Please note: I am not a doctor or nurse. Consult your doctor before you fast.
Fasting is almost a taboo subject in the USA. The idea of skipping a meal or of depriving your body of food for a certain amount of time seems at best unnecessary and at worst unwise. Why go an entire day without eating when there is plenty of food to purchase and eat?
Jewish people, Muslims, and some Christians fast for religious reasons. According to brittanica.com “Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness.”
Fasting can be for a meal, a day, or longer. It can include abstaining from food or food and drink.
1. Fasting instills self-discipline.
Often we eat when we are bored, when we are watching a video, when others are eating, and the list goes on. In other words, we don’t lack for reasons to eat here in the USA. On the other hand, people in other countries are surviving off rice and sometimes beans added to the rice.
Having boundaries on when to eat and when not to eat can instill self-discipline in the person fasting.
2. Fasting takes your mind off food.
Until you fast, you may not realize how addicted to food you are. When you are not thinking what you will be eating on a certian day of the week or for a certain meal of the day, you can focus on imporatnt things.
I’m not saying that food is important. We need it to stay alive. However, in our American culture there is an over emphasis on food.
3. Fasting frees up time in your schedule.
Think of how much time it takes to cook, prepare, and clean up after three meals a day. Even if you just skip dinner, you can easily have an hour more a day to do what is important to you.
4. Fasting gives your digestive system a break.
All the food that you eat needs to be digested. When you do not eat a meal or do not eat for a day, your digestive system can rest instead of working. Depending on what you eat, a meal can longer than a day to digest (source).
I used to bake bread in a bread machine. Did you know that most bread machines won’t allow you to bake one load of bread after another? The machine needs time to rest and cool down between baking loaves of bread.
Machines must be allowed to rest, and they are replaceable. How much more should our irreplaceable body be given time to rest?
5. Fasting can help you manage your weight.
Eating fewer calories will help you to manage your weight, and you will certainly be eating fewer calories if you fast a meal, a day, or several days.
Here are a few pointers about breaking a fast:
- Eat something light, such as a soup, to break a fast.
- Unless you are avoiding water also, stay hydrated during your fast.
- Be careful not to eat greasy foods or processed foods for 2-3 days after your fast. You could become ill.
What benefits of fasting have you experienced? Please share them in the comments below.
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Excellent post, Luba! Good information. I have done “dry” fasting in the past (fasting with out water). I find it really helpful to take electrolytes as I break a dry fast. It really helps me to become rehydrated.
Amy, thank you for reading and for your great input. Yes, it is important to replenish the body’s electrolytes after a fast.
I did intermittent fasting for a few month and it was helpful to losing and maintaining my weight. It took a few days to get used to feeling hungry and NOT eating. Drinking a gallon of water a day was key for me. I want to get back to do that regularly.
Beth, thank you for sharing your experience with intermittent fasting. Everything new needs an adjustment period, and I am glad it worked well for you. 🙂
I have done intermittent fasting in the past. I liked it because not only was I more disciplined in my eating, but it also carried over to other areas of my life. I have been wanting to start it up again, so this post is very timely.
Star, yes, self-discipline applied to one area of our lives helps other areas too. I’m glad this was a post in time. 🙂