Last week I remembered a part of me that had been long forgotten.

Suffering from inflamed gums after dental surgery, I decided to try a fruit and vegetable juice fast to help the area heal. The rationale of my naturopath was that I would give my body a chance to rest so that it could use the energy it would have spent on digestion on healing instead.

Now, let me make this clear. I love eating, and I love food, and I am not a good faster. I dread religious fasts, and feel so much relief and gratitude when they are behind me.I love food, and I am not a good faster So this suggestion was met with strong resistance.

My naturopath suggested a five-day plan, which I felt was not possible considering the number of things I had going on that week. Part of me insisted that if I could not do it all, the whole venture was worthless, and I may as well not even do a little bit. An “all or nothing” approach. But for a change, I ignored that voice. In other words, I outsmarted myself and simply started. I told myself that I would start with just a day or two and see how it goes.

After day one, I wanted to give up. I felt weak, depleted and exhausted. Another voice of fear piped up, telling me that this could be a dangerous idea! But instead of buying into that voice, I put myself to bed and resolved that I would see how I felt in the morning. Perhaps then I could decide to do just one more day.

The next day was also grueling, but after surviving my mid-afternoon low point and enjoying my well-earned hot onion broth for dinner, I said to myself, Why not try just one more day?

I didn’t pay too much attention to the voice that piped up telling me that this was extreme, and why can’t I be more like everyone else? No. Instead, I kept my eyes focused firmly on my “one more day” goal, and surprisingly, by the next day, I started to feel a bit better. There were a handful of rough moments within the day, but at times I even felt light, energized and exhilarated! By the next day, I felt more vibrant, and since I had come so far, I thought I may as well try one more day. Then the next day, I consciously broke my fast in order to accustom my body to food before Shabbat.

In other words, I did it. Victory! I found myself on the other side, with healing gums, thank G‑d, and a sense of accomplishment. I had done the seemingly impossible.

My accomplishment reminded me of myself at the age of 10 or 11, when I won a 4-kilometer marathon two years in a row. I remembered the strategies and mind games I played with myself back then: starting slow, not wearing myself out too quickly despite the temptation, slowly overtaking the people in front of me, one by one, until I let myself increase in speed towards the end, keeping my head down and my eyes on a goal just ahead of me, and then moving the goal—all the way till the end.

These strategies made me think of one of the meditations in Bringing Heaven Down to Earth: Meditations on the Wisdom of the Rebbe by Tzvi Freeman:

On the first night of Chanukah, all eight candle holders stand before you. But you light only one. Tomorrow night you shall light two. You know that eventually you will light all eight.

From which we learn two things:

1. Move step by step in life. Take things on at a pace you can handle.

2. Always grow. Always keep moving. If you did one good thing yesterday, do two today. Your ultimate achievement is always one step ahead.

I had forgotten about this determined girl inside of me, the girl who is able to keep her eye steadfastly on her next goal. These days, the voice that runs the show is the one that tried to get me not even to attempt the fast. Or, it is the scared voice that insisted that this fast was not healthy, or it is the name-calling, critical voice.

I did not give power to the voices trying to derail me

So the victory here is twofold. One: I did it. I actually drank fruit and vegetable juice for four to five days! I filled my body with life-giving organic juices brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I gained a sense of my own strength, empowerment and ability to be in control of my body, and not the other way round.

(I am so grateful for access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and for the juicer we bought more than a decade ago that is still doing it’s thing!)

And two: I did not give power to the voices trying to derail me. I filled my mind and heart with the voice of a true fan: “You can do it.” “Nearly there.” “Don’t look up just yet.” “I so believe in you.”

I am so happy that this voice popped up at this time. I am reminded how possible and powerful it is to feed ourselves constructive, healthy, positive thoughts. When we do, with G‑d’s help, anything is possible.

Disclaimer: Anyone wanting to attempt a juice fast or any fast for health reasons should consult with a health professional first.