“Instead of looking outside of ourselves and counting potential enemies, fasting summons us to turn our glance inward, and to take the measure of our greatest challenge: the self, the ego, in our own eyes and as others see us.” – Tariq Ramadan
Water fasting, is increasingly becoming a potent procedure to restore, reverse, restart and repair not just the digestive system, but also the filters of the body like nose, lungs, kidneys, liver etc. Everyday we expose ourselves to polluted air, unhealthy food habits, dehydration, and lifestyle disorders etc. Therefore, it is important to cleanse and detox the system to maintain good health. The ancient technique of fasting allows the body to direct all the attention to the healing and detoxifying measures rather than investing energy in digesting. As we fast, everything that is lying as reserve is used and all that that is not needed is consumed as for major cleansing. This includes consumption of bacteria, fibroids, tumors, impure blood, build around joints, fat etc.
Let us first understand how the fast works and then learn the benefits of the fast:
How Water Fast Works?
During fasting, our body goes through a lot of changes all ranging from detoxification and healing as discussed above which is a long process in itself. As we start off with the fast, the first three days are the most significant and rewarding because the major changes take place during this time. The source of fuel will change completely within 72 hours after start of water fasting. As opposed to food we will now derive energy from proteins and fats within the body. Excess energy is usually stored in our liver as form of excess sugar or glycogen whereas the everyday energy from food is converted as glucose before use. The excess sugar in the liver is good enough for 10 to 12 hours, but with low activity we can expect to use this for 24 hours. Once the excess energy is over, our body turns to protein and fat in the body and this process of using energy from fatty acids is called ketosis.
The entire process of shift of fuel source takes place on the 2nd and 3rd Day of the fast. The body derives fuel from two sources: firstly, it converts glycerol stored in the fat cells to glucose and secondly, it uses the process of catabolizing, which means breaking down the amino acids present in the muscle tissue and convert it to glucose. So, in all, a total of 60-84 grams of protein are converted from 2-3 ounces of muscles in the first two days and by now the protein content in the body starts to get conversed rapidly.
After this a total amount of ½ to 1 ounce of muscle tissue every day is consumed to produce 18 to 25 grams of protein needed for everyday functioning. While the fat tissues or adipose tissue starts to rapidly breakdown after the third day for required energy levels and within 7 days of fasting a large amount of fatty acids have been broken down. Also, the body starts to seek for other non protein sources that can be converted into energy like tumors, fibroids, degenerative tissues like build up around joints, bacteria, virus etc.
Benefits of Water Fasting
Fasting has been used extensively for many patients for a variety of diseases under guided supervision. The healing benefits of fasting have been helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and physique as well. But many of us fast for the mere purpose of weight loss. I would say, water fasting is so much more. Let us not limit to a certain goal. This is not to say that weight loss will not occur, but this is not a reason enough to follow the procedure of water fasting. Benefits of Water fasting are as follows:
- One of the most immediate benefits that one can experience during fasting itself is a deeper connection to the inner recess of our being. It is said that your meditation work or any other healing modalities you wish to practice offer greater results during this time. Your mind becomes clearer, brain fog disappears or distractions etc. and you are more in sync with your prana.
- While detoxifying the body, diseases like inflammation and autoimmune diseases can be combated effectively as well. Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, lupus, etc. all of these autoimmune disorders have reduced considerably with water fasting.
- People with high LDL, cholesterol, heart related disorders like chronic cardiovascular diseases could also benefit from water fasting.
- Working with the fat tissues and excess stored fat, it is known to be effective on positively influencing metabolism in the long run and helps in reducing obesity or fat content in the body.
- Mental disorders like epilepsy, seizures etc. As well type II diabetes can be cured by performing this form of fast.
- The lungs, nostril passages and the breathing system improve drastically. One can expect increased focused, attention span, higher energy levels etc. by practicing water fasting. Also, the immunity levels enhances with cleansing and detoxification.
- As per Gaian studies, “Other diseases that have responded to fasting are: psychosomatic disease, neurogenic bladder, psoriasis, eczema, thrombophlebitis, varicose ulcers, fibromyalgia, neurocirculatory disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, bronchial asthma, lumbago, depression, neurosis, schizophrenia, duodenal ulcers, uterine fibroids, intestinal parasites, gout, allergies, hay fever, hives, multiple sclerosis, and insomnia.”
- It also cleanses and balances the chakras as our food largely denotes which chakra is most active. As a form of resting period we can expect to enjoy a decent amount of chakra balancing on its own. People who are finding it difficult to tread their spiritual pathway can highly benefit from water fasting as well.
- Lastly, people experience youthfulness, longevity and reduction in age symptoms like wrinkles, under eye bags, grey hair etc.
Many of us are moved by all these benefits from water fasting, but are unable to take that leap of faith and perform the fast themselves. Fear is not taking us anywhere except for keeping us stuck, so overcome the fear of going without food just for 1 or 3 day to start with. And if your work schedule is a barrier, really, apply for leaves. I know it is not easy, but I would say the word ‘perspective’ because what are really doing? Living for work or working to live? It is all about choices.