First 12 days in OA program – Day 1 (Sunday August 1 2021)

I attended my second meeting yesterday. Although I’ve now been in OA for 6 days, I’m going to count today as Day 1.

I’ll talk about what happened yesterday in a separate post later.

So… Question 1 reads: Tradition 3 says “The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively”

a) What does “eating compulsively” mean to you?

b) Do you have the desire to stop eating compulsively? If yes, what led you to OA? Discuss your answers with your 12 Day Sponsor.

Phew! That’s some big questions!

Eating compulsively for me means not being able to stop or say no to food.

I have a complete lack of control, especially regarding some foods.

So yesterday, for example, I did the shopping around lunchtime. While I was at the supermarket, I saw tins of reduced cream and figured I should probably replace the ones at home I’d eaten as dip.

So I bought two, and four packets of onion soup mix to make up the dip.

Then I bought dry biscuits for the dip.

It was at the exact moment I was taking the biscuits off the shelf for my trolley that I had a sudden thought that I was facilitating a binge.

Then I put the biscuits in my trolley and went on to the rest of the shopping.

So I had my “wake up” moment. I could have stopped it right there, but I didn’t. I knew what I was doing, but did it any way.

I don’t even know why. I should know better, but I ignored the “not doing it” option.

I ate two tins worth of reduced cream and onion soup mix, and three tubes of biscuits with it. It’s all gone.

I guess that’s an example of a binge.

I need to find my “no button”. It’s an example of eating compulsively.

I eat chocolate, biscuits and dairy foods compulsively as the main offenders, with junk food (worst is KFC) not far behind.

I also don’t seem to understand or recognise when I’m full. I finish my plate, and usually finish first out of my family.

I need to learn how to tell when I’m full, and how to eat more slowly and mindfully.

Do I want to stop eating compulsively?

YES!!!

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Overeaters Anonymous

I’ve started going to Overeaters Anonymous. It feels weird to be going, and I’m kind of scared it will be just another thing I fail at, food-wise.

I just had my second meeting today, so I’m a real newbie. But they’ve made me so welcome, and there are other members who understand what I’ve been going through. Up until now, I didn’t have that. Weight Watchers came close with the support, but we never really shared what we were all going through.

I can’t control my eating. I know that now. I am powerless with food. I can’t manage it. So an eating plan by itself is not going to work with me. I need to change my mindset. I need to learn new habits, and get rid of the old ones that don’t do me any good.

I haven’t weighed myself in ages. I’m kind of scared to. I don’t know whether my sponsor – when I get one – will want me to weigh in, but if so I’ll do it then.

Or maybe I’ll do it tomorrow. At least then I’ll know how bad my situation is.

What worries me as well is that when I do lose weight, I tend to binge immediately afterwards. It’s almost like I want to fail. It’s strange, and I don’t understand it. Maybe it’s because I don’t really want to give up my addiction. Except I do. I really want this helplessness to stop.

So that’s me. I’m doing this. I have a problem – an addiction – to food.

And I want to get better.

How much should you weigh?

The BMI is a useful tool, and a great first step to figure out what you should weigh. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.

There’s a BMI calculator here: BMI calculator

I’m five feet eleven inches tall, and I’ve set my goal weight at 175 pounds. That’s right at the top of the healthy range for my height, giving me a BMI of 24.4. That’s just within the healthy weight range.

Although I’d like to be lower than that, I’m starting with a goal that is achievable for me.

If you’re severely overweight, you might want to set a goal weight that gives you a BMI or 30 or even 35. This is about progress, not end results. Do what works for you, and select a goal that is within your sights.

MINI GOALS CAN HELP

If you (like me) have a lot of weight to lose, break things down into achievable short-term mini goals. These might include reaching a “big number” e.g. 250 pounds, or 200 pounds, or whatever. Or it might have nothing to do with actual weight, and instead being about fitting into a nice dress, or a slim cut pair of pants.

WEIGH YOURSELF DAILY

I also suggest you weigh yourself daily, and log the weight using an app or a notebook. Daily weighs may seem counter intuitive, but they help you get the big picture about how your weight fluctuates, as well as reminding you that your weight is important.

I fluctuate quite a bit on a daily basis. So today I weighed in a full two pounds over yesterday’s weight – and I know I haven’t gained that much in 24 hours! That’s okay – I logged the weight on the app I use, and I know that next time I weigh in I’ll probably be back down again.

