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.
This handy reference guide, Seven Basic Steps to Successful Fasting and Prayer, will help make your time with the Lord more spiritually rewarding. I encourage you to keep it with you during your fast and refer to it often because it gives easy-to-follow suggestions on how to begin your fast, what to do while you fast, and how to end your fast properly.
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.
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?
The bigu (辟谷 "avoiding grains") fasting practice originated as a Daoist technique for becoming a xian (仙 "transcendent; immortal"), and later became a Traditional Chinese medicine cure for the sanshi (三尸 "Three Corpses; the malevolent, life-shortening spirits that supposedly reside in the human body"). Chinese interpretations of avoiding gu "grains; cereals" have varied historically; meanings range from not eating particular foodstuffs such as food grain, Five Cereals (China), or staple food to not eating anything such as inedia, breatharianism, or aerophagia.
In related news, recent research3 suggests drinking 500 ml (a little more than two eight-ounce glasses) of water half an hour before your meals may help boost weight loss. Obese participants who "pre-loaded" with water before each meal lost an average of nearly three pounds (close to 1.5 kilos) more than the control group over the course of three months.
Often, the major argument for periodic caloric restriction is that we did not evolve to eat three meals a day, every day. Some fasting proponents argue that our bodies were designed to be able to run on little or no food for as long as several weeks or even months. After all, we didn’t have access to a steady food supply until the advent of agriculture, and it wasn’t until the neolithic revolution that humans adopted a more regular meal pattern.
Once when the Buddha was touring in the region of Kasi together with a large sangha of monks he addressed them saying: I, monks, do not eat a meal in the evening. Not eating a meal in the evening I, monks, am aware of good health and of being without illness and of buoyancy and strength and living in comfort. Come, do you too, monks, not eat a meal in the evening. Not eating a meal in the evening you too, monks, will be aware of good health and..... living in comfort.