Holiday Food Log 28-29: the pre-celebration fast

One problem with single-day diet challenges is that the next morning I have an urge to overcompensate. That’s what happened after Tuesday’s “cycling diet” video game, when I had THREE Christmas cookies PLUS a Pop Tart. By 10 a.m., when I’d already been up for 8 hours and consumed a zillion calories, I decided it was time to initiate a pre-Holiday fast.

The conditions really were perfect: Not only was I sick of eating, but there was no need to worry about running fuel as I’m recovering from an injury this week. Plus, there’s something almost mystically calming about a fast, if you can get in the right frame of mind for it. That suddenly seemed like an opportunity to not be missed during the hectic holiday season.

siddharthaRecently I read a post that referenced Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, commenting on the liberating aspects of “knowing how to fast.” Not having read the book, I’m not entirely sure what his approach was.  What I do know, based on my own rather limited experience, is that it helps to disconnect your interior alarm system. If you don’t, your mind and body are going to constantly be fretting about whether you’re doing an incredibly stupid thing.

Having undertaken a five-day fast earlier this year – zero calories other than a daily teaspoon of coconut oil – without any real problems, I now know it can be done. I know it feels calming at some points and disorientingly weird at others. Hunger pangs seem much more distant and removed from the “hunger” I only think I experience in everyday life. 

I fasted from 10 a.m. Wednesday until around 5 a.m. this morning. I felt pretty good for the most part, though I didn’t exercise much – just a short circuit weight workout Wednesday and a short cycling workout on Thursday. I would’ve liked to continue through Saturday, thinking it would feel truly magical to break my fast with Christmas Eve dinner.

But knowing how much I need to get done today, I decided it would be better to have some fuel on board. Christmas always feels pretty magical anyway, no matter how old I get. Here’s hoping yours is, too.

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