Many of you who have followed my path with intermittent fasting know it’s healing my negative body image and food addiction issues.
What have I learned? Somewhere on my path of life, my appetite grew too big. I know this isn’t rocket science, but I had to ask myself why? I’m not exactly sure, but I think in an attempt to protect myself from pain; any pain be it emotional or physical, hunger became a feeling I would fill with food before it took hold of me. There was already too much pain in my life. I wasn’t going to let anymore enter, especially if I could suppress it with chocolate chip cookie dough.
Intermittent fasting helped me realize when I’m hungry, I don’t have to turn to food. My appetite had taken its toll on me and would hold me prisoner as long as I tolerated it. Obesity had instigated my foot neuropathy, back pain and insomnia. In other words, I had to understand my relationship with food and hunger or I would spend the rest of my life a victim to it.
In my previous decades full of attempts to lose weight, I’d quit when hunger entered. Hunger didn’t feel natural. Food had a much stronger pull than my own will-power and like a rivaled opponent, I’d give into hunger before it took hold. If I was truly hungry, that would be fine, but I’d adapted to a place where emotionally I was hungry all the time. I wanted food to feel and fill all the voids in my life. Intermittent fasting taught me a simple truth; sometimes, I needed to feel hungry.
Don’t get me wrong. My primitive relationship with hunger didn’t change overnight, but after a few weeks of intermittent fasting I recognized hunger came at very meaningful times. Hunger came when I emotionally wanted to slouch or weaken my posture, but if I allowed it, hunger could be a gentle teacher. Hunger humbled my physical body and awoke my mind to become more alert and creative. When every impulse and craving of my body was not satisfied, my confidence became stronger and I became more present in life. Food was no longer a dysfunctional tool, but something to be grateful for. When I was hungry, I was teachable. My appetite was no longer destructive and my love for self has grown.
Mayer with his poetry award.
Once I understood my indulgent lifestyle of food created a world of ingratitude, obesity and procrastination, I could look hunger in the eye and not blame it anymore for my problems. My appetite needed to change. Intermittent fasting was an open invitation to hunger. Surprisingly, hunger brought me the best gifts, but only by remembering those who do not celebrate it. In most instances, hunger does not come by invitation like I had allowed it, but by famine, poverty or war. It is reserved for the desolate and hopeless, sprinkled with fatigue and fear. I had to remember those who truly suffered with hunger. In a house full of food, I was not starving during my intermittent fast; I was practicing self-control. Hunger became a teacher of reality holding me to a high standard of reverence and awareness. I increased my financial donations to the poor and prayed for them throughout the day. I learned food is a gift, not an indulgence.