No More Depression - What I Learned From Fasting


I’m getting off the path of marriage this week, but I feel compelled to share with you a recent experience that changed my life.  I know some of you out there may be affected the same way.

I didn’t grow up in a church that talked about fasting, and so it’s been a new concept for me in the past eight years since first attending a church that practiced it.  I did the Lent thing as a child occasionally, but that usually meant giving up something I wasn’t going to miss anyway.  (I didn’t know the significance of Lent back then.)
The church I now attend has been promoting a forty day fast. (Check out their website www.gwocag.net for Pastor Bob’s excellent “Forty Days With the Holy Spirit” daily devotional.)  After some discussion with other members, I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to give it a try.  In the past I’d fast for a day or two but never forty.
 “My name is Sandee Lester and I am a sugarholic”.  I knew exactly what I needed to fast – desserts, chocolate, cookies and anything saturated with sugar.  I didn’t think the traditional fast that everyone else was doing would be quite the challenge for me.  I don’t really care about the food I eat, and I already eat pretty well – fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, etc .  The one thing I thought I couldn’t do without, though, is sweets.  I wanted to do something that would be difficult to do on my own.  I had never been able to give up sweets for more than a week in the past.

Prior to this fast, I would have preferred to skip meals and live on desserts.  (Sugar is addictive and the more you eat, the more you want, especially when hormones are going berserk.)  Forget the important nutrients; just inject the sugar in my veins.  Come to find out, it really was no different than a drug to me.

I was on a sugar high from the holidays that continued into January.  I knew I couldn’t quit on my own, but if my focus was for God, it was certainly possible.  I was amazed how easy it was for me to stop eating my beloved sweets.  Only God could do that for me; I certainly never would on my own. 

About two weeks into my fast, I was at a friend’s house, and she told me how too much sugar affects her husband’s disposition.  A light bulb went off in my brain, (or God flicked His finger against my head), but either way, I started thinking about the effects of too much sugar.  I went home and got online and was astounded at the serious symptoms that sugar causes, one of them being depression.  I had suffered most of my married life with depression.  No one ever knew it but my husband.  Being around people energizes me, and so I could easily hide it.

My depression usually coincided with my hormones, so I always assumed it was PMS.   I thought of seeking help because I would be in a miserable funk for days and weeks at a time.  The circumstances of life only aggravated it.   I couldn’t seem to be free of this hopeless fog in my brain that rendered me helpless to move on. 

One week out of the month would be pleasant and joyful, but I associated that with the leveling of my hormones.  Looking back, my desire for sugar waned at those times, and I hardly touched it.  On the bad weeks, I craved sugar and binged on it in an attempt to sooth the hormonal monster that plagued my body.  Those good weeks seemed to come less and less, though, especially through my navigation on the road to menopause.

I prayed and prayed to God to help me.  I turned everything over to Him.  I cried out in desperation to Him asking, “What’s wrong with my faith that I can’t escape this?  Where’s my joy?” Questioning my faith only plunged me deeper into the pit of despair. 

Two weeks into my fasting and looking at the dangers of sugar, I realized I hadn’t experienced one day of feeling blue since I started, since I gave up the sweets.  I always joked that I only had one good week out of the month, so two weeks was quite the feat.  Here I am, now, finished with the forty day fast.  I feel amazing!   I’ve even gone through PMS and my cycle in this time with no depression!  

I believe the dangers of sugar are well hidden in our society because it’s in everything.  You can’t avoid it.  You can avoid over-indulging in it, though.  My husband saw a news report that said sugar is more toxic than alcohol.  This particular scientist who stated this, suggested sugar should be a controlled substance, and no one under eighteen should be allowed to buy a Coke because of the large quantity of sugar in it.  I also read online that apple juice has as much sugar in it as Coke.  What are we doing to our children?

I know how we tend to crave sweets as women, but I urge you to take caution in how much of it you eat.  Many of us struggle quietly with depression.  If sugar is a culprit, figure it out before you turn to unnecessary medication. 

I have never felt so good in all my adult years.  Sure, I still deal with the ups and downs of life and still have roller-coaster emotions, but I don’t wallow in the sadness anymore.   When the trials hit me, I no longer hold on to them because of a sugar fog on my brain that paralyzes my abilities to think clearly.  I’m able to move on with God’s plan for my life with no more of the setbacks (depression) that kept me from Him. 

Check out this website for more information on sugar and depression:
 http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/07/13/why-sugar-is-dangerous-to-depression/


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