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Make "It" Last Past January: Part I

Are your cravings the highest they’ve been all month?

Are you doubtful you’ll continue your healthy habits from January into February?

Can I say, 'I feel you'?!?! My cravings were at an all time high 24hrs ago.

Why? I was ending 21 days of Daniel Fast. Daniel Fast is a spiritual fast that basically consists of eating plant based with no added sweeteners or caffeine. It’s based on the Biblical story of Daniel, Daniel 1:10-12.

Thankfully my 2021 Daniel Fast was so trifling (yes you read that right). I learned a lot of lessons to prepare me for spiritual fasting in 2022. In this post and the next blog, I’ll share what my past experiences and current fasting have taught me to help you conquer your cravings and create consistency in 2022 & beyond. Check out the images that share tips on how to conquer your sugar cravings.

What are you trying to do consistently on your weight & wellness journey?

In 2022 I’m looking forward to carrying some of the Daniel Fast with me throughout the rest of the year and beyond. How? We’ll get to that in this blog post.

First let’s talk about my trifling fasting in the past because it will help prepare us for maintaining your helpful habits.

Why was my fasting trifling in 2021?

Last year was the first time I’d done Daniel Fast in almost 9 years. Since before I’d had my first child. Let's say, I felt the lapse in time. I was extremely hangry* the first 10 days of my fast. Biologically my body was “irritated” since I wasn’t eating the sugar and caffeine it was used to running on. But that wasn’t the only reason for my hanger**.

Mentally, I was treating my spiritual fast like a weight-loss diet. Having been on weight-loss diets intermittently since age 15 I can tell the difference between a diet and a spiritual fast. Focus is the most important difference. When dieting, food is the focus. Specifically focusing on what I can’t eat or deprivation takes a lot of my attention.

On a spiritual fast the focus is on God and allowing God to abundantly nourish my body, mind, and soul. Physical hunger doesn’t hit the same way when God & nourishing my soul is my focus during a spiritual fast.

My 2021 fast was trifling because in the first 10 days I was more focused on what I couldn’t eat. This left me feeling drained and deprived. This was a distraction from nourishing my soul & renewing my mind. In other words I was dieting, not truly fasting.

Thank God for Divine compassion and grace. I was gently reminded to refocus on why I was fasting, not what I was fasting from. Your why is your everything in anything you do.

What does this have to do with 2022?

Everything! After what happened in 2021 I came into 2022 ready. I didn’t want to be on a spiritual fast and snapping at anyone who even slightly annoyed me. So prior to my fast I asked God to help me prepare my Body-Mind-Spirit.

Body- “Release Rushing Into It. Embrace Preparation”

Before starting the fast I slowly decreased sugar & caffeine so starting the fasting wouldn’t be a shock to my body. I try to eat “clean"***. But through the years more sugar in various forms (aka carbohydrates or carbs) has creeped back in my diet. The body uses carbs as it’s easiest form of energy. So when you reduce carbs your body has to adjust its energy sources.

This is what makes you hangry or feel sluggish the first few days. Similarly the brain gets used to using caffeine for an energy boost. When you take the caffeine away the brain has to adjust. To avoid being hangry I knew I would have to give my body time to adjust. So I didn’t cut everything out right away. I eased off both by gradually reducing how much caffeine and sugar I was consuming the week before the fast. This helped me start without feeling physically tired and irritable.

Mind- “Release “I can’t eat that.” Embrace “Why am I doing this?”

In 2021 I was like, “Let me eat everything I want before this fast begins.” In 2022 I reconnected to my motivation for fasting. Again I asked “Why am I fasting?” rather than focusing on “What can’t I eat?”

This was a big shift from my pseudo-fast/ diet mindset. Since I was doing Daniel Fast I also reread the book. Having been on so many diets and being a dual board certified metabolic health & obesity physician I know A LOT about diets. I realized I was adding some extra rules to Daniel Fast based on diets I’d been on. For example, “No bananas because they have too much sugar.” That was from a diet NOT Daniel Fast.

