Sacrifice is no one’s favorite subject. We don’t like to contemplate sacrifice, at least not as it applies to us personally. Years ago, a veteran missionary said to me, “In my lifetime, we have gone from believing that no sacrifice is too great for the cause of Christ, to believing that no sacrifice is acceptable.”
I think that observation holds true for many other aspects of modern society. We want all the good things without having to sacrifice anything for them—and a lot of the time, we seem to get away with it. Of course, this mindset holds true for food too. Since going “keto” over a year ago, I often find ads in my Facebook feed for various keto food sites. I rarely click on them anymore, because usually they are showcasing “keto” versions of decadent desserts. Keto cheesecake! Keto cinnamon rolls! Keto fudge! You can have it all and still be keto! No sacrifice!
I disagree with this mindset, speaking specifically as a food addict. If I am chowing down on keto versions of all the foods I’m addicted to, what have I gained? How will my taste buds ever adjust to the foods which are actually good for me? How will I learn to focus on the natural, healthy foods my body needs? Not to mention the fact that my body doesn’t handle artificial sweeteners well, and that they raise insulin even if they don’t have calories. So, I don’t save those types of recipes. I sacrificed my love of sugar and flour to my desire to be healthy and I don’t see any value in “cheating.”
Which brings me to the sacrifice I’m currently struggling with. After finding out my cholesterol and triglycerides were high, despite all my heroic efforts, and despite taking all the right supplements, I did a lot of research. There are several possibilities for what is causing this phenomenon in my body right now—but apparently only one solution that is likely to be effective. I do not like this solution. The solution is fasting.
I know what you’re thinking. I already fast a lot of the time, right? My current regimen involves fasting for three days a week, three weeks out of the month. The fourth week I fast for five consecutive days. That practically qualifies me for sainthood, yes? Fourteen days of every month with no food. Yet, it is not enough to deal with my current issues, and I vowed when I started this journey that I would do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.
So I have embarked upon an open-ended fast. There are probably a couple of occasions during the coming days and weeks when I will have a meal, but for most of it I will be fasting. Up until now, I have still allowed myself tea with cream in it while fasting, because cream does not raise blood glucose. However, any food raises insulin levels, and that’s what I’m trying to avoid. So I have spent the first few days of my fast stepping down off caffeine, because I have never been successful at adjusting to plain black tea. In a couple of days I will have switched over completely to herbal “tea” and water. Nothing with calories.
This level of sacrifice is hard for me. Fasting is hard. It’s not like I can retreat to a cabin in the woods and think deep thoughts to distract me from food. I still have to smell food and cook food and watch other people eat food. As I read recently, that’s like making a recovering alcoholic live in a bar! Sometimes I feel ravenously hungry, but most of the time I just really want to eat. Except that I can’t.
I am always so bemused when I hear other people bragging about how wonderful they feel while fasting, how euphoric and full of energy. This has never been true for me. I find fasting very difficult and demoralizing, but up until now I have at least had my three cups of tea per day to look forward to. Now I find I must sacrifice even that, for an indefinite amount of time. I assume it will be at least until the end of the month—maybe longer.
The little kid in me wants to scream, “It’s not fair!” Of course it’s not fair. It’s not fair that some people can eat whatever they want without gaining weight or getting diabetes, whereas I can fast for almost half of every month and still stop losing weight and have high triglycerides. I feel like I’ve already sacrificed so much. How can it not be enough?
This kind of thinking is pointless. Instead of letting my mind run down that path, I am trying to take a higher road, to train my brain to focus on gratitude. I’m so thankful that I’ve come so far, that I’ve been able to do so much for my own health. And I’m thankful that I still have this one last weapon left in my arsenal—sacrificing even more because the payoff will be worth it. And the only reason I’m telling you this is that if you happen to see me in person this month, and I seem a little grumpy, this is why. I’m working on my attitude, but I can’t say I have conquered it yet!