It might seem pretty obvious that fasting isn’t a good idea when you’re recovering from an eating disorder. But what about religious fasting? That seems a bit trickier.
Many different religions involve some sort of fasting practice. For me fasting comes to the forefront during Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
I started fasting on Yom Kippur as soon as I was old enough. Originally, I wanted to feel like I was properly respecting my religion and maintaining a custom that is one of the oldest there is.
But during my eating disorder, this custom of fasting took on a different meaning.
Eating disorders are highly opportunistic. And religious fasting days are the perfect opportunity for your eating disorder to go wild.
But when your body is already in a precarious state from living in starvation mode for so long, fasting can be really dangerous.
What I was also forgetting was that you are not supposed to fast on Yom Kippur if you are ill. And though I may have looked okay, I was very, very ill.
But eating disorders tend to look past all of that and desperately want to take the chance to fast in a socially acceptable way.
But this year, I’m not going to ignore my health. I’m going to be doing things differently and break a tradition that I have always felt the need to practice.
This year, and for all years to come, my recovery is taking priority.
I know that I can still respect this religious holiday without fasting. Choosing not to fast doesn’t make me a bad person or mean that I’m no longer practicing my religion. Instead, it shows I’m making a commitment to me and to my life, which is just (if not more) important.
Because if you aren’t alive you can’t celebrate anyway.
So remember, Warrior, you can still practice your religion and respect your traditions without fasting. In recovery, fasting just isn’t safe.
So no, this year I will not be fasting.
I will be living instead.