Among the Western religions, only Zoroastrianism prohibits fasting, because of its belief that such a form of asceticism will not aid in strengthening the faithful in their struggle against evil. The other Western religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emphasize fasting during certain periods. Judaism, which developed many dietary laws and customs, observes several annual fast days, primarily on days of penitence (such as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement) or mourning. Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, has observed a 40-day fast period during Lent, a spring period of penitence before Easter, and during Advent, a penitential period before Christmas. Among Roman Catholics the observance has been modified since the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) to allow greater individual choice, with mandatory fasting only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday during Lent. Protestant churches generally leave the decision to fast to individual church members. The month of Ramadan in Islam is a period of penitence and total fasting from dawn to dusk.


Where diets complicate life, fasting simplifies. Where diets are expensive, intermittent fasting is free. Where diets can take time, fasting saves time. Where diets are limited, fasting is available anywhere. Where diets have variable efficacy, fasting has unquestioned efficacy. There is no more powerful method for lowering insulin and decreasing body weight.
In Methodism, fasting is considered one of the Works of Piety.[52] The Discipline of the Wesleyan Methodist Church required Methodists to fast on "the first Friday after New-Year's-day; after Lady-day; after Midsummer-day; and after Michaelmas-day."[53] Historically, Methodist clergy are required to fast on Wednesdays, in remembrance of the betrayal of Christ, and on Fridays, in remembrance of His crucifixion and death.[54][55] "The General Rules of the Methodist Church," written by the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, wrote that "It is expected of all who desire to continue in these societies that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation, by attending upon all the ordinances of God, such are: the public worship of God; the ministry of the Word, either read or expounded; the Supper of the Lord; family and private prayer; searching the Scriptures; and fasting or abstinence."[55] The Directions Given to Band Societies (25 December 1744) mandated fasting and abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year,[53][56] a practice that was reemphasized by Phoebe Palmer and became standard in the Methodist churches of the holiness movement.[57][58] Wesley himself also fasted before receiving Holy Communion "for the purpose of focusing his attention on God," and asked other Methodist Christians to do the same.[55] In accordance with Scripture and the teachings of the Church Fathers, fasting in Methodism is done "from morning until evening"; John Wesley kept a more rigorous Friday Fast, fasting from sundown (on Thursday) until sundown (on Friday) in accordance with the liturgical definition of a day.[55][59] The historic Methodist homilies regarding the Sermon on the Mount also stressed the importance of the Lenten fast.[60] The United Methodist Church therefore states that:
God uses fasting as a teaching tool on one of the annual holy days He commands us to keep. In Leviticus 23:27 God says “afflict your souls” on the Day of Atonement. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary points out that afflicting your souls is a reference to fasting. So on this particular holy day God commands that His people forgo both food and water for 24 hours as a means of humbling themselves before Him, seeking Him and His will and guidance in life.

Fasting is not a way to be forgiven of your sins, but rather a way to grow closer to God after he has already forgiven your sins. For your sins to be forgiven, cry out to God and ask him for forgiveness. Jesus (God) took the punishment for your sins - past present and future. Ask God to forgive you because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and realize you cannot save yourself by fasting or any other way. Only God can save you. Salvation is mercy. It is a free, undeserved gift of grace and love. Meditate on that and on the Bible. Read the book of John.
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.
While these five methods are the most well-known in terms of integrating periods of fasting into your eating schedule, there are many other similar philosophies based on meal timing. For those who prefer a more fluid, less rigid method, there’s also the concept of eating intuitively. Primal Diet proponent Mark Sisson is a supporter of the Eat WHEN (When Hunger Ensues Naturally) method, where dieters simply eat whenever their bodies ask them to. However, some believe this can also lead to overeating or overconsumption of calories, since our bodies’ hunger-induced choices may be more caloric than otherwise.
Pros: According to the founders, while everyone is technically fasting every day — during the hours when we’re not eating — most of us do so haphazardly, which makes it harder to reap the rewards. Fat Loss Forever offers a seven-day schedule for fasting so that the body can get used to this structured timetable and reap the most benefit from the fasting periods. (Plus, you get a full cheat day. And who doesn’t love that?)
Of course, fasting — regardless of the method — isn’t for everyone. If you have any medical conditions or special dietary requirements, it’s smart to consult a doctor before giving intermittent fasting a shot. Anyone who tries it should also plan to be highly self-aware while fasting. If it’s not agreeing with you, or if you need to eat a little something to hold you over, that’s just fine. It takes our bodies time to adjust, and some require more than others. Keep in mind that hormones can make it harder for women to follow a fasting plan than for men. “Be cautious at first, and start slowly [with a shorter fast],” Shanks recommends. If it doesn’t make you feel better, try something different, or accept the fact that maybe fasting isn’t for you.
Saint Augustine's Prayer Book defines "Fasting, usually meaning not more than a light breakfast, one full meal, and one half meal, on the forty days of Lent."[45] Abstinence, according to Saint Augustine's Prayer Book, "means to refrain from some particular type of food or drink. One traditional expression of abstinence is to avoid meat on Fridays in Lent or through the entire year, except in the seasons of Christmas and Easter. It is common to undertake some particular act of abstinence during the entire season of Lent. This self-discipline may be helpful at other times, as an act of solidarity with those who are in need or as a bodily expression of prayer."[46]
Thursday fasting is common among the Hindus of northern India. On Thursdays, devotees listen to a story before opening their fast. On the Thursday fasters also worship Vrihaspati Mahadeva. They wear yellow clothes, and meals with yellow colour are preferred. Women worship the banana tree and water it. Food items are made with yellow-coloured ghee. Thursday is also dedicated to Guru and many Hindus who follow a guru will fast on this day.

The findings were clear: Fasting just five days per month improved people’s health outcomes. The group that fasted lost weight (about 7 pounds on average), lost some body fat, lowered their blood pressure, and decreased their IGF-1, a genetic marker for diseases such as cancer. (Their total cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides didn’t budge.)


You’ll run out of energy. When you don’t have anything in your system for several hours, your blood sugar will eventually drop below baseline. If you’ve ever had a blood sugar crash, you know how this state feels. Sleepiness, trouble focusing, lightheadedness, intense cravings, and the occasional mood swing typically accompany low blood sugar. Your cells run low on fuel and they start demanding that you give them more carbs.[13]
And there’s more than anecdotal experience like Corbin’s that fasting can help people lose weight. In a one-year study, 100 obese adults ages 18 to 64 were assigned to three groups. One group practiced alternate-day fasting, eating 75 percent fewer calories every other day; another group followed CR, with a 25 percent calorie restriction every day; the rest were in a control group. Compared with the control group, the fasters averaged 6 percent weight loss, and those assigned to CR averaged about 5 percent, according to the 2017 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Yes, it's a good idea for believers to fast from time to time. Fasting is not required in Scripture, but it's highly recommended. The primary Biblical reason to fast is to develop a closer walk with God. By taking our eyes off the things of this world, we can focus better on Christ. "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18).
As it turns out, the science behind these diets is still pretty nascent and exploratory — more than the acolytes might have you believe. While there’s lots of animal research, human studies on fasting are only just beginning to ramp up. And while we have learned that fasting helps people lose weight, it’s only if you can stick with it. But that doesn’t make fasting any less fascinating. Here’s what we know and don’t know.
A study published in the World Journal of Diabetes found that intermittent fasting in adults with type-2 diabetes improved key markers for those individuals, including their body weight and glucose levels. (3) And another study found that intermittent fasting was as effective as caloric restrictions in reducing visceral fat mass, fasting insulin and insulin resistance. (4) If you’re struggling with pre-diabetes or insulin sensitivity, intermittent fasting can help normalize things.
Fasting can take up a significant portion of the calendar year. The purpose of fasting is not to suffer, but according to Sacred Tradition to guard against gluttony and impure thoughts, deeds and words.[50] Fasting must always be accompanied by increased prayer and almsgiving (donating to a local charity, or directly to the poor, depending on circumstances). To engage in fasting without them is considered useless or even spiritually harmful.[47] To repent of one's sins and to reach out in love to others is part and parcel of true fasting.
The very simple and direct conclusions I draw are these: First, if the Bible teaches us to do something, I want to do it. I want to obey the Lord in every way that He commands me to obey Him. And second, if fasting and praying are means to a breakthrough that God has for me, I want to undertake those disciplines so I might experience that breakthrough!
I’m a 36yr old female 5’6” 163lbs currently. I really need to lose around 20 lbs by Oct. 20th, eeek that’s 17 days! I’m in a wedding and I bought my dress in June when I was at my normal weight of 140 lbs. My habits eating and activity wise really have not changed. I’ve noticed the weight gain everywhere, but especially in my stomach and breasts. Which is the real problem as I can’t get the dress zipped up the last 4 inches or so right now. What do I do? Please help me!
I still don’t understand how many days in a row you have to do a fast. I guess if you are on a keto diet is is as many as you can do right. Iam new and have done 3 already. I have had some uncomfortalble side effects. but I found out it was due to lost of electrolights and I used chicken broth and more salt to make that go away. How many green veggies should I be eating in the 8 hour window? It all seems very confusing. I know lots of fat and no low fat cause of sugar.
In addition to these, there is the fast of repentance which a person keeps after committing sin, it being imposed as a penance by the priest for seven days, forty days or one year. There is also a fast which a bishop keeps at the time he is consecrated. Also there are fasts that are widely observed but which have not been included in the canon of the church and which are therefore considered strictly optional such as the "Tsige Tsom" or Spring Fast, also known as "Kweskwam Tsom" which marks the exile of the Holy Family in Egypt.
Through the years, I have learned that many people in the church have never been taught about fasting and prayer, and many have therefore never fasted and prayed. As a result, they don't know why fasting and praying are important, what the Bible teaches about fasting, or how to fast. To many, fasting sounds like drudgery -- or a form of religious works. To others, fasting sounds extremely difficult. People tend to stand in awe at reports of those who have fasted for several weeks. When I hear about such fasts, I no doubt think what they think: If I fasted that long, I'd die! I couldn't possibly do that!
While I am working in my office, I use my head phones to listen to worship songs or preachings from men of God that the Holy Spirit will lead me to listen too. That helps me to concentrate on my work and prevent me from having distractive conversation with my co-workers. To keep my self in God's presence I do the same while I am driving, listening to worship songs and teachings. I decided to not watching movies which I like to do and read my bible or books to remain encouraged.
“…a progression should be observed in your fasting, especially if this discipline is new to you and you are unfamiliar with its physical effects. Don’t start out with a weeklong water fast! Begin by skipping one meal each day for two to three days and setting aside the money it would have cost to give to the poor. Spend the time praying that you would have used for eating."
Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."
To begin, you may wish to try spending about 1 week, or so, eating smaller meals and abstaining from sugary foods and caffeine to prepare yourself for total fasting. The 2 days before you begin your actual fast, you might eat only fruits and vegetables, while drinking only water. This will prepare your appetite (physically) and your mind for going without your favorite foods.
A man once said to me about fasting, "It seems that when I fast the world seems much more black and white, at least for a period of time. I see right and wrong much more clearly. I see good and bad, blessings and cursings, benefits and negative consequences, what is godly and what is ungodly. I am much more discerning about what lines up with God's commandments and what falls into the category of 'man's commands.'"

