For the most part, we know what we need to clean up to improve our health.
For most of us, there’s little mystery concerning what our bad habits are. Unfortunately they often prove extremely difficult to change. Smokers often continue when they’re hospitalized and using supplemental oxygen just to survive. Over-eaters have famously done reality shows about how they know they are killing themselves, but still feel compelled to eat badly. More insidious addictions like opioids frequently enslave unsuspecting patients who start off needing time to heal an injury, but then begin to depend on them for emotional stability. Only recently have we learned that (surprise!), opioids numb physical and emotional pain.
Q: Why are habits hard to break?
A: We crave death. Our bodies “love” death and everything bad for us feeds that hunger to die. If we are to live and improve we must resist until the tides of desire change and we begin to hunger for life.
Knowing is not enough. Action is required to improve, so we must do something to start that long uphill march toward improved health and God-willing…wellness. Perhaps a short period of fasting might help to develop more willpower. Even if you start small, and work toward a longer and more restrictive fasting regimen it makes sense to try.
Having the fortitude to live without something you hunger for, even for three to seven days could be the first step towards healthier living. One sentiment from Eastern Christianity is that we should remember when we are fasting that it is not really food we are hungry for. We are really hungry for more of God. In the same way, a fast to break a bad habit will include cravings for the bad thing you stopped, but try to funnel that desire toward the nutrients you’ve allowed yourself to consume in its’ place.
Practical tip: When you start fasting, don’t be surprised if your cravings and hunger increase tenfold. This tends to pass after three days so a seven day fasting strategy may be no more difficult that the three days of high level detox required to begin.