Fasting Tips



I’m trying to start a fasting routine since this practice seems to be important for building up a strong spiritual life, but I rarely succeed. My fasts usually make me grumpy, irritable, and just plain unspiritual, except for those moments when I can be quiet. Then I just feel light headed. Clear headed, but light headed as well.

Got any suggestions? I’m a father of three, so I really need my energy, but I don’t think I can ignore this issue.

God bless,


I can’t fast often as I wish because my job requires me to think a lot and I can’t think with a very empty stomach. :slight_smile:

Therefore, my fasting is to be patient with my co-worker and not grumpy when I am not in a good mood - it is far more difficult than fasting from food.


St. Josemaria Escriva once said, “Choose mortifications that don’t mortify others.” I think, from your description of what happens when you fast, it would apply to you here.

As a husband and father, you need to be physically able to do your work and care for your family. Being grumpy and irritable is not part of that.

Also, any fasting beyond what is required by the Church, that is, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, is best done under the advice and direction of your confessor or spiritual director.

There are many ways to be a mortified soul and make spiritual progress without doing a complete fast. You can:
Choose to eat foods you don’t care for, or leave off the butter or salt or other condiment.
Skip snacks and desserts - give your share to your children.
Prepare your coffee in a way you don’t like - drink it black if you like cream and sugar, or sweeten it if you prefer it black, etc.
Omit TV or computer time, or watch what others prefer and you don’t.
Fast from having the last word or making clever comments.
Don’t make unnecessary small purchases for yourself.
Put your own needs aside in favor of the others.

I know a priest who says that our families should look forward to Lent, because that’s the time when we treat them the best. We can generalize this to the whole subject of fasting and mortification. God will be much more pleased if you put yourself aside to make life better for your family than if you fast until you make yourself and everyone else miserable.

Ask your confessor what he thinks.



the classic advice would be to stick with the traditional fasting discipline as in Lent, one main meal, one or two other small meals sufficient to maintain strength to carry out your duties in life. If you are having real medical problems you shouldn’t be fasting at all w/o your doctor’s permission. and probably it is unwise to try anything more stringent w/o permission of your confessor or spiritual director


Are you praying enough, and working hard to counter the grumpiness, etc. instead of giving in to it?

Try the St. Michael prayer amongst others.

I don’t advise you to give up real fasting, but I will say additionally that mortification in regards to food can also be eating foods you hate to eat but which sustain your energy levels, etc. In other words, it there’s no pleasure in it, and the portions are small. . this is good too.


Fasting is important, but make sure the motives are right. Their are many types of fast. I start off with a Juice fast. Take pineapple juice, add a banana, and what ever fruit you like. Blend it in a blender. Then I eat soup broths. Some times I do a total food fast for a few days, but go into it slow and come out of it slow. Don’t just quite food and then start again. I enjoy fasting and get quite close to our Lord during them. It should be a time of Bible reading, praise and worship and prayer and of course listening to the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. TV fast are really good. It is a chance to get away from the pollution of the world. After doing it for a month or two you will be shocked on how wicked TV can be. Hope I helped, God bless you as you get Closer to God through Jesus our Lord and Savior.


I’d say firstly consult your doctor. It may be that you have some health issues that would dictate the amount and types of food you need to eat.

Instead of eating a lesser quantity of food, give up specific foods that you really love - go for a time without sugar or sweets, without potato chips, pizza, coffee or whatever your favourite poison is.

Or deliberately don’t put salt in your food if you have the habit of doing so. Or something of that nature.


James 4:2 “You do not have because you don’t ask God, and when you ask, you do not recieve, because you ask with wrong motives.”

We don’t recieve for two reasons.

  1. We didn’t ask God
  2. We ask with wrong motives or out of His will
    Mother Angelica on EWTN has some awesome teachings on the Will of God and prayer.
    God Bless.


Thanks for all your helpful advice.

I’m going to go with the choose foods you don’t like route. I bought a bag of black liquorice that I’ll snack on durring the day. Gross!!! :yukonjoe:

I’m also buying snacks for others when I feel the urge to bing. :slight_smile:

Hopefully this will get me started in the right direction. I’m as healthy as an Ox, so no worries there.

