We have committed ourselves to fasting and prayer for our kids.
This desire comes from deep within our hearts, and a sense that we know it’s the right thing to do. We not only know it’s the right thing to do, we know it’s vitally important. If it’s there, God put it there.
We know your heart is with us in this. Are you finding it difficult? Yeah, we’re with you in that, too!
Why is it so hard? (If it’s not hard at all for you, awesome. That probably means you’re healthy, well-balanced, and you can skip this post! We’re happy you’re here!)
It’s a spiritual battle, yes. We’re not very good at spiritual battles because we’re not very spiritual…and it’s a battle, and so by definition, it’s hard. That will always be the case, but there is a physical element to the difficulty, too, and we are a three part being: body, soul, and spirit. I’ve heard it said that we are spiritual beings on a biochemical journey in this world. The biochemical part of our bodies collides with the spiritual when we try to launch into fasting all of the sudden. It’s not unspiritual if we need to bring our biochemical parts more into alignment with our spirtual desires.
Most people run into trouble fasting for physical reasons, and those are issues that can torpedo your efforts and make you feel like you’re a spiritual failure.
Is there a way to make it easier? That would be nice.
How do we clear things that block our way, and make this more doable?
That’s a good question in life in general, actually, but here it’s a great question. If you’re having extremely difficult challenges with fasting all day on Fridays, don’t try to do it all day. It’s okay. Do what is sustainable for you now. Listen to your body, because it might be screaming at you. That’s good intel, so treat it as feedback. Don’t call yourself a failure. Be nice.
You might need baby steps. You can’t skip over the baby step part of life, so we recommend settling in and being a happy baby. Everybody loves a happy baby, and this is not a competition.
Keep reading and working on your health as you continue trying. It will get easier if you stay calm, gather information, and stay in the game.
You’ll find your mind clearer, your endurance increased, your sense of well-being improved, and generally, you’ll just feel better, which could easily spread back into the spiritual realm in your life, too.
Maybe this journey into fasting will help you understand your body a little better. That would be a great addition to this commitment. Mom is important, too.
It might require some life change that bleeds out into the other six days of your week. Is that allowed? Yes — I don’t mind stating the obvious. God has a way of spreading into every part of our lives.
Let’s remove some obstacles and make it easier to do what we really do want to do. You might feel like you’ve tripped upon some great developments, and that’s what we call a happy accident. That’s when life starts to conspire with you, but it can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. Just ignore the feeling and keep going anyway.
Instead of asking, “How can I make fasting easier,” it might be more useful to ask it the other way around.
What are four things that turn fasting into an almost impossible task?
- Eat terribly on non-fasting days.
- Be toxic.
- Don’t sleep.
- Be hormonally imbalanced.
You get the idea. It helps to improve your health because you are putting a demand on your body.
Eat terribly on non-fasting days.
What does that have to do with not eating on Fridays? A lot, as it turns out.
If you stop eating, a few things begin to happen. Your body starts using up glycogen stores in your liver – that’s sugar that it would normally get from food. It stores a little in your liver for such a time as Fridays, and to get you through the night. When glycogen stores in the liver are used up, the body switches from using food as energy to using body fat for energy. Like the sounds of that, don’t you?
This is a major shift in metabolic function, but the body is good at major shifts. It’s designed for them, actually. If it weren’t, mankind never would have made it this far. The point here is that we are designed to do this, but understanding that you are bringing about a big shift in body function helps when looking at these health issues, and might explain the techtonic physical reactions.
Your body stores nutrients for Fridays, in addition to fat. A good, healthy body should have no trouble switching from feast to famine for a day, or even longer, but a not-so-healthy body will complain. It needs better support. We have plenty of energy and nutrients stored in our own bodies for times like this. However, if you eat horribly denatured food – food with no food value – too much sugar, too much food, or just not enough nutrients, your body is going to scream at you on Fridays because it literally could be starving. The truth is, your body may already be screaming at you daily, anyway. On Fridays it’s going to become a megaphone if you have malnutrition, and you’re going to suffer unnecessarily. You will find it much easier on Fridays if you pay attention to giving your body good food on the other days.
Malnutrition is widely recognized now as a contributor to obesity in America. We just keep right on eating because our bodies are actually starving for real food, and we never feel satisfied because our brains are saying, “Eh, not quite right, keep trying.” It is possible to be overweight and malnourished, and in fact, this is the most common contributor to weight gain today. Our food supply is very bad quality food. You have to work a little harder, unfortunately, to put some real nutrition in your body, and fasting will require a little more out of your nutrition.
