This post marks a first.
I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting since 2008. Nothing too hardcore. I fast once or twice a week. The way I fit fasting into my schedule is that I don’t eat from dinner to dinner over a 24-hour period. Twenty-four hours without food or drink (besides water) but spaced over 2 days. It takes the edge off, although, for the sake of fasting, I wonder if this is a noble intention. I have my reasons for fasting. Weight loss is the least of them. I will not examine fasting here, that’s not the purpose of the post.
I just wanted to write a few thoughts because I am writing a post in the midst of a fast for the first time. When I break my fasts at dinner, I usually celebrate by sitting down and writing an “energized” piece afterwards. In fact, I always write after eating dinner, and on weekends, after breakfast or lunch. This afternoon I spontaneously decided to extend my routine fast to 30-32 hours. I ate a large chicken breast, steamed veggies, a small jalapeno bread roll and an apple for lunch. And devoted myself to refraining from further eating until tomorrow night. Right now I’m about 2 hours overdue for my normal dinner time, so I’m experiencing some of those vague hunger pangs that don’t usually afflict my wonderful blog artistry (snark snark).
I feel a little mellow and disconnected now. Perhaps it’s a mixture of not eating and the psychological side-effects of not filling my evening with a dinner and all its attendant habits that are making me feel numbed. Fasting is “refreshing” for lack of a better word. I feel rejuvenated, cleared out, during fasts. Spiritually “umbilicized.” Kind of odd. But I’m finding that my cognition feels lethargic and I can’t summon the gumption to write a lot of wickedly passionate stuff. It’s not depression. It’s merely hibernation. Perhaps I’m being a tad dramatic considering it was only 2 hours ago I would normally have eaten dinner. See, fasting requires psychological preparation. I began preparing my fasting frame of mind after lunch this afternoon at 1. Fasting is largely psychological, especially within the first 24 hours. My mind has settled in and I’ve mentally entered the deprivation stage. In addition, I’ve made the commitment to not eating for another 24 hours and this lends a certain power to the fast that has not set upon me yet. If I knew I was going to eat in an hour, the urgency of hunger would not be shy and I would be weak. Knowing I won’t eat for a while keeps it at bay. Must summon strength and will. I feel energetic and effusive, but not. I feel dulled in the sense that my nervous system is retreated, through a combination of mental preparation and the actual physical effects of fasting. Passion is not flowing. The sharp edge of ego is diffused. Fasting is fantastic for it is like a pair of powerful arms that cradle me forcefully into the endless horizon of existence. Your status as nothing more, and nothing less, becomes fully apparent as soon as you commit to shunning the modern luxury that is easily available emotional food nurturing for a period of time. In food’s void there is mindfulness. Without food to cram your consciousness, you are adrift, alone. Fasting is not only about what you haven’t eaten for the past 6 hours, it’s also a contemplation of what you won’t be eating.
Make of it what you will…