Spiritual Health

Health - Spirituality
By: - at January 1, 2013

The Importance of Intermittent Water Fasting

Drinking water only during a fastBy unlocking some of the healing powers of water and doing some water fasting, an ancient ritual can be put to work to enhance your life.

There is a trend growing where we all want healthier and longer lives.  The health and nutrition market is turning into a trillion dollar market.  Almost everyone you speak to at the office or even on your way to the gym is growing more and more weight conscious, talking about trying to workout more or eat better.  There are tons of products out there claiming to be the proven solution for weight-loss.  What if you were told that you didn’t have to do much of anything but just drink water for a series of days intermittently, that would allow you to lose substantially more weight (while cleansing your body and mind at the same time) than you ever did by exercise and diet alone?

Weight Loss As a Powerful Trend
According to “Seeking Alpha” (a financial resource website) Weight Watchers recorded in 2011 annual revenue of $1.82 billion dollars, nearly an increase of 25 percent from 2010.  According to David Kirchhoff president and acting CEO, the dieting company saw what they referred to as “explosive” growth.  Believe it or not it’s not just the kinds of food you are eating, but the quantity of food as well.  The only way to truly make healthy changes in your body is through calorie restriction.  Let’s start with what water fasting is then go through some of the benefits of living a balanced healthy life by putting the healthy benefits of water fasting to work for you.

What is Water Fasting?
Water fasting is the intentional decision to not ingest any foods except for water for periods of time ranging from 1 to 30 days.  Technically a fast could be for only 24 hours, but in order to get the most out of water fasting, fasts should last up to 48-72 hours.

Intermittent water fasting generally means to simply take a 1-3 day break from food completely several times a month.  Intermittent fasting is also a great way to cleanse the body and get your metabolism regulated at a healthy rate.  When the body is running at a healthy and clean manner things begin to appear so clear.  Mental clarity as well as the physical improvement of eyesight during a fast are just some of the basic benefits to doing a water fast.  Please do not attempt anything longer than one day of fasting at first.  The stress of going from eating all the time to eating absolutely nothing can be a shock.  I recommend starting with just one day (like once a week) and then increasing the time you fast over time.

Benefits of Intermittent Water Fasting
Water fasting is simply the most powerful form of healing.  Water fasting is extremely therapeutic for joint damage, kidney and liver damage, cleaning out the smaller and larger intestinal walls promoting natural pro-biotic production, and of course weight loss.  Fasting enables you to enter the state of ketosis, a preservation stage where the body begins to heal itself at an incredible rate.

NOTE:  Just a quick aside, alcohol is one of the most damaging drugs out there and is the only truly legal mood altering substance other than food.




Food As a Drug
Food is Drugs TooIn my opinion, food should be thrown in the same category as street drugs and alcohol.  Food is quite similar to using drugs in that it brings about a change in the body that alters perception, mood, and temporarily changes the metabolism.  Combinations of foods produce different metabolic changes and with these changes come changes in the way we feel.

Think about eating too much food as a from of addiction.  When alcohol is only drank in moderation and not on a daily basis it is reasonably healthy to consume.  When it is consumed excessively and constantly, the body doesn't have any time to repair itself.  Similarly the mind begins to be effected where mood and personality can be altered after years of problem drinking.  In this sense food should only be consumed in a healthy and moderated way with damaging side effects similar to alcohol or drug addiction.  Eating tons of calories every day and packing unhealthy food into your body could be just as damaging on the body as drinking too much.

The same effects on the body are seen by overeating and by choosing poor food items to make up your diet.  Damage to the kidneys, liver, and to the circulatory system are caused by both eating too much unhealthy food as well as drinking too much.  A good way to curve eating poorly is to introduce fasting.  By giving your body some time off and a chance to clean out, eating questionable menu items can be less harmful on the body.   Funny anything done excessively is bad for the body including weight-lifting or other traditionally healthy activities that are only beneficial in moderation.

The best part about fasting is that physiological, spiritual, and emotional healing all comes from within.  No outside influence albeit it chemical or emotional is necessary.  All you need is a glass of water and some serious will power to fast successfully.  I am such a fasting fanatic because I never thought I'd feel this good from not eating a single thing.  I've personally used intermittent water fasting to lose a 100 pounds in just six months.  Somehow being empty just feels amazing and I really feel the only way to describe it for someone is to get them to try doing a fast so they can feel it for themselves.  There is definitely an inherent natural high associated with extended water fasting, and I have felt it.  Constantly altering diets, junk food binges, trying multiple fad diets and even exercising excessively can be potentially fatal in the long-run.  All of these activities have one thing in common in that they cause stress on the body and the mind.  Stress has been identified by medical professionals as the number one killer among adults worldwide.

