The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, April 27, 2007

Short movie review and Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, recovering from cancer treatment, has been making the rounds of news programs in the last days. Unfortunately, he looked horrible, and could not talk. Heart-breaking, for those of us who remember him in feistier days. I never agreed with his movie reviews even 90%, but always respected him. And my sense is that he is saying goodbye. He does not expect to recover. I’m saddened.
“The Grindhouse” came out a couple of weeks ago. This experimental double-feature, by Tarantino and Rodriguez, appropriately evokes the experience of going to one of the sleezy movie houses I used to ditch High School for when I was a teenager. Of the two movies, I liked “Death Proof” better than “Planet Terror,” but while both were quite entertaining, neither was really good. And the overall experience, at over 3 hours, was exhausting rather than exhilarating. Remember intermissions? A "B"
My research suggests that I.F. practitioners will lose weight at first, and then stabilize. What I DON’T know is if there is any commonality to the stabilization point. My guess is that your body would want to stabilize at a healthy hunter/gatherer weight: good lean muscle mass, good balance. That would make sense evolutionarily. On the other hand, I have a little difficulty wondering why people with enough lard to feed a Ugandan village for a month would get hungry just because their blood sugar drops a bit. Doesn’t seem to be a great survival strategy. Maybe I’m looking at this backwards. Perhaps, time was that if you had this tendency, you collected weight until it began to impair your ability to hunt and gather. Then you either lost weight, or died. And civilization has removed this corrective mechanism.
Also, I suspect that aerobic fitness (or some aspect of it) also has impact. The number of us who have primarily sedentary jobs has gone through the roof. For most, a couple of hours a week in the gym just doesn’t compensate for 8 hours of farm work a day. In other words, the obesity epidemic is a symptom of the fact that WE WON! Now what we have to do is survive the victory…
Nicki is down to 165. That’s 1 1/2 pounds lost her first week of I.F. Not bad.
Personally, I’m finding that 3 days a week is about right for me. That way, I can have “cheat day” every Friday, or an extra eating day. For instance, I have a party to go to tomorrow night in Culver City—a producer who worked with me and T. Nicki will be going to Disneyland on Sunday, and her Mom is coming to town tomorrow. So she’ll fast today, eat Saturday and Sunday. I’ll fast today (I usually eat on Fridays), eat tomorrow and Sunday, and be back on the plan by Monday. That flexibility is great.
Dan, I’ve noticed a bit of improvement in endurance and coordination on fasting days.
A tiny downside: there is a bit more aggression as well. Watch the mood swings! Actually, I’ve noticed that I’m more aware of my emotions. The negative ones I tend to observe (which is a little spooky at times) while the positive ones pull me in to a deeper immersion. Cool.
In two months, after I’ve been on this eating plan 100 days, I’m going to start writing what I’ve learned in a book. The plan is to lay out all the data on the weight-loss, health, fitness, psychological, meditative, life-extension etc. effects, along with what is known about the right way to approach the entire question. All of your input if appreciated. I weighed myself at 178.6 this morning, so I’m “hovering” around there. Probably gaining muscle mass, which weighs more than fat, so I’m down to my last belt notch without losing more weight. I’m still going down to 175.0, and then I’ll check in with my doctor and see what my blood values are. More data.
I want to emphasize that I.F. gives you at least 3 extra hours a week. Please use that time, invest it in your future. Want to learn to draw? Paint? Read more? Here’s your time. Meditate? Learn to control your emotions, to focus? Well, just the I.F. itself is a hell of an exercise in clarity, isn’t it? No time to exercise? Now there is.
In other words, your excuses for not taking care of yourself have just been blown up. If you want your life back, here’s a valid key. For many of us, what will happen now is an explosion of the demonic voices in the backs of our heads saying why we can’t. And judging by what people have said, those answers are actually the reasons that big chunks of our lives are out of whack.
Habit patterns. Emotional addictions. Social pressure. Fear.
Look at this stuff, and the things that people have been kind enough to share here. Doesn’t this really break down to “the stuff that stands between me and my excellence”?
Think about it. How many of these reasons would you accept from your own son or daughter? Wouldn’t you encourage them to think and act for themselves? Don’t you deserve the same right, don’t you have the obligation to lead by example?
Children don’t pay much attention to what you say…but they pay quite a lot to what you do. The greatest gift you can offer your loved ones is an example. What is it to be healthy? Free? What is it to be in control of one’s biological drives and emotional damage? Meditation, balance, exercise, loving relationships, personal discipline…each of these things teaches us about ourselves, gives us a chance to dig into the stuff of our lives and profit by what we learn.
In many world cultures (if not all!) fasting is used to focus the mind and purify the body. It actually weirds me out a bit that I can’t find a group that eats in this pattern. Why the hell not? I’d think that human beings have tried every damn pattern of eating you can think of…
One possible reason is that unless you have a safe, reliable, clean source of food, it doesn’t make sense not to eat when there is food in front of you. Such reliable food supplies have only existed some hundreds of years—in many parts of the world, even less.
Perhaps this is the sort of dietary modification that could only thrive among an affluent people—I don’t know.
Any thoughts? Assuming that I.F. really is what it looks like, why hasn’t it been around forever?

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