Monthly Archives: April 2016

My experiment with fasting

6955508271_4a8cb662d5_zI watched a documentary last week called “Eat, Fast and Live Longer”. In it, Michael Mosley interviews people who performed research and/or used various kinds of fasting in their diets. He also tries it himself. As a regular listener of various food, health, and “biohacking” podcasts, I’ve heard a lot about intermittent fasting in the past few years. As a woman, I’m not convinced it’s the best regular practice for me, but I thought a short experiment could prove useful for my state of mind.

Not only did I want to test it out for its purported weight loss and longevity benefits, but I thought it might help change my perception of food and how much I really need to eat in a day. I think that I’m a little obsessed with food. When I finish a meal, I often catch myself immediately thinking about the next one…

  • When will be my next meal?
  • What if I get hungry before then?
  • There are six hours between finishing lunch at work and eating dinner at home! Can I go that long without a snack?
  • What if my stomach starts growling in a meeting?
  • And on and on…

I generally eat good food, but a bit too much of it. I’ll load up with big salad and hot side for lunch, then make sure I have an afternoon snack. Usually it’s a large mug of soup, but I’ll often throw in additional bites of nuts, a bar, some snack food, or hot tea with honey. I like food and think about it a lot; I don’t like the feeling of hunger.

Food has also become part of my identity. Especially when I was doing endurance sports: “Gotta feed the machine” was validation for over-indulging. Sure, the body might need additional calories to refuel after a long, difficult training session, but I had used it as a crutch to justify eating when and what I wanted.

The desired outcome of a day-long fast is that I’ll realize I can function without constant feeding. I can stop worrying about where I’ll get my next meal or if I’ll get caught somewhere with no snack in my purse.

So last Saturday, I had no plans and figured it was the perfect day to give it a shot! Here’s how it went:

  • Woke up and went for a walk.
  • My one “meal” for the day was a big cup of Bulletproof coffee (blended with butter and MCT oil), which I usually have for breakfast a couple times a week.
  • I worked on chores around the house. I felt hungry now and again, but nothing too serious. Realized I should be drinking more water.
  • I got light-headed once or twice when bending over or lifting something heavy during my housework.
  • Showered and went out for a few errands in my car.
  • Came home and spend a couple of hours writing.
  • I decided to eat one soft-boiled egg around 4pm. That staved off hunger for a while.
  • I then had hot tea with honey around 5:30pm.
  • Hunger would come and go throughout the afternoon, but my tummy never growled.
  • Drank another hot tea and a fig bar around 8pm, in hopes of not going to bed too hungry.
  • Surprisingly, I felt no hunger when reading in bed around 10pm.
  • The next morning, I didn’t feel hungry immediately upon waking. When I made scrambled eggs with mushrooms and coffee, it tasted good, but not particularly amazing.

Obviously, I did have some food that day, but dramatically less than I would normally. And the experiment did work! Since that Saturday, I am more consciously listening to my hunger and don’t just assume that I need a big afternoon snack to get me to dinner. My perception of food and how much of it I need is starting to shift. I might fast again to periodically strengthen my confidence if I sense it waning.

(Image: LaurentBolli)

3 Words to banish from your vocabulary

4858001669_8509bf64c5_zDo you ever hear that little voice inside your head commenting on everything you do in life as it rolls along? Admit it. Everyone does. Occasionally that voice is kind and supportive, but more often it will be downright mean. I sure know mine is! I frequently catch my inner voice saying things I would never utter to a friend or family member. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

That’s way too huge of a nut to crack in this humble post. But one facet that’s worth a few minutes of consideration is how the negative self-talk can get reflected in our speech. There are three words in particular that I hear myself use and am beginning to understand how they impact my view of myself and my relationships with others.

TRY

Most of us have heard the sage advice of Yoda, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Powerful words for jedi, as well as us normal folks. Telling someone I will “try” to do something can be a cop-out. It lets me off the hook for not staying true to my word. It’s my excuse to not follow through or take a stand. In the zombie apocalypse, there’s a profound difference in telling your partner…

“I will protect you from this onslaught of the undead!” vs.
“I will TRY to protect you from this onslaught of the undead!”

When I’m standing on a country road surrounded by walking corpses with only a pocketknife in my hand , I sure know which one I’d rather hear.

SHOULD

When I want to cast judgement on myself, feel that I’m not good enough, or think that I’ll never meet expectations of others (or myself), I go straight to “should”.

“I should eat more vegetables” (judgement: I’m fat and unhealthy.)
“I should’ve known that” (judgement: I’m stupid and will never figure this out.)
“I should be more like her” (judgement: She’s better/smarter/prettier than me.)

Tiny adjustments take away judgement and give me power:

“I will eat more vegetables” – I just made a commitment to eat more healthily!
“I’m surprised I didn’t know that” I just spotted an opportunity to learn something new!
“I’d like to be more like her” – My friends can be positive influences in my life!

