As I sit here finishing up left-over homemade 3-alarm vegetarian chili (enough descriptors for you? there's a reason for that...), I think I've hit a turning point on my current quest for body improvement. It's come on the heels of lots of work, struggle, lurching, sweat, pain, stalls and some yo-yoing, but it's good. Today is day 7 of my 10-day "Daniel Fast." Let me emphasize that this is a fast, and not a diet, or something I'm doing to lose weight, specifically -- though that is happening. The difference between the two is that a fast is generally done for religious or spiritual reasons which are not often weight-loss related, and it indicates abstention from certain items for specific reasons. I have done these before, as a way of demonstrating that I CAN "go without" but recently it occurred to me that God really didn't bring us into this world to become experts at "going without" -- he wants us to live abundant lives, full of excellence. So taking the ascetic approach to fasting was probably not the best way to go about it. Instead, I studied and searched, and it was revealed to me that fasting is one way of stepping away from things IN this world -- by separating yourself from earthly draws, your sum total intake (be it food, relationships, entertainment, whatever) becomes more pure, more spiritual. In essence, you remove impurities from your life, and come out a more refined, wholesome (as opposed to hole-some) person, which is what I believe God really wants for us, while we occupy these bodies. So, a few months ago, someone at work mentioned they were doing a "Daniel Diet." I'd never heard of it and didn't give it any thought, until just recently, when it resurfaced, along with the message to "investigate me -- you will learn something you need to know!" I did, and that's when the revelation about removing impurities came to light. The fast itself comes straight from the book of Daniel, right at the beginning in Chapter 1. Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego had been hauled off to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar as part of Babylon's pummeling of Judah (check out the book of Jeremiah -- very interesting read about this time of judgement), and they were being held/trained for use in the royal courts. King "N" saw their value, and wanted to integrate it into his kingdom, but Daniel and The Three did not want to step INTO that world, including eating the King's food, as decreed for all. While being held captive, Daniel made a deal with his royal keepers to let him and his men eat food that was part of their religious beliefs for 10 days, and to then compare their appearance to those who had eaten the royal food. After the 10 days, sure enough Daniel and The Three were deemed to look healthier than the others who had feasted on food of their captors, and they were not required to eat as the Babylonians did, and God caused Daniel to see and understand visions, which eventually proved to be his ticket to freedom. So, the Daniel fast is one which follows the guidelines set forth as to what to eat. It's not just a list of foods, and really it could have been ANY kind of diet. What's more important than the effect on the body (positive though it may be) is what you demonstrate in the form of consecration to God -- that you show you are willing to forgo the "richness" of the world around you, in order to have a more pure existence. Sure it's a small thing, but it's a thing nonetheless, and I need to do more of that kind of thing. I won't be adopting this particular list of foods for a lifetime, but it HAS opened my eyes to several things. There are, generally speaking, much better ways to do everything I do. Better ways to eat, better ways to focus on the truly important things in life, better ways to exercise, better ways to decide who should be in my life, and what I should do with it. The goal is excellence, and the result is abundance. I'd rather be abundantly happy and prosperous in all areas of life while taking in less "garbage" than make only my tongue and curiosity for gossip happy while living a live of sub-par standards.
In the past I have gone hard-core with very restrictive diets (low cal, low carb, low fat, 100% fasting for 8 days even -- no food at all) and I'm not really moving as fast on changing my body as I think I should. I recently had 3 months of pretty intense regular exercising, and the result was a negligible change in weight (though pretty good inches lost). I'm still 100# more than I should be, easily, and while some things have improved, it's not an "excellent" improvement. I believe that now I have the key for how to get going on improving this part of my life, and it is to cut the garbage way way way down.
What I will be doing from here forward is relying not on just my own "hunches" or the latest "hey, this worked for me!" "going without" plans, but instead, I will rely on basic principles of "is this good for me?" If the answer is yes, then go FOR it. If the answer is no, then I need to walk AWAY from it, and let someone else "feed" themselves with it. All of this I am doing not just for me, but because I believe that God wants what is best for me, and I should too.
With that in mind, I am looking forward to getting meat and bread and flavored drinks back into my life this Saturday, but with a renewed sense of purpose - if it's good for me, it's good to eat, and will make me a better person, which will bring me to what God wants me to be.Share on Facebook