Day 641, Joy in the Morning

 
“… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalms 30:5 KJV).
 
Last night, it was hard.  I had set up a fasting record in Cronometer to fast for 15.5 hours.  I could hardly get through the first three.  My chin, jaw, lips, and tongue had tightened and were burning with almost unendurable pain and tension  I took Tylenol and butterbur.  That took the edge off, and I was able to sleep.
 
In the back of my mind, I thought, “If I can get through this, I will be glad I did it in the morning.”
 
Intermittent fasting may not be the easiest thing to do.  However, it works.  By morning, I had lost .6 kilos or more than one pound.  I was exultant.  Fasting, though, is not just for weight loss.  It comes with a pack of benefits.  It:
 
  • increases leptin sensitivity
  • saves money
  • aids weight loss!
  • protects against chronic disease
  • improves brain function
  • increases longevity
  • improves metabolic health
 
If it keeps me from diabetes, it will be worth it.  So far, so good.  One of my medications, Risperdal, an atypical antipsychotic, can cause diabetes.  Most of the current drugs for bipolar do, and many people with bipolar have diabetes too.  Diabetes is considered comorbidity of bipolar disorder.
 
Fasting is a challenging solution.  However, it works.  I have typically had a hard time at night after eating all the calories in my budget.  I have not been able to stop eating, even when my body has had enough for its needs.  Setting up a fasting record in Cronometer for a certain length of time tells my brain that I am serious about not eating food until some time the next morning.  Does it always work?  No.  However, the more I do it, it becomes more doable.
 
Below is a list of my most recent fasts.  Getting creative about giving each a name seems to help my motivation.  My goal is to make fasting a lifestyle.
 
 

Autophagy

 
Autophagy is a new concept for me.  It is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells to regenerate newer, healthier cells.  It literally means ‘self-eating.’  Through autophagy, we rejuvenate.  Is this not better than just losing weight?  When I first started logging my food in 1996, I lost 23 pounds in six months.  Afterward, a neighbor told me I looked ten years younger.  Autophagy must have been in play, though at that time, I did not know what it was.  However, throughout my diet, I typically fasted from supper to breakfast.
 

Future

 
If you fall off the wagon after a period of intermittent fasting, take heart, resume the practice and regain all its benefits.  I look forward to making periodic fasting part of my lifestyle far into the future–a future I hope will be even longer for fasting.  I have seen its rewards, then ‘fallen off the wagon,’ then seen its blessings again.  If I stumble, I will pick myself up and resume as I always do.
 

Night-Time Eating

 
The hardest part of fasting is probably the first few hours.  The refrigerator beckons us into night-time eating.  I suspect that is because insulin is still high and locks fat in the fat cells so it cannot be burned.  It takes a few hours to bring insulin levels down.  Then glucagon rises, and fat is released from adipose tissue to be metabolized for energy.  If your body never decreases its insulin levels, this will not occur.
 
So does that mean we need to suffer through food cravings at night?  Food cravings are like waves.  They rise up repeatedly then subside.  If we can surf the waves, they will eventually diminish.  Then joy will genuinely come in the morning.
 

Values

 
The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris warns us not to do something only because it makes us feel better.  I have long sought ‘feeling good’ as a goal, so this is a new paradigm for me.  However, it makes sense.  Often what we do to feel good makes us feel better, temporarily, but has terrible side(s) effect later on.  Instead, Russ Harris encourages us to work towards our values, which will make us feel good as a side effect, but maybe not right at the beginning.  Fasting is one of those things.  It has a long list of benefits, but in the beginning, it does not feel good.  I am encouraging you to seek delayed gratification.  The joy will come in the morning.
 
Yesterday I started on a list of my values.  It is incomplete, but it may propel to chart your own values with activities that support them.
 

What Are My Values?

