6 weeks of intermittent fasting by a woman

Six weeks ago, I started an intermittent fasting eating schedule. I wanted to lose some belly fat. From what I gleaned on the internet about intermittent fasting, when we go longer than usual without eating, our bodies burn fat for energy instead of the customary fuel source, glucose.

Feeling some hunger is also in line with the experience of most humans throughout history. They put on fat from feasting, and when food was scarce, they felt hungry and burned fat. Hunger was part of their lives, and the human body is designed for occasional fasting.

After reading about various configurations of going without food (some fast 1-2 days a week, some do 12-hour daily fasts, etc.), I decided to go with a 16-hour daily fast, 7 days a week. Breakfast is the easiest meal for me to skip. I do more physical work in the afternoons and need energy for that, and I enjoy unwinding with dinner. So from 8 pm until noon I would fast. A good chunk of that time, I would be asleep — a natural 8 hour fast. So really, I only had to abstain from eating the first few hours of each day.

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How to cure anxiety

Loved this blog post so much, I’m linking to it here! It’s on Tim Ferriss’s blog, and was written by his former assistant Charlie Hoehn.

Note that it mentions the Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) among other behaviors to release tension and calm the body.


Healthy lifestyle turns off disease-causing genes

An important new study from Dr. Dean Ornish shows that changes for the better in diet and exercise, plus adding daily meditation, can create rapid and dramatic changes in genetics.

After three months, 30 men who had avoided conventional treatment for prostate cancer had 48 genes that were turned on — and ten times as many (453) that were turned off. Disease-preventing genes increased activity, while disease-causing genes shut down.

Read it for yourself. Healthy lifestyle triggers genetic changes: study.

It makes sense. We’ve all heard of people who recover their health seemingly miraculously. It may have a lot to do with their belief (or suspension of disbelief) that it is possible to influence their health through changing their basic daily habits — simple changes in food and activity choices.

Thanks to Tim Ferriss for posting a link to this article on Facebook.

And…here’s a link to an abstract that found that just the basic “relaxation response” is enough to trigger positive changes in genes, in both short-term and long-term practitioners.

These studies of course will beget more studies, but no longer can you resign yourself to believing your fate is all in your genes. What you do can activate and de-activate the genes you were born with. DNA doesn’t change, but gene expression does.

4-Hour Body exercise induces shaking

Today I induced trembling unintentionally.

I’m reading The 4-Hour Body. I was feeling achy in my lower back this morning and decided to try some exercises I read about last week. The Egoscue Method is a postural therapy program with 24 clinics worldwide. Tim Ferriss, the author, was skeptical but tried a session, walking out after 90 minutes with no pain in his mid-back for the first time in six months.

He recommends six exercises for desk-dwellers’ postural imbalances.

If you have the book, I’m talking about pages 302-306.

The last exercise of the six is called the “air bench”. It’s like Exercise 6a of the trauma releasing exercises.

  1. Stand with back against a wall, feet and knees hip width apart, feet straight ahead.
  2. Walk your feet out as you slide your back down the wall. Stop when your knees are bent 90 degrees. Ankles should be slightly ahead of knees. Lower back is flat against the wall. Keep the weight in your heels.
  3. Hold for two minutes.

Aargh, it’s hard work! I bring my attention to my breath and breathe slowly, deeply, and smoothly. Otherwise, I’d be moaning.

When I finished, I lay on my yoga mat and did Exercise 6b, on my back, soles pressed together, knees as wide as possible, sacrum elevated two inches.

Then I immediately relaxed and put my soles flat on the floor and trembled, shook, and quivered for 20 minutes! It was a very good session, with lots of releasing. Both shoulders released, separately.

Nothing new to report except that I seem to be experiencing less intense shaking in my legs. I don’t shake as hard.

I wonder if there’s a point when you’ve done these exercises enough that you only shake mildly and for a short time.

That will be the blessed day…

Anyway, I’m going to try doing just Exercises 6a and 6b to find out if they alone can induce shaking. Next time!

The 4-Hour Body, continued: pre-hab and weight loss

I blogged in January that I was starting to read Tim Ferriss’ new book, The 4-Hour Body. Well, I’m still reading it! It’s a big book chock full of interesting information, and I’m reading it from front to back, which Tim does not recommend.

Well, I’m up to page 332 out of 474 (excluding the 100 pages of appendices, bonus material, and index), reading about something Tim calls “pre-hab”. This chapter is about stabilizing the body to prevent injuries. The man who has worked with world-class athletes to improve their consistent high performance is Gray Cook, and Tim pumped him for information for do-it-yourselfers like me to do at home.

It’s all about gaining strength and stability using basic movement patterns.

Boy, I need this. A strong wind can almost blow me over. I’m 58 and understand how devastating a fall can be in a way I didn’t when I was a lot younger (“Why don’t you just get up?”). Even though I’m probably fitter than average for someone my age, I can always improve.

