Instead of writing? Well, for a while…
You guys probably figured out that I’ve been busy with other stuff. ‘Cause…what have I published lately? Not that I don’t have ready or almost-ready material (I do!), but I’ve obviously been neglecting the writing thing for the last couple of months.
Part of that was due to some anticipated financial issues, which may or may not arise–we’re ready for ’em now either way, though, which is a nice feeling. Part was due to teenage drama. That bit isn’t resolved, exactly, but its severity is much reduced. Or at least its ability to affect those of us who still live here is, well, less. About which I have mixed feelings. But! Progress will be easier to make on various projects. That part’s just swell.
Part, too, was due to a daycare/preschool issue…nothing major going on there, but I got to spend a lot more time with my daughter than usual for a while. Toward the end of it we started having tons of fun. I’m missing it already. But! Projects!
Meanwhile, I decided to try something rather goofy–intermittent fasting. (Incidentally, that Wikipedia article is fairly weak. I could point you to other stuff, but if you care you’ll probably do your own research. I decided a while back not to try to use this blog to “prove” stuff to people, ’cause I’m no good at it anyway–it’s more of a place for me to post thoughts & let folks who are interested know about my writing progress.)
Why the heck would I do something so weird? I mean, doesn’t food taste good??? Well, a bit over ten years ago I started eating low-carb stuff semi-exclusively. And I lost nearly 40 pounds. The weight would stay off if I’d just stick to something under 25 grams of carbohydrate or so per day…unfortunately, I’m one of the people who will put on weight quite rapidly if I go over that level, even occasionally. I don’t even know where the weight gain would stop! So far I’ve let it get back near my initial level a couple of times, then lost it all again. Though…maybe I could take up sumo wrestling? Might be fun. Hmm.
This low-carbiness is actually not such a horrible thing–my wife has a wonderful low-carb food blog–but there’s one horrible consequence. One food I don’t want to do without. One item that, when I consume it, actually causes me to gain weight even if it’s my only indulgence for the week, and even if I ingest it on no more than one occasion during that week.
Yes. You guessed the horrible truth. Beer is my nemesis.
Bear in mind here that I’m a beer snob. I like to brew my own. I like to taste new beers, and to do so often. So I was wondering–how can I successfully consume beer but avoid putting on body fat? Is the universe truly so deranged that this simple pleasure must be forgone?
(For those of you who think “more exercise” is the answer, which can only be those of you who don’t know me personally, I’ll give a hollow and frighteningly jiggly belly laugh. Then I’ll refer you to Gary Taubes. Same if you think reducing calories will do the trick–turns out that yes, body weight can be lost that way for a while…unfortunately most of it won’t be fat. Again, go to his site and read his books if the topic interests you. GCBC is, for the skeptical, the place to start.)
It occurred to me that Robert Atkins based part of his diet plan on at least one older restricted-carbohydrate diet that, in place of the 2-week “induction” period, suggested a 48-hour fast to begin the diet–but Atkins recommended a very strict low-carb regimen (that “induction” thing) to achieve roughly the same metabolic effects instead, on the theory that it’d be easier to get people to actually do it. Since I do demand an occasional beer, and don’t mind doing stuff the “hard” way, it seemed likely to me that if I followed a “beer day” with a 36-hour fast…well, heck. Maybe I’d have this weight puppy licked!
I guess 36 hours seems like a long time. Really, it’s just skipping food for a single day. Dinner/supper one night, nothing the next day, breakfast the day after.
So, since my family-folk were all away for a while, I tried alternate-day fasting for a bit. (Hereinbefore I define “a bit” as ten days.) On each and every eating day I made it a point to drink at least a couple of beers. None of that low-carb stuff either–I went with double IPAs mostly. And I ate as much as I wanted of otherwise low-carb food on my eating days.
I lost weight. And it was easy. And I got to drink beer. And, weirdly, my appetite actually seemed to decrease if anything. That last bit is apparently idiosyncratic.
Then my wife came back into town, and I told her what I’d been up to–then ducked. But she didn’t swing!
So we both did a bit of online research. I’d been aware of the potential benefits of caloric restriction since I was a teenager, but it had always seemed a difficult thing to implement. Who knew intermittent fasting (known, apparently, as IF) was fairly likely to offer the same sorts of benefits? Or even more? Not I, anyway. I’d have tried it out a long time ago.
So my wife surprised me (again) and said she wanted to give it a shot. We agreed on a MWF non-eating schedule, which left us free to indulge ourselves on weekends and plan future events without having to count on our fingers to figure out whether eating would be okay. This is our sixth week of intermittent fasting on that schedule. And we’ve both been losing weight. Nice!
Even better than that? I’ve been sleepy most days since my daughter was born nearly five years ago. Part of it is that she used to wake up fairly often, but mostly it’s just that day-care folks tend to be open for business only during “normal” business hours. I can’t both be with her and work (though I wish I could!), so…that means I’ve had to get up most mornings even though I’ve historically had much higher energy levels when staying up late and sleeping until noon or so.
Even when my wife has taken her to day-care or preschool, it hasn’t helped–because once that level of noise is made in the morning, I can’t get back to sleep. Absolutely nothing has helped with this. Ever. And boy, have I tried to fix it.
Lately, though? I’ve been waking up before either of them. I have two full hours each day of wakefulness I haven’t enjoyed since I was a teenager, and I rarely feel sleepy. I have no idea why this is happening, but it’s by far the largest benefit of this fasting business. It’s…well, it’s huge. And it’s making me very happy. I just have more energy during the (now significantly longer) day. If I have to be hungry sometimes to achieve this effect? I really don’t care.
Unfortunately it turns out I do need to watch the carbs to avoid putting on fat even with this regimen–at least over the weekend when I eat for two days in a row–but OTOH I do get to have some, and without a single “dose” requiring me to abstain almost entirely from carbohydrates for a week or more in order to get back on track–and of course by now you folks know in what form the carbs are consumed. Beer is good! Beer is great!
For those with less severe carbohydrate issues, and for anyone still wondering why the heck we’d be doing this to ourselves, I recommend Dr. Michael Mosley’s very entertaining video.
Okay. I know. Who cares? You already know I wander around barefoot and make my own toothpaste and have a screw loose. Why am I bothering you with this stuff?
Because you let me. That’s why. But, for those who just want to know about books and such? I’m back at work today. I’ve written a bit over 3000 words of fiction, and my schedule’s cleared of damn near everything else for the next few weeks.
Be patient, if you want to. Or do something else, if that’s your thing. Either way…have fun out there!