Fasting mindfully

Following my diet may inadvertently lead to fasting.

But to my mind there’s a big difference between fasting as a means to an end, and fasting as a by-product of following your body’s natural guidance.

It’s the difference between forcing yourself to fast because you believe there are health and weight-loss benefits, and finding that you need very little food to keep going at your current levels of activity and BMI.

If you wake up in the morning and find you don’t need breakfast to keep going, then you haven’t “broken fast” and therefore you are fasting.

I find with my current lifestyle I can keep going without eating till early evening. I just don’t need that much energy. So with the exception of a coffee or two, I’m technically fasting until dinner.

We could say this is mindful fasting because the fasting is a result of being mindful of your body’s actual energy needs rather than psychological cravings or arbitrary eating habits.

And with a mindful approach we can enjoy the clarity of really knowing why we are eating or not eating, rather than blindly putting our trust in fads and studies.

2 thoughts on “Fasting mindfully

  1. The mind-body duality underpins the distinction you draw. At what stage does a decision to fast stop being responsive and start being forced? If the conscious mind is inseparable from the body then when aiming for weight loss there is no difference between setting up a system of intermittent fasting on one hand and consciously monitoring hunger/satiety on the other, as the mental decision can never be too far removed from the physical stimuli that prompted it.

    • I think you’re biting off more than we can chew 😉
      The distinction I made is between fasting as a behavioural modification guided by general rules on quantities of food consumed, vs fasting as the unintended byproduct of behavioural modifications that are guided by subjective assessment of some opaque collection of presumably somatic indicators, ie. my sense of whether or not I have enough energy to continue being active without eating.

      Some people can set up a system and adhere to it without issue, in what I see as an outcome-driven approach. If that works for people, that’s great. But I find it more satisfying when I can have behaviour modifications that align with other principles (practical or abstract); and these additional sources of satisfaction aid my motivation.

      When does a decision to fast stop being responsive and start being forced? That’s a huge question which depends on what we mean by responsive and forced. If we go into too much detail here, we could wind up lost even on the question of what constitutes a decision. (At least that’s my experience from philosophy).

      In my use of it, “forced” means having to rally self-coercive efforts to maintain adherence to a behaviour change. Whereas with my alternative approach I substitute such efforts with self-observation and reframing of the whole context….which, for me, is not much of an effort.

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