Abstaining from food, and sometimes drink, for various reasons has been part of human history for thousands of years, whether for religious, ritual, ethical or health purposes. The avoidance of food for health reasons has been a part of medical history since Hippocrates himself advocated for it back in the 5th century BC.
National Fasting February is here to act as a reminder to think about, plan for and practice fasting on a regular basis!
History of National Fasting February
National Fasting February was established to raise awareness for and promote the health benefits of being more aware of and careful about when you eat. As far back as the 1940s, research has been done to show the impact of restricting food at certain intervals which, at least in lab rats, had the benefit of extending the lifespan.
In more recent years, the popularity around the idea of intermittent fasting for humans has grown. Intermittent fasting involves switching between eating and not eating on a regular schedule, for certain hours during the day. Unlike a “diet” that restricts the amount of food or type of food eaten, fasting is more about controlling when food is taken into the body.
Intermittent fasting can offer health benefits such as weight loss, reduced inflammation and disease caused by inflammation, increased insulin sensitivity with reduced insulin levels, lowered blood pressure, better heart health and much more.
National Fasting February offers a chance for everyone to learn more about and personally discover the benefits of a healthy, fasting lifestyle!
How to Celebrate National Fasting February
Taking part in National Fasting February offers a bit of motivation toward the end of the dark winter to make some lifestyle changes. Whether it only lasts for the 28 days of the month or carries over into a longer term practice, here are some ideas for how to celebrate National Fasting February:
Experiment with Intermittent Fasting
Several different options exist for intermittent fasting that revolve around how long the periods of fasting vs. eating are. One of the most popular methods is 16/8, where a person abstains from calories (ingesting only water, black coffee and black tea) for 16 hours a day and eats for 8 hours per day, often from noon to 8pm. Other options may include a weekly 24 hour fast (don’t eat from dinner to dinner) or a 5:2 plan where you eat normally for five days and fast for two.
Before trying out a new diet such as intermittent fasting, don’t forget to check with a healthcare professional to make sure it is a wise choice.
Learn More About Fasting
National Fasting February is a great time to brush up on learning and these might be some great books to explore on the topic:
- The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore (2016)
- The Fast Diet by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer (2015)
- The Obesity Code by Jason Fung (2016).
- Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon (2007).