Daily weigh ins help you keep in touch with your real body, its ups and downs, and its mechanisms. They will also help make weighing in a habit, which is what you want, as it will help you keep check on your health and the amount of fat you really need to lose.

MEASURE YOUR WAIST, BUST AND HIPS

Measure your waist, bust and hips once a month.

It’s not only useful to know your measurements for when you buy clothes (especially online), but measurements provide an indication of how you’re going.

I’d recommend you measure no more than once a month, as otherwise the changes will likely be too small to notice.

I measure myself on the first of every month, and I note the figures down.

Throw your “fat clothes” out!

Our clothes help to define who we are, and what we want to be. That’s why you need to throw your fat clothes out and replace them with clothes that mirror who you want to be.

I used to keep oversized clothes when I lost weight during my “yo-yo years”. You know, “just in case”? I also used to try to be as comfortable as possible in clothes that were loose, especially at home where all my disordered eating was happening.

The result of this is that there was never any pressure from my wardrobe to lose weight. I felt bad because I looked bad. And any time I gained weight, I’d avoid my tight clothes and wear looser ones.

I was all about comfort, and had no self-respect or real care for my body.

Over time, of course, the loose clothes began to get tight and I’d go buy jeans, tops and jackets that were bigger again. And so it went, gradually upsizing my way into the plus sizes and feeling worse about myself as time went on.

There was no restriction, no restraint, no direct pressure to lose weight, and nothing to inspire me to change my habits. So I didn’t. Why would I?

HOW DO YOU WANT TO LOOK? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO WEAR?

Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out what we really want to wear, especially if we’ve spent our entire lives compromising due to size. But your best and healthiest shouldn’t be a compromise.

Having a “look” in mind is a useful way to encourage yourself to make change. Be realistic. Work with your budget, body shape and proportions. You’re probably never going to look like a celebrity (that’s why they’re celebrities, after all!) but you can certainly look pretty good. Most people can.

So throw your fat clothes out. Start taking better care of yourself. You deserve it.

The keto-carnivore diet

OVERVIEW

From what we know about how ancestral humans ate, the keto-carnivore diet is a species-appropriate diet.

What this means is that eating this way is closer to how humans were designed to eat than the way we typically eat these days.

Keto-carnivore is based on meat, fish and other animal foods, including full fat dairy, eggs and technically insects if you like (I don’t). It also includes seasonal low-sugar fruits and vegetables, but in very small amounts – the focus of your plate is firmly on meat.

Processed foods, grains and beans are out, and water is the drink of choice, although many carnivore types keeps with coffee or tea through choice.

WHAT CAN I EAT?

A typical meal might be a steak cooked in butter or lard, ground beef cooked in its own juices, or eggs any way you like.

Fish and seafood are both great, and chicken is fine too, although many people who have been eating this way for a while find that nothing satisfies them quite like red meat. I know I feel this way, and steaks are my favourite meal.

Almost all calories come from fat and protein, and absolutely minimal energy comes from plant foods (carbohydrates and sugars).

Plant foods that are eaten on occasion include berries, herbs and spices, and sometimes some low-allergy green plants such as cucumber, pickles, saurkraut and lettuce, but these are eaten more as a garnish than as a side item.

There are no supplements necessary on this diet, although I”m currently taking daily vitamin D as an immune support while the virus is rampant.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT ON THIS DIET?

A typical mainly carnivore individual usually eats 400-600 grams of meat per day, which is about a pound and a half in pre-cooked weight.

Depending on what you eat, this diet can either be cheaper than a standard diet as you’re cutting all the expensive processed foods out, or more expensive if you’re buying expensive cuts of meat.

Meat does not have to be grass-fed and organic. Any meat will do, including hamburger patties from fast food outlets if you want. I’m friends with one man who eats nothing but ground beef and bacon every day, and a lady who eats a large number of McDonalds patties, just ordering the meat patties only when she’s on the road.

It’s entirely up to you what you eat, just as long as the vast majority of it is animal-based.

KETO-CARNIVORE MEAL EXAMPLES

Some meals I have had recently:

  • Pork belly, roasted with salt and pepper
  • Steak cooked in butter, with chilli flakes as seasoning
  • Half a roast chicken from the supermarket
  • Eggs cooked in butter in a skillet
  • Salmon fried in butter, with a little garlic (the skin is the best part – it goes crispy and is delicious fried)
  • Scrambled eggs made with cream and cooked in butter
  • Prawns fried in the pan in butter and ginger
  • Lamb chops barbecued
  • Roast rabbit
  • Turkey roasted with our own sage leaves
  • Locally hunted venison cooked in duck fat
  • Chicken hearts air-fried with salt and pepper
  • Locally hunted wallaby steaks pan fried with lots of black pepper.

