Fasting has been around for centuries, and as early as the 5th century was used in the treatment of certain diseases. Everyone fasts, that period when you sleep you are fasting.
I initially tried fasting to lose weight, without fully understanding fasting.
Fasting can benefit you spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. I have been using intermittent fasting (I stopped eating at 5:00pm) since 2005 and started doing so because I was suffering from GERD (commonly known as reflux). I then progressed to fasting one day a week because I wanted to see how I would feel. I noted that I felt invigorated after one day of fasting. Now I fast two days a week (not because of any fad).
What does science say about fasting? Studies have shown that fasting can lead to improvements in obesity, diabetes, cancers, neurological disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Yet, there is mixed results of the positive lifespan effects of fasting. I am inclined to believe that it will prove beneficial in the long run.
MY Positive benefits of fasting
I fast not to lose weight but to be healthier, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially. Fasting improves my self-discipline. When you have tried to lose weight, you can develop an unhealthy habit of constantly thinking about food. When I fast, there is no thought about what I am eating next, because I do not eat food, this then frees my mind to focus on other things. It has improved my mindfulness practice. It forces me to become aware of my thoughts and emotions and has shown me that I can think and feel without responding (no judgment or action). The habit of reaching for food when I am upset disappears. I lose that anxious feeling that there is something else that needs to be accomplished and instead find that I pray with more conviction. Of course, if you are not eating six meals a week, you will save money on groceries and snacks.
I feel better physically and mentally not only on the days I fast, but it carries over into the following days. The key of course is to return to your normal eating habits on your non-fasting days and avoid the idea that you can eat as much or whatever you want; instead, continue to make healthy food choices.
Types of fasting options
Before making any major changes that can impact your health, please discuss your plans with your primary Physician. Fasting may not be for everyone; however, if you do plan to try fasting, you do have options. There is intermittent fasting, weekly 1 day fast (24 hours), 5:2 fasting (2 days of fasting), you can do a total fast without any solid food or water (very drastic), you can do a liquid only fast, alternate day fasting, skip one meal during the day fast or you can do a low calorie fast (500-800 calories). The type of fast you choose ultimately will be determined by what you want to accomplish.