Yom Kippur (the holiest day in the Jewish year, which is also a fast day) is coming up next week!
Fasting used to bring with it so much food stress and chaos before and after the fast (restriction can do that to ya!)
Today, my preparations for the fast and how I break it are peaceful and don’t derail me into chaos or regressing back to dieting.
If you struggle with feeling balanced with food or feel confused on what to eat before and after a fast (and how to keep it intuitive!), keep reading because that’s exactly what I’m about to cover…
Pre-Yom Kippur Meal
How are you usually left feeling after the pre-fast meal for Yom Kippur?
For years I had this mentality that I had to stuff myself because:
a) I’d be less hungry the next day
b) I can eat however much I want because I’m not eating the next day anyway so it was “okay”, I’d burn it off via starvation basically 😧
Every fast started in the most uncomfortable way, my insides felt like they might explode. I felt sick and bloated and I’d berate myself for eating so much.
This is how the all or none mentality presents itself.
Now, after years of applying intuitive eating into my life, I know that eating with an all or none mentality will:
a) Not make you feel any fuller the next day
b) Isn’t being kind to your body – it doesn’t feel good and that’s not what it wants.
Instead, here are recommendations for the pre-fast meal that will leave you feeling good, too:
➡️ Hydrate throughout the day, starting a day or 2 before the actual fast
➡️ Eat consistently throughout the day. Not doing so will likely make you hungrier the next day (remember that our bodies will increase or decrease appetite based on our previous eating experiences)
➡️ Tune in to fullness cues. Eating a bit more than usual is normal at a family meal, but it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Tune in to the stages of fullness so you leave feeling good.
➡️ At the meal – have some carbohydrates such as grains, fruit, potato, kreplach, etc (this will ensure adequate energy stores aka glycogen) and protein such as fish, meat, etc to help keep you satiated.
➡️ Salty foods (like potato chips, herring, deli meats, etc. ) can make you thirsty. Ask yourself: is this best serving me today? Salty foods aren’t bad, its about how it would serve you now vs later.
➡️ Choose foods you ENJOY!
➡️ Be kind to yourself. If you eat more than feels good, don’t drink enough, eat salty foods, etc. – don’t judge, don’t criticize! Lean in to that feeling and ask yourself what led you to eat this way.
Ask yourself: would you want to experience this again? – what can you do next time to feel good? You can LEARN from it! Have self compassion and curiosity, this will contribute to health and happiness, not stress and guilt!
Now let’s discuss the Post-Yom Kippur meal
How do you typically break the fast for Yom Kippur? Do you think about food all day when you are fasting?
Obsessive food thoughts will happen when your body is deprived (physically or mentally).
When you are overly hungry and presented with food, it’s a normal response to overeat because it is a biological drive to eat for survival → if we didn’t have this we wouldn’t be motivated to eat.
No food = no energy = no life (the dry facts here)
You are especially prone to overeating if your thoughts are along the lines of:
➡️ “I didn’t eat all day, I earned it”.
➡️ “I’m making up for the entire day, so I’ll eat it all!”
➡️ “I broke my fast on cookies, screw it, I’ll just eat as many as I can right now before I start over tomorrow”.
This thinking is focused on external factors, it does not pay attention to what your body wants.
This Yom Kippur, choose to listen to your body, sit down and enjoy your food!
Here are some tips for breaking your fast this year that will help you feel balanced and good, too:
➡ The first thing to do is hydrate! Your body needs fluids after 25 hours of zero hydration.
As for what to break your fast on? My recommendations as a Registered Dietitian & Intuitive Eating coach are:
- Eat something that will make you feel good – only you know that!
- Eat a food source with carbohydrate content (toast, fruit, sweet potato) that will help replenish your energy stores quickly and give you the energy you need. Some protein, such as peanut butter (on toast or with a banana), salmon (with sweet potato) or chicken (with pasta) can also help satisfy you.
- It’s ok if you choose cookies or cake ! That works, too. Those cookies will do the job to replete your energy stores. To prevent a quick sugar spike I’d recommend pairing it with a source of protein – such as nut butter, yogurt, milk, etc.
Intuitive Eating is about what you can add to make you feel good, not take away.
Whether you choose a fruit, a sandwich, or a slice of cake, tune in to how it is making your body feel.
Practice sitting with the feeling whether it feels good or no. There is no wrong or right. Let go of the stress – you have all the answers within you, all you need to do is start listening!! Every eating experience is a learning experience!
P.S. Here are more resources to help you find food freedom and body peace…
- Apply for 1:1 Coaching
- Join my Self-Paced Online Course: Living Free
- For Professionals who want to boost their coaching confidence and skills, get access to the FREE Video Training: 3 Steps to Boost Your Intuitive Eating Counseling Skills & Coaching Confidence
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