Balancing fasting and eating

Published 9:04 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

If you break down “breakfast,” you’ll get “break-fast.” It’s the first meal of the day intended to “break our night-time fast.”

Fasting is the denial of food for a period of time, and we all fast between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and supper and while we sleep.

Anyway, you get the idea, fasting is a natural and normal part of our daily life, except for someone I heard about who ate one meal a day. He started when he got up and finished when he went to bed!

We were created to alternate between eating and fasting.

When we eat, we’re taking in more energy than we immediately need, so we store it in the liver as glycogen to be used later.

As the liver fills up, it converts some of the glycogen into fat to be stored in the liver and elsewhere in the body.

When we fast, we’re using more energy than we’re taking in, so our body uses the energy, first, the glycogen and then the fat we’ve stored for that reason.

If eating and fasting are balanced, we maintain a healthy weight.

Two things have happened to overwhelm that balance.

Firstly, eating is much easier.

Grocery stores and restaurants are filled with food for the asking.

Secondly, we expend less and less energy.

We have labor-saving devices and electronic devices.

How many calories does it take to watch television or play video games?

People in the past had neither of those problems.

Food was scarce, work was hard, and most people walked everywhere they went.

So, it’s not surprising to read, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” (Acts 14:20-23)

The early church was familiar with and used fasting with their prayers for a different reason.

Physically, we need to balance eating and fasting.

Emotionally, we need to balance the physical and the spiritual.

In a physical world, fasting denies the physical and reminds us about the spiritual to restore the balance.

Pastor’s viewpoint is written by Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley, a retired United Methodist pastor living in Lakemont & Ochlocknee, Georgia. He and Mary Ella serve the Woodland & Bold Springs United Methodist Churches, and lead mission teams to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.