There is a difference between a diet and a fast.
I believe diets are intended almost solely for physical transformation. I tried the Whole 30 at the very beginning of 2017. Me being me, I watered it down to the Half 30 just two weeks in. I never finished.
Point: I intended to lose weight, tone up and simply look better while eating a Whole 30 diet.
I believe fasts aim for both spiritual reawakening and physical wellness. I did the Daniel Fast successfully at the tail-end of this summer (early August). I dove deep into scripture and shaved off half of my indulgences.
Point: I aimed to experience a change and renewal on the inside just as much as the out.
So is a diet worth it?
I think this depends on a few things:
Do you have realistic expectations and guidelines? Do you have necessary grace to give yourself when you cheat — because you likely will?
If you have healthy expectations (not dropping 60 lbs in 60 days) and guidelines (maybe a cheat meal or dessert, here or there), then I think you are fully able succeed, be happy with the results and feel healthier.
If you do not have these, especially grace to give to yourself when you falter or covet diet-unapproved food, then you will fail. Or you will perceive yourself as a failure (which is obviously not true). Doesn’t seem worth it to me, right?
What about a fast? is that worth it?
Fasts are different, because they’re between you and God. They’re intimate and special and usually mark a time you want to see results or are frustrated you haven’t.
I was mad at God for not seeing improvements regarding my mental health, so I fasted for 3 weeks using Daniel’s model. I felt more energetic, healthier and stronger. But more importantly, I felt more attuned to the Lord and His promises. I felt less anxious and more at peace in those weeks than I had felt the entire 2017 calendar year.
It’s similar to a diet though: set realistic expectations and guidelines, a disciplined devotional or accountability partner, prepare yourself with grace before, during and after.
When I aim for wellness, I must choose to grace.
Over. And over. And over again.
Even if I didn’t love Jesus Man or know he exists, I would think to myself, “Shit. I freaking cheated again. I suck.” Or I could respond with, “Wow. I caved again. Let’s just try it one more time.”
When I look at my body and dislike what I see, I can respond in two ways: 1) break myself down or 2) build myself up.
Instead of aiming for a number on the scale, I strive for a kindness which cannot be weighed. Instead of aiming for a select amount of inches for my waist, I strive for grace that cannot be measured.
So when it comes to diets, fasts and exercises — are they worth it? Maybe. Is extending grace? Always.