On Sunday January 3, 2016 I did something I hadn’t done in nearly 20 years.
This may seem like a small task but for me it felt almost impossible. In my church I’d been encouraged to fast once a month which involved skipping two meals. I started my fast after dinner on Saturday night and I was to skip breakfast and lunch and could resume eating dinner on Sunday night. Easy, right, but for most my life I’d had a horrible relationship with food. I resented food and blamed it for many of my problems. Since having my 6th baby, I was almost 80 pounds overweight, but that didn’t matter. Food was my reward. Food was my master and there was nothing I could do about it. It controlled me on so many levels; emotionally, physically and without my ability to participate in a monthly religious fast, it controlled me spiritually.
Religious fasting is full of purpose and prayer. My sister and brother were at perilous times in their lives and their health was of the upmost concern, so while fasting that Sunday, when I hungered, I would turn to God in prayer and ask for His blessing on them. An amazing thing happened to me. I forgot about my problems and focused on others. I felt God’s love flow through me and decided having His influence in my life in such abundance was something I wanted again. So, I fasted the next day, skipping breakfast and lunch, only to have dinner that night. I did this day after day, seeking out God’s love and purpose. I had plenty of people in my life to fast for including my children and husband, my parents and siblings, even my enemies, so I did this again and again and again until I'd fasted for 30 days.
About 10 days into my fast, I was reading a PEOPLE magazine article called “Half Their Size” about a girl who'd lost over 100 pounds. She contributed her success to healthy eating, exercise and intermittent fasting. What was that? I got busy and forgot all about it, but on day 14 of my fast, I decided to look up what intermittent fasting was. I was blown away. Cells healed, hormones balanced, brain creativity was higher and on and on when I read the best part; rapid weight-loss. The research suggested a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window (click here and here). To my surprise, this was how I'd been fasting. The only thing I didn't find from my study of intermittent fasting was how to incorporate prayer.
It seemed the spiritual part of the fast was ignored while the practice of fasting was purely for the physical benefits.
Funny thing was I'd continued fasting because the spiritual rewards were much more significant. I was changing my life, healing my emotional wounds and felt inspired to be the person I knew God wanted me to be.
For 30 days, I wrote about my experience and now am currently seeking a publisher for my memoir:
Starving Girl - My 30 day experience with the miracle of intermittent fasting.
I had gone through many titles while working on my memoir of fasting. Because my ultimate journey was through Jesus Christ, I wanted a title that would honor Him. Christ-centered Eating quickly became the working title. Through His example of fasting, my own mediocre attempt to fast was one of the greatest paths to finding true love for self, God and humanity. I felt impressed to fast on Sunday January 3, 2016, thinking it would be a one day thing. When I felt God wanted me to fast for 30 more days (going all day without food, only eating dinner at night), it seemed an impossible task. He told me if I prayed every day I would be successful. Day by day, I checked in with my self. Was I really doing this? Why was I putting myself through such torture? On day twelve I became so hungry I questioned what God was asking of me. Hungry waves of anger hit like an emotional tsunami. Oh, I was beyond hungry and without food to work as my emotional crutch, I had to feel everything. Like dye to a blood test, anger crept into my body and colored me red. I had spent years of life full of food; eating, consuming, rewarding, pitying, indulging, resenting and failing all through food. I was fed up and considered titling the book Stuffed. How many years had I been stuffed but unfulfilled? On day 15 of my fast, the anger turned to determination and forced me to face my demons. Like a raging boxer at the end of his match, I emotionally collapsed. I had another round to fight and needed to mature. Food couldn’t be my crutch anymore. It was difficult but again, I knew fasting was what God wanted me to do so I forced myself open. No longer could food be a shield to hide behind. The hunger kept me present and motivated. I was starving for more than food. I was starving to love myself. Boom, my new title became Starving. Days and days of hunger; unfiltered and exposed hunger pulsed through me and I discovered food could never fill me up. My strength had to come purely from God. No more excuses, no more “I can’t do this,” or “I’ll start tomorrow.” I had to live the laws of the universe that I knew to be true and when the God of the universe told me to pray everyday to Him, I prayed. When He told me to fast, I fasted. I’d been so stubborn; certain God would understand my inability to keep up with all He demanded of me. I had been blessed with more than I ever noticed. My life was stuffed with the richness of happiness and meaningful relationships, but with all the dysfunction of food addiction I couldn’t see it. While fasting, my beating heart and growling stomach reminded me I was alive through Christ. God had bestowed upon me gifts and without a daily relationship with Him, I couldn’t tap into them. For 30 days the spiritual channel between heaven and earth opened in a way I never knew possible. God knew I would find myself and He knew without food I would be desperate enough to turn to Him every single moment.
Yes, God knew I would suffer and cry and fall apart. He knew I would doubt and kick and scream, but He also knew I would search and hope and love. I would feel His love. He knew as He picked me up and put me back together, I would see Him and through Him find my greatest self.
I’m still practicing intermittent fasting, but no longer am I starving for food, I’m starving to fulfill His purpose. A starving girl in a house full of food is a strange phenomenon but I’m hoping fasting takes hold and changes the life of another starving person. If you’re stuffed but unfulfilled I promise, you can be full without food.