Eat all the fat and choose nice, fatty cuts. Lots of meat-based people choose to eat offal cuts of meat, with liver (my husband makes home made pate and its amazing) and marrow being particularly prized.

We always buy meat on special, and keep our freezer well-stocked, taking advantage of cheap cuts and sales. We also hunt and fish, and will eat pretty much anything we hunt locally.

Once you start eating this way, plant foods become a lot less interesting. Meat is wonderful, and will keep you full and content.

WILL I GAIN WEIGHT?

You won’t gain weight eating just meat, although it is theoretically possible if you eat nothing ut very high fat cuts and a huge amount.

Typically people on this diet find they are not as hungry, and lose weight easily. In my case, I’ve also found my dry skin has improved, and my allergies have all but disappeared.

BUT WHAT ABOUT…?

This diet flies in the face of the vegan / vegetarian / plant-based movement. It is almost exactly the opposite, yet has far more solid evidence and science behind its safety and efficacy than any plant-based diet. There is no native population in the world that has ever been vegan, yet cultures such as the Inuit and Masai eat this way and maintain perfect health.

Australian Aborigines also eat this way traditionally, and maintain excellent health, with modern issues such as obesity and diabetes only affecting those who have transferred to a poor quality standard Western diet.

Exercise you enjoy

Repeat after me: Exercise is fun!

Exercise is a bit of a dirty word for many of us. Lots of us have gym memberships we don’t use and feel guilty about, or we know we should exercise but we don’t, or we have intentions of getting out there but we’re so busy it just doesn’t happen.

I get that.

All the above are a problem when the exercise you intend to do isn’t something that fits with your lifestyle or personality. What should be fun and enjoyable becomes a source of guilt and failure, and we end up feeling worse about ourselves than if we just sat on the sofa with a family-sized bag of corn chips.

The answer to exercising regularly begins with being honest with yourself.

If you hate gyms and work long hours, a gym membership probably isn’t going to work for you.

Likewise, if you intend to start swimming but it’s a long way to the pool and it’s always busy, that probably won’t work either.

You need to start with an honest assessment of yourself and your lifestyle. Some good questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I self-conscious about my body and what it is currently capable of? If this is so, maybe stripping down to a swimsuit or wearing tight-fitting workout clothes at a gym isn’t right for you.
  • What can I afford to spend? If your budget is stretched, joining an expensive sport (horse-riding or golfing spring to mind) may not work for you.
  • What free time do I have? If you work from 8 am to 6 pm every day, fitting in a sport might be difficult.
  • Where are my energy levels right now? Despite what you hear, regular exercise will probably tire you out at first, especially if you’re not used to it.
  • Will I actually DO it? The smallest, lightest exercise tat you actually DO is always going to get better results than a full-on exercise you intend to do but never actually do.

SO WHAT THEN?

I think the best exercise you can get are movements like walking, gardening and small weights you can use at home.

A small set of hand weights costs about the same as one weeks’ gym membership. Walking to work (if you’re close enough) or getting off the bus a stop early and walking the est of the way home can actually save you money. Gardening has its own rewards outside of fitness.

In my case, I walk. I leave my office at lunch time and get in a walk, and I sometimes walk to work, which is about half an hour of exercise as well. I walk to our local shops when I just have to buy a few items, and I walk around town when I’m there. I usually grab the car park that is furthest from the door, and take the stairs instead of the elevator, and that gives me extra movement too.

I also do some weight bearing exercise at home with my own set of dumbbells.

Whatever you decide, be realistic ad assess it regularly. If it isn’t working – for whatever reason – try something different.

It doesn’t matter how much you move, as long as you’re moving more.

Cheat sheet: 3 simple steps to wellness

Most people on the standard Western diet eat up to 10 times a day. Their diets consist mainly of carbohydrates and sugar (plus a huge dose of additives, colours, flavours, stabilizers, preservatives etc.), and there are few healthy habits and set routines.

The end result of all this disordered, poor eating is that you may be perpetually hungry, and suffer from a host of allergies and other ailments, including obesity, hayfever, dry itchy eyes and acne.

If this all sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It sure is real familiar to me!

