Practical Advice about Fasting (by Brent Flory)

As we engage in this season of prayer and fasting, here are some practical advice from Brent:
 
#1 Rule of fasting: Don’t be dumb.
Aka make sure you are being safe with your fast.
 
If you don’t feel well, stop the fast.
Yes, you will at points feel hungry, irritable, even possibly
constipated. But you shouldn’t feel poorly. If you are struggling to get out of bed, or experiencing excessive fatigue, stop your fast. You should be able to do all the activities of your typical daily life. You may feel hungry, but you should not feel sick. If you experience this, you can stop for a few days, and then continue with the fast. Be safe, and use common sense.
 
If you haven’t fasted before, you should not be attempting a complete fast, drinking only water.
Start with one of the others.
 
If you are feeling dizzy, you are likely dehydrated.
Preventing this requires both salt and water. Be sure to be taking in plenty of fluids. Sea salt added to broth or mineral water can be helpful.
 
If you have headaches, it is likely from going from a high salt intake to a low salt intake.
Again, salt in broth or mineral water can help here. The headaches should resolve in a couple of days.
 
Reasons to not fast:
People who are underweight, diabetics, expectant mothers, heart patients, etc. If you have questions about your ability to fast, ask your medical doctor.
Please note: No one who is taking any medication should try longer fasts without clearing it with their doctor!!! Fasting can affect your medication levels depending on the medication you take.
 
Keep well hydrated.
-Aim to drink 2 liters of water a day
-Start each day drinking eight ounces of water to begin the day
 
Don’t let the hunger pangs overwhelm you.
As Richard Foster says, “In many ways the stomach is like a spoiled child, and a spoiled child does not need indulgence, but needs discipline.”
 
When you feel hunger pangs:
a. Ignore them
b. Tell your “spoiled child” to calm down
c. Sip another glass of water
d. Remind yourself that soon the hunger pangs will pass
e. Use it as an opportunity to shift your focus to Jesus
 
Top four natural appetite suppressants:
1. Water: Start your day with a full glass of cold water. Staying
hydrated helps prevent hunger. (Drinking a glass of water prior to a meal may also reduce hunger.) Sparkling mineral water may help for noisy stomachs and cramping.
2. Green tea.
3. Cinnamon: Cinnamon has been shown to slow gastric emptying and may help suppress hunger. Cinnamon may be added to all teas and coffees for a delicious change.
4. Coffee: Both decaffeinated and regular coffee shows greater hunger suppression than caffeine in water. Given its health benefits, there is no reason to limit coffee intake.
 
If doing a version of the complete fast:
-All types of tea are excellent, including green, black, oolong and herbal.
-Coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated, is also permitted.
-Spices such as cinnamon may be added, but not sweeteners, sugar or artificial flavors. 
-Homemade bone broth, made from beef, pork, chicken or fish bones, is a good choice for fasting days. Vegetable broth is a suitable alternative, although bone broth contains more nutrients. Adding a good pinch of sea salt to the broth will help you stay hydrated. The other fluids—coffee, tea, and water—do not contain sodium, so during longer fasting periods, it is possible to become salt-depleted.
-The first three days of a longer fast are the most difficult in terms of physical discomfort and hunger pains Your body is getting rid of the toxins that build up in the body
-By the fourth day the hunger pains will begin to decrease. Be sure to get enough rest.
-By the sixth or seventh day of the fast you will begin to feel stronger and more alert. The hunger pains will continue to decrease by the ninth or tenth day to where they are only a minor irritation. Your body will have eliminated most of the toxins and you will feel pretty good. This point on will be the most enjoyable stage of the fast.
 
What types of fresh juices should I drink during a fast?
Ones that are fresh and not canned or have added sugar.
 
If you accidentally break a fast, just start again.
Ex. I have been known not so much for sleep walking, but for sleep ice cream eating. If there is ice cream in my home overnight (which is rare for it to last that long), my body is prone to wake up just enough for me to eat it without being awake enough to feel guilty about it.

Eating for me after 38 years is a muscle memory. I bet it is for you too. If you pop something in your mouth before you realize what you are doing, don’t beat yourself up for it. Just pick up
where you left off.
 
The amount of weight lost varies greatly person to person.
In the beginning you may lose two pounds a day, and it will decrease to about one pound a day as the fast goes on and metabolism slows down.
 
You will feel the cold more since your body’s metabolism has slowed down and you aren’t producing the same amount of body heat. 
Just take care to keep warm and this shouldn’t be too bothersome.
 
Exercise during the fast.
I can send you articles on this if you want to explore it further. I would also recommend talking to your doctor about this if it’s a big concern. I saw differing opinions online, but the basic consensus is that light cardio exercise (like walking) is totally fine as long as you get enough fluids and rest. However, if you want to do intense cardio and/or weight lifting, I would consult your physician first.
 
How to spend the extra time you have during a fast:
Feasting upon God.
A. Reading your Bible (YouVersion app of the Bible has a 21 Day Fast devotional entitled, “21 Day Fast.”)
B. Meditating on Scripture
C. Praying
D. Going on prayer walks
E. In Solitude, listening to God
F. Worshiping God
G. You are only limited by your own creativity!
 
Monitor the inner attitude of your heart.
Try to pay greater attention to your inner world during the fast.
 
Fasting will bring things lurking below to the surface.
Be willing to engage with your inner world and take it before the Lord.
 
Learn to ask yourself questions to explore your heart.
Some examples:
What am I feeling right now?
What is going on with my body in this moment?
Why am I responding to this person or this situation in this way?
 
Consider how your fast will affect others.
Fasting is no excuse to not be loving toward others. We aren’t to hold to the fast more closely than we do to Jesus, or any other relationship. If you have regular dinners with people, let them know ahead of time you won’t be eating. Don’t be a no-show or let them know in that moment.
-We aren’t to parade or call attention to a fast, but don’t let it be an excuse to be insensitive to others.
-If family obligations permit it, spend the time you would normally use eating to meditate and pray
 
Beginning to break the fast.
We will discuss this more as we get closer to the end of the fast.

Insoo Kim