The health benefits of fasting are extremely appealing, but I do want to stress that fasting isn’t always for everyone. People who suffer from hypoglycemia and diabetics should probably avoid fasting, up until blood glucose and insulin levels have been normalized. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should absolutely not fast, as it can have negative effects on the baby.
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 the process of revising the Book of Common Prayer in various provinces of the Anglican Communion the specification of abstinence or fast for certain days has been retained. Generally Lent and Fridays are set aside, though Fridays during Christmastide and Eastertide are sometimes avoided. Often the Ember Days or Rogation Days are also specified, and the eves (vigils) of certain feasts.
Heard of intermittent fasting and want to try it out? Already an intermittent faster but getting bored with it? A seven-day meal plan is just what you need then! For those new to intermittent fasting, it's a way of eating that doesn't tell you what to eat but rather when to eat. So technically it's not a diet, but you still want to practice healthy eating if you want to reach your weight-loss goals. Instead of limiting calories, intermittent fasting limits the times you can eat to a specific window. There are so many different ways to intermittently fast, but the most common method is called the 16 to 8 split — fasting for 16 hours and eating for eight hours.
Often when we slip up on a fast, we can let ourselves feel condemned and defeated. Breaking your fast in NOT a sin. If anything, you’ve proven your humanity, and 2 Corinthians 12:9 states that, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (NKJV). God’s strength often shows up in our weakest moments. Don’t let a momentary lapse define your fast. We’re not pushing towards our stomach, we’re not even pushing to ourselves, but we are pushing to be closer to God.
Confront injustice through fasting. Fast as a way of expressing poverty in your body, to show solidarity with those who are impoverished by injustice in our fallen world. Divest yourself of some resources – food – for the good of others. Convert what you give up in food when you fast into gifts for the poor by estimating the cost of the food you would have eaten if you hadn’t fasted and giving that amount to charities that help poor people. Use the time you would have spent eating to serve people in need and help bring more justice to the world. Use your fasting to call attention to other people’s needs, such as when you’re working to find solutions to the problems causing injustice and want to inspire others (like government leaders) to take action as well. However, be sure not to call attention to yourself, simply to try to impress others with your fasting. Use fasting to confront injustices in our own attitudes and behaviors, as well – to break the hold of unhealthy habits in your life and help you grow in holiness. Ask God to give you a clear vision of what He would like your life to look like. Then, through fasting, express your complete surrender to that vision.
I am not against people fasting in order to lose weight. Many people fast to lose weight or maintain their weight.What I am opposed to is making the losing of weight your primary goal in a season of spiritual fasting and prayer. To have weight loss as a goal makes your fasting a diet plan, not a time of genuine fasting and prayer. If losing weight is your purpose in fasting, you will be missing out on the full reason for fasting, and you likely will be concerned only with what you don't eat rather than with what you are led to pray.
Mattson points out that, from an evolutionary perspective, the brain power that fasting generates makes sense. Mammals typically go days without food, often hunting on an empty belly. Semi-starved animals with enhanced smarts and energy would be more likely to obtain food and live another day. “If you are that wolf or lion, now a week with no food, you better be able to focus your mind and concentrate on what you need to do to get food,” he says.
Thirty-six young healthy male volunteers were placed on a 24-week calorie-restricted diet of about 1,600 calories per day. They also had to walk for about 45 minutes a day. But instead of resulting in continuous weight loss, at 24 weeks their weight had stabilized, and no more weight loss could be elicited even when he reduced calorie intake down to 1,000 or less per day.
While this verse applies to our eternal destiny, the principle applies to our daily sojourn; as we humble and deprive our bodies through fasting, our spiritual man is made stronger and our senses more acute. This principle served the apostles well during the early church days. Their decisions were made through fasting and prayer; God gave them instructions and directions. “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3).
If we are to learn the lost art of fasting and enjoy its fruit, it will not come with our ear to the ground of society, but with Bibles open. Then, the concern will not be whether we fast, but when. Jesus assumes his followers will fast, and even promises it will happen. He doesn’t say “if,” but “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16). And he doesn’t say his followers might fast, but “they will” (Matthew 9:15).
You can eat out restriction-free five days a week on the Fast Diet. On fast days, however, the inflated portions at many restaurants may be a challenge, given that one serving of fries could possibly add up to your whole day's worth of calories. Choosing restaurants with disclosed calorie counts may take some guesswork out of ordering. Be prepared to stick to the diet plan while other friends are ordering freely.
Fasting is always practiced prior to surgery or other procedures that require general anesthesia because of the risk of pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents after induction of anesthesia (i.e., vomiting and inhaling the vomit, causing life-threatening aspiration pneumonia). Additionally, certain medical tests, such as cholesterol testing (lipid panel) or certain blood glucose measurements require fasting for several hours so that a baseline can be established. In the case of a lipid panel, failure to fast for a full 12 hours (including vitamins) will guarantee an elevated triglyceride measurement.