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I <3 Eating

This feels like my fast talking, but its a pretty big realization for me!

I’m 24 hours into a 48 hour fast, being bombarded with ads, posts, reels, etc with FOOD. Freaking food. Delicious food. Desserts, pasta, soups, roasts, dumplings, even ramen.

Its American culture; eat!

Click to view this awesome infographic larger! Laan, S. (2022, June 24). Portion sizes around the world. Infographics Archive. Retrieved October 2, 2022, from https://www.infographicsarchive.com/infographic-serving-sizes-around-the-world/

Ok lets really talk about this because its bugging the crap out of me. One of the biggest changes I had to make with my intermittent fasting routine was portion size. Next was frequency of eating, but first thing I had to tackle was wanting to eat “all the things” and a lot of it. American portion sizes are enormous to say the absolute least. Check out the startling comparisons in this infographic –>

I have several friends, who, in another lifetime would be professional chefs (if it wasn’t for capitalism and having to maintain insufferable employment to survive). I can’t imagine being so talented in the kitchen and feeling capable of successfully breaking negative food habits. Now, I’m not terrible. In fact, I think I’m a pretty decent cook. But I’ve been cooking for one for so long that my skills leave me less than motivated to cook at all. I cook the “meal for an army” size and then eat leftovers for the week rather than tempting myself to overeat because I made something different every day.

Now, don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying I don’t deserve to nourish myself, or don’t deserve to eat delicious things. I just know my level of willpower is not as impressive as I’d hope.

I’ve spent over 30 years on earth enjoying food whenever and however I please. Until I hit my 30’s, simply the *enjoyment* was what mattered. It was basically my understanding and “energy” that all I had to do was not feel guilty, and I could basically enjoy what I wanted. My metabolism/body/insulin resistance/hormones … whatever you’d like to label the issue or issues, changed. I have never been an overeater in the binge/purge sense. I just really like food. But my body hit a wall with what I could eat and how much I could eat! I bet you’re shaking your head, especially if you’re also in your 30’s or older. It runs you over like a truck barreling around a blind corner. One day you’re enjoying a coffee and donut, lunch, a snack, a carb-heavy dinner, the next day you’re wondering why you feel like garbage and you’re gaining weight at an unreasonable pace.

So maybe you started exercising. Cutting down on carbs. Maybe you even paid for a nutrition plan (like I did) and a fitness plan (like I did) and it works for a little! Yay you’ve lost some weight, you feel a little stronger. And then it stops. So you juggle things around; you still feel good, but the weight loss has stalled and you’re definitely not at a comfortable weight yet

— Men, just keep on scrolling, because the chances that you can relate are so slim. This seems to be almost an AFAB issue, and I’ve already argued with a man who insists diet & exercise are the ObViOuS and singular solution to the weight issue this week. —

ANYWAY! Things stalled. You did all the right things and they didn’t work like they’re supposed to magically work. So you just go back to all the delicious foods and “regular” portions.

Now this is the point where I read The Obesity Code and realized that first of all, throughout all of this, my refined carbohydrate intake and sugar (real or fake) intake have both been unhinged. Was it bad? No! Precisely why I didn’t even think anything of it. Everything fit within my macros and calorie counts. When I started adjusting things according to the book and my coach’s guidance, I realized just how absurd American eating habits are.

Portion sizes are astronomical. We are encouraged to literally eat 5-6 times a day. We slap a few weak vegetables on our plate each week and call it a day. I could keep going but I imagine you know that our eating habits are absolutely wild in this country. My biggest revelation and my motivation for this particular post has to do with portion size, though.

I just freaking love to eat. Food is f****ing GOOD. Sweet, salty, savory, complex, spicy, I love it. Its the experience of eating, savoring the flavors, especially enjoying it with friends and loved ones. The smells, the textures, all of it. I will bet you can relate. Many centuries ago, famine was a genuine and frequent risk; our ancestors imbedded famine-busting tactics on our DNA. Most of which includes enjoy food, take advantage of what’s available to you, and don’t waste it. I bet most of us also grew up in “Clean Plate Club” households, too. We were always encouraged (often demanded) to clean our plates regardless of how we feel. So combine the Clean Plate Club mentality with our carefully encoded anti-famine DNA and we have a recipe for disaster when we’re constantly surrounded by abundant, delicious food.

Quite possibly my greatest frustration with any length of fasting is that I just crave the comfort, feel, smell, taste (etc etc etc) of FOOD. The mental battle I wage is astounding. The logic of the situation is that I’m not even genuinely hungry. I’m looking for a fix. And there we have it. My brain whacks that dopamine buzzer like its on Family Feud and it doesn’t care if it knows the answer. Meanwhile Steve Harvey (me) is rolling his eyes because he know full well I don’t actually need whatever my brain is having a tantrum over.

None of this is to say I’m ignoring when I’m genuinely hungry. There have been days when I planned to do a longer fast but I stopped. I have to listen to how I feel – sometimes its a mental battle I’m not able to wage that day, sometimes I feel faint and its definitely time to get a good re-feeding period in regardless of my plan. But its 100% possible to make it through safe fasting lengths.

Now that you know you aren’t alone, that the challenge to intermittently fast effectively can be daunting, and that we all have our battles, do you think you’re better prepared to take control of your health too?

