On Fasting


NaBloPoMo 2016, Letters to Patients, Day 15

To Patients Who Are Fed Up:

Try fasting.

That pun really was unintended!

I asked a colleague about fasting once—what are the benefits, why does he do it?  He asked, “Don’t you ever feel like it’d be a good thing, every once in a while, to stop eating for a day?”  Ummm… No, are you kidding me?  That would never and still has never occurred to me, I love food too much!

Tonight, however, I think I may understand a little better.  Maybe fasting is about counteracting overconsumption.   Certainly we have a problem with food glut here in the US.  I have heard the word ‘detox’ associated with fasting, too…  Maybe I just refuse to admit how poisoned I am by the food I eat to consider this remedy—I am pre-contemplative here.

I am finally ready to concede, however, that I overconsume Facebook.  Sure, it provides plenty of material for this blog, and I really do interact meaningfully with a lot of people (but wait, do I, really?).  And, I have let it overtake my consciousness too often.  The time suck is interfering with other tasks and yes, relationships, I must admit.  I rationalize that I am ‘reading,’ that it’s a source of so much interesting information and idea exchange.  That may be partially true, and still, it costs too much.

So I commit to a Facebook fast this day, November 15, 2016.  It’s been a long time since my last fast—actually a year, come to think of it—yup, almost exactly!  How funny…

Is there something you need to take a break from?  Something you do habitually, that’s not all bad, but that may be excessive, a little out of control?  Maybe you don’t need to quit it altogether, necessarily.  But maybe taking a little time away will help put it into perspective?  A little break—a pause.  Test your ability to resist, challenge yourself to notice where the habit shows up, what drives it, what you might substitute for it, and how the withdrawl sensations may evolve…

Now I’m wondering if I could actually apply this to my eating.  No, not fasting from all food (again, are you kidding??), but maybe something a little more manageable:  Fast from dessert for a week—substitute fruit.  From sweetened condensed milk on weekdays (“That’s like dessert!” one of my patients exclaimed once)—substitute soy milk.  This looks more like actual behavior change than just fasting… huh.

I will be back on Facebook tomorrow.  It will likely look very similar to my usual pattern, maybe even a rebound effect—a more intense fix after the sudden withdrawl.  Well, we’ll see.  I feel a lightness to trial and error lately, and this is worth a try.  I shall report back, so stay tuned!


11 thoughts on “On Fasting

  1. I’ve been on a FB fast for several weeks now and think I might make it permanent–for all the reasons you stated in your post. I feel lighter and less agitated. I have more energy and time. I can’t even imagine what it’s like on FB right now. I don’t even want to go there. I am geographically separated from all friends and family and started FB for that reason. Still don’t feel that I want to return.

    I’m interested in what you think after your 24 hour fast Catherine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ilona!
      Thanks for your comment… I can totally see why you’re still off of FB, it really clears the mind! It’s been 11 hours and I feel lighter, happier, and *WAY* more productive! I thought I would miss the interactions with friends and family–like you wrote, the ones who are geographically separate. But not yet. Come to think of it, I’m really good at keeping in touch with people, and maybe if I spent less time on FB, I could actually write to them or call them on the phone (iPhone, that is–FaceTIME–aaaahahahahaha). Hmmmm… 😉 We shall see!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Ilona, it’s so nice to know people are reading along. 🙂
        I’m feeling overall much lighter and happier off of FB today, though I do notice some hankering now at the end of the day. AND, I’m thinking of staying off longer! I have three important deadlines in the next two weeks, and I could really use the extra time! Hmmmm… Now to manage the eventual re-entry… Thanks for your support!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Aside from peeking at notifications a few times, I stayed off all day today. Kind of liked it. This week is really intense, so I’m going to do it tomorrow too. Thank you for the suggestion!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In the spring, we have a tradition of giving up something. We time it for the Lenten period and use that as our model, but find it interesting that the idea also comes from other traditions. We think of spring as a time of renewal, but it can also be a time of clearing away the old and resetting. To go without something that you really love is a challenge. Like you say, a way to push back against over consumption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really admire the Muslim tradition and practice of Ramadan. I can only occasionally keep a Lenten commitment, something silly like giving up chocolate. But not eat or drink from sun up to sun down during the longest days of the year is an amazing commitment and act of discipline.


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