Monday, April 21, 2014

Eat Well and Stay Slim

My Eating Philosophy - To Eat Well and To Stay Slim
If you care to find out why I write this blog, you may realise I have eating problem and yet I overcome it by short term fasting. 

I've eaten a lot over the Easter holidays... at least eating much more than I normally do. However I'm still keeping one meal a day. See my Yummy Easter summary below. So apart from the four meals below, I ate nothing else over the holidays.  This means one meal every 24 hours.  But I don't restrict what I eat, I simply eat whatever I love to.  

There is another fitness philosophy called Eat Well Every Other Day.  Meaning you eat a restricted amount of calories on day 1 and on day 2 you eat whatever you love to.  

If you want to explore my option of staying fit, there is a book called Eat Stop Eat. Don't worry, I'm not asking you to eat one meal every 24 hours like me.  If you follow the ESE way of short term fasting, you only have to do a 24-hour fast twice weekly.  Well, if this looks possible, give it a try.  Or there is another book called The QOD Diet: Eating Well Every Other Day which is also worth reading.

If you want to eat well and at the same time stay fit, short term fasting is an interesting topic to explore.  There are many options.  Don't limit yourself to the options I suggested.

My Yummy Easter

Today is my last day of Easter Holidays.  As my recent leg pain has restricted my mobility, eating has become the highlight of my holidays.  Not only eating, but eat well.  

Eat well to cheer up a sick person.  Not bad at all.  Here's my yummy Easter summary.

Day 1 (April 18, Friday) - German buffet lunch, featuring knuckles and sausages
Day 2 (April 19, Saturday) - Dim Sum buffet lunch, 18 varieties totaling 20 dishes
Day 3 (April 20, Sunday) - Sichuen spicy special lunch set
Day 4 (April 21, Monday) - Solo luxury dim sum lunch

Food Blog and Fasting Blog
I have a food blog and a fasting blog.  The two blogs seem conflicting but they are tightly related.  I fast, so I eat less food than a normal person do.  Why I do this? You can find answers in this blog.  Less is more.  As I eat less food, they become more important in my life.  So I have a blog to record what I eat.  I eat less, but eat well.  Take a look at my 20-dish dim sum buffet,  which demonstrates how well I eat at the same time stay slim.

Easter 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why Short Term Fasting Works Well For Women

There are many weight loss programs out there but men and women may not experience the same results.  Some programs work better for women such as short term fasting.  In the first instance, let’s don’t be afraid of the word ‘fasting’, as we are not talking about fasting for a day or a week.  It is a matter of extending the time in between meals which won’t be a big deal to most people.
When man and woman get married and moved in together, both living busy lives, eating out is kind of unavoidable, may be 2 or 3 times a week.  At home they may cook relatively healthy meals and generally eat breakfast and dinner together.
This somewhat normal life in time will make a difference between man and woman in their body weight.
After a few years of marriage, most men may remain similar in weight but women may put up 15% or even more in weight. Why does this happen?
Something wrong with the metabolism?  Stress at work? Pregnancy? Or rare hormonal disorder?
Well, women usually put on weight because of eating too much.
More specifically, wives put on weight because they eat the same amount of their husbands
They are eating almost everything in the same size servings.
When they would go to the restaurant and order the same meal, men didn’t get the ‘Big Guy’ serving size, while women got the ‘slim girl’ serving size…both plates looked identical.
When husband made them healthy omelets, he didn’t make one for himself then a half an omelet for the wife, he simply made two omelets.
This is the plight of women. 
Most serving sizes in restaurants are too big for the average man, let alone a woman who is 4 inches shorter and 40-60 pounds lighter.
And, for the most part, when eating at home people usually don’t ‘downsize’ the portion sizes for the smaller person.
Even if we tried, we generally end up at some middle ground that is still a little too much for an average sized woman. Let say a man stands 6’2” weights 200 lbs and his wife stands 5’6” weights 135 lbs, both eating the same amount of food day in and day out.  The weight problem will bother the woman much faster than man.
This is why short term fasting works so well for so many women. It gives them a chance to play a little catch up. Or more correctly to play a little ‘fall behind’.  Allow an extended gap in between meals, such as 12 hours or 18 hours, once or twice a week.  In fact there are many variations in doing short term fasting and that women can try and work out a way to tie in to their life styles.
Short term fasting allows woman to eat at a restaurant without having to leave 1/3 of their food on the plate.
When eating at home with their family, they don’t need to cut their chicken breast in half and giving it to the dog.
It is a dietary custom/portion size equalizer.  If you want to find out more about short term fasting, there is an ebook called Eat Stop Eat fully focused on the topic.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My 5-Day Spiritual Fasting Experience

I’ve recently gone through a 5-day spiritual fasting, however not quite successfully.

