Yesterday the Young Adult Ministry where I volunteer ended a week-long fast. This fast was immensely helpful for me physically and mentally. Yet in thinking critically about the powerful and profoundly positive effect that fasting can have on people, I recognize that there are several roadblocks that can preclude an individual from completing one successfully. If you are on the verge of beginning a fast, be sure you avoid these three roadblocks:
1. Not Defining The Fast.
Your attempts to complete any formidable task will almost always be more successful when you bring structure and goals to the table. If you simply declare a fast and do not outline what types of foods or activities you will be abstaining from, you are setting yourself up for failure because you lack the vision and precision necessary to accomplish anything significant. To give your fast structure, you may want to consider implementing SMART goals. In discussing the efficacy of SMART goals, Top Achievement notes that doing things like making your goal specific brings about a greater likelihood of accomplishing it than having a general goal.
2. Worrying About Appearance.
Because abstaining from food signals your body to go into detox, it is not uncommon to experience unsightly detox symptoms such as breakouts and fatigue that detract from your physical appearance. If you begin to experience these physical symptoms and subsequently cease your fast as a result of them, you will be doing yourself a great disservice. While you may not like the sight of detox symptoms, they are generally a strong indication that your fast is working by cleansing your body of the detoxifying effects generated by cooked, refined, and/or processed food that is rife with health-compromising additives.
3. Not Modifying The Fast.
Although I was seriously committed to the fast my church completed yesterday, there were two days in which I didn’t follow it fully as a result of the fact that the detox symptoms became profound enough to compromise my ability to work. If you are completing a fast during a time period in which you can’t take off from work and lay in bed until the detox is complete, it may be necessary to modify your fast to accommodate your needs. An example of a modification would be doing a juice fast instead of a water fast so that your body can attain the nutrients and minerals it needs to keep you functioning with high levels of energy at work. Remember that a modified fast is still a fast so you need not feel as if you’ve failed because you make adjustments to meet your physical and mental needs.
Although the power of fasting is well-known by many health and nutrition experts, it is also understood that there are several roadblocks that can preclude you from experiencing the profound success that you want. By examining the roadblocks listed above and avoiding them, you can increase the likelihood that your fast helps you attain the physical, mental, and spiritual results you want. Good luck! :)
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