Lightnesss of being

 

I’ve been having trouble managing my weight ever since I gave up cigarettes. And that was in 1992! Or perhaps I should say I’ve been having trouble managing sugar since I gave up cigarettes?

It’s kif-kif as they say in the French inner city suburbs.

When I gave up cigarettes I started to eat a lot. I put on eight kilos within a year. And without really noticing I lost my mojo. I moved from being a relatively successful teacher training professional to being a simple teacher, luckily with  tenure. It could have been worse. 

After ten years in the doldrums (where I replaced professional success with wife and family so all was not lost) I managed to slim down again in 2006. The reward was immediate.  I felt bright again and started behaving brightly once more. The new self confidence led me to become head of my university department. But then I got fat and once more I slowed down mentally and mediocrity returned with a vengeance. 

I’m happily retired now but still struggling with my demons.  

The other day I bumped into  Nicolas Trub, severally a friend, colleague and an ex-student of mine,  and founder of a design company called Stilic Force. 

With maturity he had become roly poly. Now he was thin once more and radiating personal energy. 

“I’ve been fasting”he said. “You should too. Here’s how.”

The method he described is called intermittent fasting. Basically you don’t eat  for 16 hours straight everyday . This includes sleeping time so it’s really not that difficult. You then eat normally in the remaining eight hour window. 

“16/8 : look it up.” I did. 

And since then I’ve been looking into it. It’s all about insulin. 

Here’s how it works: 

When you eat your insulin levels rise and your body uses the food you have eaten for energy.

When you stop eating  your insulin levels fall and your body uses your body fat for energy. 

Up till now I’ve been trying to reduce calories and sugar intake and keep up an active life style in order to lose weight. This demands a lot of personal sacrifice . And the results have never been great over the long term  (in my case anyway).

So

I’m no longer trying to limit my calorie up-take but rather to limit my eating time, thus allowing my insulin system to do it’s job properly. I stop eating at 22:00 every evening and start at 14:00, or a bit later, the following day. My liver and guts get to rest a bit. 

The result?

I feel much more energetic, especially in the mornings.

I often go to bed a bit earlier and in a more sober state since I stop drinking at 22:00 . I still have plenty of time to socialise with my friends. If there’s a party I just go with the flow. My objective is to create a healthy habit not forge an immutable discipline.  

I’m slowly but steadily losing weight. And this without trying. 

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My recipe for honing English language skills acquired in school but unevenly developed as an adult

As a project management trainer and teacher working with engineers and future engineers in French environments here is my recipe for overcoming the eventual shortcomings of a lycée education in English:

  • Fluency – speak continuously at least two minutes today, even if it’s with your bathroom mirror!
  • Precision – write in English, at least one paragraph per day.
  • Prosody – tell lots of stories. Entertain. Play with the music of the language.
  • Pronunciation – dictate to your telephone! If you get it right it writes what you say. If it doesn’t start again 🙂 .
  • Interaction – meet lots of people. Go to meetup, pubs and anywhere else where you can speak English. Create an English-speaking world yourself.
  • Vocabulary and culture – watch television series, go to the movies, go to the theatre, read books, travel, sing songs, play video games etc. etc. The more you explore the world the more your vocabulary and your understanding will grow. In any language.975C8486-9B9C-4A82-8A3F-5A6245F00374

16/8 Getting healthy with intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is all the rage apparently. My friend Nicolas Trub of Stilic Force introduced me to it. The procedure is simple. Don’t eat for 16 hours at a stretch. Eat normally during the remaining eight. I’ve been trying it and I’ve found it really easy to do.

I have been eating within an eight hour window for several weeks now. Mostly between 14:00 and 10:00. I feel happier, more effective in daily life, my creativity quotient seems to be rising and I’m (slowly) losing weight.

If I have an event like a party or a late night dinner I just push the window a bit moving it from 16:00 to midnight for example and then compensate to bring myself back to my more comfortable schedule.

I don’t try to eat anything special within the window. I just get on with whatever I enjoy eating. No fads. No special diets. That said I find I’m drinking more juices than before. Carrot juice with a little ginger, apple and orange is a favourite. I drink this concoction on evenings when I go to the gym. I also find that I’m drinking less alcohol than before. Basically because social drinking steps me outside my time frame. I’m a water, coffee and green tea man now.

I remain discrete about it. though. I’ve found when I’m open my friends try to talk me out of it – “another glass of wine won’t hurt” etc.

Will I continue? I can’t see any reason not to. The habit feels effortless.