Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 5 pt 3

I have a bad habit of overdoing things. I went for my half hour walk on the treadmill, but that turned into 45 minutes. 3.11 miles, 1% grade, 511 calories. I hope I don't feel too bad tomorrow. 

Day 5 part 2

I'm going to go do my walk in a few minutes, but I wanted to post a link to this sermon I just listened to. One of the reasons I'm doing this fast is because of Craig Gross. I don't know Craig Gross, I've never even MET Craig Gross (I've been in proximity to him), but Craig makes his presence known pretty visibly through his organization XXX Church
I don't know where I was first introduced to XXX Church, but they've always had a presence at Cornerstone, the music festival I volunteer at as a photographer and general web wrangler. In fact, here's a photo of the XXX Church Porn Bunny I shot this past year at a Family Force Five concert. (you can't see that there's a big stage in front of him with the band) 

(and my friend Jerry happened to take a photo of me at the same show)

anyway, enough about me, back to Craig. Pulpit Rock Church, the people that run the Real Men of Genius group I belong to, also do something called We Do Things. A few months ago, they decided to bring in Craig Gross and Ron Jeremy for their "Great Porn Debate" as one of the We Do Things events. So, being morbidly curious, and also knowing they didn't have anyone shooting publicity photos, Ang and I dragged some friends. 

There wasn't anything life changing about the event. You can see video clips over at You Tube... and I thought that Craig was a little bit too "Rock Star Pastor-ish", but it was an interesting event. 
Anyway, back to the point. Sorry. 

We've been talking about this fast for a couple of months now and I wasn't really sure that I could do it. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying trying to figure out if this was something that I could or should do. Two weeks ago at Real Men of Genius, we watched a documentary about Craig and one of the other XXX Church pastors going around the country on their Starving Jesus tour. Basically, the got in an RV and went around the country on a 40 Day Fast, petitioning the church to get out of the pew and into the world. That we're starving Jesus by hiding inside the church and refusing to change the world. It wasn't the greatest film but it was both inspiring from what their goal was and from being able to watch them go through this fast. 
Today, wandering around Facebook, I noticed my friend Nate had joined a XXX Church group on facebook. I took a look at it and their message boards and noticed a link to the Starving Jesus site. Their was a sermon linked there that summed up one of the major reasons I'm doing this. I'm not as fat as I could be. (Here's a particularly depressing photo from earlier this summer) 

In the sermon, which I'd encourage you to listen to, he talks about a pastor in Georgia that he'd been communicating with named Ollie. Ollie's doctor told him that if he didn't lose any weight he'd die. He also told Ollie that he was much too high a risk to qualify for gastric bypass surgery. One night, he stumbled on an mp3 of Craig preaching at Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, MI (Rob Bell's church) about fasting. Kind of inspired, he decided that he was going to fast. He didn't do it for weight loss, and he didn't lose much wait, but he found that it connected him to God and taught him self control in ways that he'd never been able to learn before. 

I'm still working on the connecting to God part... I think I'll be working on that for the rest of my life, but I feel like over the past year, I've finally been able to build some better self control. I'm hoping that this fast will continue to help me with growing my self control. 

Take a listen to the sermon. If you want to know more about Starving Jesus visit the site

BTW, the end of Ollie's story finds him starting to walk for a mile a day at the end of his fast. That leads to walking five miles. That leads to him speed walking five miles. Eventually he runs his first 5k. He ends up dropping from over 430 to 250 pounds. None of that was part of the fast, but the fast showed him that he could do things he didn't think he could do. 

I've done an ironman. I've cycled 200 miles in a day. I know there are a lot of things that I CAN do. But there are still things that I need to know that I can do, and I'm hoping that this season will be training as I head towards that. 

More later.

Day 5

The rest of yesterday went fairly well, although I didn't manage to squeeze in my walk. I developed a scratchy throat mid-afternoon and after getting home from the library and work, read a while before heading to bed early.

Slept from around 10pm to just before 8 this morning when Ang had to get up and go to work.

