Fast Times

Over the centuries, fasting has been a large component of many cultures and has different motivations and meanings all over the world. Fasting is usually thought of as the voluntary abandonment of food for a chosen period of time in which followers lose weight fast. Contrary to that generalization, fasting can refer to many things and its intention is to deprive the follower of something that is considered a necessity. Fasters may deprive themselves of certain types of food, all food, drink and sexual deeds.

Many societies have members that fast for religious reasons. The intent of the fasting is to strengthen the follower’s beliefs and appreciation for their god and for the things they have been blessed with. In Greek Catholicism there are several fasting periods throughout the year that are seen as a time for the body and the soul to rejuvenate synergistic connection so that they remain as one entity. In Christianity, and many other religions, youth followers may choose to participate in sexual fasting. This is where young believers commit to abstain from sexual activity until they are betrothed or married to adhere to the guidelines of their religion.

Doctors may also require patients to fast before certain testing procedures or surgeries as a full stomach can interfere with the positioning of the organs and may cloud test results. Patients that fast will experience quick weight loss which can be gained back once the procedure is over.

Finally, fasting, or hunger striking, may become a last resort for political activists or cause protestors. Hunger strikes originated in Ireland and have been used all over the world by anthropologists, disgruntled workers, and political activists as a way of expressing their enduring dedication to their cause or to receive media awareness. For fasters, media attention places a spotlight on the issue of wrongdoing that may not receive any press coverage otherwise; it is a last resort to get the notice needed to force a change. Political and cause fasters are often removed from the situation and admitted into medical care because they lose weight, become dehydrated, start hallucinating or lose consciousness.

In the end fasting has many beneficial and detrimental effects and should be practiced with great knowledge and careful consideration.


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