Stress and Weight Gain
External stressors are the environmental factors surrounding us that we perceive to be causing us stress.  Not only does stress contribute to hypertension and heart disease but also to weight gain.  Too much stress can change the way your body breaks down food and makes your body inefficient.  Quite simply they are comprised of what we perceive to be the source of our daily stress such as school, work, and relationships.  Internal stress is the behavioral elements of our psyche that we have shaped through experiences and our current perception of reality and our own lives.  Stress is the interaction between environmental stressors and internal stressors and the emotional response is the merger of both external and internal stressors.  Internal and external stressors interact to make us feel paralyzed, possibly trapped spiritually, or however stress manifests and feels inside of you.  To become one with our surroundings whether it be nature, family, friends, colleagues, there is an extremely simplistic approach to bringing some harmony into our everyday lives.  The more calm you feel naturally the better you will cope with external factors.  By fasting regularly a better state of calmness and happiness can be achieved.  Stress ultimately will make you look, feel, and become unhealthy if it is managed inappropriately.

Ketosis - The All Powerful Healing State
Water fasting works extremely well because it allows your body to enter the state of ketosis, which enables the body to finally heal at a rate you cannot achieve than if you were to eat food continuously every day.  Ketosis essentially means the body has burned up all of it's immediate energy from food, including any stored sugar in the body in the form of glycogen, and then reverts to burning up your fat stores for energy (including any other "gunk" you have in your body).

Remember only through fasting and sticking to extremely low-calorie diets can the true deep healing powers of ketosis be achieved.  Continuing to eat two/three eight hundred calorie meals every day for an entire lifetime, the body will generally never enter deep ketosis and does not have a chance to repair thoroughly through fasting.  It takes roughly 24-36 hrs to achieve ketosis and this varies on the composition of the last meal before the fast, how damaged the body is, how often the subject fasts or has fasted in the past, and how fast your metabolism is.  You can purchase ketosis test strips to truly tell when you have entered ketosis from fasting.

Using an Ancient Technique
Shaman FastingUsed for thousands of years by shamans, holy men, and major religions throughout the world, fasting has been seen as a gateway to physical and emotional balance as well as a means to spiritual enlightenment. I personally have not attempted a thirty day fast myself but the longest I have done is 9 days. To fast is to abstain from something completely and to make your body completely devoid of any and all outside influences. Many who are religious see this as a purification ritual and it is practiced by both the Judaic and Islamic cultures (Yom Kippur and Ramadan are the holidays for each religion where fasting is practiced).  Even in Catholicism lent could be considered a form of fasting by giving something up for an entire month and not eating meat on Fridays.  Again to fast is to restrict deliberately by choice. In this day and age religion is a difficult topic to find common ground so to get everyone on the same page let me be abundantly clear.  Even if you are an atheist you can still benefit from fasting.  Fasting is in no way reserved for the religious and many have found themselves through fasting instead of religion when they needed emotional or spiritual guidance.  The difference is guidance came from within and not from somewhere or someone else.  The self-reliant nature of fasting and recognizing that our bodies do have the capability to repair has seemed to be forgotten with the advances in medical science and the proliferation of pharmaceuticals.

Spiritual Connection
Spirituality and religionHaving an understanding of who we really are as a person inside is extremely important to self actualization.  By not achieving self actualization one leads a very dangerous life where they are inherently dishonest with themselves. This can lead to contempt, a much shorter life, and a lot less happiness.

All three of the religions mentioned above use fasting. Seen in the practice of ritualistic fasting, fasting has been historically used to increase spiritual consciousness, probably for eternity. The act is spiritually enlightening, fasting opens all kinds of doors inward towards the soul, and increases spiritual consciousness to a point that cannot be achieved without practicing fasting.  The sensations must be stemming from the body entering ketosis and are hard to describe.  Everything seems new and clean, almost like a rebirth or something.  Thoughts pass slowly and clearly through the brain extremely efficiently.  The sensation feels so good that fasting does have some addiction potential associated with it.  But this is a very good addiction, as long as you go about it intelligently and stick with intermittent water fasting on a continuous basis.

Conclusion
Intermittent water fasting is amazing, and I am so happy I discovered this a few years ago, it has totally changed my life for the better.  I have to warn anyone attempting their first water fast. At first you may experience a major healing crisis, which can be difficult to go through, but it is will worth it in the end.  Often, first time fasters experience pain and mood changes but I implore you to not give up!  Eventually, you will come to love fasting, you will want to do it more and more often. with it, you will live a longer, happier, and more fulfilling life.  Do yourself a favor and make one goal to experience ketosis and do at least a five day water fast sometime in the future and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Have you ever water fasted before? What was your longest fast? Please write these below down in the comments!


 

 

 

 

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