I’m always thinking about ways to use one habit to integrate my body + mind + heart + soul. Fasting can be one of those habits.
Once a year, Hilary and I do a longer term fast—3 to 10 days. We’ve done water only, juice cleanses, Master Cleanse, and others. I’m not a Dr. and you might want to consult one before diving into a fast longer than three days.
But for this post, consider “intermittent fasting.” It’s a very popular fasting technique that lots of people are using in a variety of ways. Inc magazine recently suggested that the benefits can include: boosting the body’s ability to fight off inflammation; improving blood pressure, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels; boosting brain function; and preventing neurodegenerative disorders.
You can think about this kind of fasting practically and spiritually.
Practically: Shoot for only eating food between an 8-hour window. So, say from 11a (first meal) to 7p (last meal). That means you’re fasting for sixteen hours.
Spiritually: Don’t just fast to lose weight. That’s short-sighted. Fast to discipline your body and connect with your soul.
“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting.” -Daniel 9:3
There’s something about denying your physical appetite that unlocks new spiritual awareness. Of course, God is not a genie in a bottle, waiting on you to do the magic things. But through fasting you can remind yourself that you’re a whole person—body, mind, heart, soul—and not just a slave to physical animal instincts. There is something about a little desperation that wakes us up in some gloriously uncomfortable ways.
When you fast, let your hunger prompt prayer. Let the extra time be productive. And enjoy the physical benefits of not over-eating. It’s an all-around win.