Richard Beck describes one of his concerns with traditional Lenten fasting and his rationale for working within it:
I have a rule of thumb I like to keep: Don’t let your pursuit of holiness pull you away from your family. As a part of this, I’ve always disliked how fasting pulls me away from family meals. Sure, I can sit at the table and talk while everyone is eating, but that’s just weird. Eating–actually eating–with my family is a profoundly important experience.
I also don’t like how fasting affects my ability to accept hospitality when offered. When someone invites you to a table you should eat. Even if you’re fasting.
So my normal fasting routine is this: Eat only one meal a day, family dinner at night. If you’re invited to eat with someone, accept, don’t decline because you are fasting. Otherwise, don’t eat during the week.
The impact to family meals has always been a big hesitation for me when thinking about this kind of fasting. I appreciate Beck’s reasoning here… makes sense and seems like something I could adopt.