Over the course of five days last week, Joel decided to do a fast. That's right, he did not eat any food for five days straight. He wrote about his experience here so you can read all about it. I thought I would share what it was like to be the spouse of someone voluntarily going without food for that long.
Now I must say, Joel did a lot of research before he did that. It wasn't a complete and total whim, and he didn't do it just hoping to lose weight quickly. Obviously we both know fasting is not a great method for weight loss. It might work in the short run, but it generally makes it harder in the long run. He was far more interested in other supposed health benefits that come from fasting, which you can read about in his post. He was very clear that he would not do this fast if I was not supportive or did not want him to do it. We knew going in that he would likely not be super productive over those five days, which does affect our life and relationship. I decided I would be supportive on one condition - he had to go to the doctor and make sure they said it was ok.
I did not go with him to the doctor appointment, and supposedly it didn't go super well. The doctor didn't listen very well and misunderstood why Joel wanted to fast, she assumed it was for weight loss purposes. So of course she discouraged this and sent him home with literature on how to safely sustain healthy weight loss. But she didn't say it was dangerous or would be bad for his health, so I decided to let him go for it.
Throughout the fast I was very impressed with Joel's willpower. Despite what must have been overwhelming hunger, he still cooked a few times for me and other guests in our house, and even went grocery shopping. I can't go grocery shopping even slightly hungry without bringing home all kinds of junk, I can't imagine tolerating it on a completely empty stomach! His mood stayed fairly consistent over the course of the five days. He never got really grumpy or angry, though he was somewhat shorter with me than usual.
Mostly it affected me because he had to constantly distract himself, and general work things or conversations weren't enough. He needed the constant distraction of video games, something he hasn't played in a long time. Once that became his coping mechanism, it almost felt like he wasn't around. I knew where to find him, of course, but he was very engrossed in the game. I decided to leave him be, because again, I can't imagine how grumpy and out of control moody I would have been at that point! I figured he needed to do whatever he needed to do to get through it.
Overall I'm glad it's something he tried, and hopefully it will have a positive impact on his health. I'm also glad to hear him say that he doesn't plan to ever do it again. I missed him being present, available, and a good conversation partner. He was very "checked out" towards the end of the week, which is not an ideal way to go through life.
Also, I can safely say, this is NEVER something I would try for myself! I'm happy to live vicariously on this one.