Breaking down what’s wrong

Eating a high carbohydrate, high sugar diet will keep you being always hungry, with rollercoasting blood sugar levels being a huge part of the problem. Your blood sugar spikes after a high carb / high sugar meal, then plummets a little while later, leaving you exhausting and hungry, looking around for your next sugar “fix”.

Also, if you’re basing your diet on carbohydrates and sugar, you’re almost certainly not getting enough healthy fats. This can lead to dry skin and eyes, eczema and allergies, and digestive difficulties.

The long term result of all this is you keep eating, keep feeling hungry, and keep trashing your blood sugar, leading eventually to obesity, diabetes and a host of other problems.

Solving your own personal sugar crisis

Fixing all this is not complicated, but it is hard. Eat more foods with healthy fats, end your reliance and addiction on carbs and sugars, and reduce and habitualize healthy eating patterns.

Below we overview the 3 simple steps of the Fit, Fed and Fasted program.

STEP 1 – Start a FUN EXERCISE PROGRAM

A healthy, sensible exercise program can really help with your mindset as well as your fitness.

This doesn’t mean rushing in to sign up at the nearest gym! However it does mean finding an exercise that works for you and your lifestyle, is affordable and is fun.

Walking and swimming are great options, as is lifting weights. Do whatever you prefer – this is your life and your choice.

STEP 2 – Rebalance your diet

Meat and fish should be central to your diet, and provide the vast majority of calories. In fact, the fewer non-animal foods you eat, the healthier you will be. Your blood sugar will settle, and your hunger will become controlled without all the carbs and sugar sending your blood sugar spiralling.

STEP 3 – Reframe your eating window

Getting your eating under control involves reducing when you eat in a 24 hour period. It may – if you choose – also mean reducing how many meals you have in the course of an entire week.

You’ll also need to habitualize where and how you eat, quitting snacking behaviours that undermine your wellbeing.

Three steps to health and wellness

These three steps are straightforward and easy to understand. They’re affordable and manageable for just about anyone.

Yes, you can do it! Over the coming posts, we’ll delve into how to take these steps, and discuss some common problems and pitfalls along the way.

Tools for fasting success: What you need

Losing weight and becoming healthier isn’t about buying expensive plans or special food.

It’s not about fancy gym memberships costing tens of thousands of dollars a year either.

I know this. I’ve tried these methods, and none of them worked.

To lose weight, you need to fast regularly. This will burn off the sugar in your system, then lower your overall calorie intake over the long term.

The good thing is, you don’t need many tools to fast successfully.

Tools for fasting successfully

Scales: You need a reliable scale – or a pair of tight-fitting jeans to measure your loss by. I prefer the “jeans method” myself!

Water bottle: You also need a decent sized water bottle to keep at your workplace and carry around with you. Drinking plenty of water is the key to successful fasting – it helps physically as well as emotionally, because you feel like you’re having something, even though you’re not.

Teas: I find a selection of lovely, high quality teas helps me work through difficult periods of a fast, especially for the times of the day when the rest of the family is eating and I’m not. I curl up in a ball on the sofa, and sip my tea, and I feel like I’m enjoying a treat and some solitude, rather than depriving myself.

Keeping busy: Keeping yourself busy is critical to a successful fast. I usually start my fasts on a Sunday night, so I’m fasting on work days, and am busy. The hardest times are weekends or times when I don’t have a lot to do, and food starts taking over my brain.

A notebook: You may find a little notebook useful. I write down how I’m feeling, how I’m coping, and even a ridiculous list of “all the food I want to eat right now” when times are tough on a fast. Weirdly enough, when I actually write down the foods I’m craving, the cravings go away. Maybe it’s because I usually crave junk food, but when you actually think about junk food deeply, you realise it doesn’t actually taste that good!

Waterfasting forum: The waterfasting forum s a great support network for people who are fasting. Keeping in touch with like-minded individuals who are going through the same things you are going through can really help a lot. There’s a link on this page. It’s free, and very worthwhile.

Metamucil: While technically a “cheat”, it you feel like you desperately need something in your stomach, a teaspoon of metamucil in some water can really help you feel full. It can also help if you find yourself constipated, which can happen to some people when they fast.

Diary: Everyone fasts differently. I tend to fast from most Sunday nights, continuing through the week until I stop, usually lasting anywhere between 3 and 5 days. That works for me. Others find alternate day fasting works better. Do what works for you. But keeping a diary of when you fast and for how long is invaluable in tracking your progress, what works and what doesn’t and why. Add comments on how you felt, what made you stop if you stopped earlier than expected, and how you’re feeling at various points during the fast.

