Fasting on bread and water question

If I’m fasting on bread and water for one day how much bread shoul I be eating at one meal?
I eat two each for breakfast, lunch, supper and snack, this is white bread with butter, is this too much, not enough?

I can’t say I’m a fasting expert, seeing as I would get a stern lecture from my doctor if I lost half a pound. But I’ll give what I can.

The point of fasting is to make a sacrifice that is pleasing to God. I don’t think strict regulations are important. The “God, I know I have nothing to give you, but I’m gonna do this for you” attitude is what it’s about.

Just don’t starve yourself. Remember that you also have a responsibility to take care of the body God’s letting you use while you’re here.

Here’s something that just popped into my head. I think there’s a connection somewhere but I’m not going to be able to find it. If someone else can, that’s wonderful. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

  1. Be very careful with serious fasting! Make sure it’s ok with you doctor and with a spiritual director. Someone should be guiding you to make sure you don’t undergo penances that will harm you spiritually because they are too legalistic or too harsh–we can all fall this way.

  2. If you are going on bread and water, I’d really suggest whole grain bread. Just because it will provide you with better nutrition.

  3. If you ever get hungry and are not sure if you need to eat more or not, just eat more. Don’t risk your health, that is not what God wants.

God bless you!

The purpose of fasting is to mortify the appetites, not to compromise your health, so definitely take vitamin supplements, drink plenty of water, and even eat moderate amounts of nutritious foods, though not, perhaps, the particular foods you most enjoy.


Some thoughts from my experiences this lent, and also from today(coincidence) on fasting.

  1. It is amazing, when it works, totally reorientates you to God, helps you conquer many sins!

  2. Somedays I would fast till I could barely do anything but go to bed-this was foolish-and I believe that JP II has even said somewhere, that we should fast to the point where, we are still able to do daily work-after all that is why God put us here. So dont starve yourself till a specific time, and then eat, its better to break that fast with a small amount of food and then continue on.

  3. you must PRAY. Fasting without prayer is just dieting. and not spiritually beneficial. IN my opinion whilst fasting, it is a good time to engage in devotional prayer- stations of cross, rosary, bible reading. I read last night that when fasting Jews read Exodus32 Golden calf episode and how they violated their covanent, and then into Ex 34 when the cocvanent is renewed. I thought that was cool, but I would suggest mediating on the Passion of the Lord, whist fasting.

  4. I found that spiritual pride can sneek in, when one fasts regularly. Like as if I fast, so I am a better catholic than you coz you dont! This was crazy thinking! So humble yourself, and remember that the devil could let you fast away, make a perceived minor gain spiritually, only to end up worse spiritually than when you started. So be careful and pray that it is Gods will, that you are doing.

  5. Remember “[Gods] power is made perfect in weakness” 2Cor12:8 ff, and “when I am weak, then I am strong”

  6. one of the Church fathers said that if you want your prayers to fly to God, give them the wings of fasting and alms giving. Again fasting is not to be engaged in an isolated fashion, but use all 3 of these ways mentioned above for spiritual gain.

  7. Remember, dont tell many people/anyone, according to the Lords advice in Matthew6:16ff. A friend of mine once said, that when you tell people, satan can use them to try t convince you to stop. To eat something, seemingly very concerned for you, but that makes it harder. In my opinion, this fasting is a journey that must be taken alone, just you and God, (and One spiritual director-if you have one)

  8. Fasting is something which must be done right, no point pretending you making a sacrifice to God-if it is not really a sacrifice to you. remember-no pain no gain. It must be hard. Dont give in, just if you feel hungry. Stick it out, and the rewards and there to be collected.

the JOY of fasting awaits to be discovered again by the majority of the Church esp in the Western world.

sorry for rambling on and prob off topic slightly, but this may help someone.

in fraternal solidarity with you in your Fast and prayers.


Thanks some good points on here, I’ll check them out and maybe try some different things.

While you are beginning your fast it might be prudent to keep with you an energy drink or bar (red bull, etc.) in case you start getting weak. Don’t fast to the point where you’re hurting you body since that could be a sin against the fifth commandment.

The fact that you are fasting on bread means you are giving up other things to eat. That doesn’t mean you should be starving yourself. Eat enough bread at each “mealtime” to satisfy what your body needs to still be productive. If two pieces of bread does it, fine, but if you are getting weak or ornary, eat more.

Different kinds of breads can work well. Whole wheat bread, potato bread, bagels, etc., it doesn’t have to be just white bread.

God Bless.

If you are really hungry while fasting try a small frequent eating of bread. If you fast you must pray. Fasting is not just about not eating but it is mo of a sacrifice and a prayer.

Fasting, coupled with prayer is our best weapon against Satan. If you have trouble fasting, ask for God’s grace to assist you.You will be amazed at the results!

The reason Catholics fast on bread & water is because Jesus said, “I am the bread of life”. This relates fasting to the Eucharist.

