My 1st 24-Hour Fast

So I recently completed my first 24-hour fast.

Here’s how it went down –

I finished my last meal at 6:45 p.m. on 2/11/15. It was a large dinner, so I decided not to eat anything the rest of the night. I was planning on fasting in the morning until lunch, which is part of an Intermittent Fasting plan that I do every once and a while.

The day before this I listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast at work, where he mentioned doing a 7-Day Distilled Water Fast. I found that to be pretty incredible. So he planted a seed in my mind for me to try something to test my discipline and improve myself.

At about 10 a.m., I realized that I still wasn’t very hungry. I had my daily checklist next to me – which is a new habit I’ve been working on – and I wrote down “Fast until Dinner”. It was settled then.

I got off work at 4:30 pm. and went to the gym on a pretty empty stomach for a light workout and some time in the Sauna.

By 6:30 p.m., I was finally cooking up some Bacon and Eggs, with Sweet Potatoes and a Salad. That’s how you “break a fast”.

Success!

Some notes:
  • I didn’t stick to a total fast. I created my own version. When I do Intermittent Fasting, I usually have a Bulletproof Coffee (Grass Fed Butter and Coconut Oil), which can help put your body in fat-burning mode. On this day I had a coffee with about a tablespoon of Coconut Oil in it. I also ate 1 serving of vegetables (a few carrots and broccoli) with Olive Oil over it. Again, went with good fats. I also allowed myself to have 5 Almonds in the afternoon. I had a Green Tea as well.
  • In the afternoon, I felt amazing. My energy levels never went down. The only time it affected me was my workout, which was obviously much more of a struggle. I had incredible focus throughout the day and my mind was extremely clear. I felt pure…and at times, euphoric. I couldn’t have been happier with those results.
  • I’m not going to say I wasn’t tempted. Going down to my work lobby where everyone was eating may not have been the best move. However, breaking away from my normal routine was probably the most difficult part. But honestly, I had very little food cravings. The afternoon was also not too difficult.
  • I’d attribute the lack of food cravings throughout the day to having no sugar or carbohydrates. This process once again re-affirmed my stance that having sugar or bad carbs in the morning will lead to unhealthy cravings. I try to stick to slow-carbs, protein, or good fats. This process helps differentiate food cravings and the feelings of actual hunger.
  • I lost ~4 lbs during the 24 hours.
  • A note from a week later – I am still down about 3 lbs without adjusting my diet. Also, the sugar cravings – and food cravings in general – are noticeably lacking. I’d guess this is related to the fast cleaning out my gut, which is my best guess to being the culprit of the cravings.

If you’re interested in trying this, I’d check out Mark’s Daily Apple for more info on Fasting. There is a lot of good stuff from him.

I will definitely be doing this again.

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Time Is Killing Me

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There are times when I allow my visions and plans for the future determine my emotional state. This leads to anxiety when my current state is at odds with my plans. When I am in these states, relationships and work are often on my mind…one of the two usually dominating my attention – and eventually emotions.

Too much of this is not healthy.

This is probably what Buddha continuously felt that led to this revelation:

Do not dwell in the past, Do not dream of the future, Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

The best way to dig myself out of these destructive states is to be consciously aware of them. That means having the understanding of how my mind works, and breaking the negative cycle early on. Do not let your emotions control you. You have power over them if you choose. Often, it just takes finding an approach that works for you.

Like most things, easier said than done…

After a lot of trial and error, I have found a few tactics that have worked for me:

  1. Writing – I am so glad I have developed this habit. Writing down whatever is on my mind onto a piece of paper can be so relieving. Just let it come out. You’ll then notice a couple of things. (1) That whatever is going on in your head is often very trivial (2) That the emotional intensity you were feeling from this anxiety is greatly weakened.
  2. Sleep/Nap – Often these problems occur when you’re deficient of sleep.
  3. Meditation – There are so many forms of meditation you could practice. One that I just learned that works well anywhere is Box Breathing – 4 seconds in – hold for 4 – 4 seconds out – hold for 4 – Repeat.

You may notice that time is at the heart of these anxieties. It is often not the actual person or job that is causing the issues, but straying away from your internal plans or experiencing the feelings of losing precious time.

