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.
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.
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.
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Because we don't enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it's rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
Vitousek, the psychologist, has seen this kind of enthusiasm before — and it was for CR. Caloric restriction never reached fasting’s popularity, but it had its share of lay followers in the 2000s, when she got a chance to talk with members of a group practicing it. Initially, they were excited and motivated. Then, like most dieters, the majority began to fall away. Some who had done CR for years simply couldn’t do it anymore. “You can pretty much take that to the bank,” Vitousek says of dieters’ waning enthusiasm. “That’s why we have these cyclical waves.”
When you eat a meal, your body spends a few hours processing that food, burning what it can from what you just consumed. Because it has all of this readily-available, easy to burn energy (thanks to the food you ate), your body will choose to use that as energy rather than the fat you have stored. This is especially true if you just consumed carbohydrates/sugar, as your body prefers to burn sugar as energy before any other source.
In 2017, Longo was a co-author on the first human trial of whether fasting might reduce the risk factors for diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The researchers randomized 100 people into one of two groups for three months: The first group ate anything they wanted, and the second fasted for five consecutive days each month. (By “fasted” here, I mean, they followed the fasting-mimicking diet.) After three months, the first group was crossed over into the fasting group, so the researchers could gather even more data on fasting.
The other factors to consider with this diet are more concerned with your current weight. Lower calorie intake for most people will equal less fat. This is because, unless you’re a full-time athlete, most people do not need the number of calories they consume each day. They don’t burn that energy away, and as a result, it turns into fat. The 5:2 diet promotes lower calories on a weekly basis and high nutrient foods during the fasting days.
A study published in the July 2013 issue of Physiology & Behavior doesn't discuss intermittent-day fasting, but it addresses the concern of overeating after fasting. Researchers at Cornell University either fed breakfast to or withheld breakfast from a group of student volunteers. They found that those who skipped breakfast reported being hungrier than those who ate breakfast. They also ate more at lunch. Still, the amount they ate didn't fully compensate for the missed meal. Volunteers who skipped breakfast consumed 408 fewer calories over the course of the day than those who ate breakfast.
Worried about losing muscle if you fast? Maybe this will put your concerns to rest: a single 24-hour fast increased human growth hormone (HGH) by 2000% in men and 1300% in women. HGH plays an integral role in building muscle. Boosting your levels this high will have huge effect on your physique. Research shows that higher levels of HGH leads to lower levels of body fat, higher lean body mass and improved bone mass.
The drawbacks were clear. The men became obsessed with food to the exclusion of everything else in their life, and when the calorie restriction ended, they all over-reacted. Within a few weeks, they regained all of the lost weight plus about 10 percent more. Other studies have come to similar conclusions. So starvation-type diets may not be ideal for the average person. Your body will tend to shut down various processes in order to survive. For example, by reducing thyroid function, your body will not burn as many calories.
In addition to our attitudes towards God and our stance before man, our motives must also be correct. We should fast in order to further the building up of God’s kingdom by seeking to minister to others. The prophet Isaiah received from the Lord the acceptable motives for our fasts: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 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?” (Isaiah 58:6-7).
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.
This depends. If you’re on a time-restricted fast and you’re in no-eating hours, it’s best to stick to no- or low-calorie drinks like water, coffee (with no milk) and tea. If you’re on an alternate day diet or something similar, even during low calorie hours, you can technically drink whatever you’d like — but remember, this will count against your calories. Would you rather spend 100 calories on an apple or a glass of milk? It’s your call.
During the Biosphere 2 experience and the Calerie trial, some researchers hoped CR would become a viable regimen. But the enthusiasm has significantly cooled. While side effects were an issue, people’s inability to stick to a significantly reduced calorie load every day was the hammer blow. At this point, fasting was CR’s heir apparent: It seems eating nothing on occasion might be better than eating less all the time.
In the religions of ancient peoples and civilizations, fasting was a practice to prepare persons, especially priests and priestesses, to approach the deities. In the Hellenistic mystery religions (e.g., the healing cult of the god Asclepius), the gods were thought to reveal their divine teachings in dreams and visions only after a fast that required the total dedication of the devotees. Among the pre-Columbian peoples of Peru, fasting often was one of the requirements for penance after an individual had confessed sins before a priest. In many cultures the practice was considered a means to assuage an angered deity or to aid in resurrecting a deity who was believed to have died (e.g., a god of vegetation).
Be uplifted and find encouragement for your faith with authentic sharing of the ups and downs of life for today’s Christian female. Read personal experience of faith challenges and how your relationship with Jesus Christ makes an impact on every area of living. At iBelieve.com, we want to help you grow in your personal relationship with Christ and in your daily walk of faith
^ Jump up to: a b c Harris, L; Hamilton, S; Azevedo, LB; Olajide, J; De Brún, C; Waller, G; Whittaker, V; Sharp, T; Lean, M; Hankey, C; Ells, L (February 2018). "Intermittent fasting interventions for treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis". JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports. 16 (2): 507–547. doi:10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-003248. PMID 29419624.
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.
Fasting is an ancient practice sparking new interest in both pop and scientific culture. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and a variety of celebrities have extolled its virtues in helping them lose weight, while medical experts are intrigued by the possibility that it may enhance cognitive functioning and longevity and help treat and prevent some diseases.
