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Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/20/13: Fasting?

This weekend was my first 24 hour pass. It was so fun! Dad and I went to the Springville Art Museum (which is totally legit), then I got my hairs cut. All of them. My hair is now to my collarbone which is great because I got all the nasty damaged stuff removed (a metaphor???). Then we went to the BYU men’s volleyball game where they won and we danced like idiots. AND I saw a friend there who I haven’t seen since 2008, so that was awesome! After that we went to dinner, then a movie, the dessert, then home where I got to sleep in a queen sized bed with big comfy blankets. It was too comfortable I think because I slept 3 hours total. Today is my Grandmother’s 82nd birthday! This morning we went to church with her, and then made breakfast and played Uno until it was time for me to come back to CFC. It was a fairly chill 24 hours and I think I did really well.
So this morning I went to church. I haven’t been to a “real” church meeting since I got here, so I was really excited about it. The first speaker spoke about her mission to Madagascar and how there was so much poverty and people went hungry. She talked about how lucky we are to have enough food, and then she started talking about fasting. (Yes, I finally get to go to church and they talk about not eating. I can’t make these things up.) She talked about how fasting gives our spiritual side a chance to show it’s stuff. A way for us to put off our “natural man” and focus on prayer and meditation. She called the body a “human suit” and said that often we pay more attention to that then we do to our spirits. The next speaker stood and spoke on fasting as well. He said that fasting once in a while is actually proven to be good for health, and encouraged the congregation to fast for a full 24 hours with real intent. Then he said,
“Fasting is a sacrifice. Who here enjoys being hungry or going without food?”
I wanted to raise my hand. I just looked over at my dad and we kind of laughed. My Grandmother grabbed my hand and said, “I’m giving you strength.” The speaker continued by saying that going 24 hours without food or drink is a way for us to focus on our spirits and not our bodies. He talked about how the “natural man” is driven to body obsession, and fasting is a way to strengthen and care for our spirits.
I thought that was an interesting comment.
Anorexia is a body obsession; an obsession to be perfect or accepted in the eyes of the world. For me, fasting fed that obsession (because I obviously was not doing it right); it gave me an excuse to not eat for 24 hours, and also triggered more eating disordered behaviors. After all, I don’t want to eat most of the time. I prefer feeling hungry. It makes me feel important and powerful. NOT eating serves my “natural man” much more than it serves my spirit and God. At the same time I know fasting works, because I’ve felt the effects of it in my life. I don’t know how fasting will fit into my life in the future. I know I can’t do it right now. I fast in my heart. I eat to show God I care about myself and the body he has given me. I eat to strengthen my spirit. I hope that is acceptable to Him.


  1. And I know it IS acceptable to Him. Love you Camilla.

  2. Fasting is a way to become closer to God by obtaining from something (usually food) through prayer.using it as an excuse to not eat, or doing it without prayer, is not fasting, it is starving yourself. Your intent, your focus isn't where it should be. I hope I'm not offending you, but I have recently gained a testimony of the power of fasting, mainly because I had done it wrong for so many years, and I wanted to share it with you. :)

  3. *obstaining. :)
    I know friends who cannot go without food (for various medical reasons) so they'll obstaining from junk food or electronics or whatever they feel will bring them closer to God. Do your best. That is all anyone can ask of you. Your best may be different from other peoples' best, but that's ok, it should be expected. Heavenly Father put us here with different needs, wants, abilities and weaknesses. If we all had the same earthly capability we would have no need to learn from each other and help each other grow. What we all have in common is our eternal capabilities. Only you and Heavenly Father know your earthly capabilities. Live your life to the best of your ability and He will be pleased. If He is pleased you can be pleased.

  4. Hi don't know me but I do read your blog from time to time. I was a patient at CFC back in 2000 and then again in 2005 and it is always interesting to me to see others in the spot that I once was. Interestingly enough, i am now a therapist myself and I get to deal with these types of struggles from the other side of the "couch." Anyway, I too am LDS and struggled with the idea of how to "fast" when the whole concept is so messed up for someone with an eating disorder. A good piece of advice was offered from an ED- knowledgeable bishop. He mentioned that fasting was supposed to be an act of sacrifice and faith on the part of the faster. For a person with an eating disorder, fasting isn't really much of a sacrifice because it represents a place of comfort for that person. Anyway, this bishop actually suggested that I do the opposite.....that i make a sacrifice by eating MORE than I normally would on fast Sunday as a way to show faith and trust in my body and in God's help. It was also a big sacrifice because of the discomfort and anxiety it would cause. Eating more than usual would put me outside of my comfort zone and would thus remind me of my dependence upon God. I am not suggesting that you do this necessarily, but I think it is something to consider and maybe talk with God about.

  5. My sis graduated from the CFC 6 years ago and is doing great, active in the church, fulfills her callings, but does not fast. This is a thing that would be detrimental for her and could cause a regression or relapse. The Lord knows what your situation is and what is best for you, and I know He wants you to be well and to stay well. Your progress is sensational and I hope you know how much you are loved and cheered on! Keep up the good work!!

  6. I've had this issue. When I fast, I don't use electronics (TV, phone, computer, internet, ect.) I also obstain from exercise and spend the majority of the day reading scriptures, or church based literature, talks etc. Sometimes I break the electronic rule and listen to old sessions of conference or church music. Heavenly father knows your circumstances and will not judge you on how you have to fast. Hang in there.

  7. I love that last paragraph. It's beautiful!

  8. You may never be able to fast in the traditional way again. (I know. Never is a long time. Black and white and all that jazz. But at least I put the word "may" in front of it, so that almost makes up for it... right? Back on point.)

    I've never understood why sacrificing things just to sacrifice brings me closer to God. IN my eating disorder, that made perfect sense. The more I sacrificed, the more I felt like I deserved God's love. (Or something.)

    Today, I see fasting as beneficial for most people because it takes awareness to fast. They think about being hungry and then remember God and to pray. It isn't the sacrifice, necessarily that brings us closer to Him, it's the thinking about Him that brings us closer.

    And... I too appreciate the irony of the first time on pass and all they talk about is not eating. I was in CFC in 2008. My first home pass was all about fasting. The second was all about service and giving and never thinking about receiving anything yourself. After that, my T told me I wasn't allowed to go to church on passes. He didn't like cleaning up the crazy mess of my thinking.

  9. I just found your blog tonight and I've been reading through some of the posts and had to comment on this because it so perfectly describes things I had to deal with...Growing up my mother would fast fairly often, and we always knew she was doing it. It made me so angry because I didn't think it was healthy and didn't think she was setting a good example for me and my brothers, but of course that line of thinking didn't stick around as I got older. I come from a church that doesn't place a major emphasis on fasting, but it is occasionally brought up. When I was in high school, our youth group went through a period of time where fasting was talked about a lot and we were encouraged to try it out, even for just one meal in a week. I have never (spiritually) fasted because at first I was too young to understand the importance of it and thought it was stupid, and then that line of thinking was replaced by my eating disorder and I knew that any fasting I pretended to be doing for Godly reasons would just be a lie.

    I always felt so ashamed when my friends and brother were participating in these mini-fasts and I didn't; I felt like I either looked like a heathen or a glutton or both. But I had a counselor who explained it to me like this: "For most people, fasting is a spiritual discipline. But for you, EATING is your spiritual discipline." And that's helped me so much. Other people may look at me and see what's on the surface, but God knows what's going on in my heart. He knows that, sometimes, eating a meal takes more discipline for me than not eating might for others.

    This passage also really helps me:

    “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
    to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
    Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
    when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
    Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
    then your righteousnessa will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
    Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."
    -Isaiah 58:6-9