Sending your body the signal that you actually are starving on Fridays will create a brain storm of emergency messages if you have malnutrition. We want you to be doing this in a healthy way so we encourage you to eat nutrient dense foods, not only so that this endeavor is sustainable, but so that you feel better doing it, too. If you’re getting healthier, Fridays will feel good, not bad. Your gut does need a break, and your body could use a rest from digestion. We eat too much and too often, as a general rule, anyway. More about that in another blog.
If you eat real food – that is food that does not come in a box, or any food with a food label on it – during the week, as much as possible, when Fridays roll around, your body will take it more in stride and the hunger signals are quieter and more polite. They come tapping you on the shoulder instead of trying to take your head off and making you irritable and a generally bad neighbor all day.
Expose yourself to toxins.
We don’t mean to get on any bandwagons here, but it must be mentioned in order to keep you out of the bathroom on Fridays. What you spray on your skin, put in your hair, breathe in during a shower, eat on your salad from the salad bar, and allow into your life in many other ways, will come out when you stop eating! Your body will see this as a signal to unload. That’s a good thing, but it will also make Fridays unnecessarily difficult and inconvenient.
Detoxing is a liver function, and this is another reason simply to eat good food during the rest of the week. Getting good nutrients enables the liver to detox. You don’t need to drink nasty juice. Just eat real food. (JERF)
Our food and our environments are, sadly, full of toxins. There are usually many things you can do to improve your toxic overload. You can start by switching out personal products with fragrances to products that use essential oils instead. Fake fragrances are phthalate-based. For more information, read about phthalates here. When these fragrances become mist in your shower in the morning you breath them in. We use nebulizers for sick kids because breathing medicine in mist is a quick route to the blood stream. Fragrances are more powerful than we give them credit for.
Another thing that makes a big difference is using glass or stainless steel for food storage rather than plastic containers. Hard plastics have BPA in them. You can read about BPA here. These things do not accumulate in the body. If you stop using them, they will stop affecting you. Much of what we need to clean up is in our environments, not only our food, and these things have a huge impact on our hormones, our endocrine systems, and our livers. Those two areas are fairly easy things to control in our lives, and they may take a load off your detox mechanisms, which could, in turn, improve your experience on Fridays.
If you’re wondering about the the bathroom runs, toxins could be your answer. Maybe it’s time to take the levels down a bit in your life, and go easier on your system.
I’m not being harsh. I know most of us don’t sleep after we have kids. That doesn’t mean it’s normal or healthy, and that we should accept it. Most of the moms I’ve known in my life are living in a zombie state, and they speak of it as a badge of honor, rather than seeking ways to resolve it. It is a serious health problem, and it will make fasting hard on Fridays for you because hormone imbalances follow sleep disturbances, and hormones are a huge issue with fasting – they are the reason you want to eat the entire fridge on Saturday.
Sleep is a complicated thing, and it involves hormones to get the job done. Bad sleep is often associated with infections, immune system activation (it turns on at night when there are no other energy drains on our bodies), low melatonin production (the sleep hormone), blood sugar and insulin balances, and lastly, cortisol from stress. I know that’s a brainful of information there. There’s a whole list of hormone imbalances that are mixed up in the sleep problem. Know that fixing the nutrition and toxins might surprise you by producing better sleep, which in turn, will also help the hormonal balances that affect fasting on Fridays.
Be hormonally imbalanced.
Much could be said about this issue. In fact, another post is coming soon that will outline the hormone involvement in fasting so that we can resolve these metabolic storms in our lives through lifestyle changes and become happy fasters for our kids.
For the purposes of this blog, though, let’s just say that if you do react to fasting by eating everything in the fridge on Saturday, you could have a hormone imbalance, and your baby-protecting body has taken the signals of starvation very seriously. That’s not a healthy reaction to fasting, but it is a very common one. Go easy on your body and work to heal before you go hard core with fasting. You don’t want to start a roller coaster ride of bingeing with fasting, so take it slow and let your body adjust. You are not weak. Your body is out of balance, and the fix might be quicker and easier than you think. Just take note of this information and keep working on health as you do a mini fast on Fridays and establish a good holding pattern until you can expand your reach.
We don’t want anyone to give up in frustration and feel like a failure.
This is more of a tortoise project than a hare project for most of us unhealthy Americans. It might be time to finally move forward on improving your health if you want to successfully create a fasting lifestyle. There are physical challenges that accompany this venture. Muscling through it will probably not work out well in the long run. Let’s be intelligent about how we move forward, and while we’re at it, learn to be gentle with ourselves, too.
If you’re having no problems at all with fasting, then we are happy that you’re here because you can pray for the rest of us!
More information about the health issues associated with fasting to come. Most of the issues are positive, and it’s a hot topic in the health world right now. There is much to say about benefits.
If you need encouragement in small beginnings read Why Fast?
Tell us how it’s going below in the comments. We want to hear how you’re all doing.