The Daniel Fast – Finding God and Losing Weight

October 31, 2011
Hi.  I’m a friend of Julie’s, and I just finished the Daniel Fast.  It was a pretty cool experience so Julie asked if I’d guest blog and share about my experience. 

To start off, I was doing it entirely for spiritual reasons.  I’ve been at my wits end in my personal life recently, and I wanted to seek God for some answers to lots of questions I had.  My mom suggested I try fasting to focus my attention and ask God for answers.  I’ve never really fasted before, so I wasn’t sure if I would be up for it.  I’ve tried fasting over one breakfast or lunch and when I did, all I thought about was food!  I knew going for days without any food wouldn’t work for me, so the Daniel fast seemed like a good option.   The Daniel fast essentially allows you to eat anything from a seed (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes) but no sugar and you can only drink water.  It’s kind of similar to a strict vegan diet (absolutely no animal by-products) but with just water.  As an avid coffee/caffeine drinker, I was a little panicked.  I’ve probably been consuming between 2 – 5 cups of coffee/diet coke EVERY DAY since college so the “only drink water” thing had me a little worried. 

As I pictured how I was going to do this, I thought I’d be eating veggies and fruit for 10 days straight.  While this seemed semi-doable, it sounded miserable!  Fortunately there are two really good websites with ideas about menus, vegan recipes and various suggestions on how to make it through the fast.  (http://danielfast.wordpress.com/and http://www.daniel-fast.com/).  I spent the entire week before weaning myself off of caffeine by changing the mix of my coffee to half-caf and started eating salads to get used to lots of veggies.  My co-workers certainly noticed.  Three days into half-caf my boss asked if I was sick because I looked terrible.  “No, I’m fine” I told him.  “I’m just weaning myself off of caffeine.”  “Oh no!” he replied.  Oh no indeed!

So when I officially started the Daniel Fast, the first couple of days were miserable.  I was terrified I wouldn’t get enough to eat and I started getting a major headache.  Why was I doing this again??  God, do you really care what I eat?  The good thing is that when you severely restrict your food, your mind gets very clear and focused.  While I had to expend lots of energy on figuring out what I was allowed to eat, I was also praying a lot because all I wanted was food I wasn’t allowed to have. 

Then after three days, an amazing thing started to happen…I started feeling great!  I wasn’t so concerned about what I could eat and what I wasn’t allowed to have.  I figured out a few meals I could eat, and they weren’t so difficult to make.  I started having really good times journaling, and I felt like God was giving me some clarity about what I was asking him.  While I missed certain things (i.e., my dove chocolate at the end of dinner or a glass of wine after a long day), I was feeling really good during the day.  I wasn’t having any sugar spikes after lunch and I wasn’t craving a snack in the afternoon like I normally do.  I ate a ton of nuts and nut butters, avocados, hummus and of course, lots of fruits and veggies.  While I didn’t always love what I was eating (Muesli with unsweetened soy milk is overrated), I was feeling really good.  It was pretty easy to stick to it during the work week, and I even had enough energy where I worked out every other day.  I ended up doing the fast for 11 days (the normal timeframe is either 10 or 21 days), and I am so thankful I did.  I chose the 10 day fast because I had a friend’s wedding on the 12th day and it seemed fitting to end it with a celebration. 

While I certainly didn’t do the fast to lose weight, I ended up losing 10 pounds (in 11 days).  I can’t figure out what the secret was that made me drop so much weight so quickly (i.e., no sugar, no alcohol, no white flour, lots of veggies or just eating natural foods without any animal by-products).  All this to say, it was an amazing experience!  Primarily it’s because I got the answers from God I was really seeking, but the way I felt (and looked) by the end was also pretty awesome.  I’ve slowly been reintroducing “normal” foods and I’ve gained back a few pounds fairly quickly.  I’m not sure what that says but whether you’re seeking God in your life or not, the Daniel fast diet is a pretty cool thing.  Check out those websites for more information on what’s allowed (apples with peanut butter = good) and what’s not (blue tortilla chips are indeed fried even if they appear healthy).  Good luck!

2 thoughts on ““The Daniel Fast – Finding God and Losing Weight”

  • goingtomx

    Hey, so I was wondering about caloric intake and starvation mode.

    I’ve read that if you do a fast it will put your body in starvation mode and that you may end up not losing weight at all?

    Also I’ve heard that aside from fasts. I want to lose some weight (just 10-15 pounds) but I’m afraid that eating healthier will result in me eating too few calories and then my body going into starvation mode and hanging on to the fat I have.

    Thanks! – Kaitlyn

  • Julie

    Hey Kaitlyn!
    If you are doing a juice fast or lemonade fast, you are still getting calories and nutrients from the juice/lemonade, so you’re not putting your body in starvation mode. You should still be drinking every couple hours to keep your metabolism going all day! Fasting should be done for a short period of time as a way to detox or for spiritual reasons. It is a great way to clean yourself out, but alot of the weight loss may be water weight.
    For long term weight/fat loss, I would suggest eating clean (lean protein, complex carbs, good fat) every 2-3 hours. Make sure you’re eating breakfast within an hour of getting up and then eating healthy every couple hours to keep your metabolism going all day! Lower calories is great for weight loss-just make sure you’re getting the right nutrients in your meals/snacks! Hope this helps:) Feel free to email me if you need specific recommendations!

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