Sounds funny, doesn't it? As likely as "Me and work--a trial separation," or "Me and Gravity? We just don't get along." Who can go without food for a year?
It's easier than you might expect. You see, the Doctors Who Study Things studied people trying to lose weight. They gave them unlimited access to pure nutrition in the form of "chocolate" or "strawberry" shakes with a little bit of flavoring. Test subjects ate a lot of it for a few days, then scaled way, way back, consuming less than 1,000 calories a day.
The Doctors still don't know why, but at a certain point, when all you consume is nutrition and not a wide variety of flavors, textures, fat, or salt, well, your body just sort of shrugs its shoulders and thinks "Whatever."
I learned all this from the Nutrition team at UC San Francisco Medical Center. After a health scare, I tried without success to eat less and exercise more. Turns out three solid decades of bad habits don't give up easily. The kindly folks at UCSF suggested I try meal replacements as part of a medically supervised weight loss program. I would have to eat the modern equivalent of that bland stuff the Doctors had studied. It doesn't work for everyone, they warned.
For the first time in my life, I just didn't care that much about eating. During this past year, I ate only meal replacements and drank buckets of water all day long. The water kept me from getting dizzy or shaky. Hunger pangs were tougher to fight, but I did my best.
During my temporary breakup with food, I lost about fifty pounds and enjoyed life much more than before. I worked hard to resolve all the behavioral issues around overeating. That work doesn't conclude as quickly as the body grows weary of eating the same thing month after month, so while I still have things to work out, I am already transitioning back to real food again. No one can take a break from food forever.
One of the hardest adjustments to make has been around my writing ritual. It took a lot of fortifying to get me behind the keyboard. Lots of sweet and savory treats washed down with quarts of Diet Pepsi, and all manner of junk food it pains me to even think about now.
These days, my writing rituals include writing with friends, lots of hot coffee. water, and sugarless chewing gum, plus a little fruit or a few crunchy vegetables. Comraderie and good health beats the heck out of Hostess Fruit Pies, any day of the week, but I would never have discovered that if I hadn't taken a break from food.
The only problem is, I wrote my whole novel without my main character ever eating. I'm fixing it along with all the other edits wrapping up this month. My protagonist can eat a juicy steak and not gain a pound! Lucky girl...
Could you take a year-long break from food? How would it change your life?
Enjoy your President's Day!!!! I'm celebrating by writing, without the fruit pies!
*While grammar purists might decry my use of the object(ive or oblique) case for the pronoun in my title, it's what people say. "Me and Bobby McGee," for example.