When I speak with my clients about fasting, I often hear, “I get so sick when I have to fast” or “I start out fine but I get a terrible headache,” and most common “I am fine during the fast, but after I break the fast, I can’t function for hours and I feel awful.” I know that many years ago, prior to learning how to prepare and break a fast, there were times I could have said all of the above. For the vast majority of people, if you prepare for and break the fast according to the following tips, you will be just fine. Yes, you could get hungry and thirsty, but that is normal. Here are some simple instructions to help you along.
PREPARING FOR THE FAST
• Begin drinking on a consistent basis 36 hours beforehand. Increase your fluids by 25% or 30%.
• Eat more fruit; particularly fruit that is dense in fluid, melon and watermelon are particularly good. Fruits help retain the liquid you are consuming.
• If you are a coffee or caffeinated tea drinker or a chocoholic, it’s imperative that you begin weaning yourself from these and other caffeinated foods or drinks 72 hours before the fast begins. Failure to do so may bring on headaches during the fast.
• At the meal before the fast, stick with complex carbohydrates with a normal amount of lean protein—DO NOT go high protein at this meal. Whole Grains, vegetables, fruits, and baked potatoes or preferably sweet potatoes are great.
• Keep drinking non-caffeinated beverages and remember that water and some fruit juices are best.
BREAKING THE FAST
• Begin with four or five glasses of water.
• Have a light meal, a bowl of soup a small amount of whole grains (a slice of bread
or a portion of brown rice are examples) and fresh cut salad is perfect. Keep
proteins light and lean.
• Finish with a fruit or two. Stop there!!!
• Leave the table and go for a short walk and do your stretching.
• If you are really still hungry after that, have a small snack and some more water or tea.
• Don’t eat late at night and the next day you should wake up feeling hungry and healthy.
• Don’t end up eating an entire days worth of calories in one meal. Over eating after the fast can cause great gastric discomfort!!
This evening, right after the Fast of Gedalia, I saw a neighbor who followed these tips. He told me that for the first time ever in his adult life, he felt well and had no headache. So start preparing and break the fast according to these instructions. You will feel better and will be all ready to build your Sukkah without delay.
Preparing for a fast and breaking it properly is just another way to “add hours to your days, days to your years, and years to your lives.”
Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a BEHAVIORAL CHANGE and WELLNESS COACH with over 19 years of professional experience. Alan is the creator and director of the “10 Weeks to Health” program for weight loss. He is available for private coaching sessions, consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs both in his office and by telephone and skype. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out the his web site –www.alanfitness.com US Line: 516-568-5027.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.
Like this article?
Sign up for our Shabbat Shalom e-newsletter, a weekly roundup of inspirational thoughts, insight into current events, divrei torah, relationship advice, recipes and so much more!