Fasting vs. Dieting: The Skill of Fasting
Fasting is hard. And even harder when you have an emotional connection to food. I suppose this is why those who promote "fasting" advice, books and consults include the consumption of food as a way to ease the blow of fasting.
I've had to correct this seemingly new "theology" of fasting repeatedly. Fasting means no consumption of foods for an extended period of time. Period. It's misleading to indicate otherwise. The abstinence of food has been utilized for centuries - for spiritual and health purposes - it hasn't changed until now...the age of consumerism.
Any advice, messages, memes or books that encourage the eating of food and calling it a fast are not doing you service. The truth is fasting addresses the spiritual component of your relationship with food more than it does the physical. And that is really hard!
It's hard if you're not mental or spiritually ready to face the realities of your subconscious. When you assess the real nature of your relationship with food, you'll need to utilize something that everyone seems to be afraid of...accountability.
What you've been eating, knowingly, or unknowingly, good or bad can be a painful or affirming! I've always believed that accountability is a lost art. I state this fully aware of my own failings and wins, but the beautiful thing about accountability is the power it gives you. When you own your failings and wins, you are empowering yourself to lead the life you were meant to live. There is nothing more fulfilling than that!
If you want to fast, then do that! It is a blessing. If you want to diet, do that! The road to health needs to start somewhere! But for the love of all that's holy, please don't call a diet (consumption of food) a fast, it's an oxymoron at best.
Fasting induces autophagy, the body's innate cleansing system which works when the digestive system is not digesting. Nutrient deprivation creates cellular stress initiating the process. If fasting for a few days seems daunting, here are a few tips you can consider before you fast. Try intermittent fasting. You can skip a meal or two and go a few hours without eating to prep for a full fast of a few days. You can also support your fasting period with low calorie, nutritionally-supported drinks to ease the hunger pangs. This way your digestive system still gets to rest (no digesting whole foods with fiber content) and the transition to fasting is a lot smoother than a water fast.
There are really no shortcuts to the true benefits of fasting, but take it from me, it is truly worthwhile. And like with any developing skill, it gets easier with time. Make no mistake, fasting is undoubtedly a skill for life.
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