Thursday, March 1, 2012

BBL 2011-2012 | Fast for 24 Hours


Why Did I include this on my Bucket List?

Back in college I had a study partner who was Jewish. We lived in adjacent dorms, and often ate at the same cafeteria.  One day I asked him if he wanted to grab some dinner together and then study for an upcoming test. He said that he couldn't eat with me because he was fasting for the day, but he would meet me later to study. I didn't understand why he wasn't eating, so I questioned him about it and he explained that it was in observance of a religious holiday. As he was talking, I was thinking to myself, "I could never do that!"

But, why couldn't I?  It's only one day. Why couldn't I abstain from food for a single day?

I am a firm believer in the idea that our attitude determines a large part of our success and happiness in life. Too often, we sell ourselves short by deciding that we can't do something before we even try, which is exactly what I did that day when I told myself that there was no way I could fast for a day.  Well, here I am all these years later, FINALLY deciding to prove myself wrong.

I suppose one could ask why I even feel the need to prove myself wrong about this.  Is fasting for 24 hours really that great of an accomplishment?  Is it something to brag about or be proud of?  Of course not.  But my point is that I think it is important to pay attention to the messages that I am sending to myself about my abilities.  Sometimes it is necessary to shake things up a bit, to challenge myself to do something that I didn't think I could do.

The real importance in my undertaking comes from the fact that I've spent my entire life surrounded by middle class comforts, and I've certainly never known true hunger.  I don't honestly believe that fasting for a single day could even begin to give me a perspective on the suffering that many people experience who truly don't have enough food to eat.  But perhaps my day spent without food will help me become more sympathetic and aware of the hardships that others face on a daily basis.  And maybe, it will make me more willing to help others who are truly in need.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

I was surprised that I had a much easier time avoiding food than I expected.  I thought I would spend my day full of constant cravings that I would struggle to fight off, but that really didn't happen.  I decided I wasn't eating until dinner, and that was that.  However, I was surprised how uncomfortable I was being hungry all day, and how hard it was to focus on the things I was trying to do with my stomach grumbling constantly.

I really didn't know what to expect from this, other than knowing that I would feel good for conquering something that I knew would be difficult for me. It definitely gave me a new perspective on being hungry, and a new respect for people who fast regularly for religious, or other reasons. And it absolutely increased my sympathy for those individuals who truly do suffer from hunger.

The details...

I could have made my day of fasting easier on myself by eating first thing in the morning, going all day without food, and then sleeping through the end of my fasting period, only to wake up and eat again.  But I didn't do that.  It kinda felt a bit like cheating, and it also seemed to defeat the purpose of what I was trying to accomplish.  So, I ate dinner as soon as I got home from work last night and then vowed to not eat again until dinner this evening.

I knew it was going to be a long 24 hours when my stomach started growling before I even went to bed last night!  I was hoping that I'd wake up and my hunger would have subsided a bit, since I tend to not be very hungry in the AM.  Of course, today had to be an exception, and my stomach began demanding food almost immediately.  Of course, I opted to ignore it and spent my day trying to keep busy so I wasn't thinking about my grumbling stomach.  When it became difficult to concentrate on other things, I tried to consume as much water as I could, and move on with my day the best I could. I was definitely happy when dinner time finally arrived!!

Do you want to see my entire 2011-2012 Bucket List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.


  1. Hmmm... it does sound difficult to accomplish. I assume you did this on a day you didn't have to work and be able to focus and concentrate. Good for you for reaching yet another goal you set for yourself.

  2. Melanie here! I enjoyed this piece, please email me--I have a question about your blog. MelanieLBowen[at]gmail[dot]com