The Karma Sense Eating Plan book goes on sale March 12, 2016. Watch this space for purchasing information.
I wear many hats here at Live Long Lead Long (L4) including that of the Content Marketing Manager.
In that role, I keep up to date on the latest trends in increasing page views and sometimes am able to incorporate them within 10 years after their peak popularity. Listicles, a contraction of the words “list” and “article,” are the trend of the moment. The site BuzzFeed, is one of the best-known providers of listicle content.
But keep in mind that my superpower is an inexplicable retention of useless facts. So I know that well before mere mortals had the internet, we got our listicles delivered to us via this book:
The Book of Lists is exactly what it says it is, a reference book filled with nothing but lists. Like most reference books, it was meant for random page flipping. It wasn’t really something one would read from cover-to-cover. Unless of course you have a superpower for remembering useless facts. For me, The Book of Lists was one of the things that fed that world-saving superpower (“Sir, I have every intention of chasing down that man who stole your wallet, but first I must tell you about the ten most famous noses in history. #1 Cyrano…”).
What I’m trying to say here is that I ought to have this listicle thing down. And with that in mind, let me present…
10 Observations On My Karma Sense Eating Plan
I first wrote about The Karma Sense Eating Plan in May of 2015. In late September, I started posting about my plan to focus on my own personal goals. It’s been a month since my last update on this process. This list explores my observations over time. This post is for people interested in my personal implementation of 16-hour daily fasting. If you read this blog to learn my take on various health and nutrition topics, you may want to skip this post.
One – A Plan for Achieving Greater Health Has to Be Flexible
There is no finish line to better health. It’s a never-ending journey. Your health goals change because you change. You get older. You move from a process of transformation to a process of maintenance. Your healthy lifestyle effects your metabolism and if you want to keep your trajectory, you have to adjust your methods.
In my case I changed due to a combination of these and because my original goal was a moonshot. My original goal was to decrease my body fat percentage by 5% by adding muscle. This involved a process of micromanaging my macronutrients (say that 5 times fast). It also meant I needed to eat amounts of protein beyond my comfort level. Neither of these is compatible with my lifestyle. I can adjust my lifestyle, at least temporarily, but the time isn’t right. So I changed my goal to improving my body composition by 5% by either gaining muscle OR losing fat (but not losing muscle).
Sometimes you have to change or defer a goal because of conflicting priorities. Sometimes it’s because in the process you discover something about yourself that forces you to make changes. Sometimes stuff happens. That’s life. Move on.
Two – To Be Trite, Fail Fast
In the business world, “Fail Fast” is a Silicon Valley mantra. It encourages risk-taking in a way that accelerates an entrepreneur’s ability to check that risk’s chances for success. It’s a way to protect investors from throwing good money after bad.
Most recently it’s chic to throw shade at this notion. When it comes to following a plan to improve your health, you should consider failure to be short-term and neutral. It’s part of the process and merely a signal that your plan needs to change. This article from the Washington Post explains where failure and plateaus may fit into your plan.
In my case, I could easily see why my plan wasn’t working and reassess the value of changing my plan vs. changing my goal. I opted to change the goal. I did this because my goal is more of a vanity goal than a health goal. Achieving this vanity goal meant uncomfortable adjustments to my diet. The adjustments weren’t worth it for a vanity goal.
If you find that you’ve gotten stuck in your plan and you don’t know what to do next, consider hiring a coach. I happen to know where you can find a good one (contact me 😀).
Three – “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” -Rumi
The Karma Sense Eating Plan is all about being healthier, happier and, oh yeah, saving the world. In my personal plan, I honor the Karma component by accumulating the $5 each day that I save by fasting. I give it to charities that fight poverty and hunger. I have to say, the Karma component is the most satisfying part of The Karma Sense Eating Plan. Even when my plan is not making all the progress I want (see 1 and 2 above), I still know that it’s helping others.
At the end of 2015, I made my first donation. You can read more about that here. It was a relatively small amount of money that I am confident makes a huge difference for many people. With the first two months of 2016 complete, I am ready to donate another $300 and I’d like your advice in choosing where this money should go. Here are the options:
- Deworm the World – This is the same charity I donated to in 2015. Fighting parasitic worms in rural villages is an inexpensive and highly effective way to improve health and access to education in poor countries around the world.
- Community Members Interested – Access to education is one of the best tools available for fighting poverty. It is the literal and figurative embodiment of “teaching a person to fish.” Community Members builds schools in Nepal. In 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake that completely erased the good work of this charity to date. We all felt such compassion for the people effected in 2015 but now we’ve moved on.
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers – The previous two charities focus outside the US. I prefer such charities because charitable giving has the largest impact when applied to the world’s poorest people. Since I’m asking your advice, I added this US-based charity for those who believe charity begins at home. Many of the people who pick the crops for sale by stores and restaurants live and work in inhumane circumstances. The Coalition works to fight for these workers by negotiating fair prices with wholesalers and retailers. By increasing your total grocery bill by a few pennies per year we can lift these workers out of poverty.
At the end of this post, I offer L4 readers the chance to select which one of the above get the next contribution. Note that I’m talking about a personal donation here. This donation is in no way related to the charitable contributions that occur by buying The Karma Sense Eating Plan book. Donations that occur through Karma Sense book sales are managed by the Karma Sense Board.