In the next few posts, I’ll talk more about battling Dopamine Demons and the purpose of intermittently fasting without breaking your fast!

-Love, Light and Health! ~ Jess

An EXCELLENT book! (I may receive a small commission for referring you to this listing)
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Don’t Want $15 Minimum Wage? Here’s Why You Can F*ck Directly Off.

We have an existential problem in this country (and perhaps around the world). We are told, particularly here, that, at a very young age (18), we are responsible to choose a career that we will be ecstatic with for the remainder of our working life.

We are also told that at the end of that working life, that we will be able to have accrued enough savings to live comfortably and hopefully pass some financial abundance onto our children and family.

When we are 18, leaving high school, we are told that we must pick a career, train for said career, and “do the American Dream” thing. I know a lot of my millennial cohort will agree that the “Dream” is a hell of a lot of smoke up our ass.

There are no options. There is no “pursuing what sets your soul on fire” because you have to have a “real” career or you won’t be able to afford to exist. Sure, there are plenty of ways around it, if you are blessed with artistic talents you might be able to become famous, or at least subsistent (or better) locally. You might live near somewhere that employs something that interests you and happen to score an awesome job.

You might be able to bounce from decent paying job to decent paying job, or you happen to have connections and can get into a good union at a young age and are blessed with a stable career whether you love it or not. You might fall into a position, promote through the ranks and find yourself selling toilet paper for a fantastic income, but not feel fulfilled.

At the very base: you know that pursuing what fills your soul could cost you your health, home, everything – there is no universal healthcare, so goodness forbid you’ve got a medical condition that requires monitoring; you’re stuck!

But what if you’re like me. The only thing that I could ever firmly say that I was “great” at was retail, and let’s be honest: customer service is not my jam, mostly because I’m always one sentence away from telling Karen where to shove it. It is one job, that before kids, I could find pretty much anywhere with relative ease. Now, not so much. I’m overqualified, underqualified, been out of work too long, been in management too long, asking too much for pay, can’t hack the wild schedule and stability is too much to ask… The list goes on and on. Not to mention, after childcare expenses, I wouldn’t bring anything home.

The reality of the minimum wage debate is that it’s not just some dipshit 16-year-old who, in too many people’s estimation “doesn’t deserve” a “living wage” (aka the ability to save so they can do things like pay for school, find somewhere to live, have a vehicle etc???? Isn’t this the start of the college inflation debate too?? Isn’t this what the Boomers are always harping on “back in my day I paid for college working part time, bought my first house at 22 with pocket change and paid it off by the time I was 40??), it’s the person who has no “overwhelming discernible talent” that is a value in the “real” business world (the “stable income, health insurance, can afford food, can enjoy entertainment, able to buy a house” world).

It’s the person who still needs to have somewhere to live, probably currently lives where they cannot walk everywhere so they need a vehicle and our public transportation is woefully underdeveloped, the person who earns just enough that they don’t qualify for any kind of aid or health insurance, but also can barely or not-at-all afford it on their own.

Why does this person not deserve to be able to live? Why does this person deserve to be forced to pour their heart and soul into two, plus, jobs? Let’s face it; even the shittiest job DEMANDS that. You are required to live and breathe your job. Never having an ounce of free time, and when they do, it’s probably to sleep because they can’t afford entertainment? Do you realize the heavy toll of emotional acting that goes into those “shitty” jobs, draining every ounce of life out of you, when you have to smile at Karen, who is telling you how stupid you are because something is out of stock?

Maybe your argument is “it will make things cost more for the rest of us!!” Yeah, you know what, that really would suck! But you know what else? The same people who control the price of things are the same people who control how little people make. Did you stop for 2 seconds to realize that if Joe CEO paid his employees more, that this year, instead of earning $10 million, he might only earned $5 million, but his employees were happy, healthy, had more balance in their lives, that work quality would improve, morale in general would improve, and Joe CEO would just not be able to buy his extra yacht that year?

Why are WE responsible for absorbing this cost? When does the person responsible for abominable conditions absorb this cost? Why do our gas prices have to go up because the person being harassed behind the counter at the gas station would like to sleep with the heat on this month? Why are corporations not being held responsible?

If there was universal health care paid for via our taxes and fairly taxing corporations who have been allowed to skip out for years (fyi do NOT fight me on this, when about 80% of your annual taxes go to CORPORATE SUBSIDIES), imagine the relief that would bring to everyone. When Susan doesn’t have to forgo a potentially life-saving test or procedure because after paying for her insurance, she cannot afford to use it? I digress; this is an important part of making our country stable and fair for all, but not the immediate topic.

As a 20-year-old who was floundering in college, doing “the right thing,” taking all the “right” paths, and yet I did not graduate with a degree. I couldn’t move out on my own. When I couldn’t pay rent my mother demanded, I was kicked out with 2 weeks notice. I left school drowning in debt, and no closer to a degree than I was when I started. I worked full-time retail. It took me 3 years to double my income from $7.25 an hour to $13 an hour, but it required me working full time 3rd shift. I crumbled emotionally and mentally, and aside from the fact that I was wading in a ridiculous amount of debt, I couldn’t drag myself through school any longer. I lost $2 an hour to move on to a new position. When I worked at Wawa, I only earned $9 an hour until I got “promoted” and worked 