A couple weeks ago I had the grand idea of experimenting with my hunger tolerance. It's a theme throughout history: dieting, fasting, gorging... how do we change when we tempt the muses of our appetite? Also, I wanted to lose a few pounds. Also, I read that one of the things that "old students" of Vipassana meditation do is refrain from eating after mid-day. Also, I was having nightmares about oysters due to my late night romp through the oyster beds of Hood Canal, and was feeling consumer guilt. It's one of those zeitgeist moments when you find a way to tidily fell several personal issues with one stone. The only stipulation of course being that I didn't want to draw attention to this fact, as people might think I'm anorexic or just weird... so I decided that this experiment could only take place when I was alone (perhaps making me sound even crazier). If I was out with friends I would behave as per usual and pig out.
The plan was to not eat after mid-day, and to see how hungry I got. What I quickly learned is that I often indulge my sense of hunger. I humor it by focusing on it and magnifying it to grand proportions and saying things like "I'M STARVING!" when really there's only an echo of a whisper of a hunger statement. In any case, by talking to my hunger, asking it things like "How hungry are you?", "Is this really very important?", and "What if I drank a glass of water, would that help?" I found it to be a very wimpy force indeed. Not even a challenge.
Another thing I immediately learned, by effectively only having one meal a day, is that the one meal became much more enjoyable. Delicious and satisfying. I never reached lunch (this is the one meal that is almost always kept with my coworkers) ravenous... and the strange thing is that I suddenly began craving healthier foods. I was much more aware of the fact that this food was going to be used by my body to keep it going for the next 24 hours or so. Perhaps the cravings for junk food, or greasy fatty foods, or even meats is a result of your body having reached some plateau of what it really needs, and it doesn't really care what else you give it as long as it tastes good. When it actually needs certain kinds of sustenance, then it tells you "eat vegetables!", "drink water!", "we need some carbohydrates badly!" etc. For years I've experienced the same kind of thing after exercising... my body wants certain kinds of energy to replenish itself.
It's fun to get back to the basics and experience the problem of nourishing the body on a more literal level. It's something I'm sure some people are more conscious of than others... being someone that has never really had to worry about weight issues probably lands me in the more ignorant camp.
Finally, I ended up losing 6 pounds in the last week. That's a little worrisome... I will have to not waste away, and figure out a way of keeping my weight and health while still experimenting a bit more. I think that by combining this with healthier eating and some exercise that my body will re-equilibrilize to its new environment, if I choose to continue this for longer.