Day 21, A Healing Project

 
Photo by Bruce Hong on Unsplash
 

“Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan.”

~Winston Churchill

 
 

Weight

 
The scale went down to 53.2 kg (117.3 pounds) this morning.  My daytime weight is about two kilos more than that.  My goal is to get my morning weight, without clothes, down to 50 kg by January 2nd, 2021.  I have not again reached my lowest point yet, but at least I know to avoid even the tiniest amount of pizza.
 

Rate of Weight Loss

 
I will warn you; if you are new to weight loss, there will be ups and downs, even when you follow your plan rigorously.  With the Weight Loss Clinic back in the 1980s, I followed an 820-calorie-a-day diet.  The only thing I overate was carrots.  Though the goal was to lose three pounds a week, I lost an average of only two.  Now I realize what an achievement it is to lose two pounds a week.  Three pounds a week is unrealistic, and so is 820 calories.  If I can lose one pound a week now, that is a great accomplishment.  My average rate so far has exceeded that.  Thankfully, I am also eating more than 820 calories a day.
 

Metabolic Rate

 
You will lose about one pound a week for every 500 calories a day you eat less than your body needs.  In practice, that is not precisely what the body does, but using that guideline, as a rule, will help you get there.  How do you know what your body needs?  To determine that, it is useful to keep a diet diary faithfully for a while, track your weight change, and calculate what your body is burning.  Of course, activity level affects this, so do this during a period when your activity is relatively constant.
 
My average daily intake is 1378 calories a day for 19 completed days and about 2378 calories for one day (when I ate at the neighbors).  That is a total of 28,560 calories.   I lost 1.6 kilos or 3.5238 pounds.  Multiply 3.5238 by 3500 calories per pound, and that is equivalent to 12,348 calories.  Add that to the number of calories I consumed (28,560+12,348=40,908).  Divide that by 20 = 2045.  That is my approximate metabolic rate.
 
That seems a bit high for a post-menopausal, small-boned woman on a diet.  However, I have read that intermittent fasting can raise your metabolic rate.  Dashing around for my husband all day probably burns more energy than I have given it credit.  Taking thyroid medication helps it, too.  I need thyroid medication because my lithium medication depresses the action of the thyroid.  I do not recommend it if you do not have a clinical need for it.  (I have taken too high of a dose, and it affected my vision, among other things.)
 

Fasting

 
Despite the ups and downs, my metabolic rate is high.  I have lost weight and am now poised to lose more.  Things could not be better.  I have a record of what I have done.  Over time, I am getting used to fasting.  When I first tried it, it was miserable.  Now I look forward to my fasts.  I would lie to tell you it is pleasant all the time.  The desire for food comes in waves.  You are ravenous for a few minutes, then if you do not eat, that passes, and you feel normal.  Those waves do not crest as often as they did months ago when I first started intermittent fasting.  You may think, without trying it, that intermittent fasting is not for you.  I recommend trying it over and over again.
 
Fasting in the Past
Our family fasted approximately 20-24 hours each month on the first Sunday of the month.  I started this at the age of eight.  We sometimes complained, and I did not feel that energetic during my fasts.  However, it developed our self-discipline.  We learned we were not going to die if we did not have food or water, which we went without as well.  I no longer fast without water, but that was a soul-supporting practice.
 
Extending Today’s Fast
Today is the first Sunday of the month.  I could fast longer in honor of my disciplined past.  Or I could continue my regular pattern.  Yesterday’s fast is for 17 hours and 45 minutes.  16:18 hours have elapsed so far.  I could extend that to 20 hours by delaying breakfast.  Right now, I do not even feel hungry.  There.  I have set breakfast to 10:47 AM, which gives me some more free time this morning to write and pray.
 

Prayer

 
Speaking of prayer, let me offer a prayer of gratitude.
 
 
 
MORNING PRAYER
 
Dear Lord,
 
Metabolic Rate
Please, bless my extended fast this morning with increased joy.  I have been teaching my readers how to determine their approximate metabolic rate using Cronometer.  It involves some math, but it is not calculus.
 
Diets Do Work
Lord, one of the hardest parts of dieting is overcoming the false information about it.  People say diets do not work.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The body is a little erratic and seems not to obey equations at all times.
 
The Calorie
However, there is an order in the Universe.  I learned in chemistry what a calorie is.  In dieting, we use kcals, which are a thousand times the energy of calories we studied in chemistry.
 
