There are few things more terrifying a prospect than fasting to me. I enjoy huge amounts of calories (3-4000 a day), meat, veggies, meat….but it has its benefits. After all people used to fast all the time, because they were chasing their dinner. When farming became more prevalent, intermittent fasting became more of religious practice. Lets see what it’s all about, here are the basics.
Fasting can be dangerous if you have previous issues with eating, or are just doing it to simply “lose weight”. I encourage you, if that’s you, this is not your cup of tea. But very few things kill your addiction to sugar quicker and more completely than fasting, if you emerge from the fast correctly.
I would like to relay my experience to some degree to help you decide if it’s for you, what it does to your body, and why? Just why would someone not eat?
Some things you may experience; Hunger (I know right), bad
breath (as our body cleanses), Stinky sweat (yep, your body is really cleansing), irrational anger at people who are eating around you, also just hunger.
But, lets stay focused for now on the health benefits…
1. Cleansing of the Liver and Kidneys
These are the primary waste managers in your body. During a fast you will find that your skin smooths out some, and you just generally feel lighter. Your body is cleaning itself out.
2. It breaks insulin resistance
The precursor to Diabetes 2 is your body building up a resistance to the effects of insulin interacting with sugar inside your body. This causes the body to require more and more sugar to get the same mental satisfaction….sounds like a drug…doesn’t it? 3 days is usually sufficient to crush this cycle and reset your body, if you are obese, it may be slightly more.
3. Mental Endurance
The toughest men on earth fasted…Jesus, Moses, King David, Apostle Peter, Gandhi, and most native Stone Age people in between meals (check out the book “Warrior Diet” for a fun read and interesting insight on pre-historic meal planning/daytime fasting)
4. Breaks emotional dependence on food
This is linked with #2 but is different slightly. A lot of people count on food for their general happiness, which is normal. It’s a survival mechanism. But there is no better way to place mind over matter. You can begin to eat your food for fuel and energy and enjoy it, as opposed to emotional gratification, which we usually end up paying for with health ailments.
5. Accelerates your body’s fat burning ability
Your body will switch into ketosis during fast. Since sugar sources (glycogen, glucose) run out very quickly, your body will begin to use fat to maintain normal function. If you exit the fast correctly, these benefits remain. A chart is on the left of your energy usage for the nerds like me.
6. Reduces inflammatory response
Some studies show that fasting promotes the resolution of inflammatory diseases and allergies. Examples of such inflammatory diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis and skin diseases such as psoriasis. Some experts assert that fasting may promote healing of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
7. Lower Blood Pressure
Fasting reduces the risk of atherosclerosis as well. This is the best way, without prescriptions, to lower your blood pressure.
8. Helps reduce addiction cravings
Some Studies have shown that fasting reduces your brains desire for addictions. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol etc.
These are some pretty awesome benefits. But never fast if you have a health condition that requires you continue to eat. Also, never fast just to lose weight. You slow your metabolism in the process anyway, and it is obviously not a long-term solution…Also, never just jump right in, the longest I have ever gone is seven days, but that is AFTER I broke my addiction to sugar. Those of you that are carb dependent will find day 3 especially exciting…
Have you ever fasted? What was your experience?