On Sunday January 3, 2016 I did something I hadn’t done in two decades. I fasted.
As a Mormon, my Christian faith encouraged me to fast one day a month and abstain from eating for two consecutive meals, a task I’d ignored for 20 years. Little did I know God had a surprise for me. He wanted me to experience the same type of fast for 30 more days.
For 30-days I skipped breakfast and lunch and ate dinner at 4:00pm.
At first, I didn’t know what I was doing. Going without food was like walking into a jungle with no guide or compass. I stumbled and felt lost, but I knew what I was feeling was truth. Fasting was a physical experience with a spiritual purpose and God’s presence in my life became immediate and all-encompassing. I knew why I needed to fast. I’d become emotionally passive and after having my last of six kids, I was ready to let myself go.
Loving my sixth baby Canyon days after he was born.
I'd taken on a laissez-faire approach to life.
Where I’d once been stalwart and determined I was a now a victim with a withering self-esteem.
Something needed to change in my life or I was going to slowly age into the sunset with all the benefits of obesity and poor health. Fasting for 30 days was my gift, my necessary journey of high-seas and low-tides. Some days, even moments I was elated while other times I felt like banging my head against the wall. With all the spiritual benefits of fasting, I knew change wouldn’t come easy. Change was painful, especially waking up from the ugly nap of denial and facing what years and years of complacency looked like. Fasting was a tool a loving Father in Heaven created to help me remember who I was.
My husband has been such a support.
Without food to help me cope with my everyday emotions, on day 12 of my fast, I hit a wall.
Here’s an expert from my memoir Starving Girl of what I experienced:
Day 12 - I spent most of the day at home doing what I did – cleaning, laundry, caretaking, garbage collecting and I was somebody I didn’t wanted to be around. There was a chip on my shoulder (unfortunately nothing I could eat), a grudge building in my heart that rang loud like an alarm, but unfortunately it wasn’t louder then the empty pit of hunger screaming back at me. The hunger magnified all my emotions. I knew I was hungry and I knew it was the emotional reasons I wanted to eat and I was mad as a bankrupt millionaire. I missed the comfort of food, the way I could suck on a piece of chocolate or whip of a batch of cookies when I was bored or sad or scared. I missed the impulsive eating where I could eat without giving it a second thought. I missed the warmth of food, the punch of flavor and the freedom of moving my mouth. I missed the escape and liberation. I wanted food for unexplainable reasons – to feel like a kid again, to feel like a grown up, to feel safe, to feel cared for - to feel, to feel, to feel! Without food, I had to feel everything!!! I wanted to explode. In my mind I envisioned lacing up boxing gloves. Punch, PUNCH I hit at my emotional punching bag. Harder, harder and in my mind my body was sweating out the anger. The girl in my head growled loud and louder while hitting away at an almost disintegrated punching bag. I showed it! That punching bag had nothing on me! I was starving!! I was starving, when my inner voice shouting at me “It’s not about the food!”
“What are you starving for?” I screamed back at myself in my mind. “What is it you want!!”
The girl with the boxing gloves, exasperated, finally collapsed and breathed heavy while she collected her thoughts, but before long she was screaming back at me.
“I’m starving for life! I’m starving to do something big, to reach beyond myself and not hold myself back any more. I want to live. I want my dreams!! I want what I know I can be.”
I knew it! I wasn’t starving for food but something much, much bigger. Food couldn’t even touch what I was starving for. Food had nothing to do with it.
Food had nothing do to with the hunger brewing inside me!
Food was actually holding me back. Food controlled me.
Without fasting, I would have never learned this.
I knew I was overweight; I knew most days I hated my body but I didn’t know I had a food addiction until I started fasting.
While researching food addiction, these particular questions made me realize how big of a problem I had:
Do you pray and ask God to help you with your weight, and then feel your prayers aren’t answered?
Do you find yourself eating when you are upset or reward yourself with food when you do something good?
Have you tried different diets or weight loss programs, but none has worked permanently?
At times fasting another day seemed impossible, but the blessings that came into my life were far greater than the hardship of going without food. God knows all and He created a perfect system to overcoming the trials of obesity and food-addiction – that gift is fasting.
After 30 days of fasting, I decided to keep going.
Now, my friends, I am going to ask for a gift from you. I have a 200-page memoir I’ve written about my experience. If you think something I have to say can benefit you or someone you love, please share my blog posts on social media via facebook (click here to like my facebook page), instagram (lalalofgreen) or pinterest, etc. The only way I’m going to get the attention of an agent is by building my readership. Please help my posts on intermittent fasting go viral. I have so much more to share.
Also, feel free to add comments with questions on my blog or facebook page and I will do my best to answer them on my next post.
Never did I think I would conquer my food addiction and low self-worth and I have a long journey in front of me, but God knew obesity would be an epidemic in our day. I truly feel intermittent fasting with prayer and an honest fast offering is the answer. It's free and it's free-ing. Research intermittent fasting and see if it is right for you. My favorite lecture is by Dr. Mike Lara and can be found by clicking here.
Over the next few weeks, I will share what worked for me but your fast may be different from mine. My brother fasts 7pm to 7am Monday through Friday and then does a 16-hour fast on Sunday. My mom fasts until noon on weekdays and doesn’t fast over the weekend. My other brother has given up energy drinks. The point is to make your fast intentional. Sacrifice something physical not only for your spiritual growth, but to pray for someone else in need. Fasting is the answer to helping those in need. It creates a greater awareness in us to think of others. God will let you know your specific fast.