Fasting is an ancient physical practice meant to build within us spiritual strength. Moderated and healthy forms of fasting enable us to TURN OFF our impulse to eat on demand and therefore learn how to control our sensory appetites. When we can so no to food, we can then easily say no to junk food, wasting time, and being negative. Fasting builds within us mental fortitude.
Fasting obviously has physical benefits too.
- Between 8 – 12 hours after your last meal, your blood sugar stabilizes and your insulin levels drop.1
- Between 12 and 18 hours, when your body runs out of glucose (blood sugar), and depletes muscle and liver stores of sugar, it then uses the liver to convert the fat on your body into ketones for energy. Simply put, you are burning fat for energy! Note that this only works when you’re NOT stressed. It is the combination of normal levels of epinephrine and low levels of insulin that contribute to you going into ketosis. Being stressed will prompt you to hunger and may prevent ketosis. Note also that you go into ketosis every night when you sleep, so it’s something you do daily.2 Also, your brain starts to release Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which helps the brain create new connections.
- After 24 hours, you enter autophagy where your body starts cleaning out toxins, old, sick, dying and dead cells. This process can clean out misfolded proteins in the brain that can lead to Alzheimer’s, kill cancer cells and reduce body-wide inflammation.
- Further, my trainer Jenwell, reminded me that the gut flora that contribute to me craving unhealthy food DIE from the lack of food.
Fasting builds within us physical fortitude.
Of course, fasting is a difficult process and one that requires medical and knowledgeable supervision, so make sure to talk to your doctor and health coach before you engage in it. When you are able to start, you will reap many spiritual, mental and physical benefits.