You’ll eat lunch and dinner within a six-hour window, which gives you an 18-hour fast. Most people will have no problem intermittent fasting every day. Some women may need to do intermittent fasting every other day or a couple of times a week and build up from there. You can learn more about intermittent fasting and women here. The key is to experiment to see what works for you.


Cons: Even though it’s nice to eat a few snacks rather than go without any food for 20-plus hours, the guidelines for what you need to eat (and when) can be hard to follow long-term. The strict schedule and meal plan may also interfere with social gatherings. Additionally, eating one main meal at night — while following strict guidelines of what to eat, and in what order — can be tough. It’s especially hard for those who prefer not to eat large meals late in the day.
The five most common methods of intermittent fasting try to take advantage of each of these benefits. But different methods will yield better results for different people. “If you’re going to force yourself to follow a certain method, it’s not going to work,” says trainer and fitness expert Nia Shanks. “Choose a method that makes your life easier,” she says. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable and the benefits of your fasting may be short-lived.
This mirrored some of what researchers were finding in non-human primates. Rhesus monkeys share 93 percent of their genetic makeup with humans and usually live to about 26 in captivity. In one study on 76 rhesus monkeys that’s been running since 1989 at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, monkeys on a 30 percent calorie cut lived, on average, two to three years longer than control monkeys. Another ongoing study, started in 1987 by the National Institute on Aging on 121 rhesus monkeys, hasn’t detected the same boost to longevity. But CR has worked remarkably well for the 10 males that started the diet later in life. At least four have lived past age 40, including one to 43 — a record for the species.
Fasting or intermittent calorie restriction may affect cancer and tumor development, but are not currently used as a form of treating cancer.[5][6] In 2011, the American Cancer Society recommended that people undergoing chemotherapy increase their intake of protein and calories,[6] but provided evidence that a short-term period of fasting may have benefits during chemotherapy.[5][7] Chronic fasting is not recommended for people with cancer at risk for weight loss or a suppressed immune system.[5]
×