Excess Fat Stores

use-it-up-signAs the season of eggnog and shortbread comes to a close (mine was a little prolonged), what better time to discuss excess fat stores?

Don’t worry; I’m not going to talk about the excess stores that make me groan when doing-up my pants after three weeks of festive eating. I’m going to talk about the stores that make me groan when cleaning my house after 14 years of ordinary adult living–and shopping.

Actually, it was at one such ‘groan moment’ that I first got the idea to do this challenge.

November 29th, 2013 (Buy Nothing Day). I was playing Tetris with the puzzles in the toy box and grumbling to myself about “too much stuff” when it suddenly occurred to me, “if you want less stuff, you have to stop buying stuff.” Duh. But seriously, this was an epiphany. And, being Buy Nothing Day, I immediately thought, why not a buy nothing year?

Like food, to a certain extent, we do need stuff. I know there are people who live 100% self-sufficient lives–which is cool–but that’s not my goal (yet). Eventually, I will return to buying stuff, hopefully less stuff, and, hopefully, in the process of buying nothing, my house will experience some weight loss.

When fasting, the body converts fat stores into energy once the usual fuel (from recently consumed food) is gone. Converting these stores is harder for the body and takes more time, hence, we feel hungry. Our impatient, lazy bodies are telling us to please just eat, and, on top of that, when we don’t eat, we miss out on an intensely pleasurable experience! No wonder fasting is hard.

This is why I liken our project to a fast. My house is full of excess stores: light-bulbs, batteries, tape, string, craft supplies, clothes (that I don’t wear), shoes (that hurt my feet), toys (that aren’t played with), and blank Christmas cards (that I’ll never write) — so much stuff that finding what I need when I need it is … well, hard. And, it takes time.

Often, it’s easier to buy a new bulb than to find the one working bulb among those “awaiting proper disposal.” Ditto the batteries. And the glue sticks. Maybe I’m just disorganized. At any rate, a consumer fast will force me to use up those stores no matter how hard it is and how much extra time it takes.

And then there’s the “pleasure of consuming.” While it may curb my appetite, no amount of fasting will ever take away the pleasure I get from eating food  (not that I’ve tried and nor would I want it to). I’m not sure if a consumer fast will remove the pleasure I get from sporting a new sweater, dining on a less-worn tablecloth, or dressing my son in new–supposedly warmer and definitely cuter–shoes.

As I turn to the excess stores of my house, will I cling to my stuff in fervent desperation, or will I learn to let go? Will I become more generous? Selfish? Anxious? Free?

Will my hunger for new and accessible things remain, grow, or dissipate? What will this hunger feel like? And, perhaps most importantly, (like in a spiritual food fast), when I resist satisfying my hunger in easy and obvious ways, will I learn to be satisfied in other ways? Will I question the real source of my hunger?

I’m looking forward to finding out.

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10 thoughts on “Excess Fat Stores

  1. Bronwyn,
    I commend you on your courage to take this on! At a time when most are merely trying to find a way to lose just the extra 5 pounds they gained over Christmas, you have essentially done this to your entire family and life! Good on you! I find it inspiring! As someone that has fasted for both spiritual and physical reasons, I do know that the benefits were greater than I expected and some were even a bit unexpected. Of course I would never have had some personal discovers without just doing it! I’m sure you will inspire many others to challenge their ideas and beliefs as we follow you on this journey.

    • Thanks, Alisa. I appreciate the encouragement! I too have done a food fast for spiritual reasons and found both the physical and spiritual benefits exceeded my expectations! Not sure what I will find here, but hopefully a similar outcome. Thanks for following!

  2. Looking forward to hearing more about this, Bronwyn. I’m very guilty for hanging on to things for too long. Recently a home renovation forced my husband and I to purge our “stores.” Boxing everything up made us take note of how much we had and what we really didn’t need or use. It’s astounding! In fact, batteries were number 1! Ha ha

  3. I was curious, Bronwyn – what are your plans for finding clothes for the kids as they grow this year (or have you enough bigger clothes already?), and for school supplies for Aurora in the fall?
    Loving your posts! Keep sharing, it’s inspiring! 🙂

    • Hi Allie,
      Aurora’s not growing THAT fast anymore, so I think we’ll be okay. I might have to be a little less picky about what “it fits” means and less picky about what constitutes a proper outfit. Same goes for the little guy, but we do have some boxes of hand-me-downs in the basement. We’ll definitely be making do with less clothes though, and in order to not be doing a ridiculous amount of laundry, I’m hoping to redefine “clean clothes.” Apart from special occasion attire, I’m thinking “doesn’t smell” might be a good-enough criterion. Let’s face it, even if they’re clean in the morning, they’ve got food or dirt on them within an hour anyway (at least my kids do).

    • And school supplies – hopefully there won’t be anything TOO specific, but I’m hoping we can re-use/improvise with stuff we’ve got in the house already. If it’s really specific, maybe we can make a trade with someone whose kid is one year ahead? 🙂

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