This was meant to a blog on fasting. It still is I just got side tracked, again!
Function. I like that word.
What do you need to function? What does function actually mean?
A google search gives the following definitions. (I omitted the mathematical one!)
- an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing.
- work or operate in a proper or particular way.
I think they are both relevant to us as human beings. Very relevant in fact. Just think about it, ‘an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing’. A little introspection is useful here. What are the activities that are natural to a human being?
Where to start with a thought like that? It’d be easy to look at the life we live nowadays and think about what we enjoy. The difficulty, if you look around yourself, or at the world we live in at this moment, is that there seems to be a lot of unease. We live in a fast social media and media fuelled world, that many people are finding increasingly hard to manage. Especially with all the stereotypes we are ‘forced’ to adhere to, and the fall out that ensues. The use of stimulants or depressants to mask the effects we struggle with. I’ve written at length about that and so have many others. That’s not the focus of this blog.
Maybe if we are to look at what is natural to a person we should look at examples of humans as creatures before we made our world as dysfunctional as it can be or is. Were there depressed cavemen? Hungry, afraid, happy, frustrated, determined maybe, but depressed, unlikely. I don’t think society has had so many labels for stuff in any part of history as we have now. Anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, ODD, gender neutral, the list is endless.
What is natural? I suggest the most natural state of function is ‘happy’ or ‘at peace’. If we take that as a staring point then we can think about what it might take to achieve that. The first step is to actually look at yourself and ask some honest questions.
Am I happy?
Am I at peace?
It took me thirty-five years of adult life to work out that I wasn’t. It wasn’t the pain, or damage, that I was doing to myself that caused me to take stock, but the pain and damage that I was causing to other people, and then ultimately, then the distress that that was causing me, the exaggerated anxiety and guilt as I would sober up and straighten out. That really hurt!
So, asking what is natural by looking at our modern lifestyle doesn’t work then, does it?
What did our ancestors need to feel happy, or at peace? A commonly used and much romanticised vision of life in past times can easily be found by looking at indigenous cultures, particularly Native Americans, there is a wealth of information available.
I’m sure life was sporadically violent then, however, core values of family, celebration, support, love, connection to the natural world, all without boundaries and a whole host of ‘this is mine’ keep off. I’d imagine there were no issues with addiction then either. There would have been very little to ‘hide’ or ‘escape’ from. I’m sure they argued and battled, but the starting point would have been different.
So, nuts and bolts then.
I stopped smoking. As I have said. When I actually wanted to, it was easy. What I hadn’t realised was how much smoking calmed me down. I became angry, especially when I had a drink. I could fly off the handle at the slightest perceived slur!
Eventually, I stopped drinking. When I actually wanted too that was easy too. Just took five years between knowing I should and actually wanting too. This world doesn’t like people to stop drinking.
I also wanted to loose weight. That’s been the hardest challenge.
You can’t stop eating.
Well, you can, but the end becomes inevitable.
We need to eat to live.
I managed to get down to 13 stone 8 lb for a few months, a couple of years ago, but the discipline required was not fun or enjoyable. I went on a holiday and straight away went back up to 14.5 st and had been there almost ever since.
So, a diet is too much like hard work.
As my business coach says, how much do you want it? Obviously not enough.
I need structure, not totally, but enough to help me make the right decisions.
A conversation with a friend at a networking meeting was enlightening. ‘If you want to lose weight, just put some fasting into your daily routine. Then around that eat normally, well healthily, but no special rules. She also added, you’ll not find that put out there because there’s no money in it.
I had a chat with my wife and we did a little research. The 16 8 fasting method looked pretty sensible. Eat normally for 8 hours and fast for 16. We eat from 12 noon and then stop at eight in the evening. Yes, I thought, I can do that. I’m asleep for much of that 16 hours anyway.
No more, ‘I’ll just have’ I don’t do that anymore. No more ‘one won’t hurt’, I don’t do that anymore. Easy. Well, mostly. I just adhere to a time constraint.
It’s helped my wife stop her evening snacking too.
There’s going to be occasions where you can’t avoid eating outside of those hours, but that’s OK and not a regular part of the regular routine, so that’s OK.
We’re a week in, I‘m under 14 stone now and my wife is 13 stone, she’ll be under it next week. It feels good. Amazing in fact, and manageable.
It feels ‘natural’.
A warrior Acts….
A good way to ‘function’.
Simon Pollard. Countryman and Garden Designer Sept 2023