By Madeleine Kando
Most people are disappointed when they give up a diet. They feel that they have failed somehow. But they don’t realize that every day of their diet, their body has had one extra day of r and r. They have given their stomach a well needed rest.
Could it be that our modern-day obsession with dieting serves as a replacement for the regular fasting and other restrictions of food intake that many religions practiced in the past, and some still do. A Mormon fasts on a regular basis and does not feel like a failure when the period of fasting is over. He goes back to regular eating with a sense of accomplishment. A new beginning, if you will. It has been a period of cleansing and purification.So, why not consider dieting, even if it is for a short period of time, a success? Why do we feel like a failure when we stop our diet? I say: diet as much or as little as you want, and take each dieting day at a time. Consider each day a success story.
I have gotten into the habit of fasting every 3 months or so. Just not eating for a while. I mean, we take a break from work, from exercise, from almost everything that we do on a daily basis. So why not take a break from eating? Eating is a very energy consuming activity. If you are serious about eating you have to think about what to buy so you can plan your meal, cook your meal, eat your meal, do the dishes, usually put the leftovers away.. my, what a chore. Wouldn’t it be a relief to take a break from all that?
And, not to be too blunt about it, but not eating is really giving your stomach a well-needed rest. I know, some of your organs are meant to work non-stop from the day you were born to the day you die: you cannot expect your heart to go on a vacation, or your liver to stop doing it’s job. But your stomach.. well, your stomach does need periods of rest. At night for instance. The problem is that stomachs are so overworked these days with our hectic life style and all, they don’t get a chance to fully rest. So that’s why they need to be sent to rehab once in a while.
If we could have a heart to heart with our stomach, the conversation would go something like this:
You: ‘Hey stomach, how you doin today?’
Stomach: ‘Oh, I don’t know, I’m really stressed out you know. Had a double shift yesterday. Your midnight snack really did me in. Couldn’t punch out till 1 am!’
You: ‘Oh, wow. That’s bad. You must really be exhausted.’
Stomach: ‘Yeah. I hear that I am in for a real whammer tomorrow too. Aren’t we going to a conference where there is a free buffet?!’.
You: ‘Yes, sorry about that. I feel bad for you. Anything I can do to help?’
Stomach: ‘Now that you mention it.. could you hold off on the hot sauce tomorrow? And maybe cut back on the french fries a little? I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it without a serious doze of antacid.’
Gosh, you wouldn’t do that kind of thing to your worst enemy. Let alone your OWN stomach. But stomachs don’t complain until the damage is fairly serious. Heartburn, colitis, ibs..
So, not only do we need to give our stomachs a little break but another benefit of fasting is the time you free up by not worrying about food. Religious fasting frees up time for praying. I happen to be agnostic, so praying is not in the cards for me, but I am free to smell the roses, go for a walk, read more. . .
But the best part about fasting or dieting is knowing that soon you will be eating again. Trust me, eating after a fast or a diet ranks way up there with winning the lottery, having great sex or seeing President Bush enjoy a long-overdue and well-deserved retirement.
Why don’t you give it a try?
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Monday, December 22, 2008
By Madeleine Kando