1. Keep praying - this is always the most important thing!
2. Shop for what you need. Making sure you have healthy choices readily available will keep you from getting discouraged and giving up.
3. Drink water. Most of us do not drink nearly enough water. This is necessary to keep you hydrated which can eliminate headaches. It also helps flush toxins from your body. You will be amazed at the difference you will notice in how you feel, the texture and condition of your skin, and (maybe this is psychological) how reluctant you are to put unhealthy things into your system once you are feeling better. I once heard that you should take your body weight in pounds and divide that in half. That is the number of ounces of water you should drink every day. That's from a weight loss specialist who helps people with medical weight loss plans. Some of us need to be drinking a lot of water! Don't we?!
4. Taper off - dont' binge. If you are fasting from caffeine or sugar begin now to taper off a little each day so the change is not so abrupt and the withdrawal is not so difficult. If you start now, you might barely notice the absence once you start your fast. DO NOT binge as if you're storing up for a long hibernation. Not only will that make you feel terrible, it will actually make your first fasting days more difficult.
5. Keep things in perspective. Remember that the fast is only for three weeks. It's not like you can never have chocolate cake again. By the end of the fast you might not even want chocolate cake anymore. (I have to admit that this is a little sad for me - not wanting chocolate cake just seems so... wrong!) :) Whatever it is that you're missing most, you will have again soon. Hang in there.
6. Use your hunger. Whenever you are feeling hungry or badly tempted, let that trigger a prayer response in you. This fast is about seeking God and replacing your hunger for food with a hunger for knowing Him better. Let your hunger remind you to pray.
7. Journal. Begin journaling now, before you begin your fast. Include:
- your thoughts about fasting: hopes, fears, etc
- prayers for yourself and others
- scripture to memorize or read daily - write them out
- what you are learning about yourself and God
- anything else related to your journey
8. Enlist the support of your family. If your family understands what you are doing and why, they can be an excellent source of support and encouragement for you whether they join you or not. My husband did not fast with me last January, but he asked how I was doing with it every day, and was so encouraging!
9. Plan for problem times. If you know of events that will take place during the fast that may be problematic, plan ahead. Do you need to skip them? If that's not possible can they be rescheduled? You may need to attend and just not eat if that is possible. You don't have to make a big deal out of it. Also, remember that if you're in a situation where it would just not be possible to refrain from eating, eat lightly, choose carefully and then get right back to your fast. This is not about legalism. God knows your heart and you will not be struck down if you don't follow to the letter. This is not an excuse to break your fast for just any reason. It's just a reminder of God's grace.
20 Days and counting...
Have you decided to fast? If so, how are you preparing? Post a comment below to share your thoughts. I'm praying for you.