Why you are telling the fasting story wrong.

"Hurray! Finally Lent is over and we can ... again!" - Apart from the religious commandments, many of us use the 40 days before Easter (as well as Advent) for a fasting cure. The classic way is to give up meat, alcohol and sugar. Some also abstain from other things: shopping, social media orgies or binge-watching, for example. And then, from Easter Sunday, it's finally over with the miserable asceticism, the self-mortification comes to an end, you let go of the reins. Cheers, meal + obligatory posting of the feast at a stretched gallop. Now we are allowed to do everything again - ergo: Happy Easter!

What a mistake!


In the blogcast, I read this recent blog article to you. With emphasis, of course!

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If you tell the story of fasting to yourself in this way, you make life unnecessarily difficult for yourself and end up depriving yourself of a large, decisive part of the pleasure of success.

Lent is a wonderful experience. At the same time, for story insiders, Lent is an excellent way to bring to life what the power of stories is generally and truly about: the right one, a new perspective and always transformation. Above all, our inner story, the story we tell ourselves, the crucial one, is about that.

Perspective and transformation.

The outer story, the plot, is well known to all of us and quickly described. On Ash Wednesday, we really stuff ourselves at the herring feast and, so that the fish and by-catch swim three times, we wash the whole menu down our rumen with a hectolitre of Chablis. The next day we mainly feel sick, sometimes even hungry in the morning. So the transition to abstinence from gluttony is not really difficult after such a day - as the people used to say - stolen from the Lord God. But then 39 more hard days follow, during which a thought by Oscar Wilde constantly comes to mind: "Temptations should be yielded to. Who knows if they will come again." But we remain steadfastly brave. But how! Maybe we'll even lose a few superfluous kilos in preparation for Colomba & Pinze with plenty of butter - Same procedure as every year, Miss Sophie ...

The little story ABC.

The inner story, however, shows us how clever we are. Like every story - and story insiders know this - it follows the model of the Little Story ABCwhich was not put in the nest by the Easter Bunny, but by El Story-Duderino. Strictly speaking, it wasn't him at all, but evolution that programmed this universal pattern of thought & knowledge into our storytelling-animal operating system:

One could also
but ABC is much easier to remember, isn't it?

Departure, probation, comeback - that is our natural way of thinking. That's how it thinks inside us.

With fasting, this is how it works (and soon we'll see how the real fasting story goes):

A courageous departure.

Something drives us to break out of our comfort zone, out of the familiar harbour, out of our familiar world. We have to break out! Because the discomfort in the familiar is so overwhelming that even the painful uncertainty about what will be outside our familiar world is less than the fear of it. That is our motivation:

  • My smartphone user app shows: I'm on social media for three hours every day - that means over two and a half working days a week?!? So 40 days of mobile fasting & digital detox!
  • My scale signals: One more kilo and you'll get your own postcode. So 40 days ban on pizza, Amarone, Ben & Jerry!
  • Wow! When digging out your spring and summer wardrobe, you discovered 17 white t-shirts, four of which still have the original label from 2019? So 40 days of shop stop, including a full-on bargain sale!

You get the idea, Miss Sophie? We officially and solemnly bid farewell to our usual behaviour: Separation.

Heroic parole.

That goes really well for some time. But then, of course, the devil comes into play. The devil is not only in the details, but everywhere. And the devil is known to make us believe that he doesn't exist. Evil in a thousand guises. Demon and Daimon enter the ring for a Nestroy-style Rumble in the Jungle: "Now I'm really curious who is stronger, me or I."

A quick google and a quick facebook and Instagram and just one more minute...: stop!!!
No, not even a wholemeal pizza.
And next summer won't be any nicer with 18 white T-shirts in the box than it already won't be with 17.
And look: with every test you pass, the next one is easier. You conquer this new unknown world, familiarise yourself with it, get used to it, feel ... yes: good. Even more: you feel better than before:

  • You have an amazing amount of time for yourself, for reading, for your family.
  • When you get out of the shower, one day you won't have a litre and a half of water pouring out of your belly button.
  • What if I keep only one of the identical T-shirts (and the identical blue jumpers and the towering pile of practically identical jeans ...)? Then suddenly there would be quite a bit of free space in the wardrobe.

