Sorry, I don’t buy it that hunger is illusory, all in the mind, or disappears if you ignore it long enough. If I don’t eat for N hours (about 8, less if I’m physically active) I start getting seriously hungry; if I can’t find some food (preferably protein), then after about 15 hours I start experiencing unpleasant symptoms like loss of fine motor coordination, loss of mental focus, emotional instability; if the fasting goes on much longer I start to feel cold, fingernails turn blue, become completely unable to think clearly, become lethargic.

Fasting may work for some people, but not all metabolisms are alike and some do not respond well to starving. Medical procedures involving 12 to 24 hour fasts beforehand have always been a serious ordeal for me; I’ve even passed out a couple of times, got all light-headed and dizzy from low blood sugar or whatever the issue is (blood sugar tests don’t indicate starvation). Allow me to eat normally and I have zero fear of needles and can joke with the nurse taking my blood; but make me fast 12 hours and I may faint while getting a blood test. So I really don’t trust “experts” who tell everyone that we should all be able to fast for 24 to 36 hours and it’s “no big deal.” After 12 active hours without food, I should not be allowed to operate heavy equipment :-) after 24 hours, I can barely carry on a coherent conversation. And if at that 24 hour point I eat just a handful of peanuts or a small chunk of cheese, Shazzam — cognitive function restored, body temperature returns to near normal, etc.

If at the 24 hour point I can only find carbs or sugar, it almost makes things worse. So go figure; I’ve learned to keep nuts and cheese around — not for mindless snacking, but in case of food emergency. Sorry if this sounds a bit petulant, but I get really frustrated when people tell me fasting is so easy and relieves hunger sensations. Not for me it doesn’t.

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store