Here are some tips on fasting for beginners, from my own personal experience. Although fasting can be an amazing journey, it can also be dangerous to your health if you are not prepared. I’ve listed a couple of things below that might help you:
Decide on the type of fast you want to participate in.
There are many different types of fasts:
Regular Fasting; Traditionally this means refraining from eating all food, but many people still drink water and juice throughout.
Partial Fasting; This refers to cutting out certain types of food or specific meals. A Daniel Fast is considered a partial fast, as this consists of eating only fruit and vegetables and drinking water. See Daniel 10:2-3, and Daniel 1:12 for more.
Full Fasting; as the name suggests, this refers to abstaining from all food and drink. See Acts 9:9 and also Esther 4:15-16 for more.
The length of your fast is entirely up to you, but for a beginner, I suggest fasting for only three days to start off with. One can always gradually increase to seven days or more, the more you fast. I also suggest starting off with a Partial Fast.
You can also refer to this link for more info.
Prepping is vital.
When preparing for a fast, start at least a week before. Ideally two weeks. Start by gradually scaling down, and then completely cutting out things like caffeine, sugar, protein and dairy. These are all things that your body crave, so getting your body used to living without them will help a ton.
The last few days before your fast, you should be eating only fresh fruits and vegetables, and also in limited amounts. Remember to also drink lots of water throughout the day!
Something else that will also be very beneficial in helping you to stick to your fast, and to not give into temptations, is to clear out everything in your pantry and fridge. You don’t have to chuck everything out or let it go to waste! Read on for a great solution.
During the fast.
As hard as it may seem, don’t give in to cravings. If you do cave, and indulge, it will only make your fast more difficult. However, when you are feeling extremely fatigued, weak or shaky, have a juice or smoothie, a piece of fruit or some steamed veggies (if you’re on a partial fast).
The ideal is to cut out all processed foods. Stick with natural ingredients if you make a juice or smoothie.
You can also fast from other earthly things like TV, social media, shopping, etc.
Have a clear vision of why you’re fasting.
Write down all the reasons you’re fasting, all of your expectations. When things get tough, read your list to motivate you and keep you going.
Ask God for big things, miracles. Don’t ask for ordinary things. You are making a sacrifice, and God will reward you accordingly.
Use your time wisely.
Remember, the point of a fast is to spend the time you would have spent on cooking, eating etc. on pressing in to God. Focus on prayer and listen for God’s voice.
You can also listen to worship music, podcasts, and watch online sermons throughout the day to keep you distracted. I’ll list my favourites below.
Give to others.
Another great thing to do while fasting is to bless the less fortunate with all the money and food that you would have used/consumed. This way nothing goes to waste, and you are enriching others.
Post-fast diet is vital.
Don’t indulge after a fast! Your body has now become accustom to not eating. You need to start slow; juices, salads, veggies and fruits, and certain grains. Keep your portions small, and try eating only once a day, and gradually start eating more often.
Remember that this is a great way to kick-start a healthy diet and lifestyle! A fast is a total detox for your body.
Have a support system.
If you decide to fast alone (i.e. if you are not participating with your whole church, or a group of people), at least let someone know, like your best friend or a family member, or perhaps even someone at your church, so that they can check up on you regularly. And so that you can talk to them when things are not going well, when you are finding it difficult.
A few things to keep in mind.
Fasting is not easy, especially when it’s your first time. Don’t try to go all out for seven days, not eating a single thing, and then end up almost collapsing during the day (like me). If you are feeling weak and shaky, have a piece of fruit, or some veggies, or anything natural to sustain you. You are not a failure if you do eat something! There’s a difference between sustaining yourself and giving in to cravings.
Avoid a full fast, unless you absolutely feel like God is asking you to do so. Yes, God can sustain and protect you, but make sure the decision you’re making is in line with His plans for you.
Something very important to remember is that not all people are able to fast! For instance, if you have a health condition like diabetes etc., or you are pregnant. Please always be very careful and consider your health! Don’t be ignorant.
There is a ton of info on fasting available on the internet. Just try to be aware of the source, there are some dodgy people out there. Also, keep in mind that different religions also fast, and they might do things slightly differently. My suggestion is trying to find a Christian source, like your local church or a Christian blog.
I live a pretty healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, so cutting down and getting ready for a fast is not super difficult. However, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle, and you are used to lots of sugar and fatty foods, it is going to be a complete shock to your system. Let this motivate you to get on the right track; make life easier for yourself!
Some motivation during your fast.
As promised, here is a list of my fave worship music:
For King & Country
(They are all available on Apple Music)
And a list of my fave YouTube channels for sermons:
Ps. At Boshoff @ CRC
Ps. Steven Furtick @ Elevation Church
Ps. Michael Todd @ Transformation Church
The Bible Project
May the odds be ever in your favour.
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