Weight this morning? 240. I realized the body fat scale we use still had my information stored in it so I had to it calculate that as well. Current bodyfat percentage 31.5. I don't know that that's completely accurate, but I guess we'll see where it goes the next few days.

In response to a question in the comments yesterday, the fast shouldn't have any effect on my work performance. I work in communications (graphic and web design and some video work) and a good deal of what I have to do involves my brain and not physical labor.

Picked up a decent book on fasting at the library yesterday. I feel like I have a better concept of why i'm doing what I'm doing. (Not that it makes it that much easier).

I was talking to a coworker yesterday who starts his tomorrow and I brought up the idea of being in the zone. Whenever I've done long cycling sessions (Ironman Wisconsin 02, my first cycling double century, etc) there were chunks where I'd fall out of the zone and start thinking about every rotation of my pedal crank. It would almost seem like time slowed. I feel like that's where I am in this. I feel like I haven't been able to find the zone where I'm so busy thinking about life (work, prayer, etc) that the time goes faster. I'm hoping that I can get there.

I'm going to try to finish that book on fasting today and dive into Francis Schaefer's The God Who Is There. I've admired Schaefer for a long time but I've never gotten beyond How Should We Then Live which itself was a great book. It's been a while since I've dug into high level theology. 

More later.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day 4 part 1

Starting weight 241.

Feel pretty good this morning. Have to head to work in a minute. Had some intestinal distress start yesterday. It's still there this morning. Hopefully it will go away.

Legs feel good after walking two miles each of the past two days. Feel like that might be something I might be able to continue.

Got my first bouts of stand up wooziness yesterday in the hot tub and this morning on my way to the bathroom. I'll need to start being more careful. Other than that, things seem to be going well.

More later.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 3 part 2

I've spent a good chunk of the day thinking about what I want to get out of this. What EXACTLY I'm trying to find. I've also been thinking about how when a friend of mine had done a few days in the past, he hadn't been able to focus on the spiritual side as much as he feels he should have. I just hope that I can focus on the spiritual as much as I should.

I picked up an audiobook on prayer from the library today. I'm going to stick that in the car on my commute with Angela and hopefully listen to that this week.

I'm torn about how open to be on this blog. It would be easier if I knew there were only strangers reading it. But anyway...

I want to strengthen my marriage and work on communication.

I want to focus on focusing. I'm easily distracted at work and I'm not able to focus on this new side of my job that they really gave me that I don't have much desire to do.

I want to pray and meditate about what's next. Ang and I still hope to move to Austin, TX. I want to pray about the steps we take over the next few months to do that... or whether that's even where God has us going.

and I do want to get my body to a place where I can start from scratch. I'd like to slough off the weight. I know this won't do it entirely, and I know that it's not a weight loss regiment. It is, however, going to take off some weight, and I'd really like for that to be a start towards the next thing.

Angela was talking tonight about wanting to change her relationship to food. How she uses it as an emotional crutch or feels the urge to use it that way. That's never been my struggle. My struggle has always just been general overeating. I'm a snacker. If there's food around, I'll pick away at it. The chocolate that's here on the desk, if I weren't in a fast, I'd be picking away at, and that's not how I want to be moving forward.

I struggle with the aescetic aspect of this. There's part of me that feels that I'm doing this as a way to punish myself for food sins of the past. I know that's not healthy and I really don't want this to turn into an eating disorder of some kind. I love food. I love cooking it and I love eating it. I just want to learn new rules when this is over that will allow me to enjoy it in a healthier way.

In addition, I want to springboard on the other side of this with my cycling. One of the saddest things in the past year and a half has been putting cycling on the shelf because of my freelancing. I want to figure out ways to reintroduce it so that I'm getting miles in the saddle while also still finding time to make the extra money that will allow us to continue to work our debt snowball.

I'm off to have some soup broth. More tomorrow.

Day 3 part 1

Morning weight 242.

I'm surprised that I've been sleeping as well as I have. Yesterday I was able to sleep in until almost 10:00 and this morning I was up at 9. Hunger seems to be ok this morning, nothing raging. I haven't had my juice and multivitamin yet.

Laundry is the main thing on the agenda today, along with errands to the bank and library. I'll squeeze my walk in sometime between the two.

