I was recently asked to put together a handout for an organization getting ready to start a community-wide faith-based fast and I want to share this important information with you, too.
Spiritual fasts are a powerful and important discipline which can bring about some truly meaningful experiences and growth.
But in today’s culture riddled with the extremely high incidence of eating disorders and disordered eating, I encourage individuals and leaders to please consider the following when engaging in a spiritual fast:
• When fasting from food, daily hydration is essential for sustaining LIFE.
• Fasting can trigger eating disorder symptoms in persons, especially those who have recovered or are in recovery for these issues.
• If at any time the goal of a fast shifts to primarily losing weight, it is no longer a fast but a crash diet. Fasting should not be used as a tool to promote weight loss. It’s ineffective, and it also lowers metabolism.
• Many who struggle with food and body issues will engage in a fast as a mask for their disordered eating. Given the prevalence of eating disorders, disordered eating, dieting, and body shame in our culture, regularly focusing your community on the priorities of the fast is crucial.
• Food restriction tends to intensify food related obsessions and talk, and this can persist for some time even after the fast. This kind of talk can also be very triggering for someone struggling with food and body issues. Encouraging a “no negative food or body talk “ pledge during a fast is wonderful to include at the start of a fast.
• Validating and encouraging other non-food options for fasting can help people struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating have the freedom to participate in a fast with their community.
• Many report feeling like a “bad Christian” or “not a good enough Christian” if they choose to not participate in a fast “perfectly” ie: fasting from food. Helping individuals in your community to make the best decision for their mind, body, and soul is respectful and empowering.
• Fasting is not recommended for active persons that wish to continue with exercise during the fast. Our bodies need the fuel (and electrolytes) before and after exercise, and throughout the day!
• Certain groups should never participate in fasting, and these include: children, elderly, pregnant women, persons with a history of disordered eating (or currently struggling) or are undernourished, persons who have problems with blood pressure (or are on medication for blood pressure), kidney disease, diabetes or are prone to hypoglycemia, persons with unique nutritional needs or nutrient deficiencies (just to name a few).
What are your thoughts on this hot topic?
I would love to hear about your experiences with spiritual fasting in the comments below.
Wow! Potentia has had its own brick and mortar space for a little over 9 months now.
And it has been so crazy-busy-fun-amazing-blessed wrapped in some stress, grace, clarity and relief.
This new space has been a
dream call to action on my heart for several years.
After waiting, and waiting and waiting for the right time, it just flowed when I signed the lease for the new space last June.
Once the lease was signed, I was compelled and consumed by a vision to create a unique space where healing could happen supported by a specialized and collaborative team of professionals.
When I first got the picture for Potentia’s expansion, I wanted to act immediately, jump ship, make it happen.
It felt intolerable at times to just sit with this call and not. do. a thing. other than pray+clarify + prepare.
The posture of waiting is not the stance I have assumed for most of life. My husband teases me often how I love to jump first and then think. But sometimes I was jumping not just for the adventure but because it did not feel good to wait.
Patience has not been a strong virtue of mine.
Nonetheless, I have been building up emotional muscle to bench the gift of patience and it has taught, and continues to teach, me a a lot.
My change in professions, marriage and parenthood started to
- shift the value I saw in the virtue of patience,
- (re) define my definition of productivity,
- and challenge what I valued as worthy and enough.
Prior to signing the lease, I spent a lot of time over-riding the call on my heart with fear, doubt, logic, over-thinking, over-processing and more.
I had found many reasons to not honor this simple, pure and clear call to action vision for Potentia’s next phase of growth.
Until I could not tolerate it any more.
To be authentic, vulnerable, to trust the gentle but firm nudge from God, I had to believe. I had to surrender staying on the side lines and playing it safe.
After much prayer and a significant beat down on my own fears and doubts, I felt I had permission to move forward. To grow. To draw attention. To make some noise about how our definitions of health and worth are keeping us sick; how we are keeping ourselves imprisoned by narratives that lie and cheat us from true health, freedom and peace.
At Potentia, We Can Do Hard Things.
And Potentia’s expansion infused a new jolt of faith, inspiration and passion to walk with, equip and respect those who are fighting their own personal battle mind, body + soul.
I love how the team at Potentia joins with our clients to give witness to their courage, pain, battle wounds, inspiration, frustration, fatigue, fear and more.
When they do not have hope, we wave the hope flag.
When they achieve a victory, we cheer (sometimes really loud. seriously.).
When they want to give up, we nudge, respect and reflect.
Yes, those who enter the doors of Potentia can do hard things.
And those who are not sure about starting that work I believe you can, when you are ready, live the life you are called to live.
I encourage you to not devalue or minimize your struggles and not let shame keep you in isolation. You have our respect and we have not even met you yet. 🙂
Below is a slide show from some of the events and meetings we had at Potentia to celebrate the expansion. It warms my heart and fires me up. I now truly love and embrace the call to action that has been placed on my heart.What is the call to action on your heart today? How are you responding to that call? Have you shared it with anyone in your inner circle yet?
