I posted three weeks ago about doing the Daniel Fast. It seems like the time has both flown and crawled. This evenings dinner will break our fast. I'm looking forward to have some chicken on my salad and just maybe a cannoli for dessert.
I wasn't sure how I was going to do with no coffee, no animal products and no sweets. We also added in no wheat to see who we'd feel, so that add another challenging layer to what I wasn't eating. My hubby did his own version of the fast and Tinker Bell fasted from sweets. I was so proud of her and how she did over the last three weeks. Especially because she's involved in two church activities each week that has snacks and I always forgot to pack her something she could eat.
Here are a few things I've learned over these last three weeks.
Lesson one: Just because you're not eating much doesn't mean you're going to lose weight. I had this idea that because I was eating a vegetarian diet, I was going to lose weight and a lot of it. Swim suit season is coming up, you know. I've been watching my calories and what I was eating closely. Some days salad was both my lunch and dinner! I've lost only 3 lbs but that's better than nothing.
Lesson two: I can survive without coffee. More importantly, my family survived me not having coffee. After the first two days of withdrawal headaches I was actually feeling really good without it. I have less of the ups and downs during the day and I've been sleeping better too. I will not be going back to coffee tomorrow morning. I may occasionally have a cup when we go out somewhere but there is so much freedom knowing I'm no longer held captive by that morning cup of coffee.
Lesson three: It is possible to mourn a food group. Sometime in the last week I stopped mourning no bread. I believe that bread is one of the biggest culprits to the muffin top I've developed since last fall. I love to make bread. I would make it a couple times a week and I would live on it. I've been reading Wheat Belly and can see the concepts he's talking about in both my body and my hubby's body. Bread was harder to let go of than coffee. But this too, I'm not really going back to. I'll still make bread occasionally but not in the quantity I was making it. I'll eat bread occasionally but I've found the gluten free bread to be an acceptable replacement.
Lesson four: Food can be consumed just for survival. I LOVE to eat. I mean LOVE it. I love food, how it tastes, the joy of making it, the joy of serving it and the satisfaction of being full after a good meal. For weeks I've not had any of that. I've eaten just to put the required nutrients into my body. Most of the time the food was pretty bland but I've still found ways to enjoy making and eating a salad. I learned to be creative with what I put on my salads and what foods I mixed together. The last week and a half, especially, has had a better mix of foods and flavors. Side note: Chickpea burgers are no replacement for real juicy hamburgers.
Lesson five: This is probably my most important lesson and it's not really a lesson so much as a reminder again of something I've known; prayer works. In the first week or so, I really had to press into prayer to get through each day. Hunger would remind me to turn to my prayer list. Cravings would drive me to my knees in prayer. I know this fast was not something I could do on my own. I believe that there is so clarity in some of the items on my prayer list. There are still things that have yet to be answered too. I do believe those answers will come in time. Even Daniel didn't get his answers within in 21 day fast.
So as we get ready to break this fast today with dinner, I believe I'm coming away from it with hope for some answered prayers, a better grasp on my foods and feeling a little bit better than I did. I have a little more energy than before and I've decided to keep a lot of the unnecessary foods out of my diet in the future. I'm grateful to have been called to this time of fasting and prayer and look forward to the next time, as long as it's not too near in the future.