Friday, July 9, 2010

The fast: Epilogue

Time: 10:30 pm (fast ended two hours ago)
Hunger level: 0

The fast is complete. I ate nothing for three straight days.

I chose “three days” because I figured that would present a formidable challenge. I pictured myself—with just a few minutes to go on Day 3—writhing in pain on the floor, gripping my stomach, and dragging my body to the fruit bowl. Upon putting the apple to my mouth I’d have a true test of will power—should I break the fast or should I not?

Or maybe, while watering the plants, I'd collapse over one of the straw bales from exhaustion. David would run out and start feeding me water with a moist cloth.

"Ken, you have to eat!," he'd say, startled by my jaundiced complexion.

I'd open my eyes, look at him, and whisper with my last ounce of energy, "never...."

The truth is, though, the fast wasn’t difficult at all. And I’m not bragging about my will power because I think we'd all deal with a fast in much the same way. Our bodies are probably little different than the bodies of our hunting and gathering ancestors who likely had to endure hunger for long periods of time when food was scarce. I should also point out the obvious: every day millions of people go without food or not enough food. My little experiment is nothing (same goes for living in a van).

I decided to fast primarily because I have a weakness for food. I have trouble turning food down, and I have difficulty cutting myself off when I know I should stop. Sometimes I’ll gluttonously eat plates of food, then go jog to burn it off—little different than teens who binge and purge. The fast was a personal test—a test that I gave myself to improve how I eat.

At exactly 8:33 pm this evening, David served a mushroom pizza, a spinach salad with garlic, tomato, and cucumber, and an apple pie. I smiled throughout the meal, even giggling jubilantly during the first few bites. I didn’t hold back—I stuffed myself till I could stuff myself no more.

Unfortunately, this little series wasn’t nearly as entertaining or dramatic as I had hoped it would be. But, at the very least, I got a little closer to knowing how the poorest of the poor feel on a routine basis. Plus I learned that I will not curl up and die when I’m foodless and struck with throbbing hunger pangs. Instead, I'll just remind myself that waiting a few more hours is no big deal because, hell, one summer I went three full days without food.


Mike Troy said...

Congrats, you did it. I had a similar experience '04. I didn't ingest anything. No water Either except on the third day I let some trickle down my throat after brushing my teeth. My only concern for you is what you ate and the amount. Did you have any ill effects after eating all that? I remember eating easily digestible foods in moderation to get back to normal. Also continued fasting one day a week (with liquids tho)for about two months. You've got me motivated to do it again (with liquids), thanks for sharing and reminding me of those feelings.

Ken said...

Mike--ha, no I stuffed myself like a pig after the fast. I didn't feel great 3/4ths through the meal, but I wouldn't say I felt bad. The only other aftereffect worth noting, is a HUGE surge in motivation/productivity/ambition afterward. For the past two days I've developed several new ideas which I can't wait to make real. I have no idea if this is related to the fast, but maybe. Good luck with your fast; I don't think liquids is cheating--I'm sure it's a much healthier way to fast.