If not, I encourage you to give voice to it TODAY, no matter how crazy, random, unrealistic you may think it is. The call to action on your heart needs you to give it voice. No matter how much it scares you. Write it down. Shout it out loud. Whisper it to a dear friend.
Your soul is calling you to stretch+grow+heal.
Being stagnant is not safe. It is stifling. The unknown is scary but staying stuck can be scarier.
Honoring the call,
ps: If you want to stay connected and up to date on the latest happenings at Potentia, please sign up for our newsletter at www.potentiatherapy.com “like” us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (#rbassching)
By Megan Handley, MPH, RD and Nutrition+Wellness Coordinator at Potentia
For the last time, diets don’t work! A group of researchers out of UCLA analyzed studies that followed dieters for 2-5 years, and found that the vast majority of participants gained back the weight, and then some, by the end of the follow up period.
Diets rely on external cues to guide our eating, rather than teaching us to listen to our body’s hunger and fullness cues. Food is fuel for our bodies and should be enjoyed, savored and appreciated!
Diets are often based on testimonials, rather than on sound scientific studies. The suggested eating plan is often rigid, and does not translate to real-world living.
Diets often require that we severely restricts calories or entire food groups, putting us at risk for nutrient deficiencies, and robbing our bodies of the energy that we need to be active.
Intense feelings of deprivation and hunger set the dieter up for binge eating patterns, which are then followed by feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction.
The following links are wonderful resources for you as you seek to (re) define health in your life:Academy of Eating Disorders
American Dietetic Association Finding Balance Health at Every Size
Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon Intuitive Eating The Center for Mindful Eating
The National Eating Disorders Association
Diets can be a polarizing topic of discussion these days as many seek relief from real physical and emotional pain. What do you think about diets? Have you had positive or negative experience with a diet? Do you agree that diets do not work?
By Molly La Croix, LMFT Trauma Expert at Potentia Family Therapy
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (“Keeping it Real at Facebook” 2/12/12) the author lamented the use of such phrases as authentic self.
She states, “Unless you start out fake you don’t need to learn to be genuine, right?”
While she was talking about overinflated egos and verbiage resulting from stratospheric levels of success, I found myself worrying that soon the word authentic might go the way of the word awesome.
We all know awesome has become one of the most overused adjectives, losing meaning and weight in the process. It used to be used to convey a sense of wonder and majesty, and now it just conjures up the image of a preteen boy on a skateboard with his hat on sideways.
Why do I care that authentic might go the way of awesome?
Because our fundamental challenge as human beings is to figure out who we truly are and then live out that unique self in relationships where we do not have to pose or hide or morph into someone else.
Being an authentic self is not something to be mocked, or trivialized, or derided as a fad. It is a worthy ambition. It is a destination on a journey that is fraught with obstacles and challenges, requiring courage and perseverance. It is a goal demanding stamina and a supportive community.
If being authentic means being real, genuine, and true – among other things – what makes it so difficult? As the author said, “Unless you start out fake you don’t need to learn to be genuine, right?”
The difficulty lies in universal experience of shame when we venture forth as our true self and we perceive rejection of that self. That can start as early as infancy when the baby cries and does not receive comfort. Perhaps the self really was rejected by a harsh parent who called us stupid. Or, perhaps the child just interpreted a benign remark as a criticism of that self.
The issue is not whether the person meant to shame us.
The issue is that we all internalize a degree of shame about our core, authentic self. That shame prompts all of us to be fake sometimes.
For some, the degree of shame is so great they live each day flooded by it. For others, the negative beliefs associated with the feeling of shame, such as, “I’m not good enough, not loveable, not worthy…” pop up occasionally.
I don’t believe any of us entirely escape the influence of unhealthy shame, the kind that causes us to want to hide our authentic selves.
Just think about the last time you took a risk to take a stance with someone who is important to you – spouse, parent, partner, child, co-worker. Any anxiety crop up? Any fear of rejection?
Depending on the weight of the issue, and the degree to which you internalized negative beliefs, that anxiety might have been great enough to silence your voice.
And that brings us back to the importance of being an authentic self. It is not trite, it is essential.
Shame will silence us. Those brave enough to be intentional about authenticity deserve praise and celebration.
These words are like a valentine to all who read her work.
Thank you, Brene’ Brown!
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.
It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think,
No matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough.
It’s going to bed at night thinking,
Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.
Choosing authenticity is an act of resistance.
Choosing to live and love with our WholeHearts is an act of defiance.”
(Can I get an Amen?)
I am excited to participate in my first ever Blog Crawl (find out more about The ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt here), hosted by Molly Mahar of Stratejoy celebrating the upcoming launch of her Fierce Love program. I really appreciate Molly’s commitment to helping others discover the power of truly healing your relationship with your body and your story. Molly would say how important it is to “adore yourself” in such an infectious and genuine way that you can’t help but take pause and believe she is on to something. So when she tapped me to be the writer for the letter “B” with the topic of Beauty in her Fierce Love blog crawl, I was humbled and excited
Beauty. It is a tricky word and hard to define. Defining beauty is very subjective, personal, intimate.
There is also a narrow standard of beauty, dispensed by the multi-billion dollar advertising industry, which has left those who believe this definition with intense body hatred, low sense of of worth, depression, depleted bank accounts, anxiety, fear of intimacy and dangerous food and body issues.
Some of the many lies perpetuated from this narrow definition of beauty state that you will be loveable, feel more confident, life will be more tolerable: if you weigh a certain amount, your body looks a certain way, you dress a certain way, you play by everyone’s rules and act a certain way, your (fill in the blank) is (fill in the blank).
It is time to stop the crazy-making, take back the power that has been externalized to the opinions of the “collective other” and (re)claim how you define beauty.
How do you define beauty?
I must confess, I spent years believing a flawed definition of beauty. I was a slave to what other people thought of me. I worked my body hard and rested little. I hated what I saw in the mirror and was an approval junkie. I was unsatisfied, frustrated, disconnected from God and my own values and dreams. I was lost. And really tired. All because I wanted to be beautiful in the eyes of others with the hopes I would then in fact be beautiful.
I thought the world’s definition of beauty = being enough. I was just drinking the Kool-aid.
But thankfully, I healed some infected wounds, fought some battles, had a gun held to my head (twice – that is another story) and experienced some fierce love from myself, God and some incredible people. I woke up to the lies I was telling myself about my worth and value and regularly fight back the desire to play the lose–lose game of comparing myself to others.
I now revel in the awe-inspiring beauty of courage, generosity, gentleness, kindness, sacrificial love, compassion, vulnerability, motherhood and respect.
I discovered confidence, the power and importance of surrounding myself with safe people. I say, “No thank you,” a lot and “yes” to my calling on this planet therefore putting the “shoulds” and “have-tos” in permanent time out.
I regularly push back on the lies shame tells me and now know that being perfectly imperfect is a whole lot more life-giving than striving for perfection. (This one can be tough on some days…)
I believe the state of my heart, character, integrity are more powerful indicators of beauty verses my outside image.
How do you define beauty? Is your definition is keeping you stuck, in pain and shame or is it is life-giving and freeing?
What changes are you going to make in how you talk about beauty so you do not inadvertently collude with the world’s definition of beauty?
With fierce love –
Find out more about Molly’s “The ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt” here.
I recently discovered Wordle and it has been a very entertaining time-suckage of late. One of the many “wordles” I put together was the one at the top of this post with the words most often heard by those who enter the Potentia world. I believe in the power of words – spoken and written – and how they can do great good and also great harm. At Potentia, we use words to heal, to challenge old ways of thinking, to fight back against the lies we have been told and are telling ourselves. If I missed any words you think deserve to make Potentia wordle-status, post the word in the comments below. And please share any wordle you make that is meaningful to you.
We live in a failure-phobic culture.
We are so terrified to be seen as deficient, less-than, weak.
We want to avoid admitting failure and experiencing failure at all costs. And when we do fail, instead of acknowledging it, we have learned how to spin it away with rationalizations, justifications because the belief is that accepting failure is like accepting defeat.
But what if our failures are important experiences that help us find our victories? Against popular belief, failures are often intrinsic with the path to a victory.
Without failures, there would not be cures to diseases.
Without failure, we would keep dating the same guy again and again… Sometimes this takes a lot of fails for us to finally date a different kind of person. (I know this one from experience.)
Without failure, we would keep going down a path that keeps us stuck and in pain.
Failure lets us know that things are not working, that we need a change, to do something different.
To risk failure takes courage, faith and trust.
To never risk failure is living in fear; not healthy fear but irrational fear that strips us of our power, our identity, our worth. Many live in constant awareness of what “others” think while trying to get approval from this collective “other”. That is exhausting and speeds up the tail spin to feeling really out of control.
Failure is not a final destination but provides navigational information.
Failure is often, but not always, subjective. If you need to get 70% to pass an exam and got 65%, you failed the exam. But YOU are not a failure. A failing grade is an indication there is room for growth, change and maybe a need to ask for help.
Failure is a guide post and data. Failure means something is not working and gives opportunity, hope and direction.
Failure doe not always mean defeat, the end, shame. (Shame says you are not good enough, you are not worthy of connection, you do not have meaning unless you perform a certain way deemed “enough” by culture.)
Failure can be a powerful support; a built in ego check and even an inspiration.
Risking failure means being open to triumph.
Therefore, (re)defining failure is crucial.
I often hear people say that they are a failure if they:
- lose or gain weight (depending on their struggles with disordered eating);
- stay single;
- are not perfect;
- don’t just suck it up and move on;
- show vulnerability;
- make mistakes;
- do not appear to have it all together;
and the list goes on.
If we look at failure as something to avoid, then we cease living the life we are called to live and become prisoners to court of public opinion.
It takes guts to feel bad, to admit flaws and to make mistakes. It takes even more courage to push back and fight to believe a truth that no one may know but you.
How do you define failure? Does failure inspire you or paralyze you – or a little of both? 🙂