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Do you guys fast? How often? What do you think of monastic lifestyle of fasting in the evening? What are the health implications?



  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    I've done retreats whereby there is no evening meal. It is great for meditation. You don't need the extra calories as you are sitting and walking and that's pretty much it.

    I lost a lot of weight and strength over the two weeks. I think it's great doing this a few times a year but as a lifestyle I'm not sure.

    Muslims do this for a month but they also lose weight and their stomaches shrink. Ramadan. I'm sure they would have great concentration.during prayers though.

  • mmommo Veteran

    I also plan to go on retreats later on. Just to prepare myself, I am into finding out more about fasting. And if it helps with my sittings, it would be great too.

    Immediate benefit, i can think of is that, fasting removes the hussle for me to prepare meals in the evening. :)

    I think Muslims don't even drink water, that is a bit too advanced for me. I like to stick to my veggie smoothies though.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    I am on the second day of a fast. I'll probably break it this evening. I fast when I feel the urge...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It very much depends what a person classifies as a fast, @mmo ....

    Some people consider a small morning meal, followed by an evening light snack, (Such as a clear vegetable broth) to be 'fasting'. Others consider merely drinking water or herbal teas, and nothing else, for 24 hours, to be a fast.
    Personally, it's an excellent thing to do.
    I actually limit my intake to a pre-determined number of calories (500) two days a week. And they're 'healthy' calories; vegetables and/or proteins...

    I am a dedicated fan of what has been termed 'The Fast Diet' but not 'fast' as in speed, but fast as in restricted intake.

    And furthermore, I honestly resist calling it a 'diet'. (Even though the two main proponent authors call it that. More for the sake of expediency than accuracy....)

    It's actually a different way of approaching your food intake.

    They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but this isn't actually true: It depends on different factors and different people, but generally, it can take around 2 months. 66 days has been scientifically assessed as a standard period of time for someone to practice a particular behaviour every day, consecutively, until they would miss it if they stopped.

    So I am 2 weeks into re-educating my body to accept less food; I'm 2 weeks into understanding that feeling 'a little bit hungry' isn't a bad thing. (If I get a hunger pang, I don't respond to it, even by reaching for a 'healthy snack'. I ignore it. To my surprise, it goes away after about 15 minutes. )

    It's well worth investigating, because it supports a healthy reprogramming of the way we approach food.
    Currently, most of us could say that our relationship with food is that we are never hungry.

    We condition children to eat, whenever they are bored, or need distraction. I would suggest you watch how many children are being fed something - even if it's in a bottle - while they are sitting in their strollers, by parents who would prefer to keep the child in a good mood.
    So from a very early age, we are taught that just sitting, doing very little, should be accompanied by our chewing on something. Even watching TV, many adverts push food on us.

    So fasting seems to be a big thing; a huge step in self-deprivation, a move towards the ultimate sacrifice. Denying ourselves nourishment is seen as some kind of achievement. In fact, there is no recognised religion that DOESN'T at some point, advocate self-denial. Ramadan for muslims, Yom Kippur for Jewish people, Lent for Christians, and Hindus have Puja days once a week when fasting is recommended....

    But fasting is something I personally believe we should all incorporate into our habitual lives, as a matter of course. We really should (and again, this honestly is my opinion) develop a new attitude to food, regular intake, and the regime that somehow compels us to always have something at hand, to put into our mouths.

    That's one habit most definitely worth breaking.....

    Sorry to have expanded so much....

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    ^^^ Good stuff...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Seen on another forum, today - a quote from the late Richard Jeni...

    There is an obesity epidemic. One out of every three Americans weighs as much as the other two.

    I know it's a great concern to many, but I am personally convinced that it's an attitude change, not a diet, that's required.....

  • mmommo Veteran

    @federica, :) it is very detailed advice. Thanks for the fast diet link. There is a related programme on bbc too, which is recommended by one of my coworkers.


    It was interesting that fasting improves the aging process in the brain too, by increasing the grey matter in the brain. This sounds like one of meditation benefits too. It is probably what @Earthninja said about fasting helping concentration.

    For a start, I plan to do just dinner fasting.

    • A good sized breakfast with eggs and etc
    • Rice and some mixed vegetable fry for lunch
    • As snacks, I will still eat a fruit or veg like small portion of root vegetables crisps, banana or carrots with hummus in the evening. But no heavy dinner.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I often end up more with a fasting morning. We eat our meals about every 4 hours due to a diabetic kid. But I frequently skip breakfast because I am not ready to eat yet. So I might eat dinner at 6pm, but not eat again until 11-1 the next day. Our dinner is our family meal, we all eat together at the table so that is not something I am willing to give up.

  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    I always make a pretty big supper. Mrs. Walker is used to eating once a day, in the evening, so I like to sit down with her and eat. My breakfast is usually pretty light, toast and juice, sometimes a piece of fruit and/or cheese. I do graze quite a bit during the day, occasionally I'll have a fairly large lunch, but not like I did 20 years ago. My metabolism has slowed a lot since then. Heck, I could polish off a large pizza and not feel bloated. Probably take me three days to finish a pizza now.

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