FASTING is one of the disciplines that I integrated in my lifestyle, to maintain my sound health, high energy, youthful skin, and an excellent course of detoxification without spending a dime.
Traditionally, fasting means abstinence from food and a regulated intake of water for a certain period of time. My longest fasting experience was 10 days. It involved water with lemon for 10 days straight. On the second day I felt a light pulsating headache lasting up to the third day. Afterwards, I felt light and not hungry at all. I stayed home the whole time, spent my days easy, avoiding physical exertion.
On the 10th day, which was my last day, I felt unbelievably fantastic at the same time heartbroken, forI needed to cut my fasting. I had to fly for work abroadtwo days later. My first meal was a plate of vegetable salad with no dressing. I noticed my palate became more sensitive, that I could taste distinctly each vegetable. My hair looked nicer and shinier, my skin smoother and young, I slept better and deeper, my spirit more at peace. It was a delightful experience. I still do it every year, though not for ten days, yet the result is still wonderfully the same.
Centuries ago, fasting was generally used as a religious observance. I still recall my mother used to fast every Friday when I was young. She followed the Catholic priest’s sermon about the necessity and importance of it, not for physical reasons, but as a sacrificial offeringto show your faith and love to Jesus Christ.
The Hindus fast mostly to express their devotion to a specific devi/deva, who they feel will grant what they need the most in life. For instance, if they wish for wealth and beauty, they fast every Friday to their deity Laxmi. For protection against evil, for harmonious family and fertility, they fast for deva Shiva. Fasting for them means eating only fruits, lightly, two times a day, on the day of the devi/deva they worship, every week, until they achieve what they prayed for, though others continue.
Presently, fasting is gaining back its popularity, but not for spiritual or health reasons. The motivation is to have a slimmer body and for beauty, overlooking its super health and cleansing benefits – the very reason why you look better and the calming benefit to the mind and to the spirit.
Nowadays, there are different kinds of fasting systems, famously known as intermittent fasting. They are designed to accommodate those who are scared of passing the day without eating and those with health issues. Some of these are: Twelve Hours Fasting, meaning choosing a straight 12 hours of no ingestion of food a day, for 12 weeks. You can choose your fast time, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. – a good choice of fasting, for beginners. Next, The Leangains Diet or Fasting for Straight 16 Hours for men and 14 hours for women, leaving an eating window of eight hours for men and 10 hours for women, for about eight weeks – an ideal fasting regimen to those with liver issues, obesity and inflammation problems, and diabetes.
Two Days A Week Fasting is another great routine, which involves eating healthy food for five days and consuming 500-600 calories on the two fasting days – an easier fasting program, for diabetics and for weight loss, for 12 weeks. Another interesting fasting technique, is the Alternate Day Fasting, which means fasting every other day. Limiting the intake of 500 calories on the fasting day and normal ingestion on the eating day, also a good way to lose pounds, but not sustainable. Eat-Stop-Eat-Diet is a 24–hour diet, meaning no food for 24 hours, on the fasting day. It is one of the most challenging, for it can cause low energy, dizziness and headache. Although, it is effective for it minimizes the food intake on non-fasting days. Those with health conditions, should not try it, without the supervision of a health care provider.
WHY FASTING IS GOOD FOR YOU: It rids the body of unwanted fats; supports weight loss; improves brain health; betters sleep quality; speeds up metabolism; decreases inflammation; reduces the risk of heart disease; regulates blood sugar; boosts energy; rejuvenates the body organs; enhances strength and immunity; helps balance hormones; aids cancer prevention; delays aging; increases longevity; brings harmony to the inner consciousness.
Let this Lent remind us all not just about the sacrifices, sufferings and the love beyond words of Jesus. Instead, let us apply what His actions signify by caring for our body – the carrier of the holy spirit, granted upon us. On Good Friday, try to fast. Cleanse and nurture your spirit’s temple and plentiful of blessings shall be unto you.