Fasting is gaining a lot of popularity around the world as the number of people who are benefitting from fasting is growing rapidly. Fasting and waster fasting is a popular belief among Indians for more than 5000 years. For them, fasting is a way to connect to god, and they consider this spiritual. But this phenomenon is now backed by science, as fasting has different health benefits. Call it devotion to a god or call it Ayurveda, both the ways fasting had helped humanity. In this article, we will discuss in detail about fasting, different types of fasting. What is water fasting?, the benefits of fasting, and What can you eat while fasting?
What is fasting?
In simple words, the meaning of fasting is to abstain from food or drink or both for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes. Abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, or short duration, or intermittent.
Fasting is living without eating or drinking for a period of time. Fasting is practiced all over the world by the major religions and cultures. In Hinduism, fasting is a major part, it is not an obligation but a moral and spiritual act where the aim is to purify the body and mind and acquire peace. There are several occasions when they fast. In Navratra they fast for 9 days straight, completely leaving food and just relying on fruits and water. Another fasting done by them is water fasting for 24 days, Karwachauth fast, which is also a type of water fast. They follow one of the most difficult types of fast.
In Islam, during the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for about 30 days. In Christians, they fast for 40 weekdays leading up to Easter. Buddhist monks fast for their meditation. There are different types of fasting that are more or less strict.
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Motive of Fasting
What should be your motivation for fasting is a very common question among people. Lots of people do fasting because of the health benefits related to fasting, some people do fasting as it increases their brain capacity, it enhances their self-discipline. Some people do it for weight loss. Other people do it to reduce their stress level in a distant place from their regular day-to-day job, like on a hill, near a lake.
There are different types of fasting across the world and many people think about it as a food deprivation exercise, but it is not a stomach training exercise at all. It’s a brain training exercise. Fasting does not check the limit of your stomach, but it checks the limit of your brain.
There are different types of fasting techniques and some of them allow you to eat after a period of time. When you are allowed to eat, it is not meant that you eat like an animal and compensate for your fast. When you are allowed to eat, you should have your regular meal of regular size. You should not overeat after a fast, or you will ruin whatever you accomplished with your fast.
Effects of Fasting
When we do fast, our body does not have its usual access to glucose, forcing the cells to resort to other means and materials to produce energy. As a result, the body starts gluconeogenesis, a process of producing its own sugar. The liver helps it by converting non-carbohydrate materials like lactate, amino acids, and fats into glucose energy.
Because our bodies conserve energy during fasting, our basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy our bodies burn while resting) becomes more efficient, thereby lowering our heart rate and blood pressure, ketosis is a process that occurs later in the fast cycle. This happens when the body burns its stored fat, as it’s a primary power source.
We can also consider ketosis as a perfect method for weight loss and lowering blood sugar levels. When anybody fasts, their body suffers from mild stress, and this lets our cells adapt by enhancing their ability to fight. In other words, we can say that it makes our body strong.
Types of Fasting and their difficulties
There are different types of fasting that are followed by people around the world. The most common type of fasting is given here. We also covered the difficulty of fasting. All fasts are not the same. Some are more difficult than others.
In an intermittent fasting way, people fast for certain hours and then can have food for other hours. The time period of fasting should be more than 14 hours and less than 20 hours. Anything less than 14 hours will not be considered fasting. In this type of fasting, they do not eat anything except fruits and vegetables in the fasting period. When the fasting period is over, they can eat whatever they wish. The difficulty level of this type of fasting is moderate.
One Meal A Day (OMAD) Fasting
OMAD fasting is another type of fasting. This type of fasting is done by people who are experienced in fasting already. People who want to lose weight fast also try this type of fasting as it is really effective for weight loss. As the name suggests, this type of fasting allows eating one meal in a day. You can eat one time in 24 hrs and the rest of the time you have to stay hungry or rely on fruit once if it is getting hard for you.
Alternate Day Fasting
This is another type of fasting in which a person fasts for one day, eats a meal on the second day, and then fasts again on the third day. This is an effective way of fasting and can help you to improve your fasting as well as self-discipline skills. Self-control is the primary focus of fasting, and self-control by food deprivation is the fasted and most beneficial way of self-control. In the alternate day method when you are on your eating day you should not try to overeat and compensate for your previous or next fasting day. Instead, you should take only your regular meal.
This fasting technique is hard to practice and should be avoided by complete beginners.
Extended fasting is a type of fasting in which you perform fasting for several continuous days. This is harder to do and It is not advised to beginner people. In this kind of fast people try to fast for more than a day. All extended fasting is also intermittent fasting which means the person who is fasting fast for only 16 to 18 hours a day maximum. After that period they eat their meal for 6 to 8 hr period and after that, they can fast again on the other day. In extended fasting, one need not be hungry for the whole 24 hours.
What is Water Fasting?
Water fasting is a type of fasting in which people rely on just water for the whole 24 hours. It is very difficult to practice. Maintaining a whole day just drinking water is a very tough task. While you practice water fasting, your body burns a lot of calories and after 8-9 hours your stomach starts to hurt. You will feel a slight pain in your stomach because at this time your internal organs will start to burn lots of toxic material in your body. This toxic material might include the residual of lots of food that you consumed and that does not digest very easily.
