Author Topic: Fasting & Maintaining a Healthy Weight?  (Read 1966 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Jennifer

  • guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,154
Fasting & Maintaining a Healthy Weight?
« on: January 29, 2004, 01:33:32 AM »
I'm curious, in the experience of the people here are Orthodox Christians (because they are supposed to fast) thinner than the average American.  According to something I just read, only 1/3rd of Americans are at a healthy weight.  The average American, of course, eats a terrible diet 365 days a year.  However, an Orthodox Christian is theoretically supposed to fast about a third of the year.

Does that much fasting lead to a healthy weight?  Or is it like yo-yo dieting?  

I ask because I'm a terrible faster.  One reason being that I'm terrified of gaining any weight after the fast is over.  Conventional wisdom is that if you deny yourself for a short time, you'll lose muscle mass, therefore when you start eating a normal diet again you'll gain weight because your metabolism has slowed down.  

Truth be told, I don't fast.  I'm incredibly obsessive-compulsive about my diet and so I trick myself into thinking that I'm already thinking about every single thing I put in my mouth and how is that different from fasting?  My old priest, who was obsessed with fasting, would gripe me out if he heard me say that.  But he's overweight so I would discount what he had to say.  I'm one of those "oh my gosh...I gained a pound!" freak-out people.  

1)  Did fasting make you gain weight?  
2)  If you have been obsessive-compulsive about your diet in the past, did fasting make you either more or less obsessive-compulsive about it?  
3)  Did fasting wreck havoc on your exercise plan?  I'm especially worried about strenght training since I'm convinced that it's key to maintaining a healthy weight.  

Offline Byzantino

  • Me Ortodox
  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 353
  • Orthodox Christian
Re:Fasting & Maintaining a Healthy Weight?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2004, 03:15:05 AM »

Know how you feel about the obssessive-compulsive tendency...i used to be a bodybuilder...back then life was all about food.

I've been on quite a strict diet by anyone's standards for about 2-3 years for health reasons. No junk food, no sweets or desserts, nothing with msg or colouring and flavouring, wine, beer, cheese and milk. Astonishingly since my digestive health started improving 3 or so months ago I actually put on weight adhering to such a strict diet, but it may have had more to do with the weight training exercise i'm doing.

I've only found fasting/dieting to be a problem if one has hypoglycemia; the cravings and other severe symptoms make fasting quite impossible and very dangerous. The problem of weight gain during a fast is attributed more to poor eating habits, like eating large quantities, and no exercise at the same time. It also depends on the kind of exercise you're doing and the intensity.  

I'd just stick to a diet customised to your health and lifestyle, one that won't wreak havoc on your physical or mental health, eg. don't deny yourself of essential fatty acids or proteins. This isn't the 4th Century anymore...we're constantly on the go and the quality of our food has deteriorated, so we need to ensure we're taking in the right amount of calories, vitamins and minerals lest we do serious damage to our health.

Offline ania

  • Life according to Abe Simpson:
  • guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,097
Re:Fasting & Maintaining a Healthy Weight?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2004, 11:02:25 AM »
For a lot of people it depends on what foods they eat during lent...  I have friends who lose weight during lent, & others who gain.  A lot of Russians tend to eat pasta, potatos, and not a lot of veggies during lent, which, if your watching your crabs, is disasterous.  Others go the pretty much all veggie all the time route, which isn't that great either...  some gain, some loose.  
And when fast is over, just take it easy on the sweets after the first couple days that you just can't seem to say no to some of your mom's rum-cake.  I know that on the first day after lent, saying no to anything non-fasting is almost impossible, especially when you have sweet little old babushki stuffing pirojzniyi (pastries) into your pockets.  
Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Offline Schultz

  • Christian. Guitarist. Scooterist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,659
  • Scion of the McKeesport Becks.
Re:Fasting & Maintaining a Healthy Weight?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2004, 11:13:04 AM »
Slava Isusu Christu!

I'm a voracious carnivore.  I love meat, all kinds, be it steak, chicken, pork, venison, and everything in between.  I'm also a devout fan of cheese and drink a glass of milk daily, during non-fast periods.  But I also eat bread and other carb-laden foods constantly.  Being 6'5", 230# makes one eat alot.

Oh, and I'm not a big veggie eater.  I regularly consume just a few different ones and that's it.  Not big on fruits, either.  My body pretty much runs on simple carbs quelled from bread-like foods.  The daily multivitamin helps, too.

During fast periods, I tend to eat like a Russian: lots of pasta, and I mean LOTS of pasta.  Yet I don't seem to lose much weight, if I do at all...maybe 5# the entire 40 days of Great Lent.  I've been blessed with a metabolism that can somehow easily switch between my regular carnivorous diet and a carb-laden diet.  I don't really up the exercise regimen much during fast periods, either.  I can't quite explain it, but I'm darned glad my body works this way.
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Linus7

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,780
Re:Fasting & Maintaining a Healthy Weight?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2004, 01:25:30 PM »
I have not seen any signs that we Orthodox are any thinner or healthier than the general population.

I did notice that my old priest used to lose a lot of weight during Lent, however. His belly would practically disappear.

He never bragged or even talked much about fasting, but it was evident in what he lost: his gut.
The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas