I wish to understand my own thinking when it comes to eating and my lack of fasting, especially when it comes to the church. The fathers of the Orthodox Church tell us that is it is important to fast from foods that make us comfortable so that we may overcome our own bodies desires. Fasting is a way to help overcome your passions and combined with a proper prayer life, it can help deepen one’s own spiritual resolve.
In the church we fast during Lent and before Christmas. We also fast in honor of the theotokos and for the apostles. We also fast every Wednesday and Friday, for Wednesday is the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday remembers the day of our Lord’s death. The church prescribes fasting and prayer, alongside repentance, as medicine to combat the sickness of the soul that is sin. Why we are not required to fast strictly like the monastics do and not eat for days before certain feasts of the church, we are asked to limit ourselves. It is through fasting that we actually ready our bodies and our soul in order to better fight against our spiritual struggles. Saint Gregory of Palamas once said “Fasting and self-control are a double wall of defense and whoever lives within them enjoys great peace.“
It is a common piece of advice to stop eating before you are full so as to leave just a little bit of hunger left over. On feast days we abstain from meat and dairy products, and on the strictest of fasting days we adopt a vegan diet. Again this is all to allow us to overcome the passions of our own body.
We are also asked to fast the night before Divine Liturgy if we are going to receive Holy Communion. Son will not eat anything Sunday morning until after they’ve received the Eucharist. Others will refuse food and drink from Vesper service on Saturday night until The Divine Liturgy is held.
My intentions with fasting have not always lined up with my habits. Even when I am driving down the road and practicing my Jesus prayers, I am sometimes eating until I am no longer hungry. Can my prayer really be offered if I am satisfying my bodily hunger at the same time? No.
Sometimes in order to achieve your goals, you need to apply self discipline and sacrifice yourself from the things that make you comfortable. Once again I’m finding that for me it’s sugar and carbs. Whether it be the excess fondant from my son’s birthday cake or soda picked up with my fast food. I also struggle with portion control and allowing myself to be done before I am fully full. After all talking about fasting is one thing following through with it is another. This reminds me of of a quote by Saint Jerome: “When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.”
I’m only on my second day of my restart keto diet. Yesterday was a struggle because I didn’t immediately make the correct choices. I had a leftover pancake with maple syrup. The night before we had ordered McDonald’s and had it delivered by doordash. I took the time in the day yesterday to make sure that I finished off the Dr Pepper. Did I need to finished the soda? No. But it tasted good and of course even though I was trying to make changes I still wanted it. I regained control in the afternoon however and started sticking to low carbs with the appropriate amount of fat and protein throughout the day. I ended yesterday with double my required a carbon intake for the day, however I was still right around 50 g of carbs total.
This morning before getting ready to go to work, I took the time to cook up some eggs and bacon, dry up a few chicken breasts and a few steaks, and prepaired some easy to go salads so that way when I’m on the road and away from home I can still have the appropriate foods. Unfortunately I am already over my carb intake goal for the day once again because Upon returning to my truck I found half a bottle of soda and a small bag of chips but I had yet to finish. My Cravings are like passions I have to learn to curve them and overcome them if I want to be successful. And while I will admit that I finished off a little bit of soda and the few remaining chips that were left in the bag, I am only 34 grams of carbs for the day. I am fighting the cravings and I’m having some hunger grumbles, however I am feeling the signs of ketosis beginning to start up once more within my body.
I’m still about 75 lb saway from my goal but I’m going to try my best to stick with this diet and do the proper amount of exercise. I want to get in better shape and live a healthier life. Not just for my son, not just for me. But for my family and to be a role model for others. I’m hoping to lose 40 lb over the next 6 months. It’ll be a nice treat for when my family goes on our pilgrimage vacation to New York at the end of July. We are planning to visit the Monastery of Saint Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria on her feast day. It is our hope to venerate her wonder-working icon, and her Relic, and to ask for her intercessions so that my wife and I will have another child. We also plan to see the Statue of Liberty, Saint Nicholas Cathedral next to Ground Zero and possibly st. Vladimir’s Orthodox seminary.
Have you struggled with food? Struggled with comes to fasting? Perhaps you can relate to what I’m talkin about? Let me know. It only takes one stuck it to the side to make changes. I for one am glad that Ivory started this journey. Hopefully as I lose fat I will also build an even deeper spiritual resolve.
Thanks for reading my friends, I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week. Stay safe and healthy out there and I’ll see you next time.
– Orthodox Trucker
Headed down to Boise. Got my hands on the wheel and my faith on my mind.