I’ll take a quote from Nietzsche:

Glance into the world just as though time were gone and everything crooked will become straight to you.

This simple – yet powerful – thought exercise can work extremely well too.

We must focus on what we can do now. Ask yourself if you can take immediate action on your current anxieties. If the answer is NO – then you must let it go at that moment. It is serving no purpose.

Many times I have resistance towards this process. But only a couple of minutes of this can do wonders by removing the thought(s) that are consuming my attention.

I encourage you to try this next time you’re stressed or feeling anxious. Write down you problems. See things differently. Rest. See what works for you.

We all have our problems…

But there is beauty in the ability to mitigate and eventually overcome them.

2/13 Note To Self – On External Events, Adapting, and Making Time

2/13 – A personal note written quickly on Friday afternoon 

Don’t let external events or other people determine your view of the world. Don’t let them distract you. Or let them set limits on you. Don’t let them decide where you’re going. Don’t let them determine your impact in this world.

We humans are great at adapting. It is the reason we are still alive and kickin. We would be the prey of a predator or the victims of famine. Adapting is a great advantage. But with that, there is also a downside. We adapt to what others have done before us because it works. We adapt to similar behaviors that are often destructive. We adapt to what our friends and acquaintances see as a right. It’s ying and yang.

The problem is there is no time-out in our society to take time and evaluate what is really going on. We are chess pieces on a board that is often already deciding our next move. That is, unless we step back. Unless we see things from a different angle. A different point of view. Some quit their jobs, travel, and find themselves. Others can’t because of the dependencies in their life, whether those be self-induced or forced upon them.

Some may argue they don’t have time. But there is time. Eliminate the unnecessary and find the time because it is essential for you. Gather your energy and create your own version of this life. You have the power to do that. You can choose where to focus your attention. You can choose who to surround yourself with. You can adapt in the best way you see fit. Make the time to see through all of the mess and your mind and vision will become clearer. Then comes action.

Accomplished at 26

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So this week I turned 26. To gain a little perspective, I decided to look up what others have accomplished during their 26th year in this world. It is humbling to say the least.

  • Steve Jobs is fresh off of Apple becoming a public company. Job’s net worth grows from a few million to over $200 million.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte is named Commander-in-Chief of French Army. Napoleon wins a few major battles, the Battle of Lodi and the Battle of Arcole, that eventually leads to a victory over Italy.
  • Ken Kesey publishes his first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
  • Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin, revolutionizing the economies of the United States and Britain.
  • Mark Zuckerberg gets a movie made about him and his creation of Facebook – The Social Network.
  • Eminem releases his breakthrough album, The Slim Shady LP.
  • Albert Einstein has his best year of his life, that he will later describe as his “Annus Mirabilis” – his miraculous year – Albert Einstein publishes four major theoretical papers in the prestigious German academic journal Annalen Der Physik. These four papers include a groundbreaking new interpretation of the photoelectric effect (for which Einstein will eventually win the Nobel Prize) as well as the first published exploration of the theory of Special Relativity and the first formulation of the famous equation e=mc2.
  • Soviet cosmonaut, Valentina Chereshkova, became the first woman to travel in space.
  • Jay Z releases his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, which was included in the Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time.
  • John D. Rockefeller buys out his partners and becomes majority owner of Rockefeller and Andrews, Cleveland’s largest refinery.

It’s easy to look at these examples and think to yourself – well not everyone is Steve Jobs or Jay Z. Yes, that’s true. But it is important to remember these people were all just getting started on their own personal journey. At one point in time, they were the same age as I am right now. We know we have some time ahead of us, but just how long is a mystery. So the most important step to make towards a fulfilled, accomplished life is to focus on what is in front of you right now. It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be successful, seeking happiness, or striving to be famous. But we need to be smarter than that. Take the words of Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor,

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.

Success and happiness must ensue. It cannot be pursued.

So you must stay on your grind. Keep your head down. Remove distractions. Push forward a little bit daily. Fight your way through the obstacles. Think bigger than yourself.

Only then will you come closer to the life you seek. Maybe it will start to show its face at 26. Maybe in a few years. Maybe never.

But you must try.