I'm a week into my Lenten fast with mixed results. I decided not to eat any solid food between sunrise and sunset during Lent this year (not including Sundays). So far the good points of the fast have been:
- Increased awareness of my eating habits - Nothing sharpens your awareness of what and how you eat than stopping it.
- Increased awareness of the cycles of light and dark around me - I'm charting sunrise and sunset on my computer desktop.
- Starting the day earlier - You might think this is a downside, but I'm enjoying the early start.
Difficulties have been:
- Increased irritability especially in the midafternoon - My kids have told me if I don't get a grip and stop being so snippy in the afternoon I will have to break my fast. It's good to have children who look after you.
- Having to turn down offers of food - I was at a church lunch today and I'm sure I appeared ingracious when I turned down the food, even though I explained I was fasting.
I really haven't been craving food as bad as I thought. The interesting thing about this fast, of course, is that it will become harder as the days lengthen over the next 5 weeks. The difference in daylight between the first day of Lent and the last is over 2 hours.
I'd like to say I've had some great spiritual insight in this fast, but not so far. Just working out the mechanics of it, however, has taught me some things. One thing I've started doing is making sure the kitchen is clean and ready before I go to bed. That way when I get up I can get straight to fixing breakfast without having to clean up after myself from the day before.
It's this sort of little change in habits that I love about fasts.
So, are you fasting for Lent?