“That burning in your gut, that rolling fire in your belly, demanding that you feed it more food, signals game time for fasting as a means of grace. Only as we voluntarily embrace the pain of an empty stomach do we see how much we’ve allowed our belly to be our god. – John Piper, Hunger For God
“Aren’t you eating?”
I heard this question a few times this past weekend. And it brought a little smile to my face as I responded to each person who asked.
“No, not today. I’m actually I’m fasting today.”
The reactions were always interesting and overall positive.
“Oh you’re so holy, that’s wonderful!”
“What a great thing to do. I should probably be the one doing that.”
“A horrible decision! (said jokingly) You’re missing out on some delicious food.”
The next obvious question was, “Why?”
I’m trying to fast once a week. This weekend was probably the easiest time to fast because here I am, at church, with a bunch of other women giving awesome witness stories. The perfect scenario.
It should be noted that I attended a Women’s Renewal at my church this weekend. (amazing experience!)
The food did look very tasty and I know I missed out on some great desserts but, to be honest, I wanted to remember what it felt like to be hungry.
Not starving, just hungry.
And I wanted to remember the feeling I had as I told myself, “Not yet. Soon..but not yet.”
I had experienced this during the competition training…and I kinda missed it.
Since I’ve decided I wanted to lose just a few lbs before the new year, I had a hard time getting a grasp on dieting again. Being in a deficit with my caloric intake has been more difficult than it really should be. And I know it’s because of me.
So I finally became fed up with seeing the scale stay the same that I asked myself what steps can I take to get back into a deficit and not go nuts trying to satisfy my hunger (especially at night).
The answer I heard (call it a higher power, call it my subconscious, whatever, I believe it was the spirit in me) saying “Experience hunger.”
The only time I have felt that hunger, that stomach growling hunger, was back when I dieted for the competition.
I decided fasting was the best route to take.
I did it last Friday for half the day which was big for me. But it didn’t quite work.Just wasn’t long enough to make an impact, spiritually and physically.
I needed a longer time-frame. So I thought, “I’ll be at church for 12 hours.. That’s perfect!”
And it worked like a charm.
Getting back to those ladies who asked me why…
Here are some answers that I gave…and other answers I wish I had given. All are awesome reasons for anyone to abstain from one of their favorite things (could be food, alcohol. a destructive behavior, television, computer time, social media, etc).
Given that this is a fitness blog, some of my fellow female gym-rats and dieters might get some use out of these:
I fasted because…there are plenty of people out there who have nothing to eat. I have more than most people. I always know I have another meal coming to me.
I fasted because…I offered it up as a sacrifice to all those people who would give anything to taste actual food right now. The ones on feeding tubes…the ones in nursing homes who can’t pick up a fork because they can’t remember how. The ones who have to be FED by someone they probably don’t even recognize.
I fasted because…I was at church. I was surrounded a group of amazing women who were amazed by my discipline. I did it for them. That maybe someday they’ll fast too. And continue the cycle of sacrifice.
I fasted because…I need to remember there is more to life than the temporary satisfaction of chocolate or peanut butter. Those things will be there tomorrow. Giving them up for one day will not hurt me.
I fasted because…A small voice inside me told me I needed to remember how to avoid the temptation of cheating. I had spent most, if not all, of my building/muscle-gaining phase cheating on my diet. I had to remember what it was like to stick to a plan.
I fasted because…I knew once it was over, I didn’t need to eat. But the next day, I enjoyed my food much more thoroughly than I have recently. I savored. Every. Bite.
I fasted because…I needed to remember patience. I had forgotten what patience was for so long. I needed to remember it. I need patience in between all of my meals. I need patience with my clients. I need patience with my family. I need it for every darn day.
Remember what it’s like to be hungry. Remember what it’s like to have no idea where you’re next meal is coming from. Remember what it’s like to be so lucky to have a fridge full of food. To have access to a grocery store where you can buy anything imaginable. Remember to be grateful for that hunger in your stomach.
Hear that growling in your stomach?
Tell it to wait.
You will eat again.