For the last three years I have been trying my hand at Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting is a lifestyle practice that has been found to be highly effective for achieving optimal health, and for decreasing health risks. It has also been shown to reverse the aging process, as well as improve cognitive function, decrease neuroinflammation and reduce unhealthy body fat. Dr. Amy Nett has a lot more to say about it here; and Chris Kressner takes Intermittent Fasting to the next level here, with Fasting-Mimicking Diets.
I’m not going to go on at lengths about the pros and cons of these lifestyle choices, as the above links provide ample, succinct, and accurate information. However, I am going to speak to the power of the metaphor of fasting choices.
The first time I tried Intermittent Fasting was during the year leading to my Camino del France. During that year, I had also been engaging in a lot of spiritual healing work. From my perspective, the choice to engage in regular fasting was an embodied expression of the inner transformation I had been undergoing spiritually. As is often the case with healing work, whether it be spiritually oriented or otherwise, we are often working to undo that which has been done, to unburden ourselves of the heavy facades, shadows, and limiting-beliefs that no longer serve us, and ultimately to de-clutter all the closets and cobwebs in order to regain our vitality.
For me, fasting was an embodiment of the metaphor of breaking ties with addictive patterns, and of de-cluttering my being. Nutrition is too often engaged as a habit, and less often as informed choice, and either way has major implications for our health. Extending the daily fasting period by 4-10 hours a day, symbolically and literally gives our being and body the opportunity to focus on deep cleaning and clearing out, rather than on stuffing itself with new wares to manage.
When we fast our bodies get a pause on receiving and organizing new material, and instead, gets a chance to focus on repairing the salvageables, and discarding the burdens. It’s like having a daily, mini-spring clean, instead of leaving it to once a year, or never getting around to the overwhelming task at all. As we take the time to physically clean out the house, we inevitably clear things up on all other levels. That which has been stored deep and unprocessed emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually also finds fresh air and renewed capacity to sort, thin out, and discard. Fasting is a way to embody the metaphor of transformation, of breakdown, breakthrough, and becoming.
I’ve also noticed a similar correlation between people undergoing major personal development and other significant dietary shifts such as engaging a new hobby of making their own fermented food, such as sourdough or yogurt, or trying a cleanse. It really is no surprise that when we effect change on one aspect of our being, all others will follow suit, in their own beautiful time and appropriate place in our life.
Have you noticed any connection between changes in your diet and changes in your mindsets, perspectives, emotional expressions, or beliefs? Or maybe vice versa, the mindset change came first followed by dietary or lifestyle changes.