At the tail end of 11 weeks of intermittent fasting, I realise just how much this experience has enriched my life. Right at the start, there was some fear and trepidation but I had armed myself with scientific knowledge and convinced myself that fasting twice a week was ‘doable.’ Yet I had no idea how it would make me feel or what lessons I would have learned at the end of it.
It was around the Aquarius New Moon that I realised just how much in denial I had been about how my food and drink choices were adversely affecting my health and making me pile on the pounds. When I finally did woman up and stepped on the scales I got so shocked that I think I may have shed a couple of pounds from sheer terror. I was 10 kg heavier than I ever wanted to be. Eeeeek!
The idea of committing to a period of intermittent fasting came from my husband randomly catching a radio show about the 5:2 diet while he was driving. He came home and told me about it. I wasn’t smitten with the idea at first but then I watched a YouTube video where Dr Michael Mosley shared his experience as well as the scientific data to back up the health benefits of the 5:2 way of life… because more than a diet, intermittent fasting as a way of life has some seriously awesome health benefits in terms of reduced risk for a number of major diseases. Alzheimer is one of them and it runs in the family. If there is anything I can do to avoid it, I’m willing to give it a shot.
Sadly, the book mentions nothing about any sort of spiritual benefits but I had a yearning deep down in my soul to try fasting for this purpose too… I was curious if it could help me grow spiritually.
The reason I committed to 11 weeks initially was twofold. Firstly, it felt a whole lot more doable if I didn’t commit to a life-time change straight away. I wanted to ‘try before I buy’ and learn what the benefits and drawbacks were first. Secondly, 11 weeks with two fast days a week would allow me to use the Tarot Major Arcana as my contemplative focus for the duration of the journey. In my mind, I had firmly set the intent that this mind-body-spirit journey would be about spirit first and that any weight loss second. It made sense to not focus on deprivation but on enriching my life…
It so happened that I begun my journey only days before the first Sunday of Lent. This was unintentional but must have been humming away at the back of my mind because I found myself back in a church pew just in time for the first Sunday of Lent… after being absent for many years. Sacred words spoken by our Lord were read out loud from the pulpit:
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
So in addition to feeding my Spirit with the wisdom of the Majors, my hunger for Christ and his teachings also increased as my appetite for food and drink diminished.
I now know what people mean when they speak of making a keystone move, i.e. one small change to their lifestyle and/or habits which ends up changing their whole lives in a profound way. Because that is precisely what intermittent fasting did for me… Yes, I lost weight too – 22 lbs to date – but that was the least of my triumphs.“So what lessons did you learn, Lisa?” I hear you asking…
11 Mind-Body-Spirit Lessons Intermittent Fasting Tought Me
- Observing hunger can be more useful than feeding it.
- Often when I thought I was hungry, I was actually really just dehydrated. Drinking more water seems to have a positive impact on my brain and energy levels too.
- Supporting others and receiving support in return has made me feel more abundant and ‘connected’. I joined a 5:2 support group on FB and it made a big difference. I enjoy being the cheerleader but here I also learned to enjoy receiving support – a very important lesson for me.
- Weight loss is easy when you fast intermittently. The weight just seem to melt off and on normal food days, I effortlessly started making healthier food choices.
- The body quickly adapts to a pattern of intermittent fasting. Disrupted sleep and feeling faint was not a problem at all after a couple of weeks.
- It is completely possible to work out during fast days. Apparently, you even get more of a fat burn benefit when exercising in the fasted state.
- The less I act on the physical hunger prompts, the better I am able to hear the soul prompts.
- Intermittent fasting has made me more compassionate, especially with regards to sisters and brothers who go without due to the greed of the rest of us rather than by choice. I increased my giving in multiple ways during this journey… because fasting made me realise I could.
- I feel more creative and am less afraid to try new things in every area of life. I am much more eager to ‘taste’ new life experiences. I guess you could say I feel more alive.
- Journeying with the Major Arcana in a focused way gave me an overview of where I am heading and is making me less prone to procrastinate.
- Feeding the spirit equally with the body is the key to holistic health and makes it easier to begin making healthy choices in every area of life, including relationships.
I hope this has inspired you to find your keystone move. Maybe it’s intermittent fasting… maybe it’s something else. Embrace change!
Love and Blessings