Lengthy Fasts


#1

Ok, so I decided to start on a lengthy fast. I am fasting for spiritual reasons, 40 Days for Life, and for the RCIA candidates in our Church.

What’s the longest you have fasted?
Did you juice or water fast?
How did you know to stop?

My spiritual reason is (yes, I’m sharing but this is the only place I knew to come to for real Catholic help! other than our very busy Military priest) for breaking of my obsession with food. I am obese at 32% BMI and though I don’t “look” fat, I am carrying way too much weight.

Has anyone else ever fasted to break this kind of spiritual warfare? What prayers helped you? When did your hunger stop, as I have heard that many stop being hungry after a time?

I am not really struggling too much, as I am drinking juice and when the food seems to be overwhelming me (the smell of home made pizza almost had me break my fast) but I don’t know when and how to stop when I am ready or when my body is ready.

Thoughts, questions, helps, tips, and places for support are all greatly appreciated.


#2

My spiritual reason is…for breaking of my obsession with food. I am obese at 32% BMI and though I don’t “look” fat, I am carrying way too much weight.

Fasting isn’t the way to go, as you may damage your metabolism. And, when you start eating again, your body will store food faster because it thinks it will starve again. You need good nutrition in moderate amounts of the right food – smaller portions of healthy and filling stuff. Five servings of fruits and veggies go a long way in quelling hunger and slimming down. Five to eight glasses of water a day do wonders for hunger and even your skin will glow!

Instead of giving up food, how about meeting with a nutritionist and sticking with a healthy diet? MilitaryOneSource can help you to find a Tricare-authorized nutritionist. Get a referral from your primary healthcare provider through Tricare.

Also, perhaps you can find a Master of Fitness (a “PT stud”) who can look at your diet plan and recommend light exercises to burn calories. I’ll keep you in my prayers – but please, don’t do anything to extreme, eating or not eating. It’s much more difficult to do what God expects us to do regularly than to do what we think will please Him for 40 days.


#3

You should NEVER go on such a votive fast without the blessing of your spiritual father.

Otherwise, you expose yourself to great spiritual danger. Our fasting should not be self-willed, but obedient.

Otherwise, it can bring us close to the demons, who never eat at all.


#4

Mmm, since the Church has a long history of fasting. Long history. I would think that I would be getting better responses. My spiritual director is involved, he’s just very busy and can’t do more than pray with me once a week and give me guidance on occasion.

Fasting is one of the three pillars of Lent. It is one of the things that almost every Hermit in the Church has done when getting away from the materialism of the world. Fasting is over and over again supported by the beliefs and teachings of the Church. Every Saint in the faith has turned from food in one way or another, giving it up in fasting or giving what they have away (if you have less, doesn’t that make you fast?) The Benedictine Rule is rife with fasting, and abstinence from meat. Early monasteries all practiced fasting and abstinence. It took the monks of Bebenhausen 3 CENTURIES before they were allowed to have heated tile furnaces. In their entire history, they never had meat. They were founded By St. Bernhard of Clairvieux.

Over and over again, we are encouraged to fast, in fact almost every reading in the Breviary this week talks of fasting. We are encouraged no fast from the material, especially food.

I haven’t given up living, merely gone to a juice fast.

I wasn’t looking for ways to get out of it, but rather ways of strengthening and helping my fast. I drink plenty, I am healthy and although I should have seen a doctor before going on the fast, I didn’t because I saw one recently and I haven’t changed since then.

Ok, that all said, is there anyone out there that HAS done a long fast and could offer me some advice.

Oh and I have worked with dietitians, PT experts and all sorts. The reality is that I need to break my addiction to food. Diets don’t cut it for me. I sabotage them. I have done day or several day fasts, but this is the first time I have gone to a longer fast.

Sorry to sound snipey, it’s just frustrating to come here, of all places, and get negatives. This is a difficult row I have chosen to hoe and really don’t want the negativism … especially from here.

Sorry if I got on anyone’s nerves… I guess I needed to vent.
:blush:


#5

My biggest concern here, is that you might be doing damage to your metabolism. Before starting on such a rigorous fast… you not only need to consult with your priest/confessor… but also, with your doctor.

Having said that… you can acheive the same results… getting your “obsession with food under control”… by a different type of fast.

I tend to snack too much. Bad habit, born of an irregular schedule of caregiving. I’m “fasting” from snack foods, junk foods and sweets. But otherwise, eating a healthy and adequate diet. I’m attempting to do this, for the entire season of Lent.

Yes, I miss my cheeseburgers and pizza… and my cookies and corn chips. :crying: But I’m learning to deny myself the things that I WANT, and think more about what GOD wants me to eat. Healthy foods. But I’m not starving myself. God intended that we eat, for our health and survival.

I don’t know if this answers your question. Hope so. God bless.


#6

Mmm, since the Church has a long history of fasting. Long history.

Yes, but not self-imposed unhealthy fasting.

I would think that I would be getting better responses.

You’re getting honest, wise responses, perhaps just not what you wanted to hear.

My spiritual director is involved, he’s just very busy and can’t do more than pray with me once a week and give me guidance on occasion.

Then make this the sole subject of your next meeting, and don’t begin an extreme fast without his permission. Or go to your pastor or regular confessor.

Fasting is one of the three pillars of Lent. It is one of the things that almost every Hermit in the Church has done when getting away from the materialism of the world. Fasting is over and over again supported by the beliefs and teachings of the Church. Every Saint in the faith has turned from food in one way or another, giving it up in fasting or giving what they have away (if you have less, doesn’t that make you fast?) The Benedictine Rule is rife with fasting, and abstinence from meat. Early monasteries all practiced fasting and abstinence. It took the monks of Bebenhausen 3 CENTURIES before they were allowed to have heated tile furnaces. In their entire history, they never had meat. They were founded By St. Bernhard of Clairvieux.

