Fasting Journal, Day 3 of 4

9 a.m.

I slept great. Must have been the sardines. I woke up about 8:20 and stayed in bed checking email and Facebook until just now.

I’m feeling guilty about snacking. What if my headache would have gone away on its own in another hour or two? Yeah, probably not. And that headache had to go. I guess I can only fast with a little bit of snacking.

Off to get coffee and then shower. I think I will do some work this morning and then take a walk around the lake.

1 p.m.

I just hiked 3 miles out to the Stella Maris chapel and back.


I expected to be lethargic from fasting, but I feel pretty good. I’m sure my brain and body are moving a bit slower than usual, but I hiked at a brisk pace and I don’t feel run down at all.

People keep asking me why I am fasting, and my answer — curiosity — doesn’t seem to satisfy them. I guess it doesn’t seem like a good-enough reason to starve for four days.1 I guess I think curiosity is a powerful motivator all on its own, but for those who don’t understand being motivated by curiosity, let me try another angle.

When I was 15, I went on a multi-week Outward Bound trip in the North Carolina wilderness that included a high-ropes course with a huge 60-foot swing. Several people in our group were nervous, and at least one of the girls was terrified of heights. The instructor said they didn’t have to do anything, but challenged them to try. She gathered us around a tree stump and pointed to one of the inner rings. Before starting the trip, she said, most of us had a small comfort zone, like one of the inner rings of that tree. Some started out with larger comfort zones than others, but each new experience — backpacking and camping in the rain, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, our solo — expanded that comfort zone a little, like a sapling growing into a strong tree. (And then someone came and chopped it down. I’m not sure what that does to the metaphor.)

Expanding your comfort zone makes you more confident because you know more about the world, the space you occupy in it, and the things you can and can’t influence. You learn where your limits really are instead of guessing at them. It’s not just about big things like conquering your deep-seated fears and jumping off a platform when you are terrified of heights (she did it, by the way). It’s about removing doubt and dispelling mystery. Or, back to curiosity, it’s what comes after “I wonder …” when you can find the answer just by trying something new.

So I wondered what it would be like to fast, and I’m trying it. Let’s say I’m expanding my comfort zone while satisfying my curiosity. It may be cheesy, but that tree-ring lesson has stuck with me for over 20 years. I guess I’ll keep going with it.

(Outward Bound is awesome, by the way. I highly recommend sending your kids on a trip when they are old enough — or going on one yourself if your comfort zone needs some stretching.)

2:50 p.m.

I’m happy to report that my headache has not returned. I’m cruising on backup power!

8:45 p.m.

Kingsman was a terrible movie and I loved it. That is all.

10 p.m.

Tracy Reid posted this link on Facebook today. It’s an interview with a Buddhist monk, and towards the end he says this:

[F]asting highlights one’s attachments to food and to good flavor; thus it helps the practitioner to distinguish how much of his or her craving for food is need, and therefore normal and necessary, and how much is greed …

That’s definitely true for me. Over the last three days, I’ve been kind of amazed at how little food I actually need to feel good. Will I actually change my eating habits once my fast is done? Eh, probably not. Let’s be real. I like food too much, and I’m ordinarily much more active. I don’t think I could manage to run 3–7 miles every other day without going back to at least 2,000 calories per day.

But hey, it’s good to know at least.

11:30 p.m.


  1. It’s still starving even if you have one little snack, dammit. 

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