Fasting is an integral part of Lent. Traditionally it has included reducing the amount of food we eat and abstaining from meat.
But why do we fast? Not because our bodies and appetites are something evil that need to be punished, but to allow our physical hunger to remind us of our spiritual hunger, our need for God. Our Lenten fasting is modeled on Jesus 40-day fast in the desert, Just as he fasted in preparation for his baptism in the Jordan and his public ministry, we fast to remind ourselves of our baptismal commitment and need for renewal.
Fasting can take many forms. While we usually fast by eating less, we can also fast from other things, whether they be enjoyable activities or bad habits.
The purpose of fasting is to turn our attention to both God and others. Fasting reminds us not only of our dependence on God, but also of the needs of the hungry and poor. By fasting, we place ourselves in solidarity with suffering people everywhere.