All it took was a short text conversation with a friend about how he wanted to reduce the quarantine weight so the algorithm could find me. In an hour, my Instagram feed filled with ads with indistinguishable influencers selling juices for weight loss, estrogen suppressing health bars, and militarized yoga routines. The only ad I saw most often was for an app that led the user through an intermittent fasting program. A cheap, animated graphic showed a translucent, genital-free body that frees itself of an evil red liquid as if it were an hourglass that drops sand. Fasting was easy enough: you have an eight-hour window to eat every day. For the remaining 16, fast and drink only water. If I held on to it, I would become a new and better man. I would burn fat, increase my ability to concentrate and have more energy. I would also slow my aging process, prevent Alzheimer's, and cure cancer.
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I've always wanted to fast, but never got around to it because I was afraid that this would disturb my lifestyle too much. But ordering at home during a global pandemic gave me the perfect opportunity because I was out of lifestyle. It will cost me less than nothing and it might be useful to know what it would be like to mess up our food supply chain. While intermittent fasting seems like a sensible, everyday routine, we're not in sensible, everyday times, so I've decided to do something more intense. Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. The longest recorded fast was from a 456 pound Scotsman who only consumed water and supplements (under supervision) for 382 days. I opted for a more realistic fast of five days and nights. I only drink water from Monday morning to Friday evening.
I ate a big meal on Sunday night and weighed 205 pounds. I inserted my data into an online calculator for the body mass indicator on the Internet. At 6 ″ 3 and 205 pounds, I was rated "overweight". Offensive. But they also said I could weigh 145 pounds and be "normal weight". I went to bed and dreamed of cookies.
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Not eating is easier than I expected. On the first day of my fast, I feel surprisingly excited and don't experience a crash after lunch that wipes out an hour of my day. Wow, am I bored? I didn't know how much of the day was about food. Preparing, eating, washing up – I bet that's at least three of my waxing hours a day. Now I have more time than I know how to do. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why fasting is all the rage among Silicon Valley types.
Eating when done for pleasure and not exclusively as a calorie fuel is a distraction from the work day and your competitors will eat you (metaphorically) alive. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, is a supporter of fasting and has recently tweeted about his habits:
I've been playing fasting for some time. I fast for 22 hours a day (dinner only) and recently 3 days of water. The biggest thing I notice is how much time slows down. The day feels so much longer if it's not interrupted by breakfast / lunch / dinner. Does anyone else have this experience?
– jack (@jack) January 26, 2019
There was a predictable backlash in the cultural war, and experts who wrote about women's physical problems reacted in a hurry. Roxane Gay tweeted: "Ahh yes. Eating disorders to approximate the suffering caused by poverty and / or access to drinking water. Playing is so much fun. “Feminist writer Virginia Sole-Smith wrote:" When teen girls do it before the prom, it's an eating disorder … but when (very wealthy) Thin White Guys do it, it's … still a fucking eating disorder . " I can't disagree, but it's fair to note that eating three square meals a day is a relatively new phenomenon for the human species.
Even more boring today and maybe a little irritated. Stand on the scales and weighed 202 pounds. I think most of it is water weight. The energy that I felt yesterday is gone and I sleep a lot.
Fasting supporters claim all kinds of extreme health benefits. And science seems to support it. In 2016, Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work, which revealed how cells "eat themselves" to recycle and renew their damaged bodies. Fasting activates this process, which helps against viruses, bacteria, cancer, infectious and immunological diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and even slows down the aging process.
Most doctors and associations, however, do not prescribe fasting as a panacea. The conspiratorial thinker in me might be sold the idea that fasting fixes most things, but because it is the cheapest cure available, our healthcare industry has little reason to promote it.
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I stop pooping and weigh a little over 200 pounds. Now the hunger sets in. I spend most of the morning and afternoon dreaming about food. Baguettes and burritos, pizza and anchovies. I chew about a dozen toothpicks. Fasting practitioners say that the most difficult part of fasting is between the second and fourth day. At this point, the body has consumed most of its glycogen, the sugar fuel that supplies the body's organs.
The brain surprisingly uses a lot of energy for its size. It makes up two percent of the body mass, but consumes 20 percent of its resting energy. I find that my ability to think is slower and more conscious. I stick to a single train of thought longer than usual. I drive around without any problems, but when I try to climb a steep slope, I feel light-headed, sit for a moment, and walk the rest of the way on my bike.
One hundred and ninety-eight pounds. I see myself in the mirror longer than usual. Whether I actually look thinner or is a psychosomatic reaction to my hunger, I definitely feel thinner.
Health is inextricably linked to vanity. I find the impetus to look leaner and more powerful, to live stronger than longer. This may be because I see the results immediately and the idea of living longer doesn't always appeal to me. But I also think that my libido is not there. Maple syrup cascading over blueberry pancakes seems a lot more erotic than sex itself. What's the use of looking sexy if I'm not interested in taking advantage of it?
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One hundred and ninety-seven pounds. I stop starving and feel lonely. I could spend all six seasons of The Sopranos with all the time that I don't spend eating. I watch Tony drink a beer and have never wanted a cold so badly in my life. I miss beer. But what I miss most about beer is drinking beer with other people. I realize that I haven't seen a single person since I stopped eating. Even if my social life was a shadow of his former self, I had found time to safely share a meal with my family or a select group of quarantine friends. Fasting makes me a pandemic monk.
BACK TO NORMAL
I weigh 196 pounds on Saturday morning. I decide to break my fast decadently: a thick PB&J and a whole pint of salted caramel ice cream. Fasting is good, but fasting is an individual exercise. Food nourishes us beyond nutrition. Do we eat to live? Or do we live to eat? I call my friends and say I pick up a crate of beer for the night.
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