• Mona Eldahry, LAc, DACM

Jumping on the Lent Wagon

Updated: Mar 16

A client informed me last week that Wednesday would be the first day of Lent. I'm no Christian, but being thrifty with willpower and thriving in community, I've always wished the Muslim holy month of Ramadan had a choose-your-own-adventure feature to it. I've often thought, wouldn't it be nice if I could fast at night? And wouldn't it be cool if I could design a fast to support my specific health goals? I should do that when Ramadan's over.

Now comes the willpower part. I'm not likely to really observe a month-long fast unless it's mandated by a higher power. It's not that I lack willpower. Rather, I choose carefully how I spend it. Lately, I had been waking up tired and craving sugar and tea throughout the day. At first, I thought, “I need to stop eating sugar for a month.” But that would take a ton of will power, and I've got enough on my plate as it is.

So, I decided to just set myself up to crave less sugar. I'm doing a brief intermittent fast every day, eating during a 9 to 10-hour window and fasting 14-15 hours. I've chosen to go easy on myself. If you’re into ketogenic fasting, you know that this is not that.

People are often advised not to fast for more than 15 hours when menstruating. I’ll probably be even more lenient when that time comes because I think that that will be good for me.

To my surprise, on just the second day of this lightweight intermittent fast, I actually ate less sugar and had a higher energy level. On the fourth morning, I found myself up and out of bed. I didn’t remember waking up. I was just … up. Are my days of lying in bed in the morning over? Are you familiar with the term, drafting? Drafting is what cyclists do when they position a bike just inches behind another bike. That rear bike faces less resistance from the wind because it's taking advantage of the path of the bike ahead of it. Ducks do the same thing when they fly in a V-formation.

I’m taking advantage of this holy time—when millions are making changes to bring themselves closer to the divine and to their own true nature—to make some much needed changes in my life.

I’ve heard tales of others using lent to abstain not from food, but from behavioral patterns. One congregation recently abstained from complaining. Others, from watching TV. In addition to what one chooses to do, there’s also a fast from eating meat on Fridays.

Lent started Wednesday, Feb 25 and ends April 9. Would you like to join me? Or is it your bandwagon I’m jumping onto? What modification might you make for the next few weeks? Please share your thoughts; you might inspire someone else.

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© 2017 by Mona Eldahry