Fasting Your Way to Feeling Better

Jennifer Dennard  @JennDennard
February 24, 2016  | Last Updated: February 23, 2016

I’m just back from a quick, four-day jaunt out of town to see family. My excuse for forcing my kids to ensure a six hour drive there and back was the opportunity to celebrate a second-cousin’s first birthday, and, as luck would have it, spend a few hours at the beach while in town. A great time was had by all; however, like vacations of any length, healthy habits tend to get lost in the shuffle of family visits, shopping, sightseeing, and dining out. 

Of the nine meals we ate during our trip, only breakfast was home-cooked. The rest were either in restaurants or take-out. I did make an effort to have a ton of fruit and yogurt on hand for snacks. I hope the healthier eats made up for the less-than-healthy fare we ate the rest of the time – pizza, burgers, macaroni and cheese, Chinese takeout, fast food … the mom guilt is beginning to overwhelm me!


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As I was driving home, I began to think about the ways I wanted to supercharge my eating and exercise routines in the following days to make up for that nosedive both had taken while I was out of town. I could cut carbs and sugar, exercise more, go Paleo … or, I could quit nit-picking and cut out everything altogether. 

The idea to fast had been on my mind for a few weeks, thanks to a good friend’s successful attempt at a 10-day fast that involved drinking a glass of water infused with lemon, honey, and spices six times a day. Her reasons for doing so were both physical and spiritual – fasting helps your body detox and your mind gain greater clarity on any number of things that might be bothering you. I’ve always thought of fasts as a way to press the “reset” button on your mind and body. (Plus, it’s Lenten Season, and having grown up Catholic, I’ve come to appreciate the premise of giving up something in order to grow closer to God.)


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I haven’t quite figured out what fast I’ll attempt, or when. I’m getting over a cold, and traveling again in just a few days, so I’m not sure I want to tempt fate by changing up my routine when my immune system is functioning at less than 100 percent. I have, however, done a bit of research on which fast might be best for me. One of my favorite blogs, Desiring God, offers these six tips:

  1. Start small.
  2. Plan what you’ll do instead of eating.
  3. Consider how it will affect others.
  4. Try different kinds of fasting.
  5. Fast from something other than food.
  6. Don’t think of white elephants. also offers a great read on how to commence detoxing via fasting. Check out the list of “tell-tale” signs that you need to detoxify:

  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Brain fog
  • Mental confusion
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Allergies
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Puffy eyes
  • Dull skin

Sounds like just about every working mom I know! I have a feeling I’ll start small, most likely with a 24-hour juice fast. I hope that I’ll be left feeling recharged and just a tad more likely to eliminate unhealthy habits from an already too-hectic life. I’ll let you know how it goes. Until then, stay healthy!


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