Fasting, by definition, is abstaining from food or drink for a period of time. The term “fast” in the Bible comes from the Hebrew word “tsum” literally meaning to “cover the mouth”. [SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/6684.htm] In the Greek language, it’s “néstis”. It combines né- (meaning not) and esthió (meaning to eat). [SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/greek/3523.htm] This is the kind of fasting we will talk about in this study. We’re not fasting social media or television. We’re fasting in the true Biblical sense and that is to not eat.
“My knees are weak from fasting and my body is thin and gone.”
In this passage, David is explaining how he was feeling physically, however he goes on to say how strong his spirit had become because of it. Fasting is not easy and does take a physical toll on your body. What we tend to underestimate is how much it can help your spirit grow. It seems like most people fast when there is a problem or a reason when we want to hear from God. That seems to be the only time we can convince ourselves to do it. I think that fasting builds up your faith and really helps you when you are both in crisis or when you need to be prepared for crisis. Fasting can prepare you to share you faith with others and show how seriously you take God’s word.
Step One: First, write down a fasting plan. Whether it’s one meal a day or a 24-hour fast, if you don’t write it down you will struggle to succeed. You need to write down when your fast starts and the hour it’s going to end so that you don’t forget. Later in this section, I am going to share some example plans to help you get started.
Making a commitment is the first step to being successful with fasting.
Step Two: Involve your loved ones, or at least make them aware. Sometimes you have to put relationships and entertainment on the back burner. You don’t have to
RSVP “yes” to every invitation that comes your way. I get invited to parties and fundraisers literally every weekend, but when I’m fasting I have to put them to the side and know how to say “no.”
Write it down on paper and share it with a friend that will hold you accountable. If you don’t do this, it will be way too easy to cheat. You’ll cut your fasts short and push them off for a tomorrow that never comes. You have to make a proclamation.
Step Three: Consider Fasting with One or Two Close Friends. This is something that will really help you stay committed, focused, and encouraged during your fast!
Step Four: Ask God to reveal to you the reasons He is calling you to fast and identify your specific areas of focus for the fast.
Step Five: Begin preparing your heart:
1. Fast to get God’s attention
2. Kneel down in humility and ask for mercy and compassion
3. Pray continuously, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”
Then, make practical steps to prepare for your fast. Prepare your mind and your schedule for the Know what to expect.
Dry Fast – This is No food. No water. The benefit of this is when you deprive your body of water, it has to pull water from other cells and go into survival of the fittest. All the weak cells die off and the powerful cells draw water from the weak cells that they draw water from. This is also really good for inflammation, even if it is short term. Fat has hydrogen in it, and hydrogen and oxygen make water. So if you are deprived of water, your body is going to create water from fat cells. This is not the fast that we’re practicing in this book. I call this fast phase Zero because it is not something that I will recommend or talk about in this book. I just want you to know it exists.
Water Fast- You literally eat nothing but water
Coffee and Tea Fast- Only black coffee and unsweetened tea
The Limited Liquid Fast or Stabilizing Liquid Fast
With this fast I am drinking things that stabilize me, sustain me, and help take my fasts to the next level.
· Water with one lemon or lime squeezed, or water with one freshly squeezed orange. This is only like .5 oz of freshly squeezed juice
· Organic Coffee with MCT Oil, Coconut Oil, Or a Non- Dairy Coconut Creamer like Laird Superfood
· Bone Broth- Bone broth is something that I use when I am doing longer fasts because it helps balance your electrolytes. Even though I am a fan of electrolyte packets, it seems like bone broth works even better.
Keep in mind that bone broth can be super high sodium, so if you step on the scale when you are eating a lot of bone broth, don’t be surprised if you see your weight go up. I don’t want you to weigh yourself during the fast and think you are destroying your metabolism.
· Organic Unsweetened Matcha Green Tea with Macadamia Nut Milk or Organic Canned Coconut Milk **Check the Can to make sure there is no Guar Gum or other chemicals like Carogean and sweeteners. It is really important that you are reading the labels on anything you add to your drinks during this phase. I was shocked when I was at Starbucks and asked to see the ingredients in their coconut milk .I couldn’t believe all the chemicals and sweeteners. You want to keep your fast as clean as possible. If possible, make your own nut milks using only the nuts and water.
