Fasting. UGH. FASTING?? OH HELL NO. In the Latter-day Saint religion (LDS…MORMON) it is tradition to fast on the first Sunday of every month, and donate the money that would have been spent on food to help the poor. This is called a “fast offering”. The fast is a complete and total fast, no food, drink, or even water. I recently learned from an Indian guru I’ve spent some time with, that this is commonly referred to as a DRY fast.
THIS IS AWESOME. Fasting is actually a beautiful thing for the body, mind, and spirit. AND, the concept of donating the saved money to the poor is just a beautiful concept. I think everyone could benefit by adopting this practice.
ALSO, and I do have a point, honest! In the LDS religion, baptism takes place at the age of eight. This is considered the “age of accountability”. Mormons do not practice infant baptism, and believe that when a person is eight years old is when they are truly able to determine right from wrong and make moral decisions. Interesting side note, when studying developmental and cognitive stages of children during my master’s program, both Erikson and Piaget (pretty big in the educational theory and psychological world) determined that this was the age at which children were able to start experiencing the world in a less egocentric manner, and feel EMPATHY. So, way to go God and Mormons for the whole age eight baptism thing!
MY POINT? At age eight, my parents instituted the mandatory dry fast. We stopped consuming ANYTHING after an early supper Saturday evening, and didn’t “break” the fast until dinner the following day. My parents are AWESOME, and were not cruel in any way shape or form! This was just a house rule, like chores or prayers. Oh, and as one final detour, it takes 30 days for someone to starve to death, so lest you think my parents were abusive, they had 29 days to go until things got really dicey.
WHY THIS SUCKS. I had abuse issues when I was a kid (again, NOT my parents), and food was my coping mechanism. So, take that away, and dayum…that just sucks. Also, anything that was required or mandatory has always chapped my hide. While my parents were NOT mean at all, they didn’t explain the WHY for many of our religious requirements. I am a WHY person. If I knew that fasting is a way to set aside the body, even for a bit, so I could focus on the spirit, or that sacrifice helps me experience empathy, or that the money we saved really helped those in need, PERHAPS I would have fared better. Probably not, but hey, anything is possible. Bottom line? I liked food, needed food, used food, and “fast Sunday” was the SLOWEST Sunday of the month.
Enter my daughter Cai, and intermittent fasting in September of 2016. I had joined a little weight loss support group on Facebook, and was going to try this weight loss thing, ONE MORE TIME. Always one more time. Sigh! I had given up the soda. Diet or regular, soda was out. Cai suggested something called intermittent fasting. She is 21, pretty squared away, knows and loves me, AND…she’s one of the people on my list. So, I googled it, and got some knowledge. Loved this podcast from onairwithella.com, and decided that I would decrease my food window to EIGHT hours. I started eating at 11am, and the kitchen closed at 7pm. Between the hours of 11 and 7, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING was fair game. I had NOT given up sugar or processed foods at this point. So my guidelines were: no soda, and only eat between 11 and 7. I lost about 5 lbs over three weeks time JUST doing this.
As I have promised honesty and full disclosure here, let me say this. I am a binger. I can and have eaten a LOT of food. Remember, I have no lap band, and my tummy can hold a LOTTA stuff. Most of my bingeing happened after 7pm. I would go to bed with the remote, a bag of baked cheetos, a big tumbler of pink wine, and a 1lb bag of peanut M&M’s. This had been a pretty consistent behavior throughout my life. The wine was a new addition, which started after my divorce in 2009. Proof? When Cai was in Kindergarten, she had to draw a picture of her mother. In this picture, my fingertips were BRIGHT ORANGE. Cheeto dust. sigh. I only survived the “fasting experiment” by promising myself that I COULD eat anything and everything I wanted, I just had to consume it in my eight hour window.
Along this same truthful vein, I STILL struggle with nighttime eating. As mentioned previously, WEIGHT LOSS IS NOT A GOOD MOTIVATOR FOR ME. If it were, I would make these changes easily. Mental health and living a LONG, FUN, HAPPY life without disease and illness in my later years is a GREAT motivator. (More on that later). SO, when I struggle with nighttime eating, I do NOT beat myself up over the “weight” issues it may cause. RATHER, I look at the other benefits. Again, I am all about the WHY? Why the f*ck should I fast? Well…here are 10 pretty good reasons, and only one of them is weight loss.
Finally, IF (intermittent fasting) can be a challenge for some WOMEN, as it messes with hormones, insulin and other stuff I’m not fully versed in. So when my favorite biohacker, Dave Asprey posted THIS, I knew I had to give it a try. I do not do his coffee, YET, but I do an organic machta green tea powder with some chaga mushroom powder, organic stevia, organic tumeric, a bit of black pepper, organic cinnamon, organic flax seed, organic hemp hearts, a TABLESPOON of unsalted grass fed butter (I use Kerrigold, purchased at WALMART!) a TABLESPOON of MCT oil, and, wait for it, 1/2 T brain octane oil. This sh*t is EXPENSIVE, I lick the spoon, and it is worth EVERY PENNY. I froth this all up with filtered water in my vitamix (purchased on craigslist for $200, and worth every penny as well!) AND… I feel like a freaking rock star until I finally eat around noon. OH, and if I’m feeling especially sassy and adventurous, I’ll throw in some organic cacao powder too.