The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What I.F., I.F. only, and I.F. this goes on...

I’ve been Intermittent Fasting since about March 1st, and I wanted to make some general comments.
1) Thanks to Michelle for her feedback on losing baby weight. I need more info from women on their experiences, physical and emotional. I’ve noticed that women definitely wonder if their physiological differences will influence their ability to do this.
2) My daughter Nicki started I.F. last Saturday. So she’s Fasting 3 days a week (Friday is always Cheat Day in our house. A fine tradition…) She says that she hasn’t had as much difficulty with hunger as she had anticipated. Also, her hypoglycemic mood swings didn’t bother her, which she considers kinda weird. She’s been stuck on losing those last ten pounds, running into real emotional resistance…be interesting to see what happens on the scale this week.
3) This is not a weight-loss “diet” although it certainly seems to function that way. I’ve lost about 7 pounds, but I wasn’t really trying. This is a lifestyle choice designed for long-term health and fitness.
4) The “Golden Hour” concept really swings into play. I BEG you…with the time you save, invest at least 20 minutes, 3 X a week in some form of meditation. Another 20 minutes 3X a week in a progressive, intense form of exercise. Another 20 3X a week laying out your goals and plans on paper. Keep a journal.
5) Be super careful to get your vitamins and minerals. If you use hard capsules, consider getting a vitamin crusher to ensure absorption. Let’s not take chances!
6) I suggest the “Warrior Diet” approach on Feast days. That is: start with fresh fruits and vegetables. Then eat your lean proteins. Then your carbs. Drink a big glass of water, then wait twenty minutes. If hungry, start the eating pattern again. Eat until comfortably full.
7) Try meditating and/or exercising at the peak of your fast, after 24-36 hours. Do you notice any difference in intensity?
8) I’ve noticed that on Feast days, I’m gravitating toward even better food than usual. Strange. For instance: last Friday (Cheat Day) I went to the movies. I like movie hot dogs, but that day I went to the sandwich shop and bought a nice roast beef sandwich. I DIDN’T buy a cookie, which I ordinarily do at this particular shop. Rather than going hog-wild, my fasted appetite seems to be gaining sensitivity to what I really want to eat.
9) Exercising on Fasting Days seems to be a damned fine idea. The fasts aren’t long enough to trigger torpor, and the additional nervous energy can be channeled rather easily into sweat-time.
10) Observe your reactions. Notice your hunger without giving in to it. You ate yesterday. You’ll eat tomorrow. Look at every moment when you renew your commitment to this eating plan as a triumph of character and will. Some of the most powerful meditative practices on the planet originate in the conquest of body hungers.
11) When you think about I.F., what comes up? What fears? What reasons you "couldn't" do it? The most popular reason is the web of social responsibility. Look more carefully--you are staring into the exact, precise thing that anchors you in place. And I PROMISE you that it doesn't just devil you in the arena of weight. Career and Heartspace are also seriously impacted. Free yourself, and you are freeing your creativity, love, and spiritual potential as well. Your family needs you to be strong!
Who looks good in the Presidential field on the Republican side? I want a good, strong match-up next November. The ideas that make this country great come from both the Right and the Left. If the Right has screwed the pooch with Iraq, the country will travel to the Left, which is good. Too far in that direction will NOT be. I hear neither of the Democratic front-runners sounding too off the wall, so I’m not worried at the moment. But I know that, emboldened by success, the negative forces will arise. Maybe we don’t have to worry for 4-12 years. Not sure. Right now, I’m pretty happy about the way things are going politically.
But I never forget that neither side has a monopoly on honesty, intelligence, and love of this country. I feel that the honorable forces of the Right got somewhat knotted up after 9/11, and you’d better understand how easy that is to happen.
The truth is that any country that DOESN’T go a little nuts after it gets bitch-slapped probably isn’t going to survive. We have that tendency because it works. If somebody attacks you and you sit back and consider too long, there’s a very good chance you’re going to get wiped out by the assholes who attack first and think later.
So after 9/11 we went a little two-dimensional in our thinking…and that’s most of us, as a country. Don’t blame the Right for that. Now, after the emergency began to recede, the Left was able to let go and relax more quickly, and (in my opinion) start asking very valid questions, like
1) Why exactly should we not notice that Iraq has, like, these vast oil deposits? Isn’t it an odd coincidence that we’re invading there, with a mission that is damned near open-ended?
2) Isn’t it odd that we have an administration top-heavy in oil folks at this same time?
3) Isn’t it even odder that we have record oil prices at the same time as record oil company profits, but no one is supposed to believe that there is any connection at all?

I’m not saying there is a huge, direct connection. But then…there doesn’t have to be. Please remember than any large organization will act in its own interests, separate from the intents of ANY individual within it. Those who make decisions that increase profits will be rewarded. Those who make decisions that decrease profits will be punished.
THE DANGER IS IN NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT THOSE WITH CONNECTIONS TO ANY LARGE ORGANIZATION WILL TEND TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT MAKE SAID ORGANIZATION GROW. They don’t have to think about it. In fact, I’m convinced that quite often they convince themselves they really, truly have other motivations. And there are ALWAYS multiple motivations for doing things…
Not expecting a country that runs on money and oil not to have a hunger for both is close to suicidal. Yes, there were other motivations for going to war. But note what we were sold on.
And then grasp that, if there is a gap between what the public was generally told, and what the “true” motivations have turned out to be (in succession, we’ve been told Al Queda, WMDs, Middle East Stability, Freeing Iraquis, “fight them over there” etc.) then what we have is public officials willing to bend truth for their political purposes. Now, maybe those purposes are positive. But you’d better pay attention that they were willing to lie by omission at the very least. They are therefore no longer worthy of that “benefit of the doubt.” You have the right and the responsibility to measure them by their actions rather than their words.
And right now, the theory that is predictive (in my book) is of people paralyzed by fear, blinded by anger, hypnotized by oil money, and too psychologically rigid to admit they were wrong.
Based on that model, one can watch those at the centers of power trying this, that, anything to drag it out, to postpone the moment they have to admit they were wrong. In fact, consider that many on the Right have yet to admit that Vietnam was a mistake. This means that what they want is for Democrats to be the ones to pull out. That way, they can claim to their dying days that the war COULD have been won, if not for those Cut-And-Run liberals. Sigh. But remember, Lefties: the Right is us. It is our own defensive instincts. Do not mock them. Trust me, we’ll need them again. In fact we need them now. We just don’t need quite as much of them as we’ve had the last 8 years or so…

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