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. Never mind 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).
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.