3 Reasons to Fast and Mini Steps on How to Start Slowly

Fasting is meant to awaken us to the hunger of the world, not just our own hunger. - John Piper

Being minimalist doesn’t mean just in regard to tangible possessions. Being minimalist also applies to your living environment, work space, savoring the moment without adding anything to it that is unnecessary, appreciating quiet solitude, limiting the amounts of bad food consumed, limiting the amount of food consumed-period (read: gluttonous behaviors), slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life. This post will focus on how fasting, a minimalist state of mind in conjunction with a period of time with very minimal intake of food (in this case, none), can “awaken us to the hunger of the world.”

Recently, I’ve incorporated weekly fastings into my training and health regimen. They are not super long stretches by any means. I’ve read of some humans having fasted for over 2 months without food or water! Brother Yun in The Heavenly Man is such a man, having fasted for 74 days while in prison for being a Christian. Still many others have fasted well over 100, 200, and even 300 days (read Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell). Incredible. And here I am thinking 24 hours is long.

Fasting does not have to always be associated with religious beliefs, observing religious holidays, or taking a political stance. For me, I’ve integrated fasting for several reasons, 3 of which are below.

3 Reasons to Fast and Mini Steps on How to Start Slowly

1) Detox your body. We carry a lot of waste, bacteria, and junk in our systems from all that we eat and drink throughout the day. No wonder we feel bloated, sick, cramped, fatigued, lethargic, and moody. We’re over-taxing our system! If it’s true what they say, “You are what you eat,” then most of us are crap.

Mini Step #1: In order to give your system a little rest, drink only water for a short period of time, say 3 hours to start off with. Do not eat or drink anything else. If that becomes easy, bump it up to 5 hours. Continue that progression until you’ve reached a point where you are experiencing a solid fasting state. That state is different for everyone, depending on your health conditions, your needs, your reasons for fasting, your schedule, etc.

2) Weight loss technique. If you have those last few pounds that you just cannot lose, fasting can be a weight loss technique. However, although you may lose some weight, most of it initially will be just water weight rather than pounds of fat. In order to burn 1 lb. of fat, there needs to be a deficit of 3,500 calories (whether that is through eating less/nothing or burning calories through exercise or both). Fasting may not necessarily bring you super close to your goal right away but it is something you can start integrating into your regimen. Just keep in mind the reasons why you are choosing to do this and stay focused.

Mini Step #2: For one day, jot down what you’ve eaten and drank from morning until night. This can be on a scratch piece of paper or on a text pad in your computer. At the end of the day, look at what you’ve consumed. Does the list look more like a grocery list? Scary, huh? If this motivates you to stay on track with a good exercise routine and diet, then fasting is just another tool to get you one step closer to a healthier weight.

3) Change your state of mind. Granted, fasting looks quite similar to starving yourself, and essentially, it is. But at the same time, it is much more than not eating food. It is a state of mind. Your mind has control over your body and you will realize the power of your mind by feeling the hunger, accepting it, and continuing on. Fasting brings about a heightened sense of awareness. Somehow, the absence of food constantly being digested in our stomach leaves us more room to think, breathe, meditate. It is quite transformational.

Mini Step #3: When you start to feel the hunger pangs, slowly breathe in and exhale out. Acknowledge the hunger. This is an exercise in sensing what your body wants to tell you and being more in tuned with it. Now accept the hunger as is, and move on.

I’ve found it easier to do my longer fasts over the weekend when I’m not at the office. I have more time to myself and can really focus on being in tune with my body. I’ll add some mini fasts during the workweek if I have martial arts training that I really want to concentrate on. You’d be surprised how resourceful our own bodies are. There is an abundant source of energy your body can find when it needs it. Fasting is a way to let your body find what it needs, and in the process, you may find what you’ve been searching for all along.


Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional medical/health practitioner. All of the above reasons and steps on how to start fasting slowly are completely created from my own experiences. Please consult with your physician before embarking on a new path to a healthier lifestyle.

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  1. Jonathan says:

    3) is important… in order to persevere on fasting, a person needs to have discipline. Focusing on our hunger will only make us even more hungry =)

    So during fasting – it’ll be much easier if a person can focus on something else… for example, read a book; meditation; pray; or talk with others/do something for others; or even take a nap will help.

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