That means that one dietary calorie is a huge unit of energy.  It is a miracle that the body can extract energy from food, at body temperature, not in a hot furnace.  It is catalyzed by enzymes shaped precisely for their purpose.  Metabolism is a divine design–a gift from you, the Creator.
 
Elimination of Excess
Metabolism has evolved over the years to be efficient.  Otherwise, our need for food would be even more significant, and survival would be less likely.  In times of plenty, that works against us as we accumulate unwanted fat on our bodies.   The processes of removing our excess are what we all ought to learn.  We can practice methods of detoxification to force toxins from the body.  We can not only remove fat, but we can also get rid of surplus possessions that clutter our lives.  We can trim overboard commitments that take too much of our time.  Elimination of all kinds of overconsumption is a beautiful undertaking.
 
An Example
Lord, I am grateful that I live here now.  Thank you for my clear mind.  What can I do in your service?  Perhaps it is to be an example.  When I am programming computers, an elaborate explanation of coding seldom helps me.  However, one example does.  I can extrapolate from the sample to solve my particular problem.  I pray that is what I am doing for my readers.  They will want to do it their own way, and that is perfectly okay.  However, the example, I believe, will help them.
 
Days To Come
It is now Day 21.  My goal is to continue for another 89 days, which will go fast.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are coming, each with their challenges.  I think Mini Joy is a treat as much as any Halloween candy.  However, it is much more wholesome.  That will be what I eat instead.
 

Caring for My Husband

 
It has now been 17:34 hours since the start of my fast yesterday.  I have two and a half more hours before my scheduled breakfast.  My husband has gotten up.  I changed him, put his clothes in the laundry, and cleaned the carpet with Febreeze laundry soap.  He is not hungry for breakfast yet.  Instead, he is watching and listening to ocean waves on Naturescape.  I feel okay.  However, my energy would be improved with food.  Nevertheless, I want to honor this day with a 20-hour fast.  
 
I am frying a chicken spinach sausage for my husband.  I like sausage too.  However, it is much richer in sodium than potassium.  Also, processed meats have been linked to cancer.  I may have a few sausages in my diet diary.  However, I do better with something else.   Note, however, that it is possible to lose weight while eating a few.
 
Minutes ago, I scratched my husband’s back and arms with a back scrubbing brush.  Now he has his sausage.  I make what he requests, even though it may not be the most nutritious.  Occasionally, I inflict my ideas about eating on him, but not often.  You may have the same challenge with members of your household.  You may have to cook separate meals for them.  I have gotten used to doing that.  Since my husband likes to eat at different times of the day than I do, that works out okay.  Before I got married, I had visions of always eating the same thing with him at the same time.  Reality is different.
 

Meditation

 
Now at 9:00 AM, I have listened to my success meditation recording.   5:21 minutes go a long way, especially the breathing exercise.  I no longer have my piano, so the mp3 is a sad reminder.  However, I can keep the suggestion about it to do self-actualizing things.  Right now, my creative effort is being poured into this blog series.  
 

Walking

 
With a light jacket, I could walk to the library.  Of course, it is not open until 12:00 PM.  That is okay.  I have a wealth of reading material.  I do not feel particularly motivated to walk, having not had breakfast, but let me see if I can make myself do it.
 

Motivation or Not!

 
I did it!  Of course, if I could not do it, I could erase this.  However, you helped motivate me by serving as my accountability partner.  If you try to do something challenging, tell a trusted friend, especially if you are an Obliger, a responder to external expectations.  Personally, I am a Questioner, so I respond to internal expectations.  However, it sometimes helps to have an external motivation, even for me, as long as I do not have to do it.
 
Unfortunately, my back is not doing too well.  The pain is getting into my left arm again.  After over a year of chiropractic treatment, and I am about where I started.  That is disappointing.  Therefore, I question the value of my adjustments.
 
Breakfast will be in 46 minutes.  I do not feel like reading or doing my chiropractic exercises.  If you feel more motivated than I do, here is a link.
 

JV Life Tracker

 
You may wonder why I keep referring to JV Life Tracker.  Did you know that your grades in school are set up by your teacher?  There is no reliable way to compare your marks in woodworking to those in history.  Yet we do that all the time.  What if you can set up your own point system?  You can.  JV Life Tracker is one way to do that.  It is an indication of how I am doing that is as reliable as anything.  Of course, I could cheat.  However, I try not to do that because that would blow the purpose of setting everything up.
 
