The word “fast” is synonymous with dieting, but fasting is about so much more than just weight loss. It’s a practice that dates back to at least 5000 BC. And has been used by people all over the world for spiritual purposes, as well as physical and mental health. While there are many different types of fasts. They generally share these common characteristics:
- Abstaining from food and sometimes drinking,
- Limiting certain activities (like sex), and
- Spending time in prayer or meditation.
But before you start your next fast it’s important to understand the basics. What fasting means– not only for spirituality but also for your body. The following article will answer some questions about this ancient practice such as why do people fast? What can I expect if I fast?
Definition Of Fasting
To abstain from food, drink, or both for a period of time.
Categories Of Fasting. Intermittent Fasting: A pattern of eating that limits when you can eat during the week and should not be used to lose weight. You fast and avoid certain types of foods. For a set amount of time and then usually don’t fast again for a similar amount of time.
Fasting Mimicking Diet: This is limited to five days at a time, followed by two days of eating normally. The FMD appears to provide many of the same benefits as water-fasting. By promoting autophagy. The process of cells breaking down old proteins and membranes to use for energy. And some are using FMD as a jumpstart to extended water fast.
Islam has a rich history of fasting that is practised during the month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam is not only about abstaining from food and drink. But it is also about abstaining from evil thoughts, words, and deeds. Fasting is seen as a way to purify oneself both physically and spiritually. Muslims believe that Ramadan is one of the most blessed months. And that Allah blesses those who fast during this time.
The common idea is that fasting is only something that the body does in times of famine. Or when food is scarce is not historically accurate. It can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. Where it was used in religious rituals, as well as by early Christians. Fasting has also been found throughout Judaism. The practice of Yom Kippur during which Jews fast for 25 hours is believed to be the longest-running FAST. Fasting was also used in ancient Egypt. Where it appears to have been thought of as a way of ridding one’s self of impurities.
Scientific Views On Fasting Fasting is seen by many as an act connecting oneself with the spiritual world. Or higher power, but some scientists are looking at fasting for medical purposes, too. Studies on animals have shown FASTS can improve memory and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease and heart disease.
Why We Should Fast
There are many reasons why people should fast, but here are just a few:
- Fasting can help improve your physical health. It has been shown to protect against diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and even cancer.
- Fasting can help improve your mental health. It can also help you focus and be more productive, and it can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Fasting can help you connect with your spiritual side. It’s a way to cleanse the body and mind, and it can also be a time of prayer and meditation.
- Fasting can be a way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. And is not about starving yourself, but limiting what you eat and drink for a specific period of time.
- Fasting can help you save money. This allows you to spend less money on food and drinks, which can be used for other things.
What Happens To Our Body During Fasting?
Fasting allows the body to rid itself of impurities, stress, and also gives you a break from eating. Which on its own can be therapeutic. Fasting encourages good habits that will last outside the fast as well. Fasters are often encouraged to do things like clean their homes. Or have some sort of spiritual or intellectual contemplation. While they’re fasting because it’s not just about what your body does during these times, but your mind too!
As with any change in diet or routine make sure you consult your doctor before starting any new nutritional plan; especially if it dictates cutting out alcohol intake which interacts with many medications. Fasting every day isn’t for everyone either-regular periods of time is more effective long term.
The Dos And Dont’s During Fasting
Fasting can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health, but it’s important to do it the right way.
Fasting can be a difficult thing to stick with if you’re not doing it the right way.
Here are some dos and don’ts for fasting:
- – DO make sure you consult your doctor before starting any new nutritional plan, especially if it dictates cutting out alcohol intake which interacts with many medications.
- – DO start small. Fasting every day isn’t for everyone, so start with smaller periods of time and work your way up.
- – DON’T overdo it. Fasting is not about starving yourself, so make sure you’re eating healthy foods that are good for your body.
- – DON’T engage with social media while you’re fasting. Fasting is meant to help you connect with yourself and find balance, not make you feel isolated or left out of conversations with others who aren’t fasting too.
- – DO keep yourself busy. Fasting can be a great time to clean your house, spend some quiet time alone, or put in some extra work on a project you’ve been putting off.
Best Practices For Fasting
- Make sure to stay hydrated! Fasting is not the same as dehydration so make sure to drink plenty of water.
- Fasting is meant to be for a short period of time, not all day. Make sure you’re not skipping out on meals while you’re fasting.
- It’s okay to break your fast if you’ve really struggled with it throughout the day or if there are things you need to do.
- Fasters are often encouraged to do things like clean their homes or have some sort of spiritual or intellectual contemplation while they’re fasting because it’s not just about what your body does during these times, but your mind too!
- Break your fast with something small and light.
How To Start Fasting
Fasting used to be reserved for monks and the like. But lately, it seems like fasting is gaining more momentum as a fast way to lose weight, gain control of your life, and improve your well-being. Fasting Fasts
If you want to try fasting but aren’t sure how here are some tips:
- Start with one day a week. It’s best to ease into any big changes so start with just one day a week where you don’t eat anything at all during the day – just water, tea without sugar or milk, coffee (with no cream!), broth or soda made with seltzer water. After that first day is to oversee how you feel and if you think you could do it again the next week.
- If these full days are too extreme for your liking, try fasting from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch). Try not to eat after 7 pm one day and then see how it feels the next day.
- It’s also a good idea to ease into this by having a small snack before bedtime if possible. You don’t want your body going into starvation mode and actually holding onto fat while you’re sleeping!
- The main thing is just listening to your body and keeping yourself healthy while you’re doing this.
If you’ve been intrigued by the idea of fasting and want to do it for yourself, there are a few things that we recommend. First off, don’t fast if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Secondly, be sure not to go too long without eating. This can put your body into starvation mode which will actually slow down your metabolism. And make weight loss more difficult than ever before.
And lastly, always consult with a doctor before starting any new diet plan like intermittent fasting! They’ll help assess what’s best for your individual needs. Then determine whether or not an extended period of time without food is okay for you.
Finally (and most importantly!), remember why you started in the first place! Fasting should never feel like torture. I have been fasting twice a day for the last few years. It’s really cool thing. Share your fasting story in the comment section below.