 
 
beautiful, orderly cleanliness
  • clean the house
  • take showers twice a week
  • organize your stuff
  • minimize
  • take pictures of prepared food
health-supporting food, water, and air
  • budget money needed for food and medicine
  • buy and prepare nutritious food
  • create new, nutritious recipes
  • expand your DelectaBalance Diet
  • maintain water filters
  • swim when possible
  • maintain heater and air-conditioner
space
  • minimize possessions
  • get rid of or store unneeded items
health
  • get adequate rest
  • eat nutritious meals in the correct amounts
  • walk to the library and park daily
  • do four chiropractic exercises daily
  • use Denneroll
  • see chiropractor weekly
  • meditate daily
  • take medication
  • brush and floss teeth
  • watch blood pressure and modify with diet
creative productivity
  • make time to write, program, photograph, and do graphics
  • create beauty
friends and family
  • contact friends and family
  • help friends and family when possible
  • serve husband
ideal weight
leptin sensitivity
stress reduction
  • no eating at night
  • 12-to-15-hour fasts
  • stress reduction
  • carb restriction
  • eating anti-inflammatory foods
  • exercise
  • avoid sugar
  • eat healthy fats
  • take magnesium
  • get enough sleep
  • protein at breakfast
  • calorie restriction, but do not cut calories to extremely low levels
  • meditate
  • listen to soothing music
  • listen to binaural beats
  • diet log (Cronometer)
  • gluten and dairy-free
  • follow the plan in this mindmap
wisdom
  • apply knowledge to reaching for other values
  • study the best books
  • study the Bible
  • assemble knowledge trees in MindMeister
 

Conclusion

 
Think it over.  Get out your journal.  Make a table of your values alongside activities that support them.  Doing some of these activities may not feel good at first.  Surf the waves of urges to give up, and joy will come.  As you work toward your genuine values, you cannot help but feel joy.
 
I am still implementing this concept.  I have often gone after short-term rewards and procrastinated activities that bring long-term rewards.  I plan to change that part of myself.  My blog is a long-term aim.  Sometimes, the rewards in the short-term are not that great.  However, I have already begun to feel joy in what I have accomplished.  I will continue.
 
If you want to share my messages, please do.  My hope is to influence others for good.  “Selling” things that are good for us is not always profitable.  There is more money in selling items that provide quick fixes.   However, I have hope that wisdom will prevail, and people will catch on to what they can obtain through hard work and delayed gratification.
 
If you have any comments, please leave them below.
 

Prayer

 
 
MORNING PRAYER
 
Dear Lord,
 
Is there some genius to the Universe that puts hard work before joy?  So often, we go for an easy fix, perhaps something sweet to eat, that does not take any effort.
 
I have realized some of the benefits of intermittent fasting.  When I first heard about it, I thought, “never.”  Then I looked at it as a way to make my diet work.  It is almost impossible to restrict calories if you eat around-the-clock.  So, I tried it, and it did work.  But darn, it was hard.  I was not sure I wanted to do it daily forever.  For months I let it go and watched the number on the scales rise.
 
Finally, I said, I must resume intermittent fasting because it works.  My readers may find a more approachable way, but I am searching for the part of myself that is willing to delay gratification, not for a second marshmallow, but for joy in the morning.
 
 
Working towards my value-driven goals will likewise require effort.  Perhaps, joy will come every morning.  But if not, it will happen often enough.  I believe that, anyway.  Lord, share with me your joy as you have promised.  Your joy is in loving mankind and serving them.  Your service did not come without pain, either.  Yet there was joy on Resurrection morning when you had conquered death and were ready to offer life to us all.  Let us all partake of that life and joy.
 
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.
 
 
 

2 thoughts on “Day 641, Joy in the Morning”

  1. I lost 40 pounds beginning last July, using intermittent fasting and exercise. I like to break my fast at 11am with a big carb free salad, containing lots of veggies and olive oil, and grilled chicken. For dinner I eat pretty much whatever I want but within reason -it’s the only meal with carbs. With my wife I walk 5 miles a day and do 10 minutes of calisthenics. She has lost 15 lbs too. Never felt better!

  2. That’s fantastic, Tim! Forty pounds is a significant amount of weight. The more I fast, the better it gets. I can feel my body removing fat during my fast; that’s great. Good luck with fasting!

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