Happy fasting!

Goal weight: What’s yours?

Are goal weights just fantasy? Do they even make sense from a health perspective?

Everyone who has ever struggled with being overweight has a perfect weight they’d like to be.

For me, being a tall woman with a large frame, my goal weight is around 65 kgs /145 pounds.

Despite the fact that, as an adult I’ve never been that weight, I still have the idea firmly stuck in my head that if only I can reach that weight, everything will be roses, I’ll be perfect, my life will be incredible.

All thanks to a number on a scale.

It doesn’t make sense when you think about it logically. Thinking about it logically, what really makes sense is a) not allowing yourself to get obese in the first place and b) if you are obese, eating well, including fasting in your lifestyle, and heading in the right direction for health.

In other words, it doesn’t really matter how slowly you lose weight. It also doesn’t really matter whether you reach a “goal” or not. What matters is that, this time next year, you’d doing better and feeling better than you are right now.

Having an unattainable goal weight stuck in your head might just be making you miserable. That’s not the key to long life or happiness at all. Time and again, when we interview centenarians, they say “being content” was key to their long life. They all seem to be genuinely happy, thankful people.

So stop fixating on your “goal weight” that may or may not happen. Instead, think of some ways that you can make your life better in a genuine way, that may not have anything at all to do with weight. Go for daily walks with a friend or loved one, volunteer at a charity, write and share something useful and positive, fast for a few days and focus on your own wellbeing and spirituality while you do so.

It doesn’t matter how you make your own life better. Everyone’s version of happiness is different. Just like everyone’s goal weight. Which might or might not ever happen.

So smile. Be content. Be happy. Enjoy the sun when it shines.

Life is too short for numbers on a scale anyway!

Defeating allergies: Everything is inflammation

Stop the inflammation, eat more healthy fats, and you cure the allergy. That’s it. That’s what I learned.

If you read my last post, you’ll have read how I’m “allergic to everything”. Or I was. I think I might be cured now. So I want to share what I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and how it has helped me.

WE’RE THINKING ABOUT ALLERGY WRONG

I think that the medicines that doctors give us for allergies just hide our problems by covering up / curing the symptoms. They don’t actually cure the underlying disease.

It’s like fixing a sunburned face by covering it up with makeup. Sure, you might not look red, but you’re still red underneath. And by covering the burn up and not allowing it to cool down and heal, you’re actually making the problem worse!

You’ll look better for a little while, and you might fool some people if the makeup is really good, but damage is still happening, underneath the makeup.

A lot of the drugs our doctors give us for inflammatory illnesses are the same. They don’t solve the root causes – inflammation and not enough healthy fats in the diet.

So while you might feel better for a time, they’re only ever going to be a stop-gap measure. Plus, some of the side effects they come with might just make things worse. Plus, all the while you’re not dealing with the underlying issue, that issue could be getting worse.

If you have a toothache you might feel better by taking some painkillers, but unless you visit a dentist and get that tooth drilled and sorted, that yucky tooth is going to keep on rotting away and getting worse. You have to fix the problem.

Allergies are the same.

ISSUES OF INFLAMMATION AND DIET

The more we learn, the more we realise that a huge number of modern illnesses are actually symptoms of inflammation and diet.

Some of these are the problems I was suffering from: hayfever, asthma, eczema, allergic itchy eyes, and high blood sugar. Obesity / overweight is also inflammation- related, and there’s a lot of evidence that epilepsy and such disorders as arthritis, autism and multiple schlerosis are too.

We can ease the symptoms with a stack of different drugs that are available – and don’t get me wrong, some of these drugs are very, very good – but unless we fix the inflammation and our diet, these issues will never get resolved.

So you need to fix these if you’re going to get better.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT – AND DON’T EAT

I realised that I was insulting my body in a whole stack of ways. I’m sure you’ve read online, like I did, about all these “superfoods” I was supposed to be eating and all these amazing diets I was supposed to be following.

I couldn’t afford the superfoods, and I was bad at diets. They weren’t going to work. Plus, I suck at taking supplements – I keep forgetting to take them every morning.

Thankfully, what really works is not eating at all. That’s right: fasting. Water fasting gives your body time to clean house and clear your system out, dumping all the rubbish you’ve collected over the years. It sends inflammation running in the other direction!

