lenten fasting questions
#1
The lenten fast is coming up and I wondered about something. I have never been diagnosed with any condition, but I have blood sugar issues of some kind. I never really feel hunger in an empty stomach kind of way, it just kind of shuts down when empty. I do however get light headed, extremely woozy, and start to shake uncontrollably. Panic attacks are also a real threat at that point as well. I switch from feeling fine to a world of terror rapidly. I have been at a dangerously low weight years ago and I don't know if this is the body switching into some kind of panic mode when it doesn't get enough to eat or what, but my question is this. how does one observe the fast when it seems to be centered around how long one can go between eating rather than on the total amount? I usually eat very small amounts at many times throughout the day and have only one real meal. I probably eat in a normal day what some people would consider fasting. But I just cannot manage to eat one large meal and go all day with nothing else. so I ask would this hypothetical menu be acceptable for a fast day?
1 small bowl of cereal
1 peanut butter sandwich
1 grilled cheese with pile of crackers on side
2 glasses of plain milk
The milk would be had between the meals to keep protien levels up. I have eaten something similar to this before on fast days and been able to do it without a problem. but is this too much food to be considered fasting? how would you deal with the situation? I want badly to fast and I am not just one of these people who cannot stand being hungry, I just simply have a kind of physical and mental collapse accompanied by fear and panic rather than normal feelings of hunger. also no breakfast is not so much of an option as I hardly sleep, wake up at 4:00 am and have an 18 hour day ahead of me.
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#2
Consult with a priest and possibly also a doctor.
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#3
The Roman Catholic Lenten fasting obligations are really quite minimal, certainly compared to Orthodox fasting guidelines.  To wit:
Quote: To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.

Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.


http://www.americancatholic.org/features...rules.aspx

The Byzantine Catholic fasting traditions for Great Lent lie somewhere between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic.  (Notice I use the word "traditions" quite purposely here, as opposed to "rules" or "obligations".  We see things somewhat less legalistically in the East than Rome does  Smile.)

If you have issues with the RC fasting rules or some kind of possibly undiagnosed medical condition (hypoglycemia, diabetes, low blood pressure, etc.), do as Dirigible suggests--consult your priest and your doctor.
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#4
If you're unable its not a sin, at least not a mortal sin. In any case talk to your priest.
But really, one can hardly lay down general rules for such things. For instance, your proposed menu for fasting sounds like some busy day with not much money for me, while for others this would be way too little food (and I suppose that for, say, models, this would be too much).


(01-28-2015, 08:41 PM)J Michael Wrote: The Roman Catholic Lenten fasting obligations are really quite minimal, certainly compared to Orthodox fasting guidelines.  To wit:
Quote: To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.

Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.


http://www.americancatholic.org/features...rules.aspx

The Byzantine Catholic fasting traditions for Great Lent lie somewhere between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic.  (Notice I use the word "traditions" quite purposely here, as opposed to "rules" or "obligations".  We see things somewhat less legalistically in the East than Rome does  Smile.)

If you have issues with the RC fasting rules or some kind of possibly undiagnosed medical condition (hypoglycemia, diabetes, low blood pressure, etc.), do as Dirigible suggests--consult your priest and your doctor.

Again, I find laying down these rules a bit silly. I suppose they are not really strict, but more of guidelines. I mean, by this definition of abstinence having a nice cheese pizza is fine.


I have a related question about fasting: whenever I fast, by the end of it I cannot concentrate on anything but just anticipate the moment of eating. This kinda defeats the purpose of a fast, I would imagine. How do you people deal with this?
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#5
(01-28-2015, 05:26 PM)rasbat Wrote: The lenten fast is coming up and I wondered about something. I have never been diagnosed with any condition, but I have blood sugar issues of some kind. I never really feel hunger in an empty stomach kind of way, it just kind of shuts down when empty. I do however get light headed, extremely woozy, and start to shake uncontrollably. Panic attacks are also a real threat at that point as well. I switch from feeling fine to a world of terror rapidly. I have been at a dangerously low weight years ago and I don't know if this is the body switching into some kind of panic mode when it doesn't get enough to eat or what, but my question is this. how does one observe the fast when it seems to be centered around how long one can go between eating rather than on the total amount? I usually eat very small amounts at many times throughout the day and have only one real meal. I probably eat in a normal day what some people would consider fasting. But I just cannot manage to eat one large meal and go all day with nothing else. so I ask would this hypothetical menu be acceptable for a fast day?
1 small bowl of cereal
1 peanut butter sandwich
1 grilled cheese with pile of crackers on side
2 glasses of plain milk
The milk would be had between the meals to keep protien levels up. I have eaten something similar to this before on fast days and been able to do it without a problem. but is this too much food to be considered fasting? how would you deal with the situation? I want badly to fast and I am not just one of these people who cannot stand being hungry, I just simply have a kind of physical and mental collapse accompanied by fear and panic rather than normal feelings of hunger. also no breakfast is not so much of an option as I hardly sleep, wake up at 4:00 am and have an 18 hour day ahead of me.

