By: Javacia Harris Bowser
Today I begin the third and final week of my 9 foods experiment, inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.
Since I’m two-thirds of the way to the finish line, I should be thinking, “Oh, I got this.” But I’m not.
The first week was tough, but not nearly as tough as I thought it would be, once my sugar withdrawal headaches subsided. Then I foolishly stepped inside a Chick Fil-A.
It was the Saturday of week one of the experiment. I attended a storytelling night at one of my favorite local coffee shops Urban Standard. There I managed to resist ordering hot chocolate and didn’t even glance at the shop’s famous cupcakes.
But after the event my cousin and I were hungry. I suggested Chick Fil-A because I knew I could have a char-grilled chicken sandwich without breaking my fast, as long as I removed the tomato and pickles. But I hadn’t considered how weak my willpower would become as the scent of waffle fries began wafting toward my nose. So I ordered the char-grilled chicken sandwich combo (not just the sandwich) with a lemonade (which was also a violation of my fast).
I can’t blame this on Chick Fil-A for tempting me with their tasty tubers. This was all my fault.
But something strange happened: I nearly ate my entire sandwich without touching the fries. And I realized I didn’t really want them anymore. I ate about five fries anyway only to justify spending the money on them and I didn’t enjoy them at all. Nor was I tempted by the ice cream cones being enjoyed by the kids at the table across from mine.
In just one week, my appetite had changed.
And with just five waffle fries I ruined my progress.
My slip-up on Saturday set a bad tone for week two. I felt frustrated and kept referring to my experiment as “THIS STUPID FAST!” My pal Erin kept telling me, “It’s not stupid,” but I just wasn’t convinced.
The purpose of a fast is to give up something so you can focus more on God. And I haven’t done this as much as I had hoped because I’ve been so busy. This experiment has shown me that the thing I probably need to streamline most of all is not my diet, but my day. I need to streamline my schedule.
This experiment has also taught me the value of forming healthy habits. My appetite began to change in just one week. Think of how our lives could change if we applied that to other areas. If you begin to exercise regularly, suddenly your body just won’t tolerate being sedentary. If you begin to write regularly your mind just won’t put up with writer’s block. And if you begin to do something loving and kind for yourself and for someone else every day, your heart just won’t have room for jealousy and hate.
I don’t know what the third week of this experiment will bring, but if I can hold on to these thoughts after my fast ends then I will know it was worth it. I will know it wasn’t stupid after all.