There are a number of inter-related components that must be in place in order to successfully implement a fasting regime in your life. You really do need to think about each of the following components and to try to get them all working in harmony in order to succeed.
The desire to make a positive change in your life.
You probably would not be wasting your time reading these pages if you did not have a desire to make a positive change in your life. Don’t misunderstand the basis for desiring to make a positive change in your life. Change is something that seems to be innate in the human being. Not simply change for change’s sake, but change that tells you that you are growing and moving in the right direction. People need to feel that they are growing and progressing, and that sense of the need for change can inspire all of us to achieve our goals in life. If you want to change your appearance, cleanse your body, or change your consumer “footprint,” you will need to develop maintain the desire and the drive that allows you to make these important changes. You have to be tough-minded and tenacious in wanting to make a change in order to achieve your goal.
You need to have a starting point.
When will you begin your fast? It is best to chose a day and a time in advance of beginning a fast. If it is a spur-of-the-moment resolve, you will likely lose interest and fail. It takes careful planning in order to succeed.
Chose a day in advance of beginning the fast, say a week in the future. This is important in the beginning, as you will need to be able to build your resolve in the run-up to the date of the fast. This advanced planning will provide you with time during which you can mentally re-inforce your resolve and prepare yourself for your fast. As you become accustomed to the occasional program of fasting, you will implement a “routine”, such as a weekly or monthly fast, and mental preparation will become an almost automatic response. Also, as success follows success, it will be easier to approach the start of a fast with minimal mental preparation and resolve.
Also, it is advisable to chose a day for fasting based on the requirements of your schedule. If you have 1 or 2 high activity days each week (such as an early morning start, a lunch meeting, kids to soccer, PTA meeting, and dinner out with the kids this night), you might want to chose a slightly less activity filled day for your fast. The lunch meeting and post-soccer dinner with the kids will provide 2 very tempting occasions where you can lose your resolve and eat yourself into next week. Pick a “quieter” day or two for your fast.
You need to have defined your fasting period.
Just as you don’t just wake up one morning and decide that you will begin a period of fasting, you also don’t begin a fast with an indeterminate end point. A fast is a highly planned activity, and you must know in advance how long you intend to continue with a fast. Define your fasting time period in advance in order that you have the “comfort” of knowing when you will break your fast. Do not engage in open-ended periods of fasting. Make your fasting period a planned and orderly event. Know when you will begin and when you will end. This allows you to focus on your fast for the time you have allotted for it, and allows you to better control your activities during this period.
What liquids, and in what quantities, will you drink during your fast?
It is extremely important to remain hydrated during a fast. Where restriction of your food intake has beneficial effects, the restriction of liquid intake has just the opposite effect – denying yourself sufficient amounts of liquids during your fast can lead to severe health problems! There are websites available that discuss the types and quantities of liquids to imbibe during your fast. This is important research, and should be done and understood before the fast is planned.