diseases), reducing inflammation (a key driver in many common diseases) and… weight loss! The weight loss benefit is how I first got introduced to Intermittent Fasting (or IF for short).
Many healers claim that fasting is a particularly useful therapy for Americans and for the modern lifestyle, subjected to heavy diets, overeating, and constant exposure to food additives and chemicals. Some alternative practitioners have gone so far as to estimate that the average American is carrying 5-10 pounds of toxic substances in their bodies, for which fasting is the quickest and most effective means of removal.
Even though this plan is advanced, it's very simple. Don't eat anything every other day. This is the most intense form of fasting but can produce amazing results. Every other day, eat healthy fats, clean meat sources, vegetables, and some fruit, and then on your fasting days, you can consume water, herbal tea, and moderate amounts of black coffee or tea.
If you've ever tried to diet, you likely know how it feels when you inevitably fall off the wagon. While some people can get right back on, others end up way off-course. "If you're not perfect and overindulge on dessert, you might think 'OK, I screwed up; now I'm going to go home and eat that bag of ginger snaps my kids left in the cabinet,'" says Jubilee. IF prevents you from going down that rabbit hole, because you're never worrying about what you're actually "allowed" to eat; instead, you just concentrate on sticking to your fast schedule.
When I started intermittent fasting, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wasn’t eating. I would think about how hungry I was, and then, when it came time to break my fast, I would eat more than a regular dinner, thinking I deserved it after having fasted all day. This is how people fail at intermittent fasting. It took me about two weeks to figure it out.
The combination of fasting and praying is not a fad or a novelty approach to spiritual discipline. Fasting and praying are not part of a human-engineered method or plan. They are not the means to manipulate a situation or to create a circumstance. Fasting and praying are Bible-based disciplines that are appropriate for all believers of all ages throughout all centuries in all parts of the world.
If you have spent any time looking for a diet program on the internet, you know exactly what I am talking about. Every few years there’s some new miracle health secret being discussed or marketed all over social media sites like Facebook and Reddit. These fads even infiltrate top-level health forums and have fitness “gurus” swearing they are the answer to your prayers.
César Chávez undertook a number of spiritual fasts, including a 25-day fast in 1968 promoting the principle of nonviolence, and a fast of 'thanksgiving and hope' to prepare for pre-arranged civil disobedience by farm workers.[17][19] Chávez regarded a spiritual fast as "a personal spiritual transformation".[20] Other progressive campaigns have adopted the tactic.[21]
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