What do you think of when you hear the word, "fasting?"
Having to give up certain foods?
If you check the Bible for details on fasting, you will find kings and prophets fasting with a purpose—the purpose of clearing their minds, and their stomachs, so they could be in a position to hear from God to receive direction for decisions they were facing.
You will also find God’s people being directed to fast in preparation for God’s hand to move.
And patients preparing for a medical procedure are often required to fast, or not eat after midnight, before going into surgery or having bloodwork done.
Know that there are several types of fasting. A quick Google search brings up these:
- Biblical Fasting
- Absolute (or dry fasting)
- Water Fasting
- Intermittent Fasting
- Diagnostic fasting
Our focus is on intermittent fasting.
So what is it anyway?
Well, I’ll tell you what it’s not. It isn’t some “new fad diet.”
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a term for an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.
It does not specify which foods you should eat, but rather when you should eat.
In this respect, it is not a "diet" in the conventional sense. It is more accurately described as an "eating pattern.”
Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours, twice per week.
Check out this source for further study: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide#section1
Here are the 6 reasons you should be fasting:
1. Weight loss
Instead of your body being fueled by the food you just ate, fasting allows your body to “feed” off of your reserves. Since this is a structured way of life, this can be a sustained weight loss instead of a “crash diet.”
2. Stabilization of glucose
Especially for diabetics, IF can be a great way to normalize glucose and is a natural way to increase insulin insensitivity.
3. Boost metabolism
Restriction of eating followed by eating regular food helps stimulate your metabolism to work efficiently.
4. Improves life longevity
IF can delay the development of disorders that could potentially lead to illness or death. Research shows that people who fast have a longer and healthier life than people who eat 3 regular meals plus snacks a day.
Head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory, Mark Mattson says, “The mild stress that intermittent fasting puts on the body provides a constant threat. This increases the body’s powerful cellular defenses against potential molecular damage. Intermittent fasting also stimulates the body to maintain and repair tissues. Its anti-aging benefits keep every organ and cell functioning effectively and efficiently.”
5. Understanding of hunger
By listening to your body, you can start to notice true hunger versus emotional cravings.
6. Establishes routine
Having strict eating times followed by periods of fasting can help your body develop a steady routine that can be followed for a longer amount of time.
If you’ve never fasted before, IF may be a good place to start.
After conducting my own research on different fasts, I decided to give IF a try. I’ve stuck to it for three years now. This eating pattern has become a lifestyle for me because I find it to be the right balance of rigid and flexible.
I’d love to hear from you if you are fasting. Share your successes and concerns. Let’s be healthy together!
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Guest post by Courtney Ferrell.