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Does fasting really improve your health?

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

For those of you who follow my instagram page, you might have noticed me talk about fasting or say things like "time to break my fast" plenty of times over the year. I’ve even talked about how excited I get for the month of Ramadan, and shared tips on fasting in the past.

Fasting is not a practice that I am unfamiliar with. Being raised muslim, it has always been a part of my life and culture. I grew up watching my parents, siblings and other people around me fast during Ramadan. For as long as I can remember, I have been fasting during Ramadan. As a young kid, I really didn't take it seriously. Up to my teens, I was able to fast but struggled to maintain physical strength. That however was never a deterrent for me attempting, and doing my best because I actually loved the reasons why we fasted. I loved the idea that I was devoting myself to my faith and strengthening my relationship with God, and also building up compassion and empathy for those who were not fortunate enough to have a meal everyday. But as much as I loved the idea, it simply wasn’t enough to get me through an entire month of not eating from sunrise to sunset. It wasn’t until 2018, when I decided to no longer take antidepressants to cope with depression and anxiety, and was doing a lot of research on holistic practices that could help me that I realize how important it is.

Fasting was something that I came upon when I had just begun to put my faith in God and work on my spiritual connection. I read a lot of articles, both religious and scientific to inform my decision to continue to fast. It wasn't until this time that I started to really learn about the process for myself, and to understand the mechanism of fasting. Now that I am older, and have learned more about proper ways of fasting, I have extended the practice outside of the month of Ramadan. I don't have any specific days that I fast outside of Ramadan. I like to fast whenever I feel called to do so. I fast when things are going well or not too well. I fast when I am looking for answers or a connection to the universe.

Fasting helps keep me aligned and maintain my connection to my spirituality. I use it to also maintain my overall mental health and manifest the things that I want in my life, which I think is one of the best ways I have used it. Because fasting is all about discipline and control, it expands my day in a way that helps keep me focused on the things that are most important to me. Fasting helps keep me spiritually full and well balanced. I am able to show more gratitude for my life no matter what I’m going through. When I fast, I feel spiritually aligned and use it to pray and ask for guidance. Because my mind is at its clearest during the times I fast, I feel like I can hear, feel and see signs about the things I pray for a lot better. Other benefits of fasting I experience are feeling whole and less anxious , feeling connected and trusting the course of timing of the universe, feeling safe and grounded.

I know fasting is becoming more of a trend for "health" or fitness or weight lost, but I do want to make it clear that I do not have any intentions to manipulate this into a weight loss program; plus, there have been many times I’ve fasted and actually ended up gaining weight. My main purpose for fasting is to connect to something greater than myself. It is something that keeps my spiritual channel clear, and my mind, body and soul connected.

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