So apparently you can self-assess by doing some exercises and noticing left-right imbalances and wobbling/shifting. Then there are four corrective exercises to fix the most common imbalances/weaknesses.

These have names like chop and lift, Turkish get-up, two-arm single-leg deadlift, and cross-body one-arm single-leg deadlift.

You might as well be speaking a foreign language, Tim!

I’m going to pursue this, and I wish for someone who speaks this language to magically show up and guide me. Know anyone?


I do have something else to report from The 4-Hour Body. I followed the Slow Carb diet in February. Subtitle: How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise.

Results: I lost only 4 pounds but lost several inches converting fat to muscle. I don’t have an accurate way of measuring BMI, just a scale, and it showed a loss.

Note: I have been on a gluten-free diet for several years, and I also (usually) avoid potatoes. That’s probably where most people who eat those things lose the 20 pounds.

This diet calls for no rice, no dairy, no fruit/sugar/sweeteners, just eating the same meals of animal protein/legumes/veggies every day. Yep, beans, eggs or fish, and veggies at every meal. Good thing I love refried beans.

The bonus is one day a week you can eat whatever you want. Yes, built-in cheating! I went all out twice and then binged moderately, with a kefir and pomegranate and stevia smoothie and occasionally ice cream.

I learned gratitude for the variety of legumes in this world. Refried beans, fava beans, limas, snap peas, black beans. The beans really help each meal “stick to your ribs” so you don’t get hungry and snack in between meals.

I lost inches around my upper arms, thighs, and waist, and I gained an inch around my hips. That inch is all in my booty, from doing kettlebell swings twice a week. I’m sure it’s building bone density too.

Have you read the book and tried any of his suggestions?


Day 10: Tim Ferriss and The 4-Hour Body. I love teaching yoga. YES!

The three things I’m grateful for today (day 10 of 21) are: Tim Ferriss, teaching yoga, and the word YES.

If you don’t know Tim Ferriss, you should. He wrote a groundbreaking book called The 4-Hour Work Week, which was a huge bestseller. He shared how people can get out of the rat race of working long hours for someone else and find a new lifestyle where the work is mostly remote and delegated.

Tim chose to travel, learn tango, compete in martial arts contests, and write a bestseller after setting up a health supplement company that practically ran on autopilot, which allowed him the time and income to do those things.

I haven’t followed his formula, but it inspired me to come up with a business idea that I could do anywhere I have access to a phone for a few hours a day, with fairly low start-up costs. I may do it yet, so it’s a secret!

What I love about Tim is his plain ol’ brashness. He’s incredibly curious and likes to find out for himself. He’s a pioneer, an explorer, an adventurer, a seeker, a finder, and a sharer. He’s got the energy of a barrel of laughing monkeys. What’s not to like?

He blogs about his experiments in lifestyle design, too.

Tim is back with a new book, The 4-Hour Body. I’ve just started reading it, and I can tell you now, I will learn a lot from it. With access to doctors, scientists, elite athletes, and state-of-the-art measuring equipment for his own personal experimentation, Tim has hacked the secrets to losing weight, gaining muscle, sleeping well, increasing testosterone and sperm count, running faster, reversing “permanent” injuries, and having 15-minute orgasms. So the cover says, anyway!

He shows you how to make tiny changes, starting from where you are now, that are the most effective changes. His key question is:

For all things physical, what are the tiniest changes that produce the biggest results?

(No wonder this appeals to me: It’s a Maximizer strategy. See my earlier post about finding your strengths.)

I love key questions and will blog about them in the future.

I peeked ahead to see how to lose 20 lbs in 30 days. His formula is:

  • Avoid “white” carbohydrates (or anything that can be white).
  • Eat the same few meals over and over again.
  • Don’t drink calories.
  • Don’t eat fruit.
  • Take one day off per week and go nuts.

And then he gives the fine points.

(Can’t wait until he hacks enlightenment in his next book, The 4-Hour Brain. You listening, Tim?)

Another thing I’m grateful for is that I finally took yoga teacher training and am teaching yoga. It is so gratifying to help motivated people find their way into yoga. Whether they are beginners who want one-on-one personal attention and instruction as they learn, or just want to unwind from stress and experience some deep relaxation, I’m enjoying teaching.

At present, I have one class on Sunday evenings, a restorative class in Oak Hill, and I have a private student who comes to my home after work one evening each week. (Bonus: My cat Mango curled up on top of her during savasana this week! He knows where the good juicy energy is.)

I’d like to teach more. My rates are very reasonable. Private classes are $25 an hour now, and group classes are $10 for 60 minutes, $15 for 90 minutes. If you want a trial session, call me.

You can read more on my Yoga offerings page on this blog.

I am grateful for the word YES. I’ve been getting some very nice YESes in my life lately. Two offers on my house this week, one of which I am getting ready to say YES to — and some folks who were looking at it last night loved it too. Affirmation!

Oh, and according to Patrice,

No is just another way of saying Yes.

So basically, it’s all Yes!