Many things in life are easier to know than to do.  Even I’m an experienced faster, I would give myself a marginal fail.

Although spiritual fasting has a religious origin, I don’t do it out of religious reason.  I’m recently facing health problem and many things in life seem to be out of control, hence the fast.

I started the fast after Sunday lunch.  Monday and Tuesday I had a cup of white coffee in the morning, a glass of fresh orange juice for lunch and milk for dinner, and of course water throughout the day.  Wednesday I had water only.  I failed on Thursday morning as I felt so weak and that I still had to work, so I grab a little cereal bun.  I then do water fasting through Friday evening.  I broke my fast with a pear, a banana and a few slices of salmon sashimi.  Raw food is a good idea to break fast as it’s easy for the relaxed body to pick up the digestive work again.

Although many people do salt water flush** in the morning, I did it twice on Wednesday night and Thursday night.  I was successful even I did it at night because I had been in a fasted state for a few days, it didn’t matter I did it in the morning or at night.  As I had to go to work in the morning, I found it convenient to do it in the evening.

After the flush, my body had a wonderful feeling of relief and comfort.  Although I do intermittent fasting all the time, bloating is still occasionally bothering me.  The relief feeling was really good.  Mentally I tried to stay calm with everything and try not to get angry with things that I normally will. 

For anyone fasting, the purpose should be to become a better person, to recharge one's spirit. Try to avoid conflict with other people; try to improve your character; try to find your own connection to a higher power. In that sense, I would give myself a pass as well.

However I grade myself an overall marginal fail not because I ate a tiny breakfast on Thursday, I also didn’t manage to maintain that refreshed spirit for long.

Fasting in Ramadan is an amazing spiritual exercise. When we're fasting, we're in a spiritual zone. But once our fast ends, it's all too easy to lose what we have gained. And that was my case.  So I’m planning to re-do this exercise again.

If you have had a successful spiritual fast, congratulations, I’d like to hear from you and share your experience.  For others who want to do this exercise, do try to keep the spirit of your fast alive throughout the year. If you got rid of bad habits, don't go back to them. If you've just ended a lengthy fast, try to keep fasting a few days every month. Keep up whatever spiritual practices you did (as much as you can) during your fast. Let us not be angels during our fasting days and devils the day after our fast is finished.

You don’t have to worry if you fail.  There are few things in life that you succeed in the first time.  Keep up the spirit and try a few shorter fasts to start with and you’ll be there.

**Note:  Salt Water Flash  cleans up our entire digestive system and is generally part of a Lemonade Diet, aka Master Cleanse, usually done in the morning with an empty stomach. Do not do it until you have a good understanding of it.  Click here to find out more about Master Cleanse Lemonade Diet 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Do You Need Media Fast?

Fasting is defined as willingly abstaining from something for a period of time. It is most popularly used in the terms of food, but really can be applied to anything in life. Fasting not only gives us a chance to get away from something, but also the clarity and silence that may be needed in order to really figure out what is going on with our lives. 

So what is media fast?  Readers of this blog may have some kind of intermittent fasting experience.   For beginners, it may means not eating until noon. For others, it means only eating within an 8-hour window each day and fasting the other 16. Others fast for a full 24 hour period once a week.  As for myself, I eat once every 24 hours.  There are numerous other approaches as well.  

What about media fast?

In Hong Kong at the Mass Transit Railways stations, there are all kinds of announcements.  Recently I notice an interesting one – ‘please mind the steps when using the escalators, do not only look at your mobile phone’.  In deed, the way Hong Kong people get addicted to their iPhone, iPad, iPod, i…everything is in a somewhat morbid state.  I’ve seen someone when getting off a bus, his eyes were still on his phone with fingers moving, perhaps composing an email.  In fact, I don’t see anything that cannot be deferred for a few seconds in order to get off the bus safely or use the escalator in a more safely manner. 

Over a social dinner, there was almost no interaction between my friend and me, because her attention was only on her iphone and ipad…that’s why I could only propose buffet when she invites me to eat.  That way I can focus on food, and she can focus on anything she loves.  Isn’t the morbid usage of media seriously affecting our lives?   

