Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mono Fast

There are a ton of "lifestyle" diets out there, "cleanses" and extreme calorie restriction diets. I am of the opinion that most of them are eating disorders dressed up as something healthy. I don't think anyone should be so obsessed with food that it eclipses every other aspect of their life - whether that obsession results in anorexia, bulimia, or worshipping the false god of health. Don't get me wrong, being healthy is fantastic and we always miss health when it's gone, but the pursuit of it has turned into a religion for many and that isn't the right way to go about things.

When I was a gym member a few years ago, I noticed that almost every class and poster had really aggressive language - "body attack" "body combat" "body burn" "ab blaster" etc. The message was clear: your body is something outside of your true self that must be contained, restrained, and forcibly sculpted into an acceptable shape/size. I think this language is highly toxic and it is one of the reasons why I don't go there anymore!

I love the language used by teachers in Kundalini Yoga classes - "feel the energy flow through you" "lean into the motions" (ie, do the best you can), etc. The meditations and kriyas ground me into my body, teach me to feel at one with myself, and I soon begin to appreciate what I can do right here and now, rather than go insane with the desire to change my body and separate it from my mind.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that my spirit and body are intricately connected and will remain so after my resurrection. I will be apart from my body for a time, but eventually we will be one again, and forever! It seems utterly nonsensical to spend my energy in this mortal life denigrating it, abusing it, and feeling separated from it. Satan would have me hate how I look, fret over what size clothing I wear, and constantly despair over how much force gravity exerts upon me. What a waste of time!

In the movie, the Addam's Family (I think it was the sequel, actually), Wednesday Addams attends a summer camp and one evening the girls are telling ghost stories. Wednesday's turn comes, and she ends her creepy tale with the phrase, "and they all had their old noses back!" The other girls were horrified. I often think of this scene when I consider how hard we as humans (especially female humans) try to change the way we look. Who am I to decide what is beauty in God's eyes?

Here is a run-down of what our resurrected bodies will look like:

A glorified celestial body will be:
  • Immortal. “This mortal body is raised to an immortal body, . . . that they can die no more” (Alma 11:45).
  • Perfect. “The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form” (Alma 11:43). President Joseph F. Smith explained, “Deformity will be removed; defects will be eliminated, and men and women shall attain to the perfection of their spirits, to the perfection that God designed in the beginning.”8
  • Beautiful. President Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) said, “There is nothing more beautiful to look upon than a resurrected man or woman.”9
  • Glorious. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said: “Your spirit is young and vibrant and beautiful. Even if your body is old and diseased or crippled or disabled in any way, when the spirit and body are put together in the Resurrection, then you will be glorious; then you will be glorified.”10
  • Without sorrow or pain. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Nowhere in scripture that I've read does it say we will look "hot" or "sexy" according to our culture's requirements. Nor does it say "thin" or "muscular" or with "perfect hair".
I have a mom body. I have borne and birthed five babies, all of them pretty big! I am also a large statured person, tall with big hands and feet. I am not thin, either. My belly is squishy, according to my children, who love to snuggle me. I sag in places, too! But what if this "mom body", which represents so much sacrifice and love, that shows what I've done and who I've done it for with every breath I take, is a "perfection that God designed in the beginning"? What if this is "glorious" in God's eyes? The horror of those girls getting their old noses back would be nothing compared to the despair I would feel after receiving my long-anticipated perfected body full of all of those "imperfections" that I hated during mortality.

That's not to say that I am at peace with how I look or feel in my skin. I have my own share of neuroses and addictions - don't we all! I've been battling sugar addiction for many years now with temporary success. I have struggled with overeating, and eating the wrong foods. My body has gone up and down in size during and after pregnancy, and I've often been too tired to attempt to change long-entrenched habits so I've carried on as I was even though I knew intellectually that I was hurting my body little by little.

Taking into consideration that I am not a fan of dieting (to put it mildly), that my bad eating habits were making me feel out of control, and that my attempts to change them have consistently failed, I felt at an impasse. I pretty much gave up for a long time.

My Kundalini Yoga teacher has a blog, and she wrote about a Yogi mono fast a few months ago. As soon as I read the first couple of sentences, I knew that I should do it, too. But our subconscious mind is often set in its ways and it took me several months of thinking about it before I decided to commit. 

Why am I doing this? Well, I feel like a lot of my so-called food issues are more inherited habits and emotional entrenchment. I am not an emotional eater, so in theory I should be able to cut out sugar and junk without any issue. But, because these issues were still attached to me so to speak, even though I wanted to change and tried to change, they kept drawing me back in and taking over.

In order to break these issues once and for all, I am meditating and eating highly nutritious foods on a daily basis. I am praying and reading my scriptures, so it is a multi-pronged approach. I am cleansing my body, my mind, and my soul every day. 

It has been really interesting. Previously, my sugar addiction only broke after tremendous effort and some wicked side-effects like banging headaches and the shakes. I would feel awful for several days until the sugar purge was complete and I could function again. This time? Nothing. I am eating a lot of fruit, which is sugary as well of course, but I was eating fruit as a sugar replacement before, as well. I don't feel shaky when I've gone too long between meals (which was starting to happen mid-morning and mid-afternoon several times a week before, and made me nervous for my health) and I'm not missing other foods, most of the time.

It isn't super easy to eat the same mung bean soup every day and load up on fruits and veggies in between, but it isn't horrendously hard, either. I feel amazing in the morning instead of fuzzy-headed and groggy, and I'm not as tired in the afternoons, either. Every bite of food is full of nutrients and goodness, instead of empty calories and refined carbs. 

I am on day 8 of this mono fast, and I intend to go 80 days for this fast. It takes 40 days to break a habit, and 40 to create one, so 80 days seems about right!

I am feeling the binding habits of my inherited food issues loosening. I am thinking clearly and feel lighter on my feet. I am learning to love my body as it is, instead of forcing it into a new shape. If my body changes shape or size during my mono fast, so be it. I will accept what happens. But it is a wonderful experience to feel a blossoming love for my body as I am in this moment, instead of the hateful whispers in my ear from the destroyer himself. 

I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am blissful.


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