Today I was down exactly another pound which makes me officially 0.1lbs below my goal weight (which was to get back to my pre-Jacob weight)! Maybe I'll post some pics and numbers soon, but right now, I just wanted to get on here and get this post up - woohoo!!!
Through the week my weight has fluctuated another .5lbs less than this, and .5lbs more than this - so I knew my goal was met, but I admit I'm a stickler for the rules sometimes and so I was very glad when I stepped on the scale this morning and could go with the official weigh in Wednesday.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I would have 5 more pounds to lose to get to my pre-Emma weight. That is not a goal of mine, but because my "program" has been getting me results, and I'm finding it easy to stick to, I'm just going to continue with the program and see what happens. If I lose more weight great, and if not, that's great too! If I stop losing, then I'm going to stop fasting though and see if I'm able to maintain that way. Quite frankly, it just shows how easy I've found it to fast, if I'm willing to continue after my goal - I NEVER would've said that about the South Beach diet that's for sure!! I just find this so much easier to work into a regular lifestyle, and not really feel deprived or feel that certain foods are off limits. I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Fasting has certainly not slowed down my metabolism in any weigh, shape or form! (pun intended!!) It was, in fact, the only thing that has worked for me consistently during the last 1 1/2 + years since Jacob's birth. Obviously what works for one doesn't work for everyone, but don't knock till you try it - it sure worked for me!
It is worth it to keep on keeping on. I had been getting so discouraged and frustrated with trying to lose these last 7 pounds. And, perhaps, since it was such a small number, some of you may feel like I had no business being frustrated by that. But those last few pounds are often the hardest to lose and I was determined to do it! But as the months wore on and the scale didn't budge despite shredding like a maniac going for one hundred pushups and other determined efforts - I admit to almost giving up. In fact, the fasting thing was my last resort. If that hadn't worked I was ready to admit that my body was too happy where it was and I was going to have to settle for the way things were. So I added fasting to my shredding regimen, with no cheating, and finally got the results I was looking for.
So, whatever your method, whatever you've found works for you - rock it! Stick to it! You can do it! And if you feel like you've plateaued, shake things up a bit, try something new.
Shred on! Fast on! Turbo Jam on! Weight watchers on!
Something I've been thinking about (and have been asked about) in regards to fasting for weight loss is how that practice would influence fasting for spiritual reasons. I'm not necessarily sure I have all the answers, but I'm going to think out loud here for a bit.
My biggest thought is that it comes down to the motivation behind the fast.
I am rather embarrassed to admit that, along with never having read the Bible all the way through before this year, I have also never fasted for spiritual reasons. I haven't heard much teaching on fasting before, and have never researched it myself and honestly haven't thought much about it at all, until now.
According to Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat, there are numerous physical benefits to fasting, including decreased body fat & body weight, decreased blood glucose levels, dereased insulin levels & increased insulin sensitivity, increased lipolysis & fat oxidation, increased growth hormone levels, decreased food related stress and more.
And, of course, there are spiritual "benefits" to fasting as well. The goal of fasting for spiritual reasons is to focus on God, to draw closer to Him, to gain wisdom or guidance before making a decision, to fellowship with God at a deeper level. Fasting does not change God, it changes us.
So, this is why I think it comes down to motivation.....
You can fast without growing closer to God. Fasting for purely physical reasons (to lose weight) is simply not eating. You are not praying instead of eating, you are not focusing on God, you are not growing closer to Him - you are simply. not. eating. That's it. That is what I have been doing these past few weeks - all of my fasts have been purely from a weight loss motivation.
Now, here's the trickier part - can you fast for both physical and spiritual reasons at the same time?
My answer is ..... it depends.
Way to straddle the fence, eh? Stick with me here and I'll explain...
If you are trying to lose weight and gluttony has been an issue in your life, or you have been turning to food instead of to God for any reason, I think it is possible to fast for both spiritual and physical reasons. By doing this you are addressing the root of your weight problem and are drawing closer to God - losing weight (though still intentional) is a result/benefit of your spiritual fasting. I am not familiar with the exact teachings of the Lord's Table bible study and weight loss program - but I would think that this is an excellent example of benefiting from fasting both spiritually and physically.
However, if your desire to lose weight (even if it's a lot of weight) has nothing to do with your desire to grow closer to God, if you have not acknowledged the spiritual roots of your weight issues, then you are fasting for purely physical reasons and will not experience the spiritual benefits of fasting as there is no spiritual motivation/intention behind the fast.
Also - if your relationship with God has no correlation to your desire to lose weight (such as my goal of losing those last few pounds of babyweight), if your motivation for losing those last few pounds is purely physical, then you are also fasting with a physical motivation and not a spiritual motivation and will therefore not experience the spiritual benefits of fasting.
So the hard question is - knowing the physical benefits (weight loss in particular) of fasting, can you/I fast for spiritual reasons only, without having a hidden agenda of losing weight at the same time?
The answer to this question of course, is very personal. Only you (and God, of course!) know your heart and the true motivation behind your decision to fast. But yes, I believe it is possible. If I feel that God is wanting me to fast, or I feel that I need to fast in order to gain insight or to grow closer to God - I can absolutely make a conscious decision to fast for spiritual reasons. If I do so though, my day will look different than if I was fasting for physical reasons. If during this spiritual fast I'm not praying more than I normally would, or reading my Bible more than usual - then my motivation was not spiritual and I will not receive any spiritual benefit from the fast. But if my actions jive with my motivation then I am fasting for truly spiritual reasons and I will receive the spiritual blessings that come with it.
Another questions is - if you fast regularly for physical reasons (like I have been), will it make fasting for spiritual reasons too "easy", or too routine, so that you'll miss the point/benefits for fasting?
This could be a potential problem if the focus of a spiritual fast was on food and not eating it.
Not eating food is the focus of physical fasting.
Growing closer to God is the focus of spiritual fasting.
The truth is, spiritual fasting does not have to involve food at all! In fact, for some people and their health situation, that could be a very unwise decision. You can fast from many things - food, only certain types of food (such as meat), tv, Pepsi, computers, etc. The point of fasting is to give up something physical with the goal of growing closer to God. So, if routine physical fasting has made giving up food too easy - then simply choose another item to give up when you want to fast for spiritual reasons.
In other words, you can't use that as an excuse not to fast for physical reasons. :)
Should Christians be fasting? Yes, absolutely they should be and this is something I have not done, and need to start doing. Consider the following scripture passage (emphasis mine)...
Matthew 6:16-18 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
The scripture says when, not if. It is not commanded, however it certainly appears to be expected. And with the benefit of growing closer to God, having our will line up with His instead of ours, receiving wisdom and guidance - why we would not?
So, those are some of my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts.