The benefits of fasting far outweigh its challenges. Not only will we benefit physically by taking a break from processed foods and our traditional rich diets during the holidays, but the physical benefits of fasting are just the beginning. We fast primarily because of spiritual benefits, which are priceless! The sacrifice is well worth the results because God is faithful to hear our cry!
The fewer the number of calories you are take in, the more you will experience physical challenges while fasting. For example, if you are on the Daniel Fast, you are eating fruits and vegetables, lentils, grains etc. and you are getting calories. However, because of the abstinence from meat, sugar, bread, and other items, you will experience some withdrawal discomfort.
This is also true for those on the one-meal fasts (with soup or a meal) but may be more of a challenge because caloric intake has been drastically reduced.
The first three days of the fast are probably the most difficult. You will probably experience headaches, hunger, and perhaps even dry mouth. While, these symptoms usually subside after the first few days, there are a few things I can suggest you do to limit their severity:
1. Take a mild laxative at the beginning of your fast
2. Take an enema or mild laxative every 5-7 days
3. Abstain from eating sugar and simple carbohydrates
4. Plan to drink plenty (about 3 quarts) of water daily
5. Don’t engage in strenuous exercise or physical activity
6. Get plenty of rest.
Let me explain…
One way to limit headaches during your fast is take a mild laxative or enema before you begin. Once you begin the fast, I would suggest an enema every 5-7 days, if needed. This will reduce the toxins and help in the physiological changes or adjustments we experience with fasting.
Another thing you will experience is withdrawal from sugar and carbohydrates. These effects usually consist of strong cravings, strong hunger pains and even some sluggishness. The best way to reduce these symptoms is to abstain from eating sugar and simple carbohydrates on your fast. However, drinking lots of water will help considerably. Again, plan to drink plenty (about 3 quarts) of water daily.
As the fast progresses, remember prolonged fasts have a greater physical impact on your energy level. So, don’t plan to workout at the gym or engage in other strenuous physical exercise until after the fast. You will also need to get plenty of rest to maintain your strength as the fast progresses. This is particularly true if you are on the soup or one meal fast because of the drastic reduction of caloric intake.
Lastly, while the physical benefits of fasting are numerous, such as heart health and diabetes prevention, weight loss, detoxification and cleansing, mental health, breaking addition and many more (http://www.nbcnews.com, How Does Fasting Affect the Human Body?). If you are under medical care and/or are taking medications, you should consult your physician before fasting.
While the physical challenges of fasting are real, remember, you are not alone! The Lord is with you!!! Also, there are hundreds of thousands of Christians fasting at the beginning of the year! And, I am with you! Just take it one day at a time! You will make it! You can do this! You will be glad you did!!!