When I was forty-two years old, I went to an Assemblies of God camp in Alexandria,Minnesota, to speak for a women's retreat. The first two days of the retreat went very well, and then I had one day in between the first retreat and the second -- so many women had registered, the camp could not host all of the women at the same time. I took that day in this lovely place in Minnesota to enjoy the lakes and trees -- it was a gorgeous environment -- and to fast and pray about God's will for my life. I felt as if I was doing a lot of good things, but I also thought I might miss God's best for me. I longed to hear from God and to receive a revelation from Him about my life.
Lowers insulin levels: Intermittent fasting acts on insulin in two ways. First, it boosts your adiponectin levels, which helps restore insulin sensitivity to prevent weight gain and diabetes. Second, fasting decreases your fasting insulin levels. Lowered insulin is the cue your body needs to make the switch to burning stored fat instead of glucose.
Repent through fasting. Empathize with God’s grief over your sins by fasting. Engage your entire person in repentance by using your body to turn away from self-indulgence and toward God. At church, schedule some times to fast with others for group repentance, just as you all sometimes gather to feast together in celebration (at church parties, potluck dinners, etc.). Express your personal repentance through fasting at times like during Lent and Holy Week, when God seems absent from your life, and when you realize your own complicity in society’s moral wrongs.
Dr. Umesiri is an Assistant Professor at John Brown University. He is a Christian author and speaker. His latest book is Fasting for Life: Medical Proof Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes. He may be reached through www.francisumesiri.com. He is married to Toyin Umesiri, a Walmart associate. They have three beautiful children.
Fasting isn't appropriate for everyone and, in some cases, could be harmful. Any person undertaking a first fast longer than three days should seek medical supervision. Those with health conditions should always have medical support during fasting. Plenty of water should be taken by fasters since dehydration can occur. Saunas and sweating therapies are sometimes recommended to assist detoxification, but should be used sparingly. Those fasting should significantly slow down their lifestyles. Taking time off of work is helpful, or at least reducing the work load. Fasters should also get plenty of rest. Exercise should be kept light, such as walking and gentle stretching.
When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a whole lot of good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. For most of history, people weren’t eating three square meals a day, plus grazing on snacks. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting. Nowadays, we don’t have to hunt for food (although hunting for your own meat isn’t a bad idea!). Rather, we spend most of our days in front of computers, and we eat whenever we want — even though our bodies aren’t adapted to this behavior.
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.
No cravings. Fat doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. In fact, a keto diet is so effective at stabilizing blood sugar that it got type II diabetics off their medication entirely, according to a recent study. If you pair a keto diet with fasting, your blood sugar will stay stable and low (but not too low) all day. Say goodbye to the cravings, fatigue, and mood swings that make high-carb fasting so difficult.
Fasting from food is not necessarily for everyone. Some health conditions keep even the most devout from the traditional course. However, fasting is not limited to abstaining from food. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose.”
The Church of the East strictly observes the Nineveh Fast (Som Baoutha). This annual observance occurs exactly three weeks before the start of Lent. This tradition has been practised by all Christians of Syriac traditions since the 6th century. At that time, a plague afflicted the region of Nineveh, modern-day northern Iraq. The plague devastated the city and the villages surrounding it, and out of desperation the people ran to their bishop to find a solution. The bishop sought help through the Scriptures and came upon the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. Upon reading the story, the bishop ordered a three-day fast to ask God for forgiveness. At the end of the three days, the plague had miraculously stopped, so on the fourth day the people rejoiced.
Fasting is important, more important perhaps, than many of us have supposed . . . when exercised with a pure heart and a right motive, fasting may provide us with a key to unlock doors where other keys have failed; a window opening up new horizons in the unseen world; a spiritual weapon of God’s provision, mighty, to the pulling down of strongholds. [Arthur Wallis, God’s Chosen Fast].
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.
Seeking God's will in special circumstances requires special time with God. Fasting to God proves acknowledgment of your personal weakness and dependence on Him. The first step to any fast is admitting your need for God. Giving up food is an outward action for an inward commitment. Ezra 8:23 says, "So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer." Fasting for God requires sacrifice and discipline.
Insulin rises when we eat, helping to store the excess energy in two separate ways. Sugars can be linked into long chains, called glycogen and then stored in the liver. There is, however, limited storage space; and once that is reached, the liver starts to turn the excess glucose into fat. This process is called De-Novo Lipogenesis (meaning literally Making Fat from New).
How It Works: Fast for 14 (women) to 16 (men) hours each day, and then “feed” for the remaining eight to 10 hours. During the fasting period, you consume no calories. However, black coffee, calorie-free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar-free gum are permitted. (A splash of milk in your coffee won’t hurt, either.) Most practitioners will find it easiest to fast through the night and into the morning. They usually break the fast roughly six hours after waking up. This schedule is adaptable to any person’s lifestyle, but maintaining a consistent feeding window time is important. Otherwise, hormones in the body can get thrown out of whack and make sticking to the program harder, Berkhan says.
In particular, consider fasting together with your family, small group, or church. Do you share together in some special need for God’s wisdom and guidance? Is there an unusual difficulty in the church, or society, for which you need God’s intervention? Do you want to keep the second coming of Christ in view? Plead with special earnestness for God’s help by linking arms with other believers to fast together.
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.