We have a tradition of fasting in our faith. Like most of us, I fast and abstain when asked to by the Church. Last week I made a decision to fast from all food for five days. I did it mainly for physical reasons, but knew it would only work if I prayed specifically about it.
I did this to break myself out of some very bad habits which had crept back into my life. I am an emotional eater, meaning when I feel emotionally out of control or empty I eat way too much of everything. I had reached the point where not only did I feel emotionally unwell, I felt physically sick. I had to do something. After prayer, and more prayer, I decided a fast was what I needed.
It was not as difficult as I thought. The worst was on the second day when the caffeine withdrawal headache hit. Thankfully it waited until after Mass and faith formation classes. As I lay in the darkness of my bedroom, not moving at all, I kept thinking that cutting off the top of my head would feel so good. Eventually it passed and I was able to function.
On the fourth day I felt quite detached from the need to eat. In some ways it was a relief to not think about food at all. However, our bodies cannot function without food and day five was the end. On day six, I eased into food with a bit of cooked apple for breakfast, acorn squash for lunch, and tomato soup for dinner.
What did I learn? That I can detach. Which was my purpose in doing this fast. It is not easy and I really wish the candy jar full of chocolate would disappear from the main office at work, because it’s easier to stay detached without temptation in front of you every time you need to make a copy. I also became aware of my need to stay ahead of my emotions, to name them and then deal with them. My goal is to overcome using food to make me feel better, because it never does.
Copyright 2014, Deanna Bartalini