Today is a fast day, the 17th of Tammuz. I will leave it to other sites such as the wonderful Aish to talk about the religious significance of the day.  From my eating point of view this means absolutely nothing to eat and drink from sunrise (about 4am) until night fall (just after 10pm).

I find it really interesting how I can maintain total control over my eating when there is a halachic reason to do so. Despite the fact that I am obviously hungry (at 1.40 pm) having not eaten since 3 am, I know that (unless there is an unexpected threat to my health) I will not be eating or drinking until gone 10 pm. Likewise, when I am in the supermarket and I walk along the chocolate and biscuit aisle, I am not tempted in the slightest by all the non kosher nosh. It is just not a question.

In Strive for Truth, Rav Dessler speaks about the point of bechirah, free choice that we function at. In this way, it is not a challenge for me to resist buying a meal in McDonalds or Greggs, even if the food coming out looks and smells delicious. It isn’t kosher and so it is simply off limits. The same today with all the food in my kosher kitchen, I know that I am fasting, and it is just not allowed.  

But yesterday, when it wasn’t a fast day and tomorrow when it won’t be, it is such a challenge to eat the right things  in the right quantities. 

But saying that, there are things which are currently above my level of bechirah. It is not a question in my mind that instead of doing whatever I will be doing, that instead I will be going to the gym for 2 hours daily, eating only vegetables and lean protein and getting 9 hours uninterrupted sleep eat night. It is just too far above what I am capable of right now.

However, with every good decision I make, I am moving my point of bechirah higher and higher. A year ago, going to a weekly aerobics and Pilates class was not something I thought myself capable of. Neither would essentially cutting out chocolate. I look forward to the future where eating healthily and exercising regularly will likewise not be a question, and that resisting unhealthy food will be straightforward as non kosher food.

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