Whether for religious or health reasons, you or someone you know may have gone on a fast before. Fasting can have multiple benefits, not only for your health but for your spiritual journey. However, if you have never fasted or want to attempt a longer fast than you ever have before, that can sound daunting. It can be challenging to go without food for an extended period of time, and it can also cause unpleasant side effects, such as headache, dizziness, and weakness. Here are a few tips to get you started for your fast, whether you're new to the fasting game or have some experience under your belt.
Talk to Your Doctor
An essential first step is to talk to your doctor. You may have health conditions or other factors that make a fast unsafe. For this reason, it's best to clue your doctor in if you are planning a fast you haven't attempted before.
Don't Go Overboard
You may have heard of people who do a week-long fast or perhaps even longer. However, it would help if you stuck with a shorter fasting period when you are new to fasting. A 24-48 fasting window can be a good starting point, and then you can attempt longer fasts as you get used to it.
During a fast, it's more important than ever to stay hydrated. Symptoms of dehydration can be similar to fasting side effects, so it can exacerbate the adverse effects you feel if you're dehydrated. Symptoms like headache, fatigue, and dry mouth all suggest that you should be drinking more water. Additionally, you typically get some of your water content from food. Hence, you need to increase your water intake even more when going without food for an extended period.
A successful fast will be something you plan ahead and not spontaneously decide on. When going on a fast, think about what events you will have while on your fast. Are there any birthday parties or holidays during that time, for example? If so, you may want to plan your fast at another time or have a plan for when you are at a party with lots of tempting food around.
Consider your work schedule as well. Attempting a fast while approaching a stressful deadline or putting in more hours than usual will likely leave you feeling miserable. Aim for a time when you don't have a whole lot going on and won't be tempted by different events.
Consider the Type of Fast
Some people only drink water during their fast, while others include juice, broth, and tea in their diet. The fast you choose is up to you, not only based on your health needs but also on what you are trying to accomplish in your spiritual journey. Decide beforehand what will and won't be allowed on your fast so that you aren't tempted to "allow" something later on because it tempts you so much.
Keep Exercise Light
It would be best if you considered modifying your workout routines a bit when you are going on a fast. Take things a little slower and listen to your body. If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded when working out, it's probably time to take a break or be done for the day. Your body will have a more challenging time performing at peak levels when it is not getting the amount of calories it is used to.
A fast can be a wonderful part of your spiritual walk and help bring you clarity and peace you haven't had in years. However, you want to be responsible about your fast, which means taking the proper precautions and planning accordingly.