Fasting is hardly a new concept. Think of how many men and women fasted in the Bible: from Jesus’ long walk through the desert (Matthew 4:1-17; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-14); to Paul and Barnabas’ prayer and fasting over the appointment of elders in the Churches of Antioch, Lystra, and Iconium in the New Testament (Acts 14:23); to Ezra’s order for the Israelites to fast to insure their protection and focus during the long trip from Jerusalem to Babylon. Evidence of the power of fasting and focus exist throughout the Bible.
Fasting has evolved in this twenty first century. We fast for some of the same religious reasons, but now there’s a bit of a healthy undertone to the ancient practice. Research has been done that shows humans benefit from intermittent fasting, but allow me to shed light on the duration before continuing. Some people choose to fast one day on then one day off, eating nothing one day and eating normally the next. Another variation on this formula is to consume food only during a certain period of time- say 11am through 7pm.
So, what are the modern-day benefits to such a time-honored tradition?
Lower This, Lower That
For one, there are definite health benefits. Blood sugar decreases, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels are also declined. Fasting is good for heart and brain health, as well as for reducing the risk of type two diabetes for some people.
It makes sense that people who can fast successfully are more conscious of their caloric intake. These folks are able to set achievable goals into motion to lose a few pounds via a controlled diet, along with fasting.
Increased Focus and Mental Clarity
Hunger makes your brain work! The practice of fasting allows your body to grow new brain cells, improving your ability to learn, pay attention to, and complete your tasks.
I didn’t recognize fasting as a method of self-care until I started researching it. I’ve never done it, but the benefit that attracts me most is the prospect of mental clarity.
Have you ever tried intermittent fasting as a means of weight loss or do you fast for religious reasons? Do you feel like you’re firing on every cylinder when you’re fasting?
If you’ve never tried fasting intentionally, what obstacles are standing in your way?
Jeannelle “Jean” Lundy