This week we will see two religious events coincide with each other which usually involve changes in your food. We are about half way through lent already and on Wednesday Ramadan begins. While lent does not necessarily involve changing your food, many people choose to give up alcohol or chocolate. Ramadan means no eating or drinking during day light hours.
As someone who has done many food experiments over the years the one that had the biggest effect was when I did the first week of Ramadan back in 2014. As someone who is not religious my client explained the process and background to it and I thought why not who join him for the first week. That year it was in June/July so the fasting was over 18 hours.
It was an amazing experience, I remember training a client in the sun, it was 27c and I thought, “I am a bit hungry and thirsty, how long have I got?…..10 HOURS!”. What amazed me was 15 minutes later both my thirst and hunger had disappeared. This was when I first truly saw how hunger is fake, thirst is not how you think it is and both of these come and go in waves. Their magnitude is as much proportional to how much attention you give it as it is to genuine needs by the body. I went on to do the first five days of Ramadan for a few years thereafter. Now the period is entering our darker months it is not quite the same difficulty level as previously but I may join in again this year.
Lent and Ramadan has many people partake in the process who may not describe themselves as religious. There is great power in changing your food, eating patterns and/or behaviours. Almost every religion has some process of fasting, rules around food or changing your eating patterns. There are many reasons for this and many benefits that come as a result. I would encourage everyone to schedule some sort of changes to your food routine every year.
For many years I was studying the three principles, which looks to investigate the common meaning behind philosophy, psychology and spirituality. Central to this was an innate feeling of wellbeing that resides within the body. To really feel this sensation you need to manipulate your health & fitness so it magnified within your body. A quick way to do this is through fasting, which is why I think the process is within so many religions. A religious person may describe this sensation as spiritual, while an atheist may describe it as feeling fit and healthy. Whatever the feeling is, there is nothing better than when the body just feels magnificent for no reason whatsoever.
This day and age, many people have never experienced this, or it was so long ago you can barely remember it. Even if this is the case you are much closer than you think to achieving this. You simply need to make a couple of changes and very quickly you can enter this state. I believe that the state of the body is inherently linked to how good you feel and this points to what is described as an almost religious experience by those of faith.
What Does This Mean To You?
You should consider making some sort of change to your routine. If you are religious, or already drawn to a certain approach then follow that. If not, then you can take the general principle and apply it to what appeals to you and adapt it accordingly. It is important to remember any of these changes are not for life but simply for the designated period. You can do way more than you thought when you know it is only for a short period of time. Very often small, short, sharp changes can be a springboard to general improvement across the board or initiate a full on fitness drive.
Photo – Me on the Islam channel back in 2015 discussing Ramadan and fitness –
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