Once I Was 7 Years Old

When I was 7, I had a tooth pulled. My mother made me take a Tylenol that I did not want to take. To me, it did not make sense that if I had a pain in a small area, I should take a pill that gets absorbed into my entire bloodstream. I hated that people were being taught to rely on pills for pain. I was furious with myself for letting her make me take the pill. So, I vowed to never take a pain killer again. I believed that I could teach my body and my mind to deal with pain. I knew that, to some extent, pain is in the mind. I often trained myself to deal with pain in various ways. When my fingers would hurt from bowling, I would squeeze them and abuse the skin to harden it. I would deprive my body of oxygen just so I could hold my breath longer next time. When I had no hot water, I took cold showers facing them like they were mental exercises. I chose to see pains and challenges as a way to develop mental fortitude. Fast forward 26 years, and I’m one of the few people who never gets headaches. The longest headache I’ve had in those years has lasted about 8 seconds. I can’t say with certainty that there is a correlation, but there’s certainly probably a correlation.

When I was 12, I was not very disciplined when it came to eating, my parents let me eat what I want when I wanted. One of the challenges of staying thin was what I called the “stretching stomach”. I observed that, when we went to a buffet for dinner, I would stuff myself for maximum value and of course, feel completely bloated. The next day, I would always be able to eat bigger meals than usual. Instead of feeling full after a usual meal, I could eat almost double. I later learned that champions of eating competitions, use this concept as part of their strategy.

As such, the “stretching stomach” concept was formed in my 12-year-old mind. I imagined that when I devoured a delicious meal and felt full, the bloating feeling was literally my stomach stretching. My strategy for dealing with this was what is called “intermittent fasting” nowadays. After over-eating a delicious meal, which I often did, I would fast generally somewhere between 12-20 hours, using liquids and sleep to push past hunger. I imagined the feeling of my stomach grumbling as the processing of stored fat. I believed that I was teaching my body to process its reserves more regularly, essentially increasing my metabolism.

Now I am no medical expert, so I do not advise you to try what I have tried. I listened to my body and I essentially pioneered intermittent fasting for myself. All I can tell you is that staying thin for me has always revolved around regulating the size of my inner stomach. After fasting, if I could limit myself to a small meal, I usually fell back on track. It took some time to develop the discipline to limit the first meal after fasting. Over time, I found myself dealing with hunger with multiple small portions roughly every 30 minutes. This was a natural response to avoiding the full/bloated feeling, which is essentially the key.

This also stuck with me because it resonates with some deeper concepts of mine. I’ve always believed that time and change are interrelated, if time is moving forward, everything is changing. You are getting stronger or weaker, you are getting more skilled or less skilled, faster or slower, smarter or slower. I believe we ride all these rollercoasters and many more…

I can only hope I’m helping somebody along the ride… Peace!

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