Many parents will this week have been scrambling around the house looking for unwanted tins, bottles, and packages of food that their children can bring in for the Harvest Festival.
I remember bringing in bag loads as a child, and the food always went to charity. As I packed my children off to school this morning, with arms hanging from the weight of their bags, I smiled at this tradition.
But why do we do it?
Fasting is commonplace in the Catholic faith (and many others), and spiritually this enables us to be closer to God. It sharpens our mind and gives us the clarity to reflect in prayer.
It also has a practical and charitable theme in the modern world. As I sit here with a growling tummy, I am reminded of the people who have this feeling all day every day – both in third world countries, and on our doorstep (quite literally in some cases).
For health reasons, I also practice fasting on quite a regular basis
For me, this has proven to be the best for my lifestyle, my mental clarity, and also to help keep my body weight in check.
I practice what is known as Intermittent Fasting. In the most basic terms, you just skip breakfast. Except I don’t skip breakfast – I just don’t eat it at the time that people would “normally” eat breakfast. I get up, got for a walk, come back, have a black coffee. I get the kids up and ready for school, walk them to school, come to work, work, then, at around 12-1pm, I eat my first meal of the day. This isn’t lunch, this is breaking my fast – or more commonly known as breakfast. I do this for many reasons:
- I have always struggled to eat first thing in the morning. My stress reaction from waking from my slumber gives me zero appetite. So it isn’t until I have been up for a couple of hours that I feel that hunger and am ready to eat.
- Which is at the point where I am getting the kids ready for school, ushering them out of the door, and getting ready for my own commute – so I don’t eat because then isn’t practical.
- I don’t eat and drive, nor do I work at my desk and eat. So my lifestyle has dictated that my first meal of the day is around “lunchtime”.
- Not eating until this time gives my digestive system a rest, and also enables my body to tap into its most resourceful fuel that is living on my body – FAT.
- To enable my body to stay as a fat-burning machine, I ensure that the first meal I eat after this fast is full of healthy fats, a good source of protein, and lots of vegetables to get the nutritious fuel in my empty tank – then I am good to go.
So maybe the person in the Bible who first decided to have a fast as a way of supporting our faith was onto something.
If you are interested in hearing more about how fasting can help you and your health, get in contact. But remember, it’s not something to be done without contacting a health professional first!