When you do eat, you need plenty of healthy fats. I eat lots of butter and animal fat, and always eat the skin on the chicken and the rind of fat on meat. I do this and I don’t have allergies. It’s really that simple.

I also quit anything that might be irritating my skin and eyes. I quit all shampoos and conditioners and hair products, only using a bit of coconut oil for styling, and now my hair is great.

I’ll talk about what I did for my eyes and skin in separate posts. But once again, the answers were simple and cheap. I’m actually saving money getting well! 🙂

Diet-wise, I’m on a meat-centered diet, and I’ll talk all about that and how much better I feel as well. The diet I follow is affordable and easy, with no expensive supplements or “superfoods” – and I don’t bother with choosing expensive organic foods, although I do prefer fresh and local when possible.

The solution to allergies is to stop insulting your body. Don’t hurt it with things that cause it pain. Nurture your body with food it appreciates and care it needs.

Then let yourself bloom again.

 

Allergic to everything? My allergy journey…

My doctor had a medicine for everything and none of them worked!

THIS TIME LAST YEAR…

I’m an allergic person. I was diagnosed with eczema younger than I can remember, and some of my earliest memories involved my mother slathering my skin down with hydrocortisone and calamine lotion.

I was also told there was no cure for any of this. It was just “the luck of the draw.”

This time last year I was on over a dozen medications, including: 2 types of antihistamines plus antihistamine eye drops and three courses of prednisone; nasal spray and asthma puffer; three cortisone creams and ointments; specialist low-allergy hair shampoo; heavy moisturiser for my crazy dry skin that hurt, cracked and peeled; and a few others as well.

I was not well, but all my doctor could do was prescribe me more drugs and say it was “genetic”. I was miserable.

Furthermore, my doctor said my blood sugar was rising and I was likely to be diagnosed diabetic soon.

THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

My doctor was giving me drugs that masked, rather than healed my illness. That clearly wasn’t working, as I was getting sicker and sicker, so I dumped my doctor and began to find out more about my actual illnesses, and how they were caused.

The rest is history.

ONE YEAR ON…

One year on, I’m a different person. I’m on NO medicines at all, and I need none of them. I’m healthier, happier and thinner. While not where I want to be yet, regarding weight, I’m on a good path and heading in the right direction.

I’ll talk about how I’m doing all this in upcoming posts. And I’ll be clear: I am NOT a doctor and have no medical training.

However, I’ll also point out that no doctor could help me. I needed to help myself.

So read on, and I’ll share what I’m doing and how it’s going. You might want to give it a try too, especially if you’ve been down the path I’ve been on.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of health.

Fasting is a high-level sport

Have you ever pursued a sport to a high level? I have. I was a long-distance runner for a while in my youth, then a competitive rower, and far more recently I did bodybuilding and weightlifting.

Sportspeople deal with pain all the time. It’s part of the deal. Any weightlifter or bodybuilder can tell you how much it hurts to get up a set of stairs after a good, hard leg day! It can be agony (ever wondered why weightlifters don’t like houses with stairs?) Yet in some weird way, you look forward to the pain, and even enjoy it, because you know that it is a part of achieving your goal.

Likewise, runners and rowers and all kinds of competitive sportspeople go through pain too in pursuit of their goals. Even a good long walk can leave you aching the next day. We know this is good for us, we enjoy it, it’s part of the whole package, we accept that, and we feel great as a result. Discomfort is part of the deal, but the rewards are overwhelming.

Fasting is similar. It can be a challenge and at times it can be uncomfortable. The most difficult part is the work that goes on between your ears – getting your brain on right, planning how you’ll deal with challenges, seeing the road ahead of you and knowing you have the resolve to get the job done.

START SMALL

Just like a long race, or a heavy set of squats, I believe fasting is easier when you work up to it. I started with part-day fasts – skipping breakfast, then delaying lunch more and more until I could skip it altogether. Then I missed one day of food, then two, and so on. If we started our new running hobby by attempting a marathon, we’d probably fail. By starting with smaller goals, we achieve success and that encourages us to strive for more and achieve larger goals if we choose to.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE

Yet, just like a marathon or lifting weights, this is not a competition against anyone else except yourself. Fasting is about self-mastery, not competition against someone else’s body or weight or age or ability. Your goal should always be to find your own personal best, not to topple or discredit someone else’s achievement.

So think of yourself as an athlete, in the fast lane. Fasting is a powerful tool – perhaps the most powerful health tool we have available. It would be a shame to refuse it, simply because we’re afraid to try.