In fact, the excessive use of media does not only happen in Hong Kong, it’s a worldwide scenario.  If you can live a better life going on food fasting, are you able to survive without media for a period of time at least each day and regain control of how you want to spend your time, in a more positive way?  Here are a few of my suggestions.

Computer Fasting:  Schedule your computer time as needed. Get on, check the emails, respond right away, delete or file, and keep that inbox clean. Read the sites you want to read and then move on. Do it once a day or twice a day. Don’t just come on all day long and wander around the internet, as you could easily waste a whole day and be less productive.
Email Fasting:  When holidaying, set out-of-office alert such as ‘I’m on holiday with no internet access.  If it is urgent please contact…’  Remember, it won’t be the end of the world if people cannot reach you.  There must be ways that things can move on without you.  My former boss used to take us to offsites where there were practically no mobile connection of any kind (except Inmarsat).
Cell Phone Fasting: Do not make phone call unless it is extremely time sensitive.  Only answer phone calls from important people, whom you are expecting them to call.  Turn off the phone for a few hours a day (at least when you are eating or meeting). These are precious moments in your life that could be used for whatever you want them to be, instead of just talking to people who are looking to kill some time and gossip. Nothing is that urgent.  Do not make excuses such as ‘what if someone calls to inform my house is on fire or the day care centre calls for emergency’.
News Fasting: Check the head pages of Yahoo or MSN in the morning and look at the headlines, anything that is important will be there. Click on it if you find something you want to know more, if not then you’re done for the day. No need to sit through 30 minutes of pure negative energy from the local news. Take control over what information comes into your life, and what does not!
TV Fasting:  Enjoy the shows you like, turn off the TV when they are over.

These are just a few example of how you can apply the practice of fasting to any part of your life. You could fast from negative people, eating out, drinking, information overload, etc and more. Take control of how you want to spend your time, and the only way to know what you want to do is take time to just rest and relax.

I’ve come across a consultant who worked with a university student who was failing her grades. After a review of her schedule and her life, there was no question she was overwhelmed. As a result, her studies were suffering. Her life was so noisy that she had no peace.

The consultant counseled her to fast from all unnecessary input, including some favorite activities. Here is her fasting list.
  1. Stop watching all TV.
  2. Stop all online surfing except for course papers and research purposes.
  3. Fast from Facebook; block all incoming social media notifications.
  4. Completely cease listening to her iPod. Remove those ear buds!
  5. Quit coffee; her caffeine intake was abusive.
  6. Check email only three times a day.
In just 2 weeks, this young woman went from frazzled to calm and peaceful. It was challenging at first, but she was counteracting an addiction.

That’s the point. If you can’t stop checking your email every 3 seconds or Facebooking for hours a day, you are addicted. Those activities can contribute to stress-related illness and cause people to feel overloaded.

If you don’t think you can get rid of the actions that are controlling you, you likely are hooked. It’s time to fast. Fasting can be an easy and effective solution.

Today, review your schedule and decide if you need a media fast.  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fasting Is Not Just For Food

Fasting means willingly abstaining from something for a period of time and is mostly used in the terms of food.

Fasting not only gives us a chance to get away from something, but also the clarity and silence that may be needed in order to really figure out what is going on with our lives.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life?

Most people have experienced stress related to work, family, relationship, responsibilities, or simply life in general.

Need help? Well, it’s at your finger tip.

What is it?  Fasting.

The Process of Fasting

Have you ever felt overwhelmed because of the choices you have made—and society will continue to add to your obligations, if you let it.

Input from so many sources can swamp even the most organized individual. That’s how fasting comes into play.

Food fasting has been used for centuries to cleanse the system of toxins and give the body a break from the constant demands of having to process food.

Research has confirmed there are as many psychological benefits to fasting as there are physical benefits. For those who has successfully gone through any fasting process (either long or short) could reveal evidence that fasting can restore control.

If you fast successfully, you prove to yourself you can implement self-control over food; it indicates that you have the ability to re-gain control over other things in life.

I fasted from food for one reason:
·      On my way to relieve my bloating problem, with the side effect of weight lose.

Food fasting may not be for everyone but it taught me one important lesson in life - I can say ‘No’.  If you could learn to say ‘No’ through food fasting, you can learn to say ‘No’ to a number of other things in life, through which to re-gain your power of control and live a better life.

Food is not the only fixation that can be the focus of a fast.  Media fast is another hot topic which I’ll talk about in my next post.