Fasting has been connected to religious rituals for centuries. Scientists have been examining consequences of fasting on human organism and came up with interesting conclusions. Hinting that fasting can boost your immune system and your resilience. Spring is finally here and we can use this magical time of the year to regenerate our body and mind.
Besides religion and spirituality, health is the most common reason why people lean towards fasting. I went through a few studies and they were all positive towards fasting. People choose to fast when they suffer from serious illnesses, such as cancer. Sometimes they do it as a prevention of such health issues. According to the study conducted by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, routine periodic fasting is good for your health and heart. Fasting lowers the risk of diabetes and coronary diseases and causes significant changes in cholesterol levels. The University of California came to the conclusion that overnight fasting might reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
Fasting can train your willpower. One of my co-workers, Barbora, tried to fast 1-day last week. She decided to do so after reading about the health benefits of fasting and she also wanted to test herself and her willpower. It was not easy for her. She didn’t prepare properly and her body was a bit shocked. Craving food the whole day. Little tip for you, start eating small amounts of light food days prior your fasting. Choose a day when you don’t have to work and you have time to relax. Fasting shouldn’t be about suffering. Your mental state will determine whether you succeed with fasting or not. Take it as a day just for yourself. To clean your body and your mind.
Fasting is a great mindfulness practice. It teaches you to understand your body needs. Barbora last week noticed no energy drop. She was focused the whole day of various feelings in her body. Fasting makes you realise how your body really feels and how much food it actually needs. Most of the time we’re eating way more than we need.
It’s believed that fasting intensifies meditative practices. Fasting makes us realise the impermanence and irrelevance of some things we tend to stress too much about. It makes us more appreciative towards the blessings of our life.
Last but not least, fasting is a great tool to boost our compassion. Dealing with feelings of hunger makes us realise the daily reality of billions of people around the globe. If there is just one thing fasting should teach us, it’s to be more aware of other people’s misfortune and feel genuine compassion towards them. A wonderful way to finish your fasting is to share your food with less fortunate or donate money to organisations supporting people in need.
How to prepare yourself for fasting
As I mentioned above, you shouldn’t start with fasting out of the blue. You need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for it. My other amazing co-worker, Szenia, is an expert on fasting preparation. She and her husband are fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. She is starting with preparation for Ramadan one week in advance. Reducing the amount of food she is eating, focusing on light and nutritional foods. She suggests to eat cucumbers for the amount of water inside, dates for energy and beans to keep you full for longer period of time.
Fasting is an ultimate resilience “exercise” and it isn’t easy. If you like this article and you think it can help some of your friends or family, feel free to share it.