Forsaking food - lets' talk about fasting
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
This is a scary concept for me, mainly because I went for a period of time intentionally depriving my body of nutrients in a vain attempt to gain control of my out-of-control life. I might have been successful in losing a few pounds during this time, but I was frequently woozy, and eventually it came with a trip to the other side of the eating teeter-totter. Still, I felt like I was in control. I liked that a lot more than bingeing on sweets etcetera and then purging them. Not eating was cleaner and easier to maintain, but it was unhealthy in every possible way. I was in my early twenties at the time, and I eventually stopped this behavior and was left with the compulsive overeating and no mitigating coping mechanisms. From that point on, it has been a journey from diet program to diet program, getting thinner, getting heavier, all the while knowing FOOD is in control. I know I'm being really open here, but its because I need to define the difference between that and what is happening now.
Forsaking food is a decision of the heart and mind, not the body. I am choosing to abstain for a period of time, in order to recognize and modify the power I have given food in my life. Because of my overeating, I do have quite a bit of energy stored on my body, and using that energy will help me drop the extra weight. However, that SHOULD be a side effect of making progress in developing a healthy relationship with food. If dropping the weight is the primary goal of fasting, no progress will have been made in effecting permanent changes. I must put fasting in its proper place, and be extremely careful not to embrace the feeling of power it brings, nor to surrender to the feelings of excitement and anxiety that begin as the fast ends. I can't control my knee-jerk response to either situation, but I can take captive every thought, and reform it intentionally until the new thoughts become my own. So, I'm treading very carefully, going very slowly, and being mindful as I go.
Because I've eaten a ketogenic diet for quite awhile (intolerance for sugar, gluten and many grains), becoming what is called "fat-adapted" wasn't difficult for me. I am not a doctor or scientist, but as I understand it, the body will use the fuel that is easiest to use. Carbs are easiest to use. The body can change that into sugar more easily and BOOM it has energy. Using fat already stored is more difficult, and usually requires aerobic exercise to first burn the carbs in the blood, and then the body can begin to burn the fat. If a person is fat-adapted, their body has adjusted it's pursuit of energy to use fat first, because there haven't been carbs available for a period of time. If this is true, it means my body is able to use the stored fat more easily, and thus I can lose fat, despite an inability to really exercise (I have several injuries right now in various states of recovery, and the combination of these makes exercise very difficult for me).
So I could be fasting a LOT more than I am. Many people following a similar way of eating do fast a lot more. But I am again going VERY slowly, very carefully, leaving room for the Lord to speak to me, and He is. As I choose to forsake food for a period of time, I am learning even more how much I love food and eating. I am learning that I need much less than I think I do, and I am learning that hunger is a good thing.
I'll talk more about fasting in my next post. If you have not subscribed to my blog, I encourage you to do so. I would love to be able to interact with you, and I won't be sending newsletters or anything intrusive like that. You'll simply get an email when I post, and then nothing else. I know it is difficult to sign up for yet another thing, but I hope you'll consider it.