Fasting is a new dieting buzzword, but it has its roots in Christian spirituality. Inspired by Jesus’s forty days in the desert, Christians spend forty days of reflection and repentance commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus. This season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 2nd this year. Lent is observed by fasting, or, abstaining from certain foods and habits.
Fasting in this sense can go beyond abstention and become an opportunity for new and healthier habits.
- Identify the Bad Habit
Don’t just quit a habit, start a better one. Start by identifying something in your life that you know is not the best option for your health or well-being. Eating junk food and avoiding exercise are common habits that people want to change.
- Trade a Bad Habit for New Habit
Don’t settle for a generic statement like, “I will eat better” or “I will exercise more”. Set a specific and attainable goal, such as “I will replace my junk food snacks with fruits and vegetables” or “I will walk for 15 minutes every morning instead of hitting the snooze button”.
- Free Pass
At some point you are bound to miss a day or give in to temptation. Those old habits are hard to break, so give yourself a break. Allow yourself a “free pass” to eat a cookie or sleep a little longer once or twice a week. This makes it easier to keep going with your new habit, instead of giving up because it’s not perfect.
- Make Your New Habit Enjoyable
Just because you’re making a change to eat healthier doesn’t mean you must commit to bland, or bad-tasting wholesome food. Make a healthy choice that still fits your favorite flavors. Consider fruit smoothies and yogurts instead of candy and pastries, or lightly salted popcorn to potato chips. It will be easier to make the healthy switch when you honestly enjoy the new food. If you are starting a morning walk, choose a route that takes you through something beautiful or interesting, or gives you a great view of the morning sky.
We often hear that “misery loves company” but it is much more true to say that joy loves company, and company loves joy! Whatever positive change you are hoping to make in your life, invite someone to journey with you. Start a walking club or a snack round-table where you can share recipes and ideas. Having a community of persons helps you to stay accountable to your goals and allows you to help others.
Fasting can make a lasting change in your life, especially when you choose to replace a negative habit with a p ositive one. Franciscan Ever There Care can help you plan and prepare healthy snacks and meals, accompany you on your walk, or assist you throughout your daily routine. Give us a call!