At this point in time I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of fasting. Perhaps you’ve even already experimented with it.
Fasting is not the latest trend in health and wellness. It has been around for as long as man himself. Whether via a lack of food being available, for religious reasons, or more commonly in our modern day, for health reasons, we’ve been fasting for a long time.
If you’re thinking, “I’ve never done a fast.” Yes, you have. You fast every night while you sleep. This is why we call the first meal of the day, “break-fast.”
Types of Fasting Styles
Most people recognize a form of fasting called Intermittent Fasting, which is when you fast for a specific window of time during a given day and then eat during a smaller window of time for that same 24-hour period.
There is also Periodic Fasting, which is when you fast for a few days at a time. This method is harder for most people so it isn’t as popular, but more and more this method is being experimented with. In particular, it’s being used as a way to help purge damaged cells from the body (think cancer).
And, within both of these there are subsets of fasting styles. Below are just a few.
- Eat Stop Eat
- The Warrior Diet
- The Renegade Diet
- Alternate Day Fasting
- Water Fasts
- Religious Fasts — Ramadan, Daniel Fast
What Are The Potential Benefits?
Fasting is best applied if you already are, to some degree or another, living a healthy lifestyle. This ensures that you’ll be healthy enough to deal with the added stress that fasting creates.
One good reason to try fasting is that it can help to regulate your hunger levels. When you fast you are pushing your body. You are testing the limits of your own edge.
My own personal experiences with fasting have shown me just how much more or less (in some cases) I’m capable of. It’s sort of a trial by fire type thing. It’s something you only get by having the experience.
So if you’re otherwise healthy, or looking to get healthier, and in need of a challenge, give it a try.
- Fasting can help with weight loss, and maintaining weight (provided that you don’t overeat during your other meals)
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Better resistance to stress
- Improved mental clarity
- Decrease in oxidative stress
- Reduced inflammation
- Possible benefits to cancer reduction
- Enhanced immune system function
What are the Potential Downsides?
Though there are many potential benefits to fasting it doesn’t mean this is for everyone. If you are dealing with any of the conditions below you could put yourself at risk (and your baby if pregnant) if you try fasting.
Here is where medical supervision would be wise in order to track what is happening in your body.
- Women that are pregnant or nursing a baby
- If you aren’t already living a healthy lifestyle fasting may not be for you
- If you are chronically stressed out
- If you have a history of eating disorders
- If you have hypoglycemia fasting may not be for you
Diabetics probably shouldn’t fast. Though there are a few examples that after getting a few lifestyle habits in order fasting has helped. Still in a case like this we would advise to consult with your Dr.
One very specific recommendation is to try to make sure that you are already on a whole foods diet for some time before trying a fast. Beginning a fast while you’re still on a processed food/junk food style of eating could lead to very uncomfortable results.
The literature on fasting is extensive, andthis will give you a decent starting point. If this is something you want to explore further then check out the resources below.
Remember, do not fast without first consulting with your Dr. Especially if you’re dealing with a specific medical condition. By law that’s what has to be said, but the truth is you are all adults, and you’re going to do whatever you want to. Plus, we love experimenting, also. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Is fasting something you’d consider doing, or are you already fasting in some way or another? If so, let us know in the comments below.
INTRODUCTION TO INTERMITTENT FASTING
EXPERIMENTS WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING
THE MANY HEALTH BENEFITS OF FASTING
WHO SOULD (AND SHOULDN’T) TRY FASTING?
FASTING AS A POTENTIAL WAY TO DEAL WITH CANCER