I never really understood fasting, nor had any desire to try it. Growing up, the closest my Catholic family came to it was during Lent, which just meant that on Fridays, we’d eat big planks of deep-fried haddock, smothered in tartar sauce, instead of the usual burgers or steaks.
Denying myself food the second a hunger pang struck was a terrifying, nonsensical notion, as both a food writer and a sentient human. Fasting was for actors subsisting on oat paste, cash and self-satisfaction in order to shrink down to ghostlike versions of themselves for a starring role. Fasting was for political prisoners, the pious, and patients preparing for medical procedures. It was not for me.
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Then I started hearing about intermittent fasting. My father-in-law, a retired stonemason, dropped two sizes by skipping lunch every day. The book publisher Dan Halpern told me he forgoes breakfast and barely eats lunch, which has helped him keep off unwanted weight. Even TV host Jimmy Kimmel confessed to having lost 25 pounds by restricting calories, and has kept them off by fasting.