The mind can create so many restrictive rules. It’s liberating to review the truth.

I also focused on eating mindfully. During the fast I thought about everything I ate before I put it in my mouth. I used to be better about this when I started my Embrace You Weight & Wellness Journey eight years ago. However, through the years I’d develop a habit of “tasting” things. Like a goldfish from the kids, a few fries here. Hear me out. I’m not making any judgement about this habit. But I found this type of tasting is a trigger for my emotional eating. I tend to snack or taste more if I’m stressed or bored. The more I do it the more likely emotional eating will become a habit again and throw off my weight & wellness journey.

It’s empowering to be thoughtful about what I’m eating.

Spirit- “Release My Food Idols. Embrace God’s Abundance.”

Wow! If I thought my spiritual walk was rich in 2021; 2022 broke the bank spiritually. God revealed many things to me in January. The summary is God revealed idols I’d been holding onto. Not physical idols like the Israelites golden calf but emotional idols. Food is one of them.

Being on Daniel Fast made me realize how often I pick up something sugary or caffeinated because I “need energy.” Even if it’s a “healthy” option like dark chocolate, the question is, “Am I eating when I really need spiritual nourishment?” Sometimes I really needed food. But there were quite a few times when I actually needed to take a moment to meditate or pray instead of grabbing something to eat.

During the fast I was also reminded to eat prayerfully. Prayerful eating is mindful eating plus prayer. It looks like slowing down, savoring each bite of food, appreciating the flavors, and praying as you eat. I prayed for the source of the food, the people who grew it, people without food, etc. It made eating another spiritual act. I also felt more satisfied when I was done.

My 2022 Daniel Fast also helped me appreciate my community more.

Community truly nourishes my spirit especially during the fast.

Who are you grateful for in your community? I’m grateful for:

  • A loving Hubby who was also on a liquid fast & helped me stay accountable. My supportive kids who ate most of my plant based meals. My mom and sister were so supportive when I visited and through daily encouraging calls.

  • My You Version God Girls (Alex and Yvette) keep me going with our daily devotionals and our annual vision board party.

  • My tribe of Sister Friends. For example, my Wesleyan Sisters. Doneshia & Robyn and I had a powerful time of prayer and fellowship during the fast.

  • Transformation Church online- The Sauce Series confirmed many things God had spoken to me,

  • My Catalyst Church family who continually provide abundant spiritual food -our 3 week Leadership Bible Study “Celebration of Discipline” was so timely. Busy Women’s Oasis even though we are on break till February we stay connected and praying for each other

  • Business & Personal Development communities- Medical Moguls Academy; MMA21; SheWins Society; Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce; Business Networking International.

  • Social Media Embracers who are so supportive. Your comments and DMs continually remind me of the positive aspects of social media.

  • The Incredible Embrace You Embracers who have trusted me to be your guide to your best health and provide the space to embrace authenticity and receive unconditional support.

I truly feel FULL spiritually. I'm so grateful for God helping me realize the abundance in my life by shifting my focus from idols I’d built through the years.

Releasing your food idols makes space to nourish your soul.

Now that you have my background story take some time to reflect on your January. How are you feeling at the end of January? What lessons did you learn? What do you want to continue?

I can’t wait to share with you HOW to actually create consistency in Part II.

Stay tuned for another blog post by tomorrow morning! Yes 2 Embrace You blog posts in 24 hours!

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See you tomorrow!

Until then remember to Release "I can't eat that." And Embrace "Why am I doing this?". Tonight write your "Why." It will prepare you for "3 Ways to Make It Last Past January" tomorrow.


Dr. Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie


*Hangry- Hungry + Angry;

**Hanger - Hunger + Anger

***Clean Eating- there’s lots of definitions out there. For me, it’s minimizing refined sugar, processed foods, artificial ingredients, and anything that promotes inflammation in my body.

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