Fantasy and the Fast Diet

Today I ate just 500 calories’ worth of food. I’ve decided to try out ‘The Fast Diet‘ and today was my first fasting day.

The Fast Diet seems to be all the rage just now. Check out the web site for the full deal, but in essence it involves fasting for two days in the week, during which caloric intake is limited to just 500 for women, 600 for men. This is supposed to have numerous health benefits in addition to weight loss, since humans were once hunter-gatherers and accustomed to not always having what we would consider enough to eat. Evidently, fasting returns our bodies to an optimal state.

Fascinating… I’m doing it because I want to lose a few kilos and I like the idea of only dieting two days out of seven. The health benefits are an added bonus.

It has been hard today, the afternoon especially, when I was sitting at my desk and working. But — thanks to an evening out with my choir — I’ve made it through unscathed, even if my stomach is hollow and making sounds of protest and my head is a little vague.

(I’ve spent much of today fantasizing about what I’m going to eat tomorrow.)

I figure the fasting will also pay off from a research perspective. It’s not uncommon in fantasy novels for characters to embark on quests and journeys during which they may have to forage for food — or go hungry. Alternatively, fasting is an important element of many cultures, including some I might make up!

<eggs, coffee, chocolate, cheese, wine…>

By fasting myself I can gain an understanding of what it feels like to be hungry. I can pay attention to what my stomach feels like, my bleary brain, how my energy levels are doing.

(If this post doesn’t make sense, you too can gain understanding of its effect on my mind.)

Of course, if I were a fantasy character I wouldn’t necessarily have the luxury of knowing I could have three proper meals tomorrow. It suddenly puts the importance of snaring rabbits or shooting deer or finding a bush laden with edible berries into perspective.

I love it when my real life provides fodder for experiential research. But I can tell you now I won’t be embarking on any hunger strikes anytime soon.

If any readers out there have tried the Fast Diet, I’d love to hear stories, recipes and tips for making it through. Any thoughts on experiential research for writers?

6 comments

  1. Wow, you are made of sturdier stuff than I. The things we writers do to get inside the heads of our characters… 😉

    I’ve not heard of this kind of diet, though I can see it’s merits. I hope you treat yourself to some great food on your non-fasting days!

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    1. Heh, well to be honest the research aspect only occurred to me later… I’m on day 2 of fasting now, and somehow I’m finding it easier to be really diligent for one day, knowing I don’t have to worry the next. There’s not the same build up of deprivation… So far, so good, I think. (My mum disapproves wholeheartedly!)

      And, yes, yesterday I went to the cafe and didn’t worry about what I was eating, although am trying to stay relatively healthy. I’ll report back in a couple more weeks… 🙂

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