Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Would you feel guilty about not drinking alcohol if offered some? Why should you?
It is your choice to observe the precept of not eating after midday. It's not an extreme practice for a lay person to observe eight precepts if they wish to, and not harmful to your health unless you're doing heavy manual labour.
Stick to your decision, but take the time to explain your reasons. Parents and others may not understand at first.
There are other lay practitioners that post questions about the height and type of bed to use while practicing under the 8 precepts. Why then is it so extreme that someone would wish to practice bramacariya and/or a renunciate lifestyle so as to encourage the depth of their practice? I don't sense that the OP is "pretending to be a monk" though it seems to me that the more that one can embrace the renunciate life, the better the foundation for the practice.
Even under modern interpretations of the Vinaya, some nonfoods are allowed after midday, in the event that one is weakened or hurting from hunger.
It's not easy in this practice, and of course family members don't "get it" all the time. But the fact that others don't "get it" shouldn't dissuade one from the practice, just as an observant Jew would refuse politely to eat pork, I feel one can with advance notice allow accommodation with hosts that one cannot eat a meal after midday. The balance is between maintaining the 8 precepts and not actively offending others, and it is a balance that can be established. It's not easy, but not much in life worth having comes easily, right?