Delights of Fasting |
For several years I have been holding a fast for 24 hours once a week during Lent. This is not from a religious or charitable motive, but purely a self-disciplinary effort. In the process of not eating for 24 hours one learns a lot about oneself.
First of all on the body and health front, it is good to give the digestion a rest and clean out. We continue to re-load our systems and expect them to work non-stop. By drinking a lot ( water, juices, tea without milk), we help the body to clean itself. I usually feel great after this and not madly hungry. Those who are usually well nourished do not feel the pangs of hunger so soon. In 24 hours we do not come near the pangs of hunger of real starvation. Itís a good idea to eat moderately beforehand. And remember a good many hours are sleepers.
On the personal front, this shows that I can be in control of my body and not a slave to it. When embarking on a fast, I make my own rules. No one is telling me what to eat, drink, or not to eat or drink. It is a question of making a decision and sticking to it, and I think we all feel better about ourselves when we do that. However, if we decide to abandon the fast for some reason, thatís our decision too and no one is judging.
In fasting we also realize how our lives are structured around food and mealtimes. We do things before lunch or after lunch. We ask people to meet for coffee, lunch, tea, or dinner. We also become aware of how much extra time we have to do things, when we do not spend our time preparing, eating, and cleaning up meals. These days can be days of accomplishment Ė in fact itís better to choose a busy day.
A final tip Ė when you do get back to food, go easy on it; be nice to your body and give it something easy to handle. Realize anew what a wonderful thing food is. We appreciate what it does for us, we enjoy it in a new way, and we never take it for granted.
Doreen Groocock March 2013.
Dublin Unitarian Church.