Bhagiratha says, The vow of fast was known to Indra. He kept it a secret but USANAS first made it known to the universe. Bhagiratha says, "In my opinion, there is no penance higher than fast." Bhagiratha did many sacrifices and gave gifts and says "the present that flowed from me were as copious as the stream of the Ganga herself.(but ..) it is not through the merits of these acts that I have attained this region." Bhagiratha observed the vow of fasting and reached "the region of Brahman"
In addition to its role in religion, fasting may be used to express social and political views, particularly as a gesture of protest or solidarity. The classic example of this approach was set by Mahatma Gandhi, who in the early 20th century conducted a fast in prison to atone for the violent excesses of those of his followers who did not practice his teaching of satyagraha (nonviolence) against British rule in India. Gandhi later often fasted in pursuit of similar objectives, including the removal of disabilities imposed by the government on the untouchables. Fasting has frequently been practiced to protest against war and what are considered social evils and injustices, as in the fasts of the American black comedian Dick Gregory from the 1960s in protest against the violation of civil rights of American Indians and against U.S. military activity in Southeast Asia. In 1981, 10 Irish nationalists died in a Belfast prison during a hunger strike conducted to urge recognition of themselves and their associates as political prisoners.
Whether you are considering a 12-hour fast, a two-day fast, or a daily low calorie fast, you should talk to your doctor before beginning a new eating regimen. Certain medical conditions may get worse with sudden changes in diet and some medications are affected by changing the foods you eat. A doctor can help you weigh the possible benefits and consequences of a fast to see if it’s right for you.
Fasting is not the first dietary approach to excite researchers. Before fasting, there was caloric restriction, or CR. The methods have much in common. Overall, they both drastically reduce energy intake and bring about similar health benefits. They’re like siblings in a way, especially since fasting studies emerged from work on CR. And now, many former CR researchers are exploring fasting, often setting the two against each other in the lab.
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.
I recommend counting calories—not forever, but for about two weeks—so you get a feel for what a regular day of eating feels like. I have used and like Cron-o-meter, Lose It!, and Fitbit to track calories. Don’t get bogged down in the details. If a type of food you ate is not in the database, find something similar or make an educated guess. You just want to make sure you’re in the ballpark.
When you’re intermittent fasting, you eat all the food your body needs but during a shorter period of time. There are many methods, but the most common involves eating during a 6- to 8-hour window, and fasting the remaining 14 to 16 hours. It’s not as bad as it sounds, especially when you add Bulletproof Coffee to keep hunger levels in check (more on that later).
In her blog, Gospel Taboo, Amanda Edmondson writes, "Biblically, fasting is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. In the Old Testament it was often a way of expressing grief or a means of humbling one's self before the Lord. In Psalm 35:13, David humbled himself with fasting. In the New Testament it was a means to grow closer to God through mediating and focusing on Him. In Matthew 4:1-2, Jesus went to the wilderness to fast for 40 days. In Matthew 6:16-18 we learn that we aren’t to look somber while fasting so that it’s not obvious to others when we are fasting. Throughout the New Testament fasting and prayer are often mentioned together. In Acts 13:3, ‘they had fasted and prayed.’ In Luke 2:37 a widow worshiped day and night fasting and praying."
Getting back to intermittent fasting, many studies have confirmed the health benefits of calorie restriction, and it seems clear that eating less is part of the equation if you want to live longer. Interestingly, research4 has shown that life-long calorie restriction in mice "significantly changes the overall structure of the gut microbiota" in ways that promote longevity. So one reason why calorie restriction may lengthen lifespan appears to be due to the positive effect it has on gut microbiota.
I recently got in touch with Kane, a reader who’d emailed me in the past, to hear about his experience with fasting because I’ve been noticing the buzz growing louder lately. Famous enthusiasts include reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian, musician Moby, and model Molly Sims. Actor Chris Pratt has been Instagramming about his Bible-based fast. In the media world, New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman and MSNBC host Chris Hayes have mentioned their fasting routines. Over the past couple of decades, as dozens of diets and weight management schemes have come in and out of fashion, fasting has steadily gained popularity.
You can theoretically eat whatever you want when you're on an IF plan (and not in the fasting phase), but if you overdo the carbs, you'll have trouble keeping your blood sugar stable. Refined carbs, in particular, make your blood sugar rise and your insulin spike and crash. So if you're trying to go without food for longer periods and your diet is too carb-heavy, you're going to end up pretty hungry and irritable.
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).
Many people who want to try IF choose the 16:8 method because it allows you to eat whatever you want for an 8-hour window and then fast for 16 hours. During the fasting period, you can drink water, tea, coffee, and even diet soda. The trick is to figure out what 8-hour eating window works best for you. Are you fine with skipping breakfast? Or do you work out in the morning and prefer to forgo dinner? Experiment with the eating and fasting intervals that work best for you. However, like all restrictive diets, there are some drawbacks. For one, drinking caffeinated drinks while fasting can disrupt your circadian rhythm, and therefore, your metabolism.
The Bible gives examples of God’s people occasionally combining fasting with their prayers so as to stir up their zeal and renew their dedication and commitment to Him. King David wrote that he “humbled [him]self with fasting” (Psalms 35:13 Psalms 35:13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into my own bosom.
Expect funny looks if you spend a lot of mornings with breakfast eaters. A few weeks back I had a number of friends staying with me, and they were all completely dumbfounded when I told them I didn’t eat breakfast anymore. I tried to explain it to them but received a bunch of blank stares. Breakfast has become so enGRAINed (zing!) in our culture that NOT eating it sounds crazy. You will get weird looks from those around you…embrace it. I still go to brunch or sit with friends, I just drink black coffee and enjoy conversation.
Listen to your body during workouts. If you get light headed, make sure you are consuming enough water. If you notice a significant drop in performance, make sure you are eating enough calories (especially fats and protein) during your feasting window. And if you feel severely “off,” pause your workout. Give yourself permission to EASE into intermittent fasting and fasted workouts. This is especially true if you are an endurance athlete.
In Northern Ireland in 1981, a prisoner, Bobby Sands, was part of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, protesting for better rights in prison. Sands had just been elected to the British Parliament and died after 66 days of not eating. His funeral was attended by 100,000 people and the strike ended only after nine other men died. In all, ten men survived without food for 46 to 73 days.