The Clean Juice and Smoothie Fast
I want to put a disclaimer that I do better when I am sticking to stabilizing drinks. Even juices that are green, because they have fiber and proteins will cause your blood sugar to spike and this will make you hungry.
You have to keep your eyes open for his blessings, and take the time to give him credit and thank him.
It reminds me of the story of the ten lepers mentioned in Luke. Jesus healed ten lepers, and only one turned around to thank Him! I think this parable, whether it says it or not, reminds us that God does so much for us, but we only recognize it one out of ten times. It doesn’t say this in the passage per say, but we miss out on recognizing it and thanking him so often!
I want to remind you again that just because you fast doesn’t mean that God is going to answer all of your prayers. It means you will be able to better deal with whatever God has for you.
A lot of people gorge before they begin a fast. This means eating a lot in a short amount of time before you begin your fast. However, that is actually one of the worst things you can do! You should taper off your food intake right before a fast. Slowly adjust yours intake going into the fast so that it is not as complete of a shock to your body as if you stopped cold turkey. The whole point of a fast is to break the chains of addiction, so the last thing you want to do is be gluttonous right before a fast.
Remember that when you fast, you are going to get hungry! So many people tell me they can’t fast because they feel too hungry. Yes, you will get hungry, and yes, it will be difficult, but I believe that it is truly one of the most amazing things you can do for yourself.
As soon as you decide to fast, things will spring up to get in the way. There will be dinners, parties, and more to throw you off track. Plan out your schedule. Don’t schedule your fast to coincide with strenuous activities like personal training sessions or big social events like a wedding. You want to fast in a stress-free environment, both mentally and physically. If you know you’re going to be slammed at work for a few days, don’t plan a fast that same week. Avoid situations where people will be eating in front of you as much as you can.
To help you understand how you can build up to a long fast, I created a sample 3 month outline.
Week 1: Start with a 6 hour eating window for 5 days (Fasting 18 hours per day)
Week 2: Complete one 24 hour fast (I recommend fasting from dinner to dinner, or lunch to lunch, so you could start your fast after dinner on Wednesday and eat again at dinner on Thursday. Or start your fast after lunch on Friday and eat again at lunch on Saturday)
Week 3: One 48 hour fast
Week 4: 3 Day Fast
Week 5: 6 Hour eating window for 5 days
Week 6: One 24 hour fast
Week 7: One 48 hour fast
Week 8: 5 day fast
Week 9: 6 hour eating window for 5 days
Week 10: One 24 hour fast
Week 11: One 48 hour fast
Week 12: 7 day fast
Feel free to try this in it’s entirety, to shorten it, or extend it! Pray and ask God how long he is calling you to fast.
The longer your fast, the more important your transition out of your fast is. If I just finished a three day fast, the last thing I want to do is eat a big steak and mashed potatoes as my first meal.
Your transition should be half the time of your fast.
3 Day Fast - 1 ½ Day Transition
4 Day Fast - 2 Day Transition
6 Day Fast - 3 Day Transition
8 Day Fast - 4 Day Transition
Be careful with processed ingredients and animal products during your transition. You just finished cleansing your body of a lot of toxins, so be careful of what you put back in. Fats and animals are harder to digest. I even eat fruits and vegetables separately and pair proteins with non-starchy vegetables. Different combinations digest better than others. I don’t want you to stress about food combining, but some things are common sense. Have a big ol’ burger and fries and you’ll feel terrible. The very first thing I try to eat after I break a long fast is a
smoothie that is mostly vegetables. Then I might have some fruits or cooked vegetables. I personally stick to pretty much fruits and vegetables after a long fast.