In April and early May, during the pandemic’s stay-at-home phase, I experienced some depression and did relatively nothing.  However, I still scored JV Life Tracker, so that was better than nothing.  If I was abjectly down, I would not even do that.  Fast forward to September 14th, Day One.  I started a blog series that means something to me.  With points for working on it, my scores soared and have stayed up ever since.  Not only have I worked on my project, but also my other checkmarks are higher.  That is a bit hard to prove with this graph alone.  However, I scored the points.  I know.  My mood has been up.  That makes it more possible to do anything.
 

Are You Looking For Such a Project?

 
Are you looking for such a project?  Something that energizes you and improves every other area of your life?  Look at your values.  What could you do that would express those values?  What have you been working on for the last few decades?  Have you been inventing something? Have you developed a new methodology?  What gift could you give the world?  Is there a project that would bring everything together?  I challenge you to find the project that would transform your life and start or continue working on it.  You do not have to have it finished yet for it to make incredible improvements to your life.  Just daily working on it will bring benefits.
 
If you think you do not have time for it, think again.  This is your baby we are talking about.  We never have time for babies, but that is what makes life worthwhile.   The project could literally be a baby.  With your decades of experience, your baby could become a gift to the world.  Maybe you think it is too late to conceive one, but it may be possible with IVF.  Only you know what this project is.  Start before you literally cannot do it anymore.
 

Breakfast

 
My fast was exactly 20 hours.  I fixed a larger serving of Mini Joy than usual, which will be evident in the diet diary.  I got thinking about your project, and the time flew by.  It is too late for me to conceive a child.  However, I believe in Isaiah 54.  Never say never.  I am not as old as Sarah was yet.  Besides menopause, I have other barriers to conceiving.  However, like I said, “Never say never.”  My husband would like a child with me.  Unlike my first husband, he could afford it.
 

Asking

 
Years ago, I read a gem of a paperback titled, Ask For the Moon and Get It by Percy Ross.  I asked my boyfriend years later if he would put me in his will.  Still more years later, he signed me into his trust as his wife.  It took many years to fill that request, but it got done.  Here is a mindmap I created of the ten rules of asking.  Let me respectfully ask you if you will share the entries in this blog series.  Let people know about this crazy woman who has disclosed her entire diet diary for 110 days.  Of course, I need to ask more times than once, so expect to see this request again.
 

Advertising

 
What can be accomplished with a request?  Commercials are requests, and they are artful.  Ad designers know just the right colors, the right animation, the right angles, the most compelling storyline.  Have you ever wondered how pharmaceutical companies can sell so many drugs when the side effects are mentioned right there in the commercial?  They specialize in what I call lifestyle ads.  They sell you a depiction of an ideal life.  People buy because they are associated with well-to-do, loving, active, meaningful lives.  Will people that take those drugs get a life like that?  Let me inform you.  It takes more than just taking the medication.  Some people are too sick to get there, even with the drug.
 
The point is this:  people will do almost anything for a lifestyle.
 
But we were talking about the power of asking.  Drug companies know their customers are probably just thinking of symptom relief.  Instead of giving what they are asking for, they offer something even more remarkable:  a lifestyle.  It might be a false promise, but this type of advertising is working.
 

What Are You Afraid of Asking For?

 
What are you afraid of asking for?  I have asked God for a bipolar disorder cure.  At first, I thought it was granted; I felt so wonderful.  Then I was bitterly disappointed as the elevated feeling turned out to be mania.  Does that mean I should stop asking?
 
I thought I would change my tune a bit and ask for my symptoms to go away as long as I take my medication.  That worked for a while, too.  Then I had breakthrough symptoms even while being faithful to my medication.  So that did not work.
 
Then my doctor offered relief of symptoms if only I would take exorbitantly expensive medication.  I researched how it would be possible to go ahead with this possibility.  It is a stretch but can be done.  It can be done now, but can I sustain it once my husband passes away?
 
That is where I am right now.  Three weeks ago, I started a meaningful project, and so far, the symptoms have gone away.  Whether that will last, I do not know.  However, I do not want to blow out my husband’s money on such an expensive pharmaceutical.  The drug companies are already making a killing with false promises.  I would rather keep asking God for an alternative solution.  So far, I have one.  I thought I would share it with you.
 
In essence, to get the lifestyle I want, I am not going for the drug first.  I am taking a direct approach:  doing a project that involves my favorite activity:  writing.  That supports my desired lifestyle.
 

Start the Right Project

 
Do not get badgered into a project that does not fit your values.  Once you are open to undertakings, your mother and all her friends will be happy to have you work on theirs.  However, another person’s plans might drain rather than energize you.  I am not saying that working for others or with a group is out.  Just be sure their values match your own.  Make sure the time you spend is not being forced out of you.  Your hours should be those you are willing to give.  If you must be driven to work on a project, it is probably not the right one.  The intention itself should motivate you.
 
