Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fasting, Spreasheets, and Patience

Yesterday I wrote about how fasting was seeming difficult but turned out to be easy. I happily made it until six in the evening before eating at a party across the street. Later, checking the time to see when my girls would need to be brought home to bed, I saw that it was 9:15 and I realized that I had been done with eating since before nine. And I was satisfied.

Along with this whole fasting thing, I've been keeping a spreadsheet of my weight. Each morning I weigh in and record the number. I've always liked numbers, so the spreadsheet is, sad as it may sound, fun for me. It calculate a ten-day weight trend, body mass index (BMI), and daily changes in my weight.

Consulting the spreadsheet I see that I'm down 1.20 pounds from yesterday and over the course of four days I've shed 3.40 pounds. Ain't that a kick in the ass.

I know my body hasn't radically changed. I'm not the guy in the old comic book ads who goes from ninety-pound weakling getting sand kicked in his face to big bruiser impressing his girl by beating holy hell out of the bully. Life isn't like that and, if nothing else, it's important for me to be aware that change takes time and while it's great to lose weight it is more powerful to gain patience.

Suddenly I'm picturing a comic book ad with an over-anxious guy at the beach being told to calm down by a Zen master. The guy orders his Home Zen Mind Kit and comes back to the beach soon after impressing girls with his hunky meditation practice.

This is why I don't sell ad copy.

Patience isn't something I can record on my spreadsheet. It isn't easily quantified and measured which is why it's so precious. Developing patience is part of the appeal of fasting. Instead of anxiously responding to a perceived hunger, I wait and let it be. I ask what I really want which leads me to carefully consider other things I do. I'm running more often, lifting more weights, sweeping the kitchen, writing and reading a whole lot. I've been more considerate of my daughters and my wife. All that from being patient about food and letting that patience permeate my life.

I'm reminded how one significant change affects everything. I don't need to change ten things to re-frame my life, I need to change one. Reminding myself of these things is yet another reason why I write on.