I Failed The Daniel Fast But I Still Lost 9 pounds
"What you think about messing with the Daniel Fast again in 2017?"
That's the message my co-worker and weight loss companion Victoria sent in a GChat December 27 that I took as a sign of God extending an olive branch. I told myself I was gonna get back on my s-h-i-t when I returned to New York after the holidays, yet I still had no plan in place for what that actually meant. I figured I couldn't go wrong aligning myself with the eating habits of the man who was after God's own heart. So after an "LOL" at her use of "messing with" like Daniel was some dude around the way, I agreed to follow the program that I didn't know much about, other than you pretty much can't eat anything that would bring you joy in any kind of way.
So that's the Daniel Fast we (more like she) agreed to abide by for 21 days. I began the fast January 3 with a meal game plan that pretty much consisted of the original instant Quaker Oats packs for breakfast, a curry chickpea soup that would last three meals, and spinach and frozen fruit because I wanted to somehow combine JJ's Green Smoothie challenge with Daniel's fast. (If you stick around, you'll learn very quickly that I am often #TeamTryToDoTooMuch).
By recommendation of Victoria, I picked up some plantain, shrimp, corn tortillas, and beans after work the next day, and from that day forward I ate some combination of those three things pretty much every day to the point that my palette no longer distinguished any taste between them and the edamame I boiled as my snack of choice. That is before I went HAM on Himalayan Pink Salt popcorn and I realized I had the game all twisted. I was focusing so much on what I couldn't eat that I didn't even make an attempt to enjoy what I could. And then I started questioning what I was doing it for if I was going to treat the process as daunting, instead of beneficial to my overall wellness.
And that's when I started to switch things up a bit and make some tweaks, if you will, to Daniel's little fast. There were some things my body needed and it didn't make sense to me to deprive my body of them just so I could say I was disciplined enough to do something that wasn't really working. Now, full disclosure, when I say that I am not referencing the wine I partook in on a snowy Saturday afternoon or in memory of MLK. That I didn't need, but I did it anyway.
What I did need, however, were probiotics -- and some flavor for that terrible tasteless oatmeal, which I got by way of HUM's Raw Beauty Green Superfood Powder. I also needed to eat something other than shrimp and plantain so I baked some catfish and went ahead and made peace with the discovery that I'm pretty sure all those refried beans I was sopping up were not the type of beans allowed on the fast by nature of the word "fried." I'm not sure the kombucha or Suja juice were really cool either, despite all of the natural fruits and veggies, given the couple of grams of sugar I saw on some of the bottles, but my mantra of "it is what it is" carried me past the guilt. I wasn't indulging; I was still being healthy and fueling my body with what it needed. Besides, I was still avoiding the killer no-nos like bread, cheese, chicken, and meat of any kind. That had to count for something.
And it did. Twenty-one days later, I weighed 9 pounds less than I did when I returned from a gluttonous Ohio Christmas, which is quite a feat considering I exercised maybe half of the fast and cheated the other. Just kidding about that last part; I only had a couple of slip-ups.
The great thing is that I did eventually figure out the answer to my "why am I doing this?" question. What I learned from the fast was that I really don't need a lot of the things I used to enjoy. Truthfully, I didn't miss chicken on the fast and having had some since, it just isn't doing it for me. I also don't feel the urge to go out and buy up all the cheese or every whole wheat bread item known to man. There have been days, like today, where I haven't had any type of meat at all and I don't feel like anything is missing from my diet. I'm full and my pallet is satisfied.
So, would I do the Daniel Fast again the right way? With proper planning, yes. Do I feel the need to do it again? No. I'm extending the lesson I learned from the fast I just completed and paying attention to what my body needs instead of what it thinks it wants. So far the scale agrees that's a good plan.