This food can be red meat, a high protein diet, protein supplements (that can be digested in a period of months), fat stored in your body, and some toxic chemicals and benign cancer cells.
Water fasting is another important type of fasting that is practiced by more well-versed people. It is not for complete beginners or new fasting people. This takes lots of self-control to practice.
Why gym loving people should do water fasting at least once every month?
It’s our personal suggestion that people who go to the gym regularly should practice water fasting at least once every month. The reason behind this is purely logical.
If you consider people who go to the gym you will find that around 75 percent of the people go to the gym to lose weight. Either they are overweight, or they might be preparing themselves for some occasion. Only 25 percent of the people who goes to the gym are there for muscle building.
Regardless of the fast that you are going to gym for building muscles or loosing weight. Water fasting can be beneficial for both of you. If you are going their for lossong weight then it will help you to loose your calories very fast.
If you are going to gym for gaining muscles then it is important for you as well. For gaining muscles you must be taking lots of protein supplements which are good for gaining muscles but protein powder that you consume takes month to be digested in your stomach. So one scoop of protein powder that you took today will last in your system at least for a month as breaking pure protein is not a easy task for your stomach. While if you fo water fasting then this duration will decrease with a huge margin as during water fasting your stomach will burn lots of chemicals in the period you will be fasting.
Difficulty level of water fasting is very hard and it is not advoced at all for the complete beginners. People who have never done fasting should not directly jump into water fasting.
Ultimate Fasting is also called as monk fasting. It is a way of fasting in which people stay hungry fo whole and drink water once or twice only in the period. This is super hard to practice and only experienced monks are able to do that fast. But this fasting technique is quiet popular in India and Tibet region. In Tibet most of the monks practice ultimate fastin and in India they have few fasts that falls every year according to Hindu calendar and many people follow this fasting technique. It can cause severe weight loss and people often feel drowsy even after two days if ultimate dating but this is very healthy and is capable of killing cancerous cells.
Benefits of fasting
It detoxifies the body
When you do, fast for 1 to 3 days. Drink fresh water, fruit, and vegetable juice. Drinking only specific liquids such as salted water or lemon juice eliminates the toxin present in our bodies. A detox routine requires light food that soothes the system and doesn’t take a toll on your body during digestion. Even a short fast eliminates toxins from our bodies. If you want to detox your body completely, then eliminate all sugars, alcohol, soda, processed food grains, gluten, and animal products from your diet. In this place, enjoy green juice smoothies and plant-based meals.
The main reason that intermittent fasting works for weight loss is that it helps you to eat fewer calories. All of the different protocols involve skipping meals during the fasting periods. Unless you compensate by eating much more during the eating periods, you will be consuming fewer calories. The term intermittent fasting means switching between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. This type of fasting is very helpful when you want to burn fat.
Helps to fight diseases
It has been found that fasting can help people recover from illness. Meanwhile, research on animals suggests that fasting may help fight off bacterial infections. The same research indicates that consuming glucose or sugar health combat viral infections. Fasting and fasting waste therapies are gaining recognition and acceptance for promoting health. In a study, it has been found that fasting can neutralize salmonella infection.
Fasting makes our immune system stronger
Fasting for at least 3 days allows the body to start producing new white blood cells, which rejuvenates the immune system to fight infections. Although it has been shown in humans and animals that the number of white blood cells decreases with long-term fasting, blood cells return after a week. When we begin to fast, our body breaks into a number of immune-fighting white blood cells.
It improves overall fitness
During fasting, glycogen stores are empty. This means the body starts to burn fat for energy during exercise, which helps in losing weight. It has also been found that exercising in the fastest body leads to a higher fat loss than in people exercising after a meal.
The body begins to use its fat stores as an energy source, which affects cholesterol levels, and blood pressure and promotes weight loss.
How to do fast
First, you have to decide that you have to do of the fast of how many hours it can be of 14 hours or for a one day. A beginner cannot do a fast for three days. Day by day, you have to increase your capacity of doing fast.
Give your body time to edges you may not really be hungry, you have just trained your body to expect food every 2 hours for many years. This could take many days to change your habit. First, do a fast for 8 hours and do this for a month, to see how your body is responding and adjust along the way.
Drinking water, black coffee, or green tea during the fasting period is acceptable, but no liquid calories. Avoid all kinds of calories during fasting and confine all eating to the feasting window.
Consume enough calories for your body type and goals during your fasting period, and eat healthy-sized meals that leave you full track of your progress.
Do not overthink. You can also skip the meal if you do not have a better food option.
Foods that you can eat during fasting
- Milk and milk products
- Coconut water
- Dry fruits
When you do fasting, it detoxifies and forces cells into processes that are not usually stimulated when a steady stream of fuel from blood is always present. When we fast, the body does not have its usual access to two glucose, it forces the cells to resort to other means and materials to produce energy. It is a practice that has been associated with a wide array of potential health benefits, including weight loss as well as blood sugar control, heart health, brain function, and cancer prevention.