Not many weeks ago, we invited a man in his 70s to come over to fix our antiques.  We had quite a list of furniture that needed attention.  The man cheerfully repaired everything on the list in almost no time.  He showed us cell phone photos of his completed projects.  It was apparent that he was happy doing the work he loved, and the money was merely a bonus.  This is an example of a project that works.  What he was doing made him happy and kept him out of the doldrums of retirement.
 

Afternoon

 
I had an organic apple (carbs), two pasture-raised eggs (protein), and some pistachio nuts in the shells (fat) for lunch.  I have been thinking about your healing project that will relieve you from your depression and give you the lifestyle you want.  
 

Evening

 

Diet Diary

 
 
My nutritional profile is less complete than it is when I make a green drink.  I only had one serving of vegetables:  the carrots.  The mixed nuts this afternoon provided more than enough selenium.  I was short on vitamin K, potassium, sodium, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids.  However, my Trend report will show that I get ample amounts of these nutrients on average.  You may wonder what phytosterol is.  I do not know.  I am using that field to track the cost of my supplements.  Today, my food supplements are about $3.02.
 

Neighbors

 
My visit with my neighbor couple, as usual, was an exchange of ideas and experiences.  I am glad I can be there for her.  She said the worst part of her cancer treatment was the loneliness, especially during this pandemic.  When she went to the hospital for her treatments, she could not even have her husband.  She had to go alone.  Every time I see her, she is getting better and better.  When I first started visiting her in July, I feared she would die soon.  However, I am less concerned about that now.  A retired nurse, she is fortunate to have the loving attention of her husband.  As a retired surgeon, he is quite familiar with her proper care.
 
They are giving me pointers on caring for my husband.  They said, “There isn’t anything you are going through that we haven’t already seen.”  I would like to bring my husband along on these visits, but he always says no when I ask.  I think I will keep asking.  Percy Ross would be proud of me.
 
I mentioned my frustration about getting a tarp for my husband to sleep on when he is on the floor.  He said he did not want it.  However, I think I will buy it anyway and take my chances.  He was not sure he wanted maid service.  Now he is pushing me to sign up for every two weeks instead of four.
 

Prayer

 
 
EVENING PRAYER
 
Dear Lord,
 
My back is less sore tonight.  Tomorrow, I will get chiropractic care for it.
 
110 Days
Tonight completes three weeks of this journey.  I plan to do almost sixteen weeks or 110 days.  I have written more than 2,000 words and prepared more than six images per day on average.
 
Labor of Love
Lord, keeping up with myself is requiring quite a lot.  This blog series is a labor of love, however.  I pray it will help people.  I hope it does more than help them lose weight; I pray it inspires them to do the project of their heart’s desire.  I will probably want to also condense this series into a book.
 
Lady in Red
The photo of me in a red dress on my bedroom altar shows what I look like at my ideal weight.  It reminds me of Chris De Burgh’s Lady in Red.  By the time I get there again, I will be older and hopefully wiser.
 
20-Hour Fast
I extended last night’s fast to 20 hours, and it was not that bad.  Fasting is now more doable.  I am fasting again until tomorrow.  While I am abstaining from food, my writing is not distracted by going for snacks.  Eating in the evening hours, which I did only weeks ago, blows a lot of time.  I am glad to be free of the compulsion.
 
Designed to Go Without Food
You designed our bodies to go without food for a time.  Our culture is so food-obsessed, we have forgotten that.  We can take inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi, who freed a nation with his fasts.  Lately, I have been consuming less food, so I probably have been saving money on groceries.
 
Getting My Sleep
This morning, I slept until past 6:00 AM.  There is the hope of repairing my sleep debt.  Most importantly, I have mental peace.  Weeks ago, I wanted to die.  Life seemed pointless.  I was a slave to my eating–not the lifestyle I want.
 
Thank you, Lord, for changing my life.
 
Amen.
 
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One.  If you wish to download a FREE copy of my ebook (with no need to enter your name or email), click on the book below.  Please continue this journey with me by clicking on the arrows at the right of the page.
 
 
 
 
 
 
This article, with its diet diary, shows what worked for me.  I do not claim that it will work for you.  Consult a licensed medical provider to determine your diet and medical care.  These blog entries do not diagnose or treat any disease.  If I provide any clues for you or your provider, I will be happy.
 
 

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