The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, November 05, 2007

I.F. and Social Pressure

One of the interesting things about Intermittent Fasting is the expressions of disbelief—and even fear—on people’s faces when I tell them I’m not eating. “How can you do that?” “I’d die!” “Are you sick?” etc. etc.

It’s interesting the way the practice of taking control of your own life tests every aspect of your reality. The way it tests social connections is especially fascinating. Here in Quincy, I notice that many or most of the kids are skinny. But among adults, there is a tendency toward obesity that is sobering. Huge buttocks and great sagging belts of fat around the waists. Shoulders and upper bodies so forward of the hips that the spine cannot possibly be supporting the weight properly. That would lead to back pain—and with the sagging guts, there is nothing to balance that tension, leading to a descending spiral of pain, fatigue, and deterioration. Food here is of the Fast variety. There isn’t a home-style restaurant to be seen. Subway is probably the healthiest thing in town (I have nothing against Subway) but meals are such a core aspect of social experience that if you actually invest some care in fueling yourself, you become suspect.

I consider what I see in that regard to be the end result of generational poverty. Children who have to control what they eat because there literally isn’t much food. Then when they become adults—BAM! They can fill their bellies any time they want. Bythe way, did I say that people here segregate themselves? And that there are very, very few children of mixed blood? It’s all black and white, and I stand out like a sore thumb.

Back to the subject…
I knew that I.F. allows you to inspect the “bare wiring” of your hunger drive, every damned day. On fasting days, you are staring down the Limbic Monkey every time the smell of food drifts your way. On eating days, if you exercise first thing in the morning, you are dealing with a completely empty digestive tract, and the urge to go out and hunt and gather, amplified beyond what most people ever experience. Fascinating.

But it’s great to watch people’s reactions. All of the “I can’t, because…” stuff. As if I suggested that they should! I don’t bring it up. But they ask if I want to eat, I decline, and one thing leads to another. I can see how it would be easier to eat if I’m traveling, or visiting, or at a banquet, or a friend is in from out of town…
And what happens? Our web of social relationships begins to intrude into one of the most intimate aspect of what you are: your ability to determine what you put in your own damned mouth.

Social pressure? Isn’t that what we tell our children they mustn’t yield to? Are we serious or not? Men and women BOTH are programmed to see themselves primarily as tools of society and family. And who does that programming? Why, society and family, that’s who. Either you are committed to being free, or you aren’t. Either you are committed to finding the truth about yourself, or you aren’t. And if you are, you MUST be willing to look directly at this stuff and say: I was lied to. By people who loved and cherished me, perhaps. And they were doing the best they could, no doubt. But if you would be an adult, you have to move beyond that.

1 comment:

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Intermittent fasting will not really slow down your metabolism, instead it will just speed up your metabolism for the duration of the fast.