That looks fine for a daily menu on a fast day.  Of course, it partly depends on how much you normally eat.
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#6
thanks. I will try talking to a priest. I am not really looking for a dispensation or anything because I really do want to fast, and I guess I should have known there is no hard or fast rule aside from the basic guidelines as to what constitutes a fast. I have talked to doctors in the past and nutritionists and had bloodwork done etc. nothing out of the ordinary, the word hypoglycemia muttered by the doctor in a vague way and nothing more. It seems to fit the guidelines in most ways in the sense that the two smaller things don't really add up to dinner, but it is pushing it a bit. It seems that people on the internet only talk about "hunger pains" and things like this but I don't even really understand what they mean. I feel no hunger pains no rumbling ever. hardly any normal experience of hunger in my entire life. The stomach just realizes it is not getting anything and goes dormant. the jittery nerves and dizziness is the only signal I recieve saying that food is necessary and it hits suddenly and like a freight train. This is a thing in my family as well. I have relatives who will basically forget to eat for endless hours or all day and then nearly faint. genetic thing or what I don't know. anyway thats enough rambling just thought maybe I wasn't the only one with this weird experience. 
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#7
(01-29-2015, 04:55 PM)rasbat Wrote: thanks. I will try talking to a priest. I am not really looking for a dispensation or anything because I really do want to fast, and I guess I should have known there is no hard or fast rule aside from the basic guidelines as to what constitutes a fast. I have talked to doctors in the past and nutritionists and had bloodwork done etc. nothing out of the ordinary, the word hypoglycemia muttered by the doctor in a vague way and nothing more. It seems to fit the guidelines in most ways in the sense that the two smaller things don't really add up to dinner, but it is pushing it a bit. It seems that people on the internet only talk about "hunger pains" and things like this but I don't even really understand what they mean. I feel no hunger pains no rumbling ever. hardly any normal experience of hunger in my entire life. The stomach just realizes it is not getting anything and goes dormant. the jittery nerves and dizziness is the only signal I recieve saying that food is necessary and it hits suddenly and like a freight train. This is a thing in my family as well. I have relatives who will basically forget to eat for endless hours or all day and then nearly faint. genetic thing or what I don't know. anyway thats enough rambling just thought maybe I wasn't the only one with this weird experience.

That is peculiar and very interesting.
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#8
sorry to bring back up this thread, but I had one different question. When did fasting become more about the amount of time between eating rather than the total amount eaten? For example I have a class in which the professor who is a religious was talking about monastic rules, and the one we examined spoke of fasting for long periods of the day. The professor said that this idea of a fast being better because of the amount of time between meals rather than a smaller amount of food was almost entirely unique to this obscure document and quite frankly bizarre. When did such a thing become universally accepted as normal practice?almost every mention of fasting I come across from the distant past simply says stop eating before you have had enough, just have tiny amounts at the normal times of eating. I just ask becaus this is one irritating  thing. I could live on a handfull of oatmeal in a day if only I could have a tiny amount regularly, but eating something large and then going eight hours without food just sends my blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride, especially as I am so unaccustomed to eating anything that resembles an actual "meal". why this emphasis on eating heavily and then starving rather than being just fairly hungry all day? I can handle persistant hunger but not being alternatingly gorged or starving throughout the day.
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#9
(02-12-2015, 09:35 AM)rasbat Wrote: sorry to bring back up this thread, but I had one different question. When did fasting become more about the amount of time between eating rather than the total amount eaten? For example I have a class in which the professor who is a religious was talking about monastic rules, and the one we examined spoke of fasting for long periods of the day. The professor said that this idea of a fast being better because of the amount of time between meals rather than a smaller amount of food was almost entirely unique to this obscure document and quite frankly bizarre. When did such a thing become universally accepted as normal practice?almost every mention of fasting I come across from the distant past simply says stop eating before you have had enough, just have tiny amounts at the normal times of eating. I just ask becaus this is one irritating  thing. I could live on a handfull of oatmeal in a day if only I could have a tiny amount regularly, but eating something large and then going eight hours without food just sends my blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride, especially as I am so unaccustomed to eating anything that resembles an actual "meal". why this emphasis on eating heavily and then starving rather than being just fairly hungry all day? I can handle persistant hunger but not being alternatingly gorged or starving throughout the day.

Your condition obviously means that normal fasting rules and guidelines aren't much use to you. You'll need medical and spiritual advice to come up with an appropriate plan. It may be that fasting from food won't do anything for you, since you say you simply don't get hungry, and an entirely different sort of discipline is appropriate in its place.
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#10
No hay que aplicar al cuerpo excesiva austeridad, no sea que, por estar el cuerpo sobrecargado con el peso de la abstinencia, luego ni pueda obrar el mal ni se decida a practicar el bien. Por tanto, hay que moderar el trato del cuerpo con inteligente discreción, a saber, que no se agote por completo y que no goce demasiada libertad.


http://www.hispanomozarabe.es/

This is from St Isidore and basically what he is asying is;  Do not apply excessive austerity to the body, lest, the body being overloaded by the  weight of withdrawal, then can neither decide to do evil nor to do good. Therefore, we must moderate the treatment of the body with intelligent  discretion, namely, that which does not fail completely and not enjoying too much freedom

It should also be noted that  the lenten regulations do not apply to you if you have a legitimate health reason. If you hve a doubt then it might be a good idea to substitute a penance for the one  you are not able to perform. Pray the rosary, make the stations of the cross, give extra money to a worthy charity, visit the sick. 
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