I find fasting is best done on whole grain, stick to your ribs bread that is not full of artificial preservatives. If I am working that day, I may need to eat a little more than if I am just engaged in prayer at home. Otherwise, just don’t eat until you are full.

Most healthy people can fast every Friday on bread & water, without risking their health, and belive me, if you have a family, it becomes a real sacrifice!

We must remember not to be like the Pharisees who let everyone know they were fasting. That negates the sacrifice.

Check out Jesse Romero’s website under E5 men. He breaks down the Bread and Water Fasting there.

Very fun site

Ah, my children. No normal, **healthy **person needs to worry that fasting for one day (even going completely without food) will do him a morsel of harm. If you have medical issues that is another matter altogether.

If you are doing more than one day a week on B&W, run it past a spiritual director. That is absolutely crucial.

One day on B&W? No biggie. I would not use butter because the point of B&W is penance, and butter is considered “luxury.” I would calculate how many calories it takes to keep you at your normal healthy body weight and put just that much bread in a ziploc bag, taking only that for the day. If you’re overweight, you might want to take half the calories your lowest normal healthy weight requires.

Great post blackfish!

I’m a healthy young man who tries to fast on bread and water once a week. Do I need a spiritual director’s permission for this, as another poster suggested? I don’t have one and it doesn’t look as if in my area, where there are lots of Catholics but a limited number of priests, I’m going to be finding a spiritual director anytime soon.

I don’t know if my opinion is worth much, but I find it much easier to fast on bread and water if I diversify the breads or add bagel chips or croutons for a little crunch (especially if you usually have a snack during the day). Sometimes it is beneficial to add a piece of fruit to keep your energy up if you have to work, exercise or just have to keep up with a gaggle of kids (like me :wink: ). The piece of fruit idea is helpful, especially if you are slightly diabetic or hypoglycemic. Just remember that you are sacrificing for God, and not for those around you. Feeling hunger pangs are fine and even beneficial as long as it doesn’t make you so grumpy that you irritate the people around you (like co-workers or family). Kudos for wanting to do such things for the Glory of God! :thumbsup:

I have to ask this: whenever I fast on bread and water, I usually do so after dinner on one day till dinner the next day. However, I noticed that my dinner plate after fasting is fuller than usual and is often followed by dessert.

Granted, the angels served a banquet to Our Lord after 40 days in the desert, but I’m left with the impression that I’m making up for the fasting, although I did feel the pain of hunger…

Just plain scrupulosity?



I’m not very good at fasting, but recently I also have had questions about the bred and water fasts, so thank you so much for posting this question.

When I did finally do so, upon the Spirit’s prompting (I really couldn’t do otherwise, can’t explain this), all I had in the house was low carb wheat tortillas.

So I packed up 2 tortillas to bring to work…fajita size, which are the big ones.

I had one in the morning on the way to work and one about mid-afternoon.

There were definite spiritual benefits, and I was actually able to maintain the fast until morning…and I had only a little to eat (tortilla) in the evening.

Historically, if I have missed meals I have had stomach problems, long boring story which I am not going to share. Suffice to say that I was terrified of this all day, but God gave me a certain peace…and in the morning after my fast when I began to eat again, I had no stomach problems. I was able to eat normally…maybe a little more than usual, but no problems.

So now I try to be guided when I fast, as I think that day the Lord gave it to me as a lesson,and from here it will become more difficult again.

In answer to the last question, I don’t think ther’s a problem if you eat a little more than usual, because, after all, the body is catching up on some nutrition you missed. Do you realize that if you skip a meal your metabolism slows down? There’s a whole host of stuff that continually happens in the body dependent upon our intake/output. Fasting, I think, is part of interrupting this routine and accepting the consequences.

As already observed, for healthy people, this slight change in metabolism will not have a major effect, but just understand it is there.

For myself,I have learned that if I keep a bottle of Sprite or something nearby, I am able to avoid eating by intaking the sugar which helps to hold off the “shakes”–some of which is psychological.

Sorry, I digressed when I meant to end my post.

I just read an AP news release about Gerald Martin, a 76-year-old New Orleans man who was rescued from his flooded home on Friday. He spent 18 days surviving on only a gallon and a half of water. 16 of those days he was trapped in his attic by the floodwaters, sweltering in 90+ degree temps.

His story makes all of our fasting pain seem trivial.

The fact that our small offerings may be small does not necessarily make them trivial. The Desert Fathers used to say that God is often more pleased with our small sacrifices than with great ones.

When our little disciplines do not interfere with our work, when they do not detract from works of mercy, or better still, if they encourage works of mercy, then they are part of the broader picture of our life in Christ. Gerald Martin may have survived such a severe trial, by God’s grace, partially aided by the spiritual offering of some stranger in Switzerland who fasted on behalf of the flood victims during that time.