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Eating NOTHING after 12 noon - how to cope?

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Old 10-28-2009, 08:22 PM   #1
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Default Eating NOTHING after 12 noon - how to cope?

Not sure if this is a weird place to post, but hope I can get some honest advice.

I will be going to a retreat (Buddhist) where we are not supposed to eat anything after Noon. Now, I've never done that in my whole entire life and I'm freaking out. The rest of the experience is something I am looking forward to and desperately need in my life, but I am scared. I just picture passing out or getting so horribly sick.

They do give exception for medical reasons, but I don't have an official medical reason ... I just get evil cranky, dizzy and shaky when I don't eat every few (at least 4-5) hours, which I thought is how everyone feels (no?).

Obviously, I'll get check with my own doctor to get go-ahead on this, but as a general question .... can most people handle that kind of, sort of "fast" for 10 days (or longer)?

Which would be better ... if I "pigged out" and consumed all my calories (around 1200-1300 since I won't be doing much physical activity, just meditation all day) in the morning or just eat normal (which would mean only getting like 500 calories a day)?

I should point out that this retreat is not about weight or weight loss or anything like that, it's just how things go at a buddhist monastery ... no eating after 12 noon, and this would be my first time going to something this "extreme".
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:34 PM   #2
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I think that would be a great question to ask to people at the monastery. I'm sure *everyone* who retreats there has that issue to some extent. They may even have an advice sheet.

If nothing else, remember that much of Buddhist meditation is about just feeling what is there without having to do something about it. It could be an amazing experience to learn to really observe your hunger, satiety, emotions and how they come and go.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:36 PM   #3
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So when do you get to eat? Is it dawn til noon? I've heard about some religious fasts where FOOD is not allowed, but drinks such as tea and water are allowed. Maybe you could have some tea with some sugar to keep your blood sugar up? Although that might be tough if you're meditating.

I'm with the previous poster, ask other attendees what they do to get through it. It might just be something you have to tough out...

Good luck!!
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
So when do you get to eat? Is it dawn til noon? I've heard about some religious fasts where FOOD is not allowed, but drinks such as tea and water are allowed.
Oh, yes, I should've said that water is allowed. Not sure about tea, will have to go check. Yes, I suppose I should call them. I'm new at this and was worried about sounding wimpy LOL.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:57 PM   #5
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I think it's all in how you ask. If you start off with "but I don't WANT to do this!! I WANT to eat every 4-5 hours, I HAVE TOOOO!" people are going to think "well someone's not into this experience..." but if you say "hey I really want to participate but I've never gone without food for X hours, how did you deal with going for long periods without eating?" that definitely does not sound like whining. And hey, there's a first time for everything...
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:08 PM   #6
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I went to a 10-day retreat like that. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. You do get hungry, but it isn't unbearable. The last meditation session of the day was the hard part.

It wouldn't be a good idea to stuff yourself at the pre-noon meal. I ate like I was having a good, non-diet dinner. I'd aim for 800-1000 calories between your breakfast and lunch, unless that is an uncomfortable amount for you. You will figure out what works for you after a couple of days. The meditation tends to keep you on an even keel.
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:20 AM   #7
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This sounds amazing, I'm sure you will come back and tell us how wonderful it was! Yes, the human body can go without eating. Many religions incorporate fasting on different levels. During Ramadan muslims are not allowed to eat or drink anything between sun-up and sun-down, including water, and that lasts about a month. Some Christian religions incorporate fasting at different times during the year and forbid any and all animal products, plus oil which leaves very little to choose from.

It may be a good idea to find out why you won't be allowed to eat anything after noon. That way the fast will be more purposeful for you and you won't have to sit around hungry without knowing why. And don't be afraid to ask for help and guidance, I'm sure they've encountered newcomers before.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:13 AM   #8
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It is simply following what the Buddha did. In the morning he would go out and ask for alms and food offerings, as was the tradition for holy people at that time, and then in the afternoon and evening, he would teach. Many Buddhist monasteries and convents follow this tradition.

Feel free to ask more about it. If you feel weak and sick when you don't eat, you certainly can ask for a medical exception. My own Buddhist teachers, who are Tibetan lamas and monastics, are diabetic, and they do eat throughout the day.

Jay
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