BUT

Seems like an innocent word, right? However, BUT can be very limiting and stop me from facing new challenges.

“I want to get a better job, but I don’t have money for school.”
“I’d like to make-out with someone tonight, but I don’t have a boyfriend.”

That’s it. I’ve stated something I want, followed by the reason I can’t have it.
The end.

Try replacing BUT with AND to see how the same sentences transform:

“I want to get a better job, and I don’t have money for school”…so how can I earn that money?
“I’d like to make-out with someone tonight, and I don’t have a boyfriend”…so I’ll go out with some friends and meet new guys!

 

Take a few minutes to think about your use of these words. I’m getting more adept at stopping mid-sentence for an attitude adjustment, but I’ve got a long way to go!

(Image: e.r.w.i.n)

Annual podcast round-up

8039277170_4233330218_zIt’s been a year since first posting about all the podcasts I so enjoy listening to. As my life changes (interests, moods, peeves) over time, so does the selection of shows in which I regularly partake. I find it interesting that all the podcasts I now listen to could be placed into just three categories: personal finance, lifestyle, and health/fitness. Looking back at last year, I’ve dropped all my podcasts about running, movies, and pop culture. With so many great shows popping up every week, a girl has to prioritize!

Before we even get to the shows, an important aspect of enjoying podcasts is how you listen.  I made a recent change to my app of choice.  I noticed that Stitcher was getting buggy, occasionally didn’t offer shows I wanted to add, and it was getting difficult to manage my ever-increasing number of shows. Though frightening at first, it turned out to be a good call once I discovered Overcast. The app is free, it has all the shows I want, and it’s easy for me to find and maneuver to the latest unplayed episodes. I also love the easily-accessible 30 second fast forward button (that I couldn’t use from my iPhone Control Center via Stitcher). And now, on to the shows!

Personal Finance:
  • Brian Preston’s “Money Guy” – Brian is a likable host of this twice monthly show. Not super exciting, but good topics explained clearly in his adorable drawl.
  • The Dough Roller Money Podcast – I prefer Rob’s interview episodes. It can get a bit dry when he’s on his own, but good financial food for thought.
  • Financial Independence Podcast – You blog readers might’ve heard of the “Mad Fientist”. He only puts out a show every few months, but they’re worth the wait.
  • Jill on Money – I like hearing specific advice to caller questions, as well as the guests Jill has on each show.
  • Listen Money Matters – I gave this one up for many months, but recently picked it back up. Topics are occasionally dumbed-down too much, but I have learned from several episodes. Their “Five Questions” advice is unimpressive.
  • M.O.N.E.Y – I really like J. Money and Paula together. Their differing backgrounds offer a good combination of experience and advice. Paula makes me want to go out and buy apartment buildings!
  • So Money with Farnoosh Torabi – I’ve been listening to Farnoosh since day one of the podcast. She’s a skilled interviewer and lands some fascinating guests. I don’t know how she does it five days a week!
  • Stacking Benjamins – This is an old work horse of mine. Joe and O.G. rarely disappoint with good guests, roundtables, and goofy comedy.
Lifestyle:
  • The Art of Charm – This one’s not just for the fellas! Jordan is quick and honest in his interviews. I love how he can hack through any B.S.
  • Death, Sex, and Money – Is often unexpected and brutally honest.
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin – Sisters Gretchen and Elizabeth are great together. They offer some fun life practices (amongst too many commercials).
  • The Lively Show – This one is newer to me and has interesting lifestyle topics so far.
  • The Minimalists Podcast – I dig Josh and Ryan’s message. Smart and well-written. Now go out and get rid of all your stuff!
Health/Fitness:
  • Balanced Bites – Diane and Liz are fun in their talk of real food nutrition.
  • Bulletproof Radio – This old staple of mine continues to explode in popularity, although I’m not too interested in some recent topics (such as neurogenesis and alternative medicine).
  • The Fat-Burning Man Show – Worth a listen just for Abel’s deep voice! But of course, he also has good conversations on health, food, and fitness.
  • Harder to Kill Radio – Steph is smart and has a cool body-positive message.
  • Latest in Paleo – Angelo brings a smart perspective to a very well-researched weekly show on what’s happening in the food/health world.
  • The Paleo Women Podcast – Stefani and Noelle answer listener questions in a fun and authentic way.
  • The Primal Blueprint Podcast – Mark Sisson is a legend in the “paleosphere”. I prefer the interview episodes and often skip the shorter article narrations.
  • Robb Wolf: The Paleo Solution Podcast – Robb is genuine, funny, and has some great guests.
  • The Tim Ferriss Show – I don’t think I need to say much about this one. It’s so popular for a reason. Tim gets amazing guests and is skilled at digging in deep for the good stuff.

Wow! That’s a whole lot of podcasts (22 to be exact). But each one brings me entertainment, knowledge, and has replaced most of my television watching. I’m always looking for new recommendations, so feel free to send them my way in the comments.

Happy listening.

(Image: LizWest)