I’ll look into the juice diet.

God bless,


utunumsint said:

I’m trying to start a fasting routine since this practice seems to be important for building up a strong spiritual life, but I rarely succeed. My fasts usually make me grumpy, irritable, and just plain unspiritual, except for those moments when I can be quiet. Then I just feel light headed. Clear headed, but light headed as well.

Got any suggestions? I’m a father of three, so I really need my energy, but I don’t think I can ignore this issue.

Taking into consideration what your request was, I thought perhaps you would like to take a look at the Rule for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. (St. Francis Rule of 1221) In the Rule fasting is addressed and it is very workable for everyone. We also have people that cannot fast from food and need to make other arrangements, so don’t give up on it so soon. Who knows where the Lord is leading you!

The Rule of 1221 with the statutes is found here:

(The Rule of 1221 is in BOLD font and the Modern Statutes in regular font. Members of the Association, while in formation or once they are professed, live according to the statutes.)



I like Thomas Merton’s advice regarding most forms of penance: ‘if it makes you irritable, grumpy, and generally uncharitable, don’t do it.’


Hi “Ut”. Good for you! You’re right, fasting IS very important. Even outside of Lent! :thumbsup: I have started to fast each Friday… and I understand what you’re talking about (grumpiness, irritability).

Being extremely weak, so far, I’m only able to fast on the one day (although I eat no meat on Saturday, Wednesday or Friday). My fast lasts, from rising in the morning… till the “Hour of Mercy”… which is 3:00 p.m. I take nothing but water, during that time.

It was really hard, when I first started. But it did get easier. The thing I had to watch out for… was that I didn’t over-eat, at 3:00 p.m. (because I was so hungry). Also… I had a lot of miserable thoughts going through my head… which I now recognize, as having been from the “enemy”… who tried to discourage me from fasting. I was “taunted” with thoughts that because I only fasted for a few hours, it was worthless. Which I later learned, was NOT true.

Every sacrifice we make… even the smallest ones… when made with love are of great value. So my advice to you… would be… start slow… start small… and don’t expect more of yourself, than you’re able to do. Make sure that you eat enough to maintain your health and responsibilities. I would also recommend… if you have any major health concerns… to consult your doctor first.

Hope this helps. May God bless your efforts.


Admirable! :slight_smile:


Interesting side effect of eating foods I hate. I don’t feel hungry for anything else either. :slight_smile:

Although I’ve been cheating somewhat. If I pinch my nose while I chew, it doesn’t tast so awful. Still, I can’t get through more than one or two peices in a day.

I think my liquorice fast has been a success so far, but I think I’ll try to add more horrible but nutritious things to my menu.

Also, buying sweets for my wife on the way home is doing wonders for my marriage. :slight_smile:

God bless,


Bless you for trying…I am with you. I tried many times and failed every time. However I have now found a way to fast that I am able to complete - without all of the physical strains that we both experienced and caused us to quit!

Begin the 24 hour fast immediately following a noon lunch and go through until the next day until noon and eat lunch then. Now I have to eat due to a medical condition so I do allow myself bread and water. This way of fasting is still a sacrifice however not the extreme physical strain of a morning till morning fast.

May God Bless your desire…


That makes sense. You would be able to sleep through some of the worst hunger pangs, and you would only have to deal with a couple of ours of light headedness during the morning. I may give this a try.

Thank you, and God bless,


i would have to have some info before commenting:

how old you are… health? are you eating at all or infrequently? are you drinking liquids on the fast, etc…?

what kind of work you do (level of activity)…


licorice is good for your hormones… and probably some other things i can’t recall…


A priest once advised me to start by eating healthily and gradually cutting down to a fast, to avoid the exact symptoms you are describing. A daily multivitamin would be a good idea. Also a friend of mine said that people tend to be very sensitive to blood sugar levels, so eat something that will keep them in check, or drink juice of some kind. What I like to do is a bread fast with some type of whole grain bread, it's healthy and keeps the blood sugar intact. Good luck :thumbsup:


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