I have spoken with a number of people recently about fasting. People generally have a strong feeling one way or the other with fasting- there are no fence sitters. People either love it- exclaiming 'it’s the best thing I have ever done' and now do it regularly while others get a look of sheer terror and say there no there is no way I could go without food for a day and completely dismiss it altogether. Fasting in its most basic form means 'you stop eating completely, or almost completely, for a certain stretch of time.' (Source WebMD). It's been around for centuries. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates believed it helped the body heal itself.
I'd like to expand our definition of fasting; it's not always about food. It can be anything that has a 'hold' over you or that you know is controlling your thoughts/time in a way that you are uncomfortable with. You may fast from magazines, TV, social media, certain foods or drinks, technology, specific websites, places, relationships, or experiences. I have done a fast in all of these categories at different times in my life.
Right now, where you are, just pause for a second. What is it that you are not comfortable with in your own life that controls your thoughts/time? What do you know you have a dependence on? It might be coffee, an unhealthy relationship, or a habit that you haven't told anyone about. No judgment at all. Simply an awareness that this 'thing' doesn’t serve me; I'm not mastering it its mastering me.
In gardening when a plant has a vine that is strangling it you have to kill the vine so that the plant can survive, in medical terms if a person has cancer, the cancer has to be starved in order for the person to regain their health. This is similar to what a fast does. It starves that thing that is taking over. I'll give you a few examples from my own life.
1/Grey's anatomy- I had come off the back of an entire weekend on the couch watching Greys anatomy. There is nothing wrong with the show itself. It's that I was hooked and lost an entire 48 hours to it. I was miserable asking myself why don’t I have friends like that, feeling completely inadequate I wanted more. Yet inside I knew that this wasn’t healthy. As a single woman in my late 20's, I could get away with watching as much as I wanted and the content in itself wasn’t bad. It's that it had control over me. So I chose to fast from greys anatomy. Get back out and connect with real people. I knew it wouldn’t be easy so I go rid of my DVD player (before Netflix and streaming) and my TV and remained without either for years. I was free. It wasn’t easy at first. I wondered what the cast was up to and who was with who. But I learned a determination and discipline that has set me up in other situations.
2/ Pepsi max- again nothing wrong with it on the whole, however, I'm a vegan who is very health conscious so it doesn't make sense id consume the artificial sugars and not be able to pronounce half the ingredients, and yet it has a strong hold on me. I could easily let it replace water. So again I fast from it. It's hard. My body wants the caffeine but I want to overcome the addiction (it's real) and align more with my values. After about 2 weeks the constant cravings go and I'm free.
So what has a hold on you? What would you like to fast from? I encourage you to give it a try. And it doesn't have to be forever, sometimes it's about starving the thing now so that you can get a better balance in the future. I encourage you. It is a game changer and you will feel more in control of your life and more aligned with your values and goals.
I'm here if you ever want to reach out and see how I can support you.