Christian Fasting vs. Intermittent Fasting
Fasting is a popular trend in the world with intermittent fasting being one of the latest ways to achieve weight loss or maintenance. But spiritual fasting is an ancient Biblical practice that has been in place for centuries.
Fasting and praying have been foundations of our Christian faith. The Church often encourages us to fast for various reasons: outreach events, the salvation of loved ones, physical healing, financial blessings, breakthroughs, and more. This abstinence from food can be done individually or as a collective group.
Whether you choose a half-day fast, full-day fast, 21-day fast, 40-day fast, a single-meal fast, or the Daniel Fast (Daniel 10:2-3 NIV) where meat, wine and other rich foods are avoided, the intent of fasting should be to focus on God and to lean on Him.
Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity for health and weight loss benefits. Said to also boost energy levels and increase focus, intermittent fasting is when you eat within a specific time period and fast during certain hours, or even days. Intermittent fasting is not a diet. When you sleep for a long period of time, your body enters a state of fasting. When you skip a meal, you inadvertently practice intermittent fasting. There are 5 ways that you can practice intermittent fasting.
Time-restricted eating. Involves fasting every day for 12 hours or longer and eating in the remaining hours. A popular example is the 16/8 method. It features a daily 16-hour fast and an 8-hour eating window wherein you can fit in 2, 3, or more meals.
The 5:2 diet. This method involves eating as you normally do 5 days of the week and restricting your calorie intake to 500–600 on the remaining 2 days.
Eat Stop Eat. This method involves a 24-hour fast once or twice per week.
Alternate-day fasting. With alternate-day fasting the goal is to fast every other day.
The Warrior Diet. The Warrior Diet was among the first popular diets to include a form of intermittent fasting. It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day and eating one large meal at night.
There are similarities between Christian fasting and intermittent fasting, however the difference lies in being intentional about connecting with God through prayer, Bible reading and meditation, as well as worship. Isaiah 58, also know as the fasting chapter, includes acts of serving others during fasting.
In addition, Isaiah 58 confirms what scientist have discovered through research that fasting results in reversal of diseases, renewed physical strength and clarity of mind. Research shows that fasting can eventually result in a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, a reduced risk of chronic health conditions and improved brain health.
HOW SHOULD WE FAST?
Fasting typically refers to abstinence from food, but may also include giving up other fleshly desires such as social media, sugary drinks, sex, television, spending money, alcohol and limiting activities. Fasting teaches us to deepen our dependency on God. The benefits of fasting are safe, effective and natural weight loss, improved health and finances.
Fasting is a form of humbling ourselves before the Lord, surrendering our physical desires and increasing our spiritual awareness to become more reliant on God. It teaches us to redirect our focus from ourselves to God. As you fast and meditate on the Word of God, you will find yourself becoming more spiritual, more heavenly minded, more in tune with God, and more sensitive to His voice. Fasting is God’s supernatural plan for total health to stay aligned in body, soul and spirit.
WHERE TO START
If you are sick, pregnant or a nursing mother, please do not fast. If you have a history of weak health or are on regular medication, please consult a doctor before you fast. Here are some tips to ease you into the practice of fasting.
• Prayer is Essential. Start and end the day with a time of prayer and seeking the Lord. Fasting must always be accompanied with prayer. Otherwise, it’s merely dieting. Jesus said some things can only happen through prayer AND fasting (Matt17:21). Be intentional about setting aside time to pray i.e. replace eating meals with prayer and Bible reading. Keep a journal to record specific things that your hear God speaking to you.
• Drink lots of water. This aids in cleansing the body and naturally flushes out toxins. Avoid all citrus juices and coffee or tea, as the high acidity levels of these beverages may cause gastric problems, as well as dairy which can cause a gas build-up. Drinking filter water provides cleansing. Click here to see the type of filtered water bottle I recommend to all of my clients.
• Peppermint Essential Oil. When fasting, you may encounter bad breath as your body releases toxins from the stomach. You can drop one drop of Peppermint Oil in a glass of water to freshen your breath and further aid in internal cleansing.
• Avoid strenuous activity. You have a limited amount of energy in your body, and you need it to last through the fast.
HOW TO END A FAST
Break your time of fasting with prayer and clear direction concerning God’s plans for your life. Ease your way back into eating a light meal with soft foods such as a banana, watermelon or oatmeal. The longer the duration of your fast, the longer you will require to break it. If you have fasted for anything longer than three weeks, it may take days to get back to eating your regular diet.
To learn more about fasting, listen to my exclusive interview to discover one woman’s experience as she completed a 15-day water fast!
Listen Now = > https://tinyurl.com/3bmyn9wa