It’s possible to experience bad breath as a result of fasting. This happens for a few possible reasons. One, your body produces less saliva when you’re not eating. That saliva helps break down bacteria in your mouth. There’s less saliva available to do that when you’re fasting. The smell can also come from bacteria in your digestive fluids in your stomach. There are also toxins leaving your body while you fast that can contribute to the problem. Keep mouthwash handy and floss more than you normally would.
You may also develop a white film on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or a toothbrush to clean that off. Another big side effect is headaches if you’re not
having any caffeine on your fast. Sometimes, people forget to drink water and they get dehydrated. You could feel symptoms of low blood sugar because you’re not consuming sugar and your glucose is down.
Another side effect is extreme emotions. Fasting doesn’t just rid your body of toxins; it can bring up repressed emotions you’ve been stuffing down. You can no longer hide behind the food and those emotions rise to the surface. You may feel more emotional, “hangry,” sad, or want to cry. All of these are natural and the best thing to do is pray about it, go for a long walk, or take a bath instead of running to food.
When I am fasting most of the time, I have all this energy and clarity and I am like OMG this is the best day ever! And there are other times that my staff calls "Meltdown Mode". They can see it in my eyes, I start staring in space, I am so tired, I have no energy! My staff starts laughing at me because sometimes I can't complete my thoughts or things I say don't make sense. They will ask if I need a coconut water from Whole Foods or what they can do to help!
When you are extremely tired during a fast, there are several reasons:
1)Electrolyte and mineral deficiency
You need to have balanced electrolytes. When your kidneys detect that you have less insulin in your body it flushes water out. You will tell when you fast that you pee a lot because it flushes you out. If you drink too much water, your electrolytes will be unbalanced. So the first thing I will do, if I am being extraordinarily strict is
put some salt in my water if I am sodium deficient. I will also take these Nuun hydration capsules. They do have 15 calories and some of them have around 2g of sugar, but they have a ton of minerals and electrolytes.
Your kidneys excrete minerals from your body to be sure you have the right balance, so you want to be sure you have the right potassium. Whenever I have my meltdowns, I know my potassium is low. When I take potassium and iron, I feel like a new person. Another tip is right before I start my fast, I like to eat foods that are high in potassium like avocados and potatoes.
The seven major electrolytes in your body are sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate. The three most important being sodium, magnesium, and potassium. So taking an electrolyte tablet when you are fasting is important because when I get in complete and utter meltdown mode and take an electrolyte tablet, it really helps me.
2)Lack of Movement
When you are tired and don't feel good, you just want to lay down! But that is not going to make you feel better. What will make you feel better is to go for a walk! Especially in the middle of the day when I am in meltdown mode, getting Vitamin
D and going for a walk is the best thing for me. Have you ever gone to the gym tired, and when you leave, you actually have more energy? Crazy how it works!
You can get into a rut even if you pray and go to church every week. You can lack the power of God in your life and wonder why you’re not seeing deliverance. One of the easiest meals for me to cook is spaghetti, so I cook it all the time. Because of this, my family is starting to get tired of it. Sometimes the same thing happens in our spiritual lives. We attend the same old church services and pray the same old prayers that we don’t put much thought into. It becomes very mundane, like spaghetti. Fasting breaks you out of your monotony. Fasting is what I call a real faith builder.
P - Praise
A - Admit Sins
T - Thanking God
O - Praying for Other People
M - Praying for Me
The first thing is to start with praise and admiration, thanking God for who he is and how amazing of a King he is. Next is to admit your sins and confess to God, asking for forgiveness. The third step in my prayer routine is to thank God for anything and everything. The “O” in PATOM stands for praying for other people. It is important to keep others in mind and pray specific prayers for them. You may know what to pray for through conversation and community with others or for asking God to put certain things on your heart for others. Lastly, I pray for myself and the things that I need. As I said earlier, I tend to write down my prayers and then speak them to God. This is helpful and keeps me focused, but it also is a really great thing to look back on. I love that when I write the prayers down, I can go back and look at them at a later time. Sometimes I’ll think, “I can’t believe I prayed for that or was worried about that”, and it is a really powerful thing to be able to look back and see how God has answered prayers and to see the results.