Four – The Pre-Meal Ritual Described in the Sense Component is not a Throwaway
The Sense component of The Karma Sense Eating Plan introduces a pre-meal ritual that suggests you reflect on your Karma-worthy good deeds and express gratitude towards the people and processes that created your meal. Perform this ritual and in the short-term, you will feel uplifted. In the long-term you will gain several health benefits that I summarize in the Sense components description. Don’t skip this small detail. If requires very little effort on your part and the payback is real.
Five – Fasting is Like Any Other Habit, If It’s Hard to Develop, It’s Even Harder to Change
Intermittent Fasting was a hard habit to develop. It took several tries for weekly 24-36 hour fasts to go from pure torture to something I actually began to look forward to. That’s right, once you learn that you’re not going to starve and that any feelings of discomfort go away as quickly as they begin, you start to appreciate the simplicity, productivity, and clear-headedness of a fast day. And you love the taste of food when it comes time to break the fast.
So it was upsetting to me that transitioning from a long weekly fast to a daily fast of 16 hours was almost as torturous. I really expected it to be easier. After all, when you’re in a rhythm of skipping 4 meals in a row on a weekly basis, skipping one daily meal should be simple. I had a number of problems with it.
In my earlier Intermittent Fasting routine, I had become really attached to breakfast for those days that I wasn’t fasting. I depended on those meals for morning energy and to kick off other physiological activities that I am much too demure to discuss here (since when?). Suddenly the daily morning belly gurgle was too loud to turn off. Then, when 1:00 PM came around and I could break my fast, I was ravenous.
But after a couple of days, the craving, the gurgle and the physiological disappointment all got back to normal. Now I’m at the point where I sometimes am too distracted to eat my first meal and I delay it another couple of hours.
When trying to adopt new positive habits, many people give it a go one time, don’t reach their goal, and assume it is an exercise in futility. Habit development is hard and it deserves more than one try. Instead, give it a couple of attempts and don’t quit until you’ve really analyzed the barriers to your success. Sometimes it helps to get a second opinion on this.
Six – Fasting is the Ultimate Way to Honor Mantra #1, Eat Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full
When I was a little boy, my dad would walk everywhere. Because I enjoyed his company I would often ask if I could join him. When I did, I could never keep up. He used to lovingly joke that if I walked any slower, I would be going backward.
One way I honor mantra #1 in my updated plan is to fast for 16 hours a day by skipping breakfast and delaying lunch to mid-afternoon. Think about it. The only way to eat more slowly than you do when fasting is to eat backward (this is also a serious eating disorder).
Once the 16 hour fast is complete, I don’t compensate by eating more than I usually would for the rest of the day. I eat a normal sized lunch, a small snack, a normal sized dinner, and the occasional dish of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby.
Over the four weeks I’ve been on this adjusted plan, I lost two pounds of fat without losing any muscle. That amounts to being 10% of the way to my goal. Keep in mind that I’m relatively lean which means losing the occasional pound of flab is an accomplishment.
Seven – The Reason I Was Able to Lose 2 Pounds of Fat Without Losing Muscle
Mantra #2, Eat Protein in Every Meal, is perfectly suited to supporting this goal. This study says it all. And if you prefer to read someone else’s more approachable interpretation of this study, here you go. I haven’t been able to consume enough protein to build a lot of new muscle, but it’s enough for avoiding a loss of muscle.
Eight – Not Only Did I Lose 2 Pounds of Fat But I Gained 1 Pound of Muscle
A key part of my plan is doing a workout just before I break my fast. Three days a week I do a heavy workout of 45 minutes with weights and (lately) the rowing machine. Two days a week I do 30 minutes of light body weight exercise. On weekends, I take a break but I’m still moderately active during the day.
I remember the first day I stepped into a gym to get in better shape. This was about twenty years ago. I woke up and went right to the gym without eating breakfast. A trainer at the gym was giving me a tour and was testing my physical fitness (which was cube-dweller-couch-potato bad). I couldn’t even make it 15 minutes without feeling light-headed and like I was going to faint. Fortunately, the trainer had a banana on hand for just such an emergency.
With that experience in mind, I was reluctant about working in a fasted state. It’s an adjustment. It’s not for everybody. But after a few cycles, I’m quite comfortable with it. And the science around fasted workouts is impressive. This
This study demonstrates that regular fasted workouts increase insulin sensitivity. When your body is sensitive to insulin, your muscle cells take in more glucose and that gives those muscles the energy to work harder. It also means that less glucose goes into your fat cells to make you fatter.
In this study, researchers observed an increase in Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels when subjects engaged in fasted workouts. HGH is key for regulating body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function.
Nine – Manta #3, Eat More Vegetables and Fruits Completes the Karma Sense Weight Loss Puzzle
To lose weight with Karma Sense, combine mantra #3, Eat More Vegetables and Fruits with mantras #1 and #2. These three together have the proper balance of portion control, macronutrients, and micronutrients, to keep you nourished and satisfied. Mantras #4, Eat Whole Food Carbohydrates After Vigorous Exercise and #5, Eat Good Fats Daily and Balance a Variety of Good Fats, can affect your weight, but if five mantras are too much to keep track of, focus on the first three.
Ten – Listicles. When You Have No Idea How to Write a Coherent Story
Listicles may be a worthy technique to share certain kinds of information. But more often than not, they’re a device for lazy writers who can’t come up with a coherent story. Granted, my usual posts don’t tell coherent stories, but that’s a result of my lack of communication skills and not out of laziness. Posts this long can never be the result of being lazy.
If you’d like to help me choose the charity that gets my next dose of karma, please complete the poll below.
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