We caught up on our M Night Shyamalan movies last night. Because of the huge backlog of DVDs we have (we're somewhere around 2000 DVDs in our collection and almost half of those are things waiting to be watched), we never seem to catch up, and there are always films falling between the cracks. I'll start to get some reviews up of the things we've been watching but in the meantime, here's the list of this week's selections...

1. Shoot Em' Up
2. Wrist Cutters A Love Story
3. Eastern Promises
4. Balls of Fury
5. The Great Yokai War
6. The Village
7. Lady in the Water

I'm not sure what today and tonight's movies will be, but film has had the added benefit of taking my mind off food. Although, there were several scenes of sit down feasts in The Village that made me a little bit hungry. 

More later. - Brian

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day 2 Part 2

It's not so much that I'm hungry as that I miss food. My stomach is definitely empty, but I'm not going through the "must eat right this instant" sensations. No, I've been thinking about the Christmas candy around the apartment, and the heat and texture of things like hamburgers.

This afternoon I went for a couple mile walk on the treadmill. 2.03 miles over 35 minutes, nothing strenuous. But it built up a LITTLE sweat and got my blood flowing... apparently it helps flush the lymphatic system. Who knows.

I've really been pondering why I'm even doing this. At the same time, I'm wondering whether those are just thoughts that are part of the withdrawal from food. I've been trying to pray or thinking about prayer with varying levels of success. I'm not the most spiritual person to begin with, even if I have spent a lot of time traveling around charismatic circles. I guess I'm a bit goofed up.

I'm not feeling much motivation to keep going, but hopefully I'll find it. I'm going to aim for a week at the very least. If I go 40, great. Otherwise, I'm not going to sweat it.

I'm wondering if it will be easier when the other guys start up and I"m not the only one doing it. Maybe, having started ahead of them, I'll be able to be an encouragement as they go through 'withdrawals'(?).

I guess I've always been about extremes. When I did my first bicycle century, I'd never ridden more than 30 miles. When I did the Ironman, I'd never done a triathlon and the farthest I'd ever run in training was in the upper teens... and I'd never run a regular marathon.

With this, before the past couple of weeks, I'd never really fasted more than a meal. I'm not sure what made me think that I could do forty days. I guess we'll see.

Day 2

starting weight. 244. (which I know is all water)

I'm kind of surprised that I haven't been more hungry. I guess the weaning the past week or so has helped. No caffeine withdrawal headaches yet. I think the caffeine reduction I've tried to do over the past year has helped.

Picked up a bunch of different juices on the way home from work last night... along with some vegetable and chicken broth. I had some of the vegetable broth last night. I don't know what was in it, but it was one of the only things I've ever drank that's induced the gag reflex. Since I couldn't finish the vegetable broth I had part of a can of tomato juice (12oz can, probably drank 10oz). That started out good, but by the end, that too was making me a little sick. I put the unfinished can in the fridge to finish at some point today. I drank a little chaser of orange juice as Ang and I watched a Takahi Miike film called "The Great Yokai War".... review to follow.

I need to finish watching the last chunk of the film today. I fell asleep sometime in the third act. I'm not sure if that was because of a lack of sleep or a lack of calories. I guess we'll determine more as time goes on.

This morning I'm sipping on a pint glass of grape juice.

The only other difficult thing yesterday was that someone cooked microwave popcorn in the building. Thankfully I didn't smell it until I got out to the main part of the building (the video offices are pretty secluded) but it's still a smell that's always driven me into submission. I inhaled a couple pretty good wiffs and savored them. But that was all.

I don't know if I'll make it all 40 days. I've heard that when hunger returns after it disappears after the third day it's time to stop. I'll listen to my body. I'm also going to schedule a doctors appointment for the mid-point, just to make sure I'm getting all of the electrolytes I need.

More later.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

what I'm consuming

Comm left a comment asking about what i was consuming on this fast. I'm not doing a forty day water fast. There will be plenty of juices and a daily multi-vitamin. This morning I had about 8oz of orange juice with my multi-vitamin.

