In today’s fast-paced world, fasting has gained popularity as a powerful tool for improving both physical and mental well-being without needing any special recipes or specific regimens. And one fasting method that has gained considerable attention nowadays is the 36-hour fast, also known as the “monk fast”.
In this article, we will explore the details of the 36-hour fast, its origins, preparation, benefits, risks, and tips for a successful fasting experience.
- 1 What is a 36 hour fast?
- 2 Origins and significance of the Monk Fast
- 3 36 hour fast benefits
- 4 How to prepare for a 36 hour fast
- 5 How to break a 36 hour fast
- 6 Tips for a successful 36 hour fast
- 7 How often should you do a 36 hour fast?
- 8 Is the 36 hour fast suitable for everyone?
- 9 To sum up
- 10 Lose weight with fasting
What is a 36 hour fast?
A 36-hour fast involves abstaining from food for a period of 36 consecutive hours. During this time, only water and non-caloric beverages are consumed, while solid foods are avoided.
Generally, people who practice the 36-hour fast begin their fast on Monday after having their last meal in the evening, let’s say at 8 PM. Then they fast during the night, the following day (Tuesday), and the night that follows Tuesday. They finally break their fast on Wednesday morning at 8 AM, completing a 36-hour marathon.
Origins and significance of the Monk Fast
The practice of the 36-hour fast traces its roots back to ancient monastic traditions, where it was observed as a means of spiritual purification and discipline. Monks would undertake this fast to cultivate self-control, deepen their focus, and connect with their inner selves. Over time, the health benefits associated with this fasting practice became evident, leading to its adoption beyond religious contexts.
36 hour fast benefits
The 36-hour fast benefits both physical and mental well-being. Let’s explore some of the key advantages:
1. Enhanced autophagy
Autophagy is the body’s natural process of cellular renewal and repair. Research suggests that a 36-hour fast can trigger autophagy, leading to the removal of damaged cells and the promotion of overall cellular health and longevity
2. Improved cognitive function
Fasting has been shown to enhance brain function, including increased focus, mental clarity, and improved memory. The 36-hour fast may provide additional cognitive benefits by allowing the body to enter a state of ketosis, where the brain utilizes ketones for energy.
3. Fat burning and weight loss
As your body enters ketosis, it becomes highly efficient at burning fat for fuel. After 36 hours of fasting, your body relies primarily on fat stores to meet energy needs. Abstaining from calorie intake for such a long period can also contribute to creating a calorie deficit and weight loss.
4. Increased growth hormone production and other hormonal changes
Studies have indicated that fasting can stimulate the production of growth hormone, which plays a role in muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall vitality.
It may also help regulate insulin levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and support metabolic health.
5. Blood sugar regulation
Fasting can help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin resistance. This can be beneficial for individuals with conditions such as prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Note that fasting for 36 hours may not be suitable for people with type 1 diabetes and hypoglycemia.
6. Digestive rest
Fasting for a long time gives your digestive system a break from processing and metabolizing food. This rest period allows your gut to heal, repair, and optimize its functions.
7. Appetite suppression
8. Spiritual and emotional connection
The 36-hour fast, deeply rooted in spiritual practices, can create a sense of inner peace, mindfulness, and heightened awareness. Many individuals report experiencing a greater connection to their spiritual selves and a renewed sense of purpose.
How to prepare for a 36 hour fast
Before embarking on a 36-hour fast, it is essential to prepare your body and mind. Here are some steps to follow:
- Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it is advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before attempting a 36-hour fast.
- Gradually increase fasting duration: If you are new to fasting, start by gradually increasing the duration of your fasts. Begin with shorter fasting schedules like 14/10, 16/8, or 20/4 before attempting a 36-hour fast. You can get Fasting Kompanion to get help along the way.
- Stay well-hydrated: Hydration is crucial during fasting periods. Ensure you drink plenty of water and other non-caloric beverages (like black coffee, tea, and herbal teas without any sugar or milk) to stay hydrated throughout the fast. You can also drink a small amount of bone broth during fasting to replenish your electrolytes.
- Mental preparation: Mentally prepare yourself for the fasting period. Set clear intentions, focus on the benefits you hope to achieve and cultivate a positive mindset.
- Plan your meals accordingly: Before starting the fast, consume a well-balanced meal that includes lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to provide your body with essential nutrients. Avoid consuming excessive amounts of processed foods, sugary snacks, and caffeine leading up to the fast.
How to break a 36 hour fast
After completing your 36-hour fast, it is essential to ease back into eating gradually. Follow these guidelines for breaking the fast:
- Start with small portions: Choosing what to eat after a 36-hour fast may be as important as practicing the fasting itself. Begin with light, easily digestible foods such as fruits, vegetables, or soups. Avoid consuming heavy or greasy meals immediately after the fast.
- Chew your food thoroughly: Take your time while eating and chew your food thoroughly to aid digestion and prevent discomfort.
- Hydrate adequately: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to rehydrate your body after the fast.
Tips for a successful 36 hour fast
Abstaining from solid food and caloric beverages is no easy task, especially if you love socializing at restaurants and cafes. Here are some tips to help you have a successful and fulfilling experience during your 36-hour fast:
- Stay busy: Engage in activities that keep your mind occupied and distract you from thoughts of food. Consider pursuing hobbies, spending time in nature, or engaging in light exercise.
- Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body’s signals and adjust your fast accordingly. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, break your fast with a small, nutritious snack.
- Stay connected: Seek support from friends, family, or online communities who have experience with fasting. Sharing your journey and experiences can provide motivation and valuable insights.
- Maintain healthy sleep patterns: Get sufficient rest during your fast to support your body’s healing and recovery processes. Prioritize quality sleep to optimize the benefits of the fast.
- Do not try the monk fast during stressed periods: As fasting itself is a stressor for the body, especially a fast as long as this one, practicing it during very stressed periods of your life is not a good choice.
How often should you do a 36 hour fast?
The frequency of 36-hour fasts depends on individual preferences and health considerations. Some people choose to do a 36-hour fast once a week as a body detox, while others may opt for less frequent intervals. Listen to your body and adjust according to your needs.
Is the 36 hour fast suitable for everyone?
The 36-hour monk fast is a very advanced type of fasting, therefore it may not be suitable for everyone. Avoid practicing the 36-hour fast if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding,
- Are on your period,
- Are actively trying for a baby,
- Are underweight,
- Are using medications,
- Have a very physically active job,
- Have an eating disorder or a history of disordered eating
- Have thyroid problems,
- Have type 1 diabetes or hypoglycemia,
- Have kidney problems,
Although you don’t have any of these conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this fasting method.
Plus, bear in mind that this extreme version of fasting may not be suitable for women in general, as it may disrupt their hormonal balance.
To sum up
The 36-hour fast, also known as the monk fast, offers a unique opportunity to improve physical and mental well-being while exploring spiritual aspects of self-discipline and introspection. With proper preparation, guidance, and listening to your body, the 36-hour fast can be a transformative experience.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting a 36-hour fast, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.
Last Updated on August 2, 2023