4 Tips to Have an Easy Yom Kippur Fast
The New Year has begun, you have ten days to ask forgiveness, repent for any terrible things you’ve done this year, and prepare for a 25-hour fast. Yom Kippur is coming so take out your white clothing and put away your leather shoes, because it’s time for the hardest Jewish Holiday.
Fasting is rough, especially for those who only do it once a year and are expected to spend countless hours in shul. Your fast would be really easy if you were expected to simply sleep all day. However, like the mensch you are, you are likely going to spend time in nice clothing sitting primly and pretending to think of something other then food, water, and schmoozing with your extended family.
Since you have prior commitments to the almighty and your mother, the only way to truly make your fast easy is to prepare properly. If you want to make it from Kol Nidrei until the shofar blows without fainting try these tips:
The hardest part of fasting is the lack of water. As you know, people can last a lot longer without food then they can without water. Abstaining from water isn’t very healthy. (sorry, G-D) So if you intend to make it 25 hours without it, a best practice is to drink a gallon of water the day before. Start early in the day and stop drinking before you are overfull. You still have to eat that delicious meal your bubby made.
After dinner, it’s time for you last glass of water, by the time the time the sun sets your last tinkle should be crystal clear.
Avoid Salty Foods
If you plan to drink the appropriate amount of liquid before the fast, you might want to watch the salt intake a bit. Salty foods can cause bloating, in addition to making you thirsty. Do you really want to spend the next day bloated and thirsty?
I don’t know why I am even writing this one because we both know that we’re going to overeat at this meal but we have to at least try not to. Nowadays, fasting for 25 hours feels like a really big deal but you’ve already had your bar/bat mitzvah so it’s time to change your mindset. It’s just one day, don’t worry, you’ll be fine. This isn’t a high-stress situation; try to eat a normal size meal, ideally filled with protein and fiber to help you stay full longer.
This one is an unpopular piece of advice but I still give it every year. If you want to be good at something, it takes practice. Intermittent fasting is a popular diet strategy and can be quite helpful when preparing for this particular Yom Tov. Intermittent fasting is the idea of decreasing the window of time in which you eat throughout the day. The average person eats in a 12-hour window; say from 8am-8pm, while someone who is intermittent fasting will aim for a smaller window. To make your fast easier this year, on the days leading up to Yom Kippur, try to push back your breakfast a little bit each day and decrease the size of that eating window. Still drink plenty of water, but get used to the fact that you don’t need to be eating first thing in the morning and right before bed. You may even find that you are more productive and have more energy while you are fasting.
Remember if your grandparents can fast on Yom Kippur, you can too. It’s mostly mental, and as long as you don’t have any pre-existing conditions, you’ll be fine. Plus, there are bagels at the finish line.
Good luck and good yuntef!
Jake Dermer is the founder of Do It At Your Desk, a company dedicated to helping office workers live healthier, more-active, and pain-free lives. He is also a published fitness writer with a decade of experience in the personal training industry. Jake’s program is the result of years of dedicated effort on helping to dispel the myths around diet and exercise. As well as an avid rock climber and gym goer, he is a proud ChiTribe contributor. Learn more about Jake on his website and read his book today!