Why I Fast

I’ve been fantasizing about lunch since yesterday’s breakfast.

It’s 10:00 a.m. and I’m 26 hours into my fast. I’m running through Zoom calls like the Kool-Aid Man runs through walls. 

I won’t stop sprinting until I get the almighty prize. Lunch! A smoked salmon bagel topped with an over-easy egg, avocado, and sriracha. 

I can’t wait for that first bite. 

My fiance sold me on intermittent fasting a couple of years ago and I’ve been loyal to it ever since. 

Her pitch was: 

  • It slows down aging. I’m pushing 35 and I’ve never felt time fly by faster than during COVID. You can sign me up for anything that buys me more time.
  • It fights cancer. Don’t have to tell me twice. I lost my father to cancer when I was 24 and I’m terrified of it. 
  • It improves the impact of your workouts via hormone optimization. More pumps per rep? Count me in.

But, I recently discovered the most profound benefit of fasting, and it’s not a health-related one. 

Fasting is a forcing function for respecting food.

Modern society has turned our sacred relationship with food into a transactional one. We’ve gone from sitting down for a meal and savoring every bite to eating protein bars on the go. Food is more than just the fuel we need to outpace competitors in our daily rat race. Breaking bread with one another is how we build relationships. 

Fasting made me realize I was taking my relationship with food for granted. We all do to a certain extent. This is why we invented factory farming, soylent, and instant coffee. We’re in such a rush, we forget to slow down and smell the bacon. 

I’m not suggesting that we turn every lunch into a sit-down meal. But, we can benefit from a practice that helps us slow down and give our undivided attention to the food we eat. Fasting does that. When you’re deprived of something, it becomes more precious. I now make more conscious food choices. It’s made me healthier and happier, just not when I’m at the tail-end of my fast (I still get hangry.)

Even an occasional intermittent fast can serve as a powerful reset button in your relationship with food. And, when it’s time to break your fast, nothing will distract you from savoring each bite—not even the Kool Aid Man running through your kitchen wall.