Over the course of the last two years I’ve dramatically changed my relationship to food. It all started with applying for life insurance and hearing that I was 15 or so pounds too heavy to qualify for the “super preferred” rates. I had enough time to loose those 15 pounds, so I started Tim Ferris’s “No White Food” diet. I made the target by the deadline and kept going.
In fact, within the first week of dieting, I felt like I had more energy and decided to help the process with some exercise too. That in turn made me feel better and I was beginning to get this exercise and diet thing. I hadn’t been this fit in years.
You see I had never dieted before. Even when I was a competitive cyclist in high school I was growing and burning a lot of calories. Weight wasn’t an issue. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted. In college I ate like a college student, which is to say randomly and scavenging whenever possible. Meals weren’t super regular, and I’m sure I went back and forth between caloric deficit and some surplus.
I tried fasting a few times over the years, for both religious and health reasons, but it hadn’t gone well. Headaches and feeling terrible don’t really work with your daily schedule.
Anyhow, one of the things I came across in the last couple of years is intermittent fasting. Of course, that is a big fad right now, but I thought I’d try it. And I remembered that in college I rarely ate breakfast. This was more or less just my college diet. Eventually I tried longer fasts too, and it went way better than before. I think it was partially because I was fat adapted due to my dieting, and partially because I didn’t cut out black coffee and tea (maybe I need caffeine).
Tonight I am nearing 50 hours of fasting. That’s the longest I’ve ever fasted. I am fasting for both religious and health reasons. Here are a few things I’m discovering:
- I don’t need food as much as I feel like I need it.
- FOMO (fear of missing out) is one of the most difficult things to overcome when you see food go by and you like it.
- Hunger is way more mental than I previously thought.
- Food is comfort and fun. It is one of the pleasures that draws us through our days.
- Not having something makes you remember when you did and look forward to when you will again. It places your temporary restriction in a bigger picture.
And tomorrow is a feast day. I am very much looking forward to breaking my fast tomorrow morning. I think the exercise of voluntary restriction is beneficial. Fasting has been a balancing influence in my life. I enjoy a good feast, and know how to celebrate. What I haven’t practiced quite as much is the breaks, the restricting of my appetite. Realizing how much of appetite is habit and psychological need has been interesting. I’m sure I don’t fully understand it, but I think I’m learning.