The fast way to happiness

Image courtesy of Maya83 via Flickr

Image courtesy of Maya83 via Flickr

Ted often accuses me of picking something up on a whim—be it a new hobby or a new coffee table—and abandoning it just as quickly. Well, will he have to eat crow now, because I have entered my third week of fasting and in fact am finishing up yet another fast day as I write this!  I mean, someone will have to eat it, because I can’t. I’m fasting.

For those who did not read my post the other week about this, let me fill you in:

  1. I am so desperate to lose all the excess meat I seem to have acquired in the past decade that I am actually choosing to not eat food.
  2. By “choosing to not eat food,” I don’t mean on a full-time basis. Please. I do not have the willpower for anorexia. I am simply fasting for two non-consecutive days a week, per this new book, “FastDiet.”
  3. Of course, now that I’ve made an insensitive joke about anorexia, someone will post a pointed comment about how anorexia is a serious eating disorder and I should really feel ashamed of myself for having mocked it. Then again, I have very few followers and no one ever seems to comment on my posts, so this is doubtful.
  4. Back to fasting: By “choosing to not eat food,” I also don’t mean that my fast days consist only of water and other zero-calorie beverages. I do get to eat food—just only 500 calories’ worth on fast days. Because the “FastDiet” book told me to do it that way.

“FastDiet” has, in fact, told me a number of things. After two full weeks of practicing intermittent fasting, my experience has led me to conclude that some of what “FastDiet” is saying is, if not outright lies, then at best half-truths. Here are just a few of the things the book has claimed:

Most people get to a point where they look forward to fasting. Can someone point me to who those people are? Because they sound made up. Unless by “Look forward to fasting” the authors actually mean, “Constantly think about food.” Because that’s very much true.

Fasting gets easier over time. Ha! See above entry where I mention the “constantly thinking about food” bit. Does that sound like someone who is having an easier time fasting as compared to last week? That said, the first time I attempted fasting, I lasted only two and a half hours and then followed the attempt with a big fat bacon cheeseburger and fries for lunch, plus dessert. And since then, I’ve managed to last into a third week of intermittent fasting. So perhaps it actually has gotten easier?

The hunger goes away. Technically true… but the authors fail to note that then the hunger comes back. Repeatedly.

People often find that after a fast, they can’t eat much. I guess this is supposed to be because their stomachs have shrunk during their fast day. And indeed, the morning after my fast last Monday, I could only manage half a bagel for breakfast. But then 10 o’clock rolled around, and I proceeded to have two fat slices of Whole Foods’ country loaf bread, toasted and dripping with butter and raspberry jam. Then I had a respectable lunch, followed by another slice of buttered, toasted country loaf, and then approximately four small raspberry thumbprint cookies and three Madeleines. This, followed by a full dinner and another two Madeleines. The statement above is therefore false.

People find that, after having fasted for a while, they are no longer afraid of hunger. Um, see above entry.

People find that, after following the practice of intermittent fasting for a while, they naturally don’t have interest in unhealthy foods. If by “unhealthy foods,” we’re talking about products made with enriched white flour, sugar, lard, or all of the above, then let us just say that, again, the authors are spreading lies. There is, however, a small possibility that (a) I have not fasted long enough for this inclination to take root, or (b) I am just wackadoo and have a troubled relationship with food and this statement would be true for normal people.

Fasting makes you happy. I’m not sure if “FastDiet” has actually come right out and said this, but I think the authors have implied it. And I’m finding, oddly, that it’s actually kind of true. I attribute it in part to the sense of pride that you’ve maintained your self-control for the entire day and in part to the sheer rush of pleasure you get when you are actually allowed to eat those 500 calories. Or, one could simply be delirious from having gone hungry all day. If I weren’t so faint from fasting today, I might be able to figure it out.

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3 thoughts on “The fast way to happiness

  1. From one fellow bacon cheeseburger lover to another….good luck. Personally I loathe exercise and would rather ‘starve’ myself than do any hard core workout when I need to drop a few pounds. And I have to say after a few days of low cal eating (never really starving) I get a halo of virtue and a sense of mania. Which then goes away as I dive headfirst into a pizza and bottle of wine ;-).

    • “Halo of virtue”–hilarious, and so true! And the diving into the pizza is exactly how my experience goes, but I don’t ever seem to even wait for something as dignified as pizza; I’m usually making do with some sloppily put together hunk of bread with butter and jam. I’m continuing the fasting still but am having doubts that the twice-a-week discipline will be enough to counter the rampant eating on other days. We shall see…

  2. […] about fasting. Shortly after my boastful post about how I’d been following the Fast Diet for something like three weeks, my interest in denying myself food, even just twice a week, began to wane. Suddenly, my devoted […]

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