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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

After A Year, I Stopped Intermittent Fasting Only To Start Right Back Up Again

My experience with intermittent fasting and prayer has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life.  I started fasting January 3, 2016 and finished January 3, 2017.  During this time, I did daily 16-hour fasts.  My life needed to change and I didn’t know how out of alignment I was until I had long periods of time without food.  I started to see how food controlled me, my mood, my body, my perspective and more.  Ultimately, fasting helped me with several very important components of my life and I don’t think I could have changed any other way.

First, fasting kept me present because when I was hungry, I didn’t live in the past or future, but in the now.  Living in the moment opened up windows of time and I no longer lived in a state of rush. 

Second, I learned to be more grateful.  Being hungry forced me to consider the millions upon millions of people in the world who live with hunger every day.  I thought of them and prayed for them.  I had the idea to donate money to the hungry and this experience was very humbling.  When I did eat, I thanked God for my food. 

Third, fasting helped stop the negative voices in my mind.  When I was fasting, my physical body became weak.  Somehow, this process calmed my irrational, self-degrading, negative mind.  Fasting was almost like a state of meditation.  My mind hushed and that part of me that loves myself, I call it my soul or spirit, that part of me could rise.  Let me tell you, my spirit LOVES me.  With the love of God (because that’s were I believe my spirit comes from), I was fed love, positive self-talk, beauty, encouragement and more.  My best self finally had a chance to shine and my dreams were in reach.

Forth, I lost weight, 30 pounds to be exact and I kept it off.  Although this was wonderful, of all that I experienced, weight-loss was not the most meaningful.  It was necessary and I’m so thankful I did lose weight, but the other components of intermittent fasting were more essential.

I want to be a good example for my daughter.

I've always got that baby in my arms.

I haven’t written about stopping fasting because my experience has been so very personal and at times, wonderfully strange.  Now, with a bit of perspective, I wanted to write how I felt once I stopped fasting.  I was ready to be done.  The last month of December was difficult.  Every day I wasn’t sure how I was going to continue fasting.  Food had a very strong pull on me.  Many days during the last month, I watched the clock ticking and had my meal ready on the exact minute I could finally eat.  I could feel food become more and more important to me.  Even when I wasn’t hungry, I was thinking about what I wanted to eat.  On January 4th, my first day back in the real world, I was nervous.  Where were my boundaries?  Could I step back into full-day eating and be alright?  Would I gain back the weight I lost?  That day, I was all over the place – thrilled to have such freedom, but unsure if I could trust myself.  I ate very healthy and at the end of the day, was happy to have the freedom.  Second day, much of the same, except one thing – I could feel my mind leave the present, my gratitude was slipping and the negative voices in my mind were like, “Hey, we’re back.”  I tried to ignore this, but by day four, my mind was foggy.  I didn’t like it at all.  I ignored it best I could because I really wanted to be done with fasting.  I wanted food more.  I carried on, but food addiction became more and more present.  I would eat and want more.  I would be full and consider what I could eat next. 

I prayed about it and it didn’t take long before I recommitted myself back to intermittent fasting.  Intermittent fasting felt like a lifeline being thrown to me.  I’ve learned I need boundaries and with all my battles with dieting, feeling fat, food addiction and negative body image, intermittent fasting is the one tool I can’t live without.  I’m so thankful to know the medical benefits of intermittent fasting and that if I pray while fasting, God will use my sacrifice to bless someone else.  Recently, I read about the reported the rapes in Sweden, I committed my fast to pray for the women of Sweden.  This was a very powerful experience and I was emotional the entire day.  I prayed for them and I felt a love running through me that felt like a buzz. I was on a love high.  Even as I write this, I can feel that love running through me and it makes me cry. My passion is to help those who have been sexually abused and as I considered the women that were suffering, my fast became magnified.  I could almost reach out and hug them.

Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool. It lifts me up out of the muck.  There is no other way I could manage my food addiction and negative self-talk without it.  Life is too short to spend another day at war with myself.  Intermittent fasting is a gift and I’m so thankful I was led by God to discover how it can help me.

To read more about my experience with intermittent fasting and prayer, click here.  

*Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.*

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