When I got to work I had a Glaceau Vitaminwater XXX flavor (acai-blueberry-pomegranate with triple antioxidants).

For lunch today I'm sipping on grape juice and water. Tonight I'll be drinking vegetable broth.

I'm being as safe as I can be.

We've been adjusting our food intake over the past few months, not in preperation for this, but as both an acknowledgement that we need to adjust our nutrition and a realization about how much money was going out in 'take out'. Fast food got cut a couple of months ago almost completely. We've been eating out a LITTLE bit, but at most once a week.

When I mentioned peer pressue before, it's only pressure in the best way. There's nothing saying "come on Brian, you HAVE to do this." It's more along the lines of "I'm going to be doing this. If you feel like this is something God is leading you towards, it would be great to have you along." There's no one forcing me to do anything.

I touched lightly on the spiritual aspects for why I want to go after this, but they're the major reason I AM doing it. If it was just a physiological thing, I'd just work on the eating better and ease back into exercise. I don't know that there's ANY reason to go on a fast if it's not some sort of spiritual exercise. Because I'm doing it for spiritual reasons, I figured I'd test out some of the Alternative Medicine nutter claims... but it's completely ancillary to my primary reasons.

Anyway, I hope that helps fill in some of the holes.

pre Day 1

In my lead up to this 40 day fast (something I've never done before, believe me), I've been weaning myself off of food. Over the past few days I've been down to one meal and some little snacks. I think the thing that surprised me the most was that it was harder for me to sleep on an empty stomach. I'm not sure why. I really hope that that goes away as my digestive system begins to shut down.

I'm still trying to straighten out exactly why I'm embarking on a 40 day fast. Some of it is peer pressure. I'm part of a mens group called Real Men of Genius, and the idea originally came from the facilitator of that. He's embarking December 31st. There are a couple of other guys starting on the 1st. I"m starting today, mostly because I want to be done before my birthday in February.

I've also been contemplating the fast because it continues a trend over the past year of 'dealing with my crap'. I know turning 30 isn't a life changing event, but I've used it as a fulcrum. I'd really like for 30 to be a turning point and to be able to put the first thirty years on the shelf. "Oh. That was OLD flabbyironman. He's not around anymore.". The fast is an integral part of the physical and spiritual part of that.

I read these articles about detoxification on the web and I don't completely believe them. I think some of the alternative health people are nutters, but if there are other reasons for doing this fast, I might as well put what they have to say to the test as well. Will evil and noxious things pour out of my skin? I doubt it. But, who knows, we'll find out.

Finally, I mentioned the fulcrum before. But I'm hoping that by going on this fast, I'll be able to reset my life nutritionally as well. I'll have had forty days to get away from soda and greasy fast food, and I'll have an opportunity to relearn how to eat in a healthier way. Hopefully allowing me to keep off most of whatever weight I slough off over the next 40 days.

There are other reasons, but I think those are the predominant ones. I guess we'll see what happens.

Day 1

So, Angela and I agreed that my fast is starting today. I've been weaning myself off food the past few days and while I thought yesterday was the start day, I was stymied by the bag of movie theater popcorn sitting in the car. It's so good! So, knowing that we've agreed today is the day, all of the candy and miscellaneous holiday foods will be bagged up and put away when we get home.

So far, my hunger's ok, but it IS only 9:16. We'll see what I feel like this afternoon. I haven't had HUGE hunger pangs lately, so hopefully that will continue. I'm hoping that what I've read is true and that by Sunday (day 4), my stomach will have shut down and the hunger is gone. That would be nice, mostly because Sunday is my Monday and I have a regular work day.

I have a book that I got as a gift from one of the Men's Life facilitators (the mens group I film Tuesday mornings) called 'The Pursuit of Holyness' by Jerry Bridges. I think that will be my first 'meal book'. If I can't eat, I need to be doing something that's focused on the rationale behind the fast... and maybe working my way through a few of those types of books will be helpful.

We'll see how my energy level is, but I'm also planning to walk in the evening when I can, using the treadmill in our exercise room. We'll also see whether or not I can handle watching the Food network, the channel Ang and I probably watch the most.

Starting weight today, 248.