I have never fasted, ever. I know it is a requirement, but no one in my household does it, and my mother has forbade me to do it. I am now in my mid-20s and decided I want to fast for Good Friday. The problem that I tend to have a naturally lower blood sugar (after dinner with cookies afterward my blood sugar didn’t even hit 100! One of my parents is type 2 diabetic and sometimes check mine as well.) And if I don’t eat at regular intervals I notice I feel lightheaded, dizzy, shaky, than a panicky feeling begins. While I have never passed out, I have come very close to fainting on several occasions. My mom insists that I don’t have to fast because I have a few medical conditions (Lupus, PCOS, Celiac Disease and Asthma) but are well controlled. Do I need to fast, or can I do a safer method and just eat one meal and smaller meals or a small snack-such as a Cutie or Halo tangerine-every few hours if I need to?
USCCB Questions and Answers about Lent Q. Are there exemptions other than for age from the requirement to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?
A. Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.
USA Fasting: ages 18 until age 59.
USA Abstinence from meat: 14 and older.
For the USA, USCCB published this:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.
For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
Members of the Eastern Catholic Churches are to observe the particular law of their own sui iuris Church.
If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.
I have the same problem as you, GF_Girl. I never eat a lot anyway as I’m permanently on a diet, so my food intake is always less than I’d like. My normal habit is to have 2 small meals and then add low-cal snacks every 2-3 hours - a banana, a small portion of bran, a yoghurt.
If I don’t eat like this, I start to shake. I’m not diabetic, but it’s a problem both my sister and I have.
Today, I have had breakfast as late as I could (small bran, some bread). I’ll try not to eat again until about 2pm, as I’m going to church at 3pm. However, I have to be able to function, so I’ll see what my body’s doing as the day goes on.
I don’t mind feeling hungry (as I’m usually hungry anyway), but I can’t get shaky and dizzy.
I’m nearly 58, btw, and I’ve only been a Catholic for 2 years - so this hasn’t been a major problem for me during my life!