Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Sometimes when people find out that I fast during Ramadan their response is, ‘I could not go all day without food and water.’ Fasting is not as hard as people think it is. The first three days are usually the toughest as the body adjusts to a new regime. It actually adapts itself very quickly to hunger and dehydration.
A headache on the third day is about as bad as it gets for me and that is due to dehydration, because as soon as I have a drink the headache goes away, and toxins leaving my body. Fasting is actually a great treat for the body. Fasting is second nature to animals who avoid food when in pain.
Fasting does not necessarily mean the body will shed weight because the metabolism slows down and the body goes into starvation mode. The body will use muscle as fuel for protein to feed the brain. The same principle of weight loss applies in fasting that if the intake of calories exceeds the output of energy the body will lay down the extra calories as fat. Very often it is stored on the stomach area.
One thing I do notice when fasting is that I start to get a natural dislike for certain foods. Even foods I would eat prior to fasting. Yet other foods seem tastier than before. I have always had a deep appreciation for food, even as a child and I try to give my body mostly what it needs rather than what I want. It has not yet started to crave meat or fish which I gave up eating nearly ten weeks ago.
People who smoke tobacco seem to have a harder time with fasting than those who do not smoke. The same goes for people who drink alcohol or coffee. People who regularly eat spicy food also have a hard time in the first few days. In the absence of these substances they feel nervous, irritable and angry. But after some time the body begins to settle into fasting.
Greater mental lucidity comes with fasting because it frees up the mind and gives greater clarity to get things done. Without the continued input of food into the system the body has a lighter feeling about it. Fasting also turns you inward so that self-contemplation allows the mind and soul to connect to the Creator, to the Earth and to those who inhabit it.
Everyone’s experience of fasting is different. God decreed fasting for every able human being. Here are some of the benefits of fasting:
Rest for digestive organs
Reduction of allergies
Right use of will