sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
Intermittent Fasting: I'm into my third week of fasting every other day. It's been a surprising adventure. I started it the very day I heard of it. I read about IF on Steven Barnes' blog (Dar Kush) and googled up some other websites that discussed it. I'd long known about the calorie restriction experiments, but I knew that living on a permanent low-calorie diet was simply untenable, no matter how dramatic the benefits. But here was a scheme with all the same benefits (as far as we know) requiring much less effort.

So I started it the very day I discovered it. I wasn't really planning to. I thought I'd mull it over and then decide. But I got home that Thursday night and decided, "What the hell--why not?" It was only for twenty-four hours. If I didn't like the results, I didn't have to continue. So I began my first fast. Ever.

That first evening was tough. No doubt it was more psychological than anything else. Whereas before I could eat if I wanted, now I couldn't! And my stomach wasn't happy about that at all. The next day at work I found to be easier even though it had been much longer since I last ate. And that pattern has continued ever since. The early evening is hardest for me, while the following day is comparatively easier.

But I got through that first day of fasting and then ate on Friday evening and Saturday. Then at 6 p.m. Saturday I started fasting again. And I've continued that cycle ever since. I'm really amazed at how easy it is. Yeah, sometimes I get really hungry (even during the day sometimes) and I occasionally eat a couple of crackers or a few peanuts. But still--it's much easier than I thought it would be. And far, far easier than I imagine it would be to try to follow a diet..

This is very black and white: today eat or today I don't. It's simple enough that I could continue it indefinitely, and I think I will.

Scars: Sometimes, as now, my lovely and talented wife struggles with the consequences of her awful childhood. She is one of the most intelligent, competent, intentional human beings I know. But it comes at a very high price. Dealing with her family--even those she likes--takes a terrible toll on her emotional reserves. It can leave her feeling anxious, inadequate and overwhelmed. I occasionally try to remind her that the feelings she's experiencing are based on her childhood; I liken them to scars. If she had been physically abused, she'd have scars people could see. That her scars are psychological doesn't make them any less real, or any less painful or troublesome.

Physical scars can make it more difficult to live a normal life if they're severe enough. So do psychological scars; it takes more effort, more energy, more determination to do things than it costs people without those scars. That's not to say it can't be done--[livejournal.com profile] snippy has made a wonderful life for herself. But there's a higher...emotional overhead for her than for a lot of people. And dealing with people or situations that use up too much emotional energy drain her reserves. And then it takes time for her to recover.

Which is when I try to take extra special care of her. Which means doing her household chores, and screening phone calls and visitors (those who would be a drain on her are not welcome at these times), and generally trying to give her as much time and space as she needs to recover, and reminding her often of how much I admire her and love her. Because I do.
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
or, My Second Fasting Day....

I began fasting again Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. I broke my fast this evening at 5:30 p.m. when my lovely and talented wife and I went out to dinner at a local mexican restaurant. Mmmmm. Chips and salsa, steak and chicken fajitas, refried beans, onions, tomatos, rice... It was all very tasty.

Unlike the first day, by the time I went to bed last night I was starving. I don't know why. On the other hand, today wasn't a problem at all. I was hungry, but not nearly as uncomfortable as I was the night before. I don't know why it was harder last night than today, or than it was the first day I fasted. It's curious. But now I get to eat until about 6 tomorrow evening--yes, I intend to keep this up.

It's been interesting discovering just how often I think about eating not because I'm really hungry, but because it's something to do as a distraction from other tasks or just because I'm bored. During the fasts, of course, I think about it--then don't. But the thought crosses my mind. Quite often. So I get to exercise my willpower quite frequently. "I'm the boss of me! Not my stomach--me!"

In other news, my blood pressure was 114/77 tonight when I checked it. Considerably better than the average of about 130/80 it's been for the last few months. But it fell into that range for the first few days when I started the previous blood pressure meds too. So this may be a transient effect as my body adapts to the new drug. Still, I'm hoping that the fasting will help lower it a bit as well. We'll see.
sinanju: The Shadow (Gasp!)
I completed my first day-long fast. I began after dinner yesterday (Thursday) and ate and drank nothing except water* all day, only breaking my fast at 6 p.m. tonight. I've never fasted before. It was an interesting experience. From the very beginning I was aware that I can't eat anything. That thought was never far from my awareness. Occasionally something--a commercial on television, spotting something edible in the kitchen at home or at work--would prompt me to think that it would taste good. But I can't eat anything.

The details, for those who care. )
sinanju: The Shadow (Default)
First: I am now officially a grandfather. The lovely and talented [livejournal.com profile] snippy's eldest son and his wife had their first child yesterday (Tuesday). He's eight pounds, twenty inches long, with excellent lungs and dark curly hair. Mother and child are doing well. And he's named after a Norse god. Not their first choice of Norse god (Loki), however, as [livejournal.com profile] snippy was able to talk them out of that one. But a Norse god nonetheless.

The proud grandmother drove down to be there for the birth, then drove back a few hours later. It's about two hours either way. I foresee a lot of such trips in the immediate-to-middling future....


Second: I didn't go with [livejournal.com profile] snippy yesterday. I had an appointment with my doctor. She's happy with the effects of my blood pressure meds. Though I'm not down to the ideal numbers, it's low enough to satisfy her. Nonetheless, she wrote me a prescription for a new medication due to a couple of minor side effects, primarily a persistent cough at night. The cough doesn't generally bother me (I'm asleep), but it has kept my lovely and talented wife awake on several occasions. So...new meds.

Third: I was reading my friend Rory's blog today and he mentioned a friend of his, which led me to go catch up on said friend's own blog. Where I discovered that he's been experimenting with--and blogging about--Intermittent Fasting. What is that you ask? Glad you asked.

It's been known for years now that putting rats on a restricted caloric intake (30-40% of what they'd eat given their choice) dramatically increases ther lifespans. In addition, they don't develop cancers, diabetes, heart disease or obesity. They have low blood sugar levels, low insulin levels, good insulin sensitivity, low blood pressure and are, in general, much healthier than the control group animals. In fact, this effect seems to obtain for any mammals they've tried it on (including a 17 years-and-counting project on primates). There've been no human longevity studies (for obvious reasons), but otherwise humans seem to react similarly to the controlled caloric intake regimen--better blood pressure, low blood sugar, lower insulin levels, good insulin sensitivity, etc.

So there's every reason to believe that a restricted caloric intake regimen would dramatically improve your lifespan as well, and even if it didn't it would greatly enhance your overall health. The problem is that it's no fun. Rats and primates forced to live on such a regimen demonstrate irritability and signs of depression. Which lives up to the old joke about clean living and healthy habits not actually causing you to live longer, it just makes it feel that way.

But! There appears to be a way to get all of the benefits of restricted caloric intake without all that angst. And that woudl be Intermittent Fasting. Which means fasting every other day. It produces all the same good results but is much simpler to effect (no nitpicking attention to calorie intake at every meal, for one thing). You eat normally one day, fast the next, and so on.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that fasting on alternate calendar days means fasting for as much as 34 hours at a stretch, since we generally eat during the day and sleep at night. An alternative approach is to choose 6 p.m. as the demarcation between fasting and non-fasting days. That is, you eat until 6 p.m. on Day 1, then fast until after 6 p.m. the next day. Then you're free to eat until 6 p.m. the day after, when you begin your next fast. The end result is that you can eat every day, but you still fast 24 hours out of every 48.

There's lots more to discover about all this, but I find it fascinating. And I'm thinking about trying it out. If the effects various people have reported are typical, it could be a very interesting experience in addition to potentially aiding in losing weight and improving my health.

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December 2016

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