This is normally done under supervision and obedience to superiors.

Over and over again, we are encouraged to fast, in fact almost every reading in the Breviary this week talks of fasting. We are encouraged no fast from the material, especially food.

But this does not mean to eat nothing for an extended period of time. Taking on an extreme fast without medical and ecclesial permission can be a source of pride, and can endanger our health, both of which can be sinful and contrary to the spirit of Lent.

I haven’t given up living, merely gone to a juice fast.

The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” includes doing anything to ourselves that will harm our health.

I wasn’t looking for ways to get out of it, but rather ways of strengthening and helping my fast. I drink plenty, I am healthy and although I should have seen a doctor before going on the fast, I didn’t because I saw one recently and I haven’t changed since then.

If you are doing this without asking your doctor’s permission, you may be afraid of what his/her answer will be.

Oh and I have worked with dietitians, PT experts and all sorts. The reality is that I need to break my addiction to food. Diets don’t cut it for me. I sabotage them. I have done day or several day fasts, but this is the first time I have gone to a longer fast.

It would be more pleasing to God for you to follow the dietitians’ advice than to go your own way.

Sorry to sound snipey, it’s just frustrating to come here, of all places, and get negatives. This is a difficult row I have chosen to hoe and really don’t want the negativism … especially from here.

What you interpret as “negativism” is forum members’ honest concern for your health (physical and spiritual).


#7

I already eat very healthy. I am vegetarian, I eat no meat, only eggs, dairy, etc. I just eat too much. It is an obsession.

If fasting was so bad for my metabolism, then why so many in the Church fasting? Why so many saints? Why does our Pope call us to fast this Lent?

I will be fine. Like everyone else who fasts, I’ll be fine.


#8

…Fasting for more than just a few days at a time is not healthy-and I found out the hard way…I was ill and couldn’t eat(lived on popsicles,juice,ice water and finally was able to eat chicken noodle soup)-and my one saving thought during that time(I lost 30 lbs in 45 days)was that I could afford to lose the weight and this accomplished it in a very short time…HOWEVER-about two months later I started having all kinds of physical responses-and it turned out I had depleted all my mineral stores to very low or below the chart levels and those charts are very broad-it took me a year to recover…so while 40 days may have served Jesus-his nature is Divine and it wouldn’t harm Him…you are putting your health at risk by doing so…our bodies are built and conditioned to “break the fast” every twelve hours or so…so even just limiting your self to one healthy meal a day would be a healthy fast and alternative…but as far as losing weight and cutting the fat while maintaining muscle…bodybuilders actually eat at least 6 times per day with a balance of carbs and protein(I was in the fitness business for many years)— that is the kind of regimen you should research-especially if you are in the service- you don’t want to lose muscle and dehydrate…and that’s what is lost in a fast… I hope this helps…God Bless


#9

The longest I have fasted is 28 hours. Currently I am gving up one meal per day.

The Cure of Ars, according to the book I read, used to eat maybe a couple of potatoes each day. His cook did not have much to do. :slight_smile: He was in the confessional sometimes all day. All day meaning not a simple 8 hour day, but in the realm of 20 hours. His day was filled with God’s work. He lived into his 70s, 73 if I recall correctly.

Have you read about St. John Vianney?

catholiccompany.com/catholic-catalog/614/St-John-Vianney-Cure-of-Ars/?aid=283&sortby=name

Not sure if this was of any help.

God bless


#10

The first four days are the hardest. Something happens on the fifth day and food doesn’t seem quite so appealing. But those first few days are awful. If you’re really planning to do forty days, then don’t plan a lot of physical exertion, or you’ll pass out. Pray and meditate. After a week or two, be careful standing up (ie, after praying!). Make sure that there’s a caring adult (like a husband) around who can watch out for something going wrong. After a while, you’ll enter a state of euphoria. When you do start eating again, expect to eat very little. I did a water, broth and juice fast for a little over a month, after partially fasting for several months. When I started eating again, a few tiny nibbles filled me up. The biggest danger after that is in giving in to those who encourage you to eat normal amounts.

Oh, and take a really good multivitamin.

I had many people tell me that my four month fast (slowly decreased food, then went to water/broth/juice) would hurt me. It never did. My health improved, I lost 50 pounds, and i found out that I could do it. My doctor was impressed. :slight_smile:

I’m seriously contemplating doing it again, but I’m not sure I can manage with an 18 month old underfoot.


#11

:eek:…Do you hear yourself?..passing out? euphoria?..make sure someone is around in case something happens?..and taking a multivitamin is not enough- if you insist on putting yourself through something like this…make sure you are taking a high potency mutlivitamin/multimineral(the minerals are more important than vitamins)-get blood tests before starting so you can monitor the impact…understand that your body will not go without what it needs…the body takes from whats available- it will leech protein from your muscles,your heart, your brain, calcium from your bones,teeth etc…if your iron stores get low-your blood will not carry the oxygen it needs(which could account for the “euphoric” feeling)…it would be much healthier to go on a meal replacement protein shake fast if you feel a need to eliminate food…at least you would not be eliminating the nutrients your body needs in the process…


#12

St. John of the Cross: “Obedience is a penance of the intellect and therefore a more acceptable sacrifice than all corporal penances. Hence God loves your tiniest act of obedience more than all other homages you might think of offering Him.”

No lengthy extreme fasting without consulting and obeying both your medical doctor and your spiritual director/confessor/pastor.


#13

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