Foregoing regular diet, change of diet, less quantity of food intake, skipping food for part of the day or whole day are all different ways of fasting. Fasting has been in practice for ages, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
Many people observe fasting during different times of the year for different reasons. Muslims are now fasting as it is the Ramzan month when they fast for 11 – 16 hours a day. And Christians fast for 40 days prior to Easter. Among the Hindus, it has become part of their religion and fasting on special days like Ekadashi and Navarathri is considered auspicious.
Many people fast for different reasons, but the basic reason is to maintain good mental, physical and spiritual health.
Why fasting is necessary?
Fasting helps us give a kind of rest to our bodies. When we go on an outing, we try to take a break after every 3 to 4 hours of travel. This provides a refreshing break for our bodies and for the vehicle. In every manufacturing unit, machines are shut down for a few days a year for maintenance and overhauling, to ensure smooth running throughout the year. When lifeless machines are given rest to recuperate, then don't you think even our own body needs to take a break and detoxify?
As long as our body works properly, we are healthy. In order to maintain good health, we have to give rest to our stomach and the digestive system for it to recoup.
One-day fasting when done in a methodical and regular manner provides the kind of rest that helps our digestive system. It also aids in the elimination of toxins from our body.
How fasting helps in weight loss
Our life style, food habits, work culture and many other factors contribute to weight gain. When we follow our normal diet, the carbohydrates we consume will directly get converted into fat again and any fatty foods will also get stored in the adipose tissue. By fasting, our body starves causing it to crave for food. But when we don’t respond to the needs of the body, it will respond by burning its own fat reserves, resulting in some amount of weight loss. Fasting also decreases production of insulin, resulting in increase of lipolysis or breaking down of fats.
Fasting is Not Advised for Pregnant, Lactating Women, Children, People with Health Issues
Pregnant or lactating women, diabetics, kids under 18 and anyone with underlying medical problems should not fast. In addition, if you are taking prescription drugs you should avoid fasting to avoid unpredictable reactions. You should rather consider a wholesome and balanced diet by including more fresh veggies and fruits.
Word of caution: Prolonged fasting without proper medical supervision can be harmful.