Fasting is a deliberate abstinence from something – usually food. During Lent, Catholics will extend this concept to a decision to abstain from other things, like cigarettes, or alcohol. However, fasting – in its most general form is an abstinence from food or certain foods.
Surgical preparation often requires fasting from food, certain diets including a fasting strategy, and many faiths include food fasting as a strategy as well.
Fasting is hard to do
Food fasting is not an easy thing to do. We are hard-wired to eat. Food is our fuel to provide the fast access energy we use throughout our day. Deciding not to eat for whatever reason will cause a real physiological and psychological stress on our body. That stress triggers us to go in search of food to satisfy that deep need. It is a built-in survival mechanism for all organic matter to seek out food.
I have fasted on many occasions. I once had to fast so as to prepare for a specific diabetic test. I must tell you, even though that fasting was for a few hours, it was far more difficult for me to do than when I fasted for the entire day for reasons of faith. In fact, I successfully completed a 14-day modified faith-based fast from all chewable foods with less stress or challenge. This made me realize that all fasting is not the same.
Faith-based fasting calls on a higher purpose and level of thinking and motivation. This higher motivation truly made all the difference in the world in my ability to sustain the fast. Whenever the hunger pangs hit me, I used those as triggers to pray. Shifting my mind from my hunger for food to my hunger for God was a huge mindset shift. That momentary distraction from self to worship seemed to even usher in a deeper connection to God than my usual worship does. It is hard to explain, but if you have ever tried this, share with me in the comments below if you have experienced a similar result.
Every time we put things in our mouth our digestive process is triggered as soon as it hits our tongue. Fasting, therefore, rests the digestive system. That happens when we sleep and upon waking we have breakfast, to break the fast of the night.
There is one school of thought that constant grazing through the day stokes the metabolism and is often touted as a good weight-loss strategy. Yet, more and more doctors and health practitioners are joining a new trend to encourage intermittent fasting. This trend has us going back to the old school plan of eating three meals per day, and allowing yourself to get hungry for meal time.
I am not qualified to suggest which is better, however, I can tell you – coming from a family of diabetics, intermittent fasting is a BOSS strategy to control insulin spikes.
Based on my family history, I have abandoned the idea of constant food grazing to having 3 meals per day. While I have not been diagnosed as being diabetic, every medical visit I have, they doctors see something that have them requiring I take a test to rule it out. I decided to adopt a low to no carb diet, with zero added sugar and have successfully done so for about a year now. Rather than just wait and assume that diabetes is in my future; to the extent that I can, I work to positively impact it. This decision to take care of myself is my way of delaying, diluting, or maybe even deleting diabetes as an experience. Why should I just sit back and wait for it to come to me like a fate I have zero control over?
Have you ever fasted? For what reason and with what result? I hope you will share that with me.
Trudy Beerman is a Beachbody Coach who uses that platform to support her movement of that our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit and is deserving of self-loving care. #StewardshipOfTheBody