Today we’re having a hazy, hangry Sunday, as we’ve embarked upon a 24 hour fast. That means we started fasting after dinner last night, and are restricting ourselves to only drinking water until we cross the 24 hour mark this evening.
8:00 AM – This is going to be fun!
11:00 AM – Atypical bickering begins
1:00 PM – Masochistic grocery store run (why did we do this?)
3:00 PM – Dull headaches, Angry stomach, Very tired, Irritable
5:00 PM – Hitting the low-energy stride, but constantly thinking about dinner. Min is just touching rice in anticipation and telling me how good it feels
Fasting is a legitimately difficult challenge. Beyond the discomfort of hunger itself, not eating makes you very lethargic, irritable and foggy-minded. If writing a blog post is difficult after 20 hours of fasting, then I can only imagine how difficult it is to do real work under more demanding circumstances when faced with chronic hunger. If you’re wanting to test both your physical resilience as well as your mental ability to stay rational then this is the challenge for you.
In addition to the usual theme of building resilience, we also decided to do this exercise as an empathy building activity. We’ve all seen hungry people, whether in the streets, in the news or in documentaries. We inherently know that famine and hunger are bad, but it can be hard to contextualize. A fleeting moment of empathy can be overwhelmed by judgment about why a person wouldn’t prioritize food over other needs or desires, or why someone wouldn’t work harder to get themselves out of a tough situation. The solutions to these problems are complicated and nuanced, and our fasting isn’t going to solve them – but if nothing else an occasional fast provides the motivation that they are problems worth solving and contributing toward, and can allow us to show greater compassion toward those who are experiencing hunger.