We discover a new liberated, relieved attitude to life. We are accepted into the new world of the time-hungry, mobile and still sufficiently clothed and in the process transform ourselves, at least a little bit, into someone we like to be. Thanks to proving ourselves in renunciation, we develop a new feeling for our problem areas from which we have broken out: Initiation and transformation.

If we are now wise, we understand something, or better still, we understand something and grow from it. The courageous leap over our own shadow takes place, and what initially felt like renunciation, we now experience as liberation.

  • Liberation from the news noise and social media chatter with which cunning algorithm tinkerers make a lot of money thanks to time stolen from us.
  • Liberation from immobility and from the daily trouble with the accursed trouser button.
  • Liberation from too much, which, hand on heart, now that it's gone, has always weighed us down subconsciously, every time we look in the T-shirt drawer.

We have gained a new perspective. If we are very smart, we have also learnt in one wash that with a new perspective for our story, we can in many other cases also get out of the passive supporting role in our own lives, trapped in suffering, and become acting, self-determined leading actors. In short, we have discovered the power of the inner story and can use it in many ways. For the clever story of fasting does not tell of renunciation, but of liberation.

There is hardly a person who does not soon feel better during and after fasting/detox than before. And this knowledge gained in probation must now be protected and preserved for us who have been transformed, when we return to our old world after Lent and prove there whether our transformation was indeed such, or just an excursion into a paradise where we nibbled from the tree of ignorance.

Sensational comeback.

Sorry, Hermann Maier, but a comeback to the old world can hardly be more sensational than the return of Elvis from his instructive time in Hollywood to the stage. Elvis was never more Elvis than at the 1968 "Comeback Special". Elvis not only reinvented himself there, but also performed what is now known as an unplugged concert in a leather jumpsuit, so the bar is really high for our own.

Still, it doesn't help: the all-important proof of effect will now be given when we return to the old world, when we can show whether we have learned something and if so, what. Whether we have grown, whether we have returned in a better version of ourselves and can share this learned preciousness with our own. As role models, as mentors, as supporters, in a leather jumpsuit for all I care. Only then will the circle be complete.

If not, at the beginning of the next Lent, while the unread books pile up on our bedside table, while we are stuck in 25 by now too tight white T-shirts, we will once again reach for our mobile phones first thing in the morning and post: "Same procedure as every year.

The Little Story ABC also has a D in it. It stands for Disruption, because something is always the same. It would be good if it wasn't always the same ...

Cognition apple columns.

By the way: I myself have long been a great friend of fasting as a lifestyle and, because it suits me, I am sharing my findings here in the Story Insider universe.

I'm still holding on to my digital detox from last summer quite rigorously. The following simple tricks have quickly brought me noticeable success, which is reflected in massively gained time and large increases in sales in the domestic book trade.

  1. My smartphone is basically a phone and a messenger tool (+ music and navigation). Googling, news and social media (if that's what you really want) are only available on the tablet or PC.
  2. The smartphone stays at my desk at night or in my jacket pocket when I'm not actively using it during the day.
  3. I always have a small book with me (e.g. short stories) so that I don't read on my mobile phone while waiting and suddenly fall into old habits.

In principle,habit is the keyword for success in this area. Because the objection is very often mistakenly raised: "I don't have the willpower". However, it is not about willpower at all, but about changing habits, and anyone can change them quickly with simple, cunning methods (see above).

When it comes to nutrition, I can wholeheartedly advise year-round intermittent fasting in the form of dinner cancelling, because I am clearly more awake, fresher and fitter than without it and I don't know anyone who doesn't experience it in the same way.

I have dealt with the topic quite intensively and recommend the book "Die Anti-Aging Revolution" by Prof. Johannes Huber and Bernd Österle as an introduction to the subject, who report a great deal of enlightening information from science and about an intensive self-experiment. The whole thing is easy to read and - what is always particularly important to me - undogmatic.

Do we renounce something when we fast, or do we free ourselves from too much? It's all a question of perspective, a question of the story we tell ourselves about it, a question of the insight we gain from this story and what we make of it. Whether we set out, prove ourselves and transform ourselves.

Once again, it is about our inner story, which can also liberate us in so many other areas and make us strong as people, as teams and as a society. And liberation is an essential chapter in a new story, the New Story, which we urgently need in our civilisation that has become too much.

Or, as my grandmother, old Story Dudette, used to crumble the crumbs of a rotten roll to old F. X. Mayer on the edge of his soup plate: "No Story. No Glory."