I used to think that I would never be able to fast. The thought of giving up food for any amount of time was so wild to me. I barely had self-control enough to say no to seconds or thirds of most meals, no matter how full I felt. Even after eating way more than I needed, if my stomach growled at me funny, I would start thinking about what I should eat. Nevermind if it’s only been 2 or 3 hours since I last stuffed myself.
This year, I learned what it is to fast. Around November last year, I decided that the new year would be a year of self-control for me; and I set a dietary restriction for myself. I limited my meat intake to birds and things that swim. The first thing I did during those last 2 months was work on becoming more conscious of what I ate. As part of the consciousness process, I thought about alternatives I could take that I didn’t consider. This helped a lot because I was able to stop myself more easily when the new year came.
The reason for this specific self-control goal was two-fold: lose weight while expanding my meal pallet, and prove to myself that I can do all things through Christ. When we had to quarantine because of Covid, I thought to myself: “this will make fasting so much easier! Since I’m quarantined, I have control of my fridge and my meals, and I don’t have to interact firsthand with people!” This helped a lot because it’s hard to interact with people when all I can think about is how I can’t eat! When fasting, Jesus said we’re not supposed to show that we’re fasting, so snapping at people was a no-no (Matthew 6:16-18 And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.).
After being consistent in my fasting, I started to see the benefits of being able to control when and what I eat. I was doing 18hr fast with a 6hr eating window, between 1 pm and 6 pm. During my fasting times, my body felt lighter, I would have random spurts of energy, and I felt more focused while working. My times of prayer also were more focused (except during moments of weakness).
Since then, I’ve been able to offer myself as a living sacrifice more often to the Lord by being more open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to fast. However, it’s not always easy. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about what I can do because of the abilities that Christ has given me through his Spirit. I’ve learned that I can practice self-control. I still love food, but I also love having a lighter body and a clearer mind.