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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Question Religious fasting - February 27th 2017, 04:11 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of eating disorders, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

Hey all! So as Lent approaches, I struggle to determine what I am to do when it comes to fasting. As a Catholic over 14, I am required to fast on Ash Wednesday, Fridays of Lent, as well as Good Friday. There are exceptions for health complications that may incur due to fasting, and I have been told by religious leaders that struggling with an eating disorder is reason to abstain. I generally play it by ear and see how much I am struggling with my eating disorder at the time when my religion asks me to fast.

I was wondering what people of other faiths believe when it comes to religious fasting, and what are the exceptions to the rule? If you struggle with an eating disorder, do you fast on certain days for religious reasons, or do you abstain from fasting to prevent relapse?
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Re: Religious fasting - February 27th 2017, 04:17 AM

I'm not religious at all, but my thought on this is if you have an eating disorder you shouldn't fast for any reason because then it could turn into something more serious. Even if you are recovered from the ed I don't think you should do it.

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Re: Religious fasting - February 27th 2017, 03:20 PM

Hey there. While I don't personally suffer from and eating disorder, my sister did. I'm Mormon, and we fast on the first Sunday of every month as a whole, and then on a personal level for various reasons. While we only fast for the first two meals of the day, my sister was never required to fast, and no one ever held it against her. I wouldn't recommend ever doing something that puts you at risk. God knows your heart, and understands your limitations. He doesn't look at you any less because of it. I hope all goes well!

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Re: Religious fasting - February 27th 2017, 05:47 PM

Hey there,

I am religious to a certain extent but I am not part of a religion that requires fasting. However, I do have some thoughts on this and I hope it is okay that I am sharing.

If you are struggling a lot with your eating disorder at this point in time I don't think that you should fast. The reason I feel this way is because as someone who has a form of an eating disorder being given a reason to fast and then participating in that fast can fuel a steady decline. I know when I used to have to fast for blood tests I would end up going a few days without eating. In my head it was kind of like I had already started fasting so why not continue doing so until I could no longer do so. I would hate to see you fall into that cycle as well.

I think that you definitely have medical reasons against fasting. You talked to someone about it and they told you it would be okay. I know when you are religious it is hard to not be able to participate in certain things due to your mental health but at the end of the day your well being is important and fasting could endanger your life in the long run. I don't think anyone would expect that from you.

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Re: Religious fasting - February 27th 2017, 06:47 PM

Don't ever feel like you are a bad Catholic because you can't partake in fasting for Ash Wednesday. I know it might sound off, but you do have a medical condition and God will understand your reasonings. This is between you and God, and He knows you the best. <3
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Re: Religious fasting - February 28th 2017, 10:38 PM

I'm no longer religious, but I recommend abstaining from fasting unless you've spoken with a licensed doctor.

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Re: Religious fasting - March 1st 2017, 12:33 AM

I'm not religious, but my mum is and she fasts twice a week and on some festivals (only being allowed to very limited food). Personally, I'd say talking to a doctor is the first step, since you are already fighting an eating disorder, it may trigger it further.
Secondly, I know in my mum's religion that you are allowed to not fast if you have health conditions. So when she is sick she eats what she needs to help her body. Also, she had a surgery once right before a festival and she just ate because according to her religion, God loves you regardless and wants you to look after yourself.

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Re: Religious fasting - March 1st 2017, 09:16 PM

I'm Catholic also and I've heard numerous things about it but even though you are over 14 I would say that this is an exception to fasting. Since it is related to your health, you should be exempt. You can always talk to a priest or someone with more knowledge too. I live on a Catholic campus with numerous resources and know a few people on campus who have eating disorders and they choose to not fast. Overall, you have to do what's best for you and what keeps you healthy. I don't think there's anything wrong with playing it by ear.

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