How to fast and ideas for fasting alternatives

Over the past few years, Relevant Radio has hosted the #FastforLife initiative – and this year it will take place on January 20th! #FastforLife is a way for those who can’t attend pro-life marches in-person to participate in the pro-life movement from home, work, or wherever they are. Over the past few years, #FastforLife has grown into a worldwide initiative, with participants from all 50 states and many foreign countries!

Whether you choose to fast with us in a traditional sense or your circumstances require a more unique approach to fasting, here are some ideas to help you get started:

“When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal,” says the USCCB about the Church’s obligatory fasting days. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no food is to be eaten between meals.

These guidelines are usually pretty easy to follow, so some people will take their fasting a step further, or even follow a stricter bread and water fast. It’s important to talk to your pastor, spiritual director, or physician if you have questions or concerns about fasting, and don’t take on any fasting practices that would be detrimental to your health.

Alternative Fasting Options

You might choose other works of charity or exercises of piety to take the place of fasting and abstinence, especially if you are physically or mentally ill, pregnant or nursing, or otherwise unable to fast from food. Here are just a few examples of alternative fasting:

Fast from complaining
Drink only water – no coffee, soda, etc.
Pray a Memorare each hour of the day for a specific intention
Fast from television or internet use – instead, spend that time in prayer or spiritual reading
Be extra cheerful during the day, and smile at everyone you meet
Do extra household chores, or tackle some of the chores that you hate the most
Refrain from eating out or having your favorite meal – instead, eat a nutritious meal that isn’t your first choice
Take a cold or lukewarm shower
Give up music in the car
Get out of bed right away, or get up a half-hour earlier than usual

You can learn more about the #FastforLife initiative and sign up here! All #FastForLife participants will receive a free copy of our e-booklet, The Choice is Love.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.