Take the first step in Faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Improving our health often calls upon us to challenge our beliefs. Even to benefit our health though, change it seems is often difficult. I see this on occasion when discussing with people the merits of undertaking a supported fast . Last week I outlined some examples of how fasting has been medically proven to be helpful in treating disease. Most people though aren’t needing to see proof to know that some form of fasting or calorie restriction can be helpful in restoring health. Intuitively we know that resting the body, allows it the opportunity to re-set itself by doing some “house keeping”. Firstly by “taking out the garbage” and then restoring balance and strength to overworked organs.
The physical benefits aside though, many people remark at the end of their fast that what they most enjoyed getting out of it was regaining a sense of control over their minds, particularly in relation to food. Many of us are constantly snacking and spend an inordinate amount of time thinking or planning our next meal(s). It isn’t a great obsession to have, so when you’re liberated from it by making it through a fast, it’s a nice reward.
Despite the benefits we know exist through undertaking such a path, we often resist the change, held back by our beliefs. Our beliefs are a set of predetermined ideas about a situation or person at hand. Everything going around us then is filtered through our beliefs. Obviously this can serve us well at times but unfortunately our beliefs can also hold us back from growing as a person.
When I did my first fast 15 years ago as a 29 year old, I went into it thinking that I’d be lucky to last two days. I lasted the full seven days and it turned out to be a pivotal experience in my life, planting a seed of passion that would grow into the work I do now. Whilst that experience changed my belief about this particular physical ability, in so many other areas, just like you I still battle to overcome my limiting beliefs.
The Bridge of Faith
Ultimately to move beyond belief, to take that step out into the unknown, where you’re not sure if there will be a soft landing, is where faith has to come in. Yogic author, Judith Lasater refers to faith as “a recipe that made up of part trust in ourselves, part experience of life working out, and part intuitive connection with the divine”. I like this description because each of these parts leads to a fundamental acceptance of life as it is in this very moment, including the unknown. So whilst belief can hold back growth, faith is a bridge necessary for it.
Without faith, we cannot challenge and overcome our beliefs because when the going gets tough, we too easily retreat back to our comfort zones. Every single individual thing we do in life is a reflection of our engagement with the world at large – our relationship with food is a particularly vivid example. I try to eat consciously everyday, intermittent fasting has been a revelation for me but like everyone, I have times when I go off track for a period.
When I lose faith in myself or in life itself, my decisions begin to be made more out of fear or anger. Starting a juice fast or getting back into Intermittent Fasting is my way of recalibrating myself. It can be daunting, especially when I’ve been unhealthy for a period but it is my faith in it’s ability to facilitate transformation that pulls me through to the other side.
So, however it is that you find faith in your life, nurture it and hold it close to your heart. Your health depends on it.
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Aaron Travers is author of “The Boda Fast – a three step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality”. Aaron writes at www.thebodacleanse.com.au and shares his ideas and experiences on health and wellbeing from his personal life and through working with clients clinically and those doing his “supported fasting” programs. Every Friday he sends out his newsletter, click below to subscribe.