Doing a Bread and Water Fast


So I’ve been doing a bread and water fast for a while but I heard that I’m supposed to be supervised with a spiritual director when doing this. However, I haven’t met with one and wondered if that’s okay because it doesn’t seem too hard to monitor yourself.


Be smart about it.

If you start fainting/becoming dizzy/other unhealthy signs, back off


Yeah, I know. So far so good.


i’ve done i; t (3 days when i was much younger); it is difficult;

i took a glass of milk every few hours; that seemed to help quite a bit…


first off you need the direction of a medical professional

and a complete health check


It depends on how many days you are doing it and how stringent it is.

I do it one or two days a week and don’t feel I need a spiritual director because it’s not an extreme self-mortification. I feel some discomfort, but it’s over pretty quickly.

If you were going to do it for days on end, or limit your bread intake to just a small amount per day, you might want to talk with both a medical doctor and a spiritual director.


Mmmmmm. Bread! The smell of good, yeasty bread! Yummy! Drool! Especially grainy breads, but fresh hot white bread out of the oven is great, too. Even non-yeast breads and flatbreads are so tasty! Even matzoh!

Obviously, a bread and water fast would not mortify my flesh one little bit.

Seriously–just make sure that you are not working in a job that requires alertness e.g., aviation, mechanical, factory, health care, child care, any kind of driving, finance, accounting, management, farming, etc. Keep the rest of us safe, please! A body without fuel is like a car without fuel–it doesn’t work.


Bread can be delicious but your body needs a balanced diet over the long term. Bread and water for a few days won’t hurt you, but eventually your body is going to be crying out for some vitamin c and potassium. Nutritional deficiencies ain’t good


Don’t worry, I eat a balanced diet, although i also eat a lot of sweets.

I work in health care, and IMO, it would be uncharitable, not to mention dangerous, for me to put my patients and my co-workers at risk by fasting. The time for me to fast is while on a vacation, or perhaps for just one evening meal, and follow it up the next morning with a good breakfast before work.

So going on a bread and water fast would be a very bad idea for me, plus it would NOT mortify my flesh because I love bread so much! The idea of mortifying flesh is to give up something you love, like candy bars!


Taking on spiritual disciplines without guidance is like taking on physical disciplines without guidance.

Whenever you see something about starting to exercise, it usually starts by saying you should consult with your doctor first. Not everyone does that, but it’s a good way to avoid problems. The same holds true with undertaking new spiritual disciplines. A spiritual director can help you discern the best course of action and discuss your intentions in taking it on.

For myself, I don’t even take on a Lenten practice without talking about it with my director. So often his questions about what I hope to gain or why this practice rather than something else get me to clarify what I’m looking for and find a good way to achieve it.


If you have not been blessed yet with a spiritual director do not wait to fast Until you have one. Perhaps even offer some of your fasting for a director. The major problems are not physical but the tendency towards spiritual pride and vanity.

I fasted Ramadan for several years which was essentially a snack in the morning before dawn and a meal after sunset. It was just expected that you would go all day without water or food. Doctors and guides were not consulted. My surgeon friends did surgery and athletes played their sports all without problem.


Peeps, you may have just ruined my low carb diet! :wink:


You say that, but a lot of us get extremely fatigued doing it, even if the bread is good. I don’t get hungry doing it, but I sure get all kinds of other side effects including excessive sleepiness, inability to concentrate, and headaches.

Don’t say a fast is easy till you’ve tried it.


I used to work with a devout Muslim who was working straight through Ramadan. It was so hard for him and it was hard on us too because he had a really short fuse from hunger. The instant the sun went down, he and the other Muslims would run to the nearest fast food joint and eat a huge meal.


That’s unfortunate, in Islam fasting doesn’t count if you get angry. Most people I know just get really sleepy.


I felt bad for him. I think work should have assigned him to work second shift so he wouldn’t have had to be working around people eating and snacking all day.


That depends upon the length . . .

A religious brother I know decided to fast on brad and water for Lent a few years ago.

While he kept it, by the end he was desperate hitting bakeries for different kinds of bread.

He also gained weight . . .



Yes, bread is generally not considered a “diet” food!

I can probably safely say that at least 30 pounds of my fat is there because of bread!


Why don’t you just eat the bread that you least like?


Last time I did an extreme fast for an intentiom my life spiraled so out of control due to circumstances I didn’t expect. I kind of got my intention but it didn’t last and didn’t seem meant to be. I still haven’t recovered because of it and it has been three years. I lost like literally everything in a matter of days after I started fasting. I’d be scared to do it again but part of me wants to anyway to see if things got better this time. Be careful.

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