Should Men Fast?

In the hype of what you should or should not eat I thought I’d take a moment to address eating from a Catholic perspective. The Catholic Church doesn’t espouse any particular diet, probably because the Catholic Church plans on being around longer than any particular diet. However, the Catholic Church does endorse one particular food plan: just don’t eat. I mean, for a short period of time, like a day or two. It’s called fasting and has been around as long as Jesus.
It’s rumored that there are health benefits to fasting but I believe the real benefit comes in how fasting can empower men, in particular.

Yes, men should fast It’s good for them. Now, I’ve read about fasting but it’s not quite the same as doing it so last week I decided to do a three day fast on lemon juice and water. Days 2 and 3 I threw a yogurt in for breakfast. Here’s my experience:

Fasting helps you focus on what you want. As men, we’re always challenged to know what we want. The parents want to know where our job is going and the girl wants to know if it’s a date or just lunch.

Since my normal calorie intake hovers around 3000/day, I was already about 1000 calories short by 10am of the first day. However, since I couldn’t have food I had to focus on other things I wanted. I wanted to finish reading The End of the Affair, I wanted to network at a conference, I wanted to finish writing my book. Focusing on higher wants was a natural way to ignore the daily want of…food!

Fasting makes you attentive to others around you. Since thinking of yourself during fasting makes you miserable you’re also more apt to think more of those around you. You deny yourself your need (for bacon) so you’re more likely to help others fulfill theirs.

On day two of my fast I found myself saying to someone, “I empathize with what you’re saying….” Wow,I never say that! It was good though, I felt like I was being more attentive to the feelings and needs of others. As guys, again, we’re accused of not being very good at that. Just wait till you see us fasting ladies, surprise! We can be empathetic!

Fasting helps you control your body. Your body wants a chili dog and an ice cream sundae. You say no. Mind-1, body-0. Throughout your life your body is going to be wanting things from you, a little more sleep, a few more fries, and a lot more sex. Depending on your state in life and circumstances those may be good for you. Other times, lets admit it, they are simple not. Denying your body the basic need of food can help you keep it in check with some of those wants, as well.

Fasting helps you be spiritual. And spiritual, we all know, is awesome. Men who are spiritual are more chill, easy to get along with, and less prone to emotional outbreaks. Actually most of the cool people in history were spiritual we just don’t know it because most spiritual people don’t actually talk about their spirituality.

By day three my chest and abs had turned into a sunken rib cage and I had definitely lost some muscle mass. I felt like this passage: “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). I was physically weaker but spiritually stronger. It gave me the experience that there are actually more important things than being in great shape.

All men should fast but be prudent and always consult your doctor before you fast. If you get light headed from fasting and walk off a cliff please don’t hold this blog responsible. If you did so playing Pokemon then this blog is definitely not responsible.