Redefining Fasting


A Tool for Living Abundantly by Jordan Rubin

Modern life revolves around eating.

From family gatherings and date nights to holidays and religious celebrations, eating is always involved—and in most cases, food is the centerpiece of the event. Food is also a source of comfort. It can provide solace when stressed and a satisfying way to pass the time when bored. People eat when they are thirsty and when they are tired. People eat out of habit. People eat because of social pressure.

It is also interesting to note that the Bible is not short on references to food. From Genesis to Revelation, God continually reveals the importance of food. In fact, in the gospels alone, food is mentioned at least ninety times, and eating is mentioned over 100 times. God designed us to eat!

What he did not design us for was to eat past the feeling of satiety. He did not create us to eat when we are not hungry or eat because we are bored or stressed. He did not design us to fill up on nutritionally empty foods and sugary drinks that cause dysfunction in the body. God also did not plan for us to eat around the clock.

As much as we were designed to eat, we were also designed to fast. Your body already does it every single night. That’s why breakfast is made of the works break and fast, because that is what eating after a period of no food does. It breaks a period of fasting. What we’ve gotten wrong is how long to abstain from food each day.

The problem is most people “live to eat.” We are also in a big hurry all the time. Fast-food signs serve as beacons of relief on the way home from the office after a long day, offering an instant family dinner for under twenty dollars. We’ve become wired to equate food with fun, family, friendship, and familiarity. We’ve also come to expect meals to be overly salty, fatty, sweet, and convenient.

On the other hand, society tells us that being obese, overweight, or even just a “normal” size is unattractive. We are fat-shamed by images on the screen, in advertisements, and on social media of paper-thin women and men with chiseled physiques. These conflicting messages have left us with unsatisfying solutions for balancing when and what to eat with our hectic lives. To many, the word diet itself represents taking away the joy of eating.

Add the word fasting into the mix, and you’ll send plenty of people running as quickly as they can in the other direction as words such as starving, hungry, and dangerous often come to mind. It’s a mess. If we want to fix it, we must strip away our preconceived notions of what food represents and what fasting is and is not, and then arm ourselves with strategies that produce results based on specific goals.

If you’re thinking, “I can’t fast because I don’t want to give up food” or, “I can’t fast because of my condition,” then take heart. We promise there is a fast that is right for you. We are not going to tell you that the only fasting option is to go without food and to drink only water. Although that is one type of fast, there are many different varieties— some are more challenging, and some are surprisingly easy to implement.

At this point in your health journey, you have probably figured out that there are no quick fixes. There are no magic pills. There is no such thing as a diet or workout program that allows you to eat whatever you want whenever you want and still lose weight and feel better. The silver bullet for health and weight loss? It just doesn’t exist. The sooner we collectively come to terms with that, the sooner we can start finding real and proven ways to feel and look better. Instead of searching for that silver bullet, more people now realize that the ancient healing traditions of the past hold the answers we need.

Fasting developed from the earliest recorded times as something that was intrinsically beneficial to not only the spirit but also to the body. Fasting is a tradition that has weathered the test of time. If this were a harmful practice, it would not have been utilized and promoted by some of the most prominent figures in history and medicine.

We believe that more than anything else, fasting is about unlocking the healer within in order for you to experience a genuine breakthrough. When we say breakthrough, we are talking about catapulting your life to an entirely new level—not a tiptoe, not even a walk to the next line, but a genuine transformation where strongholds are removed, and you can finally get your health where it needs to be. You can accomplish all of this through fasting—the not-so-hidden secret from the Bible that has been largely forgotten in modern times until recently.

According to the prehistoric Germanic etymology of the word we know today as fasting, the original meaning was “to hold firmly” and evolved into the idea of “having firm control of oneself.” To us, that is incredibly accurate, because when you fast, you take control—control over your own body and over food addictions and habits that may have led you down the path to dysfunction and disease.

Fasting can do things in your life that no other health practice can. That’s why for thousands of years great men and women of God have fasted, and that’s also why your breakthrough is only a fast away.

In life, there’s always a balance. We’re not expecting you to give up Thanksgiving or stop eating all the foods you love. What we are saying is that fasting will open doors for you that have remained closed for far too long. Fasting will show you just how strong you are and just how much control you have over your health. Fasting will help you appreciate food in new and exciting ways!

No man knows the day or hour he will pass from this earth. That is not in our control. What is in our control is how well we live out the days we are given. Use fasting as a tool to get the most out of every day you have.

Reprinted from Essential Fasting: 12 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and Other Fasting Plans for Accelerating Weight Loss, Crushing Cravings, and Reversing Aging. Copyright © 2020 by Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe. Published by Destiny Image.