When fasting, it is important to inform some close friends and relatives so that they do not disturb you with food or anything that you could be fasting.
The lent period brings about repentance in Christians andmeditation on their relationship with God. However, it is not always complete, unless fasting is supplemented.
The Rev. Can. Dr John Ebong, a former Chaplain at St. Francis Chapel Makerere, says Christians remember the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the wildness as he fasted.
"Fasting takes us to the climax of Christian faith," Ebong says, adding that "it is an element of Christian purity."
Ebong says after fasting, Jesus had to be crucified on the cross to be able to save many from sin. There are several types of fasting and here are few that a person can choose from.
Complete or radical fasting
The Rev. Hilary Tumusiime, a director of New Life Bible College, Nsambya, a city suburb, says inthis type of fasting, neither food nor water is taken. One can decide to fast from dawn to dusk.
However, it can also be a radical fast where one can fast during the day and night. In the Bible, when Saul was struck by with lightning by God, he became blind. To avert the evil, he went without food and water for three days.
Likewise, Queen Esther and other Jews did the same when they wanted God change the King's heart to spare the Jews from extermination, which He did.
The partial fast
Some Christians prefer the partial fast, compared to the complete and radical fast. Like Daniel fasted on water and vegetables, Sarah Mwesigwa, a pastor at Holy Temple Church, Makerere, says Christians today can replace it with juice or do away with breakfast or lunch. You do away with something you prefer, so that you can fully concentrate on God.
However, if one fasts something they do not have in the house, that is not enough sacrifice to make them fully surrender to God. The Rev. Ebong says some people can choose to put aside some of the things they desire, so that they can get close to God. These might include food, such meat, bad behaviour, such as quarrelling and cheating
This is the one done by most Christians. They fast from morning to evening that is from 6:00am to 6:00pm. They can fast with water or without water for a number of days. Mwesigwa says this is preferred because the body needs water, so that, it can be able to work. Aside from that as someone fasts, a lot of water is lost, which needs to be replenished.
Whereas some Christians fast during lent, Muslims fast during the month of Ramadhan. "When the moon appears," Sheikh Muhammed Kizza of Wandegeya, a city suburb, says: ‘We begin to fast?" Kizza says this period lasts 29 or 30 days and during this time, people begin to fast from 5:30am to 7:00pm.
Immediately after Ramadhan, Kizza says they do another fast of six days, which was commanded by Prophet Mohammed.
"This fast is supposed to cleanse your sins since there are some wrongs you would have committed during Ramadhan," Kizza says.
Besides that, some Muslims fast every Monday and Thursday of the week. Kizza says this helps the Muslim to ask God to bless the week. But most importantly, Muslims fast on Monday because it was the day Prophet Mohammed was born and, also, it is the time Allah revealed the Muslim faith to him.
Furthermore, followers of Allah can also fast three days every month. "These can be in the middle, beginning or at the end. However, the best days should be around 13th, 14th and 15th of the month," Kizza says.
it is not mandatory, Kizza says even if one fasted a day in the month, they would get 10 blessings. If they fasted the three days, those would be 30 blessings.
If one keeps up the three days for the whole year, then they would have got blessings for an entire year.
And if they decide to do it every year of Christians begin Lent on Wednesday, Maureen
Nakatudde delves into the different ways of fasting Different ways of One can opt to break the fast at 6:00pm if they had the normal fast.
With a radicle fast, one can go without food during the day and night. Expectant mothers are advised to keep away from fasting their lives, it is equated to fasting their entire life, thus reaping eternal blessings.
Kizza says the only days that are commanded by Allah are from Ramadhan and the rest are from Prophet Mohammed.
Even though Ramadhan is compulsory, some people, like the sick, old, the pregnant women, those travelling and the women having their monthly periods are not supposed to fast. However, they are required to compensate those days by fasting, should their conditions nomalise.
For the children, it is required that boys start to fast at the age of 15, while girls start immediately their first period. It is, however, advised they start earlier at eight or nine years. However, if they become hungry, they are advised to eat.
Those not fasting should eat their food in secrecy so that they do not discourage the others who are fasting.
Dr Medad Ebyarimpa of Mengo Hospital and Ntinda Medical Centre, says fasting is not only beneficial for religious reasons, but it is also good for health ones. Since one is not eating food, it is a sure way of cutting down on weight. "You try to cut down your calories by not eating food," he says.
"This, therefore, reduces the body's weight," he adds.
Ebyarimpa says fasting cuts down on the amount of energy one is using and fats in the body. This, therefore, reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases and improves on the brain function. Although some fitness fanatics would like to combine fasting with exercise, Ebyarimpa strongly advises against it.
"You should not fast and exercise because you can end up collapsing" he says. Likewise, if one is sick, they should not fast because it endangers their body, like those with diabetes and hypertension.
The best solution would be for one to first discuss with their doctor, on the possibility of fasting. When given a go-ahead, one should follow the guidelines, in order to avoid harming their body. Whereas fasting is good and may not have side effects because it helps slender people keep trim and also avoid heart diseases, it is not the case with a fat person.
If you are obese, you should not fast because it can also endanger your health.
Ebyarimpa advises one to do it gradually, so that it does not harm them. He also encourages the taking of lots of water to maintain a hydrated body. Although some people might think of hours and a few days of fasting, for a healthy fast, Ebyarimpa advises a person to do it for a minimum of two weeks if they are to benefit from it.
Conduct through fasting
It is usually bad to hold a fast and not get the results. Therefore, it is vital to keep away from sin and all that is displeasing to God when fasting.
The Bible says that the Lord's hand is not too short to save, but one's iniquities bars them from receiving from God (Isaiah 59).
The Bible also says the kind of fasting that is good is the one that is free from strife, injustice and oppression of the poor. So, if you want your prayers answered, keep away from strife and mistreating of others.
What to do when breaking the fast?
Praise God that you have completed your day and now it is time to break the fast. Instead of breaking the fast on starch and wheat foods, Ekyarimpa advises eating soft foods, like bananas and vegetables, so that the body is not harmed. "Heavy meals, after fasting, can damage your body since it is not ready to process them," he says.
Is it true when people know that you are fasting, it is wasted time? No, it is not a wasted time.
The best way should be to keep it in your heart without telling someone, though. Emphasis rather should be placed on your actions to your changed life.
Father Joseph Harman Kisekka, Masaka No, when you tell someone that you are fasting; you would not have ended it. In the Bible, there are many incidents where people fasted. If it was secretive, perhaps they should not have written or said anything about it.
When fasting, it is important to inform some close friends and relatives so that they do not disturb you with food or anything that you could be fasting. - Father Joseph Harman Kisekka, Masaka
Some people believe that fasting is a sure ticket to what you want from God, is it true?
No, it is not. When you fast, expect three answers, yes, no, and wait. Fasting makes you to realise what the will of God for your life is and accepting it. It enables you to uplift your spirit, while the flesh is weak. Consequently, this gets you in tune with God's spirit. In other words, fasting can strengthen your spiritual life. - Pastor Peter Yiga, Kampala
Which type of fasting brings the best results?
Every type of fasting is good, depending on your conviction and what can work for you. - Pastor Sarah Mwesigwa, Makerere, Kampala
Should I fast only during the lent period?
No, one should fast as convicted by the Holy Spirit or if they want God to intervene in their situation. Preferably, one should at least have a day in a week that they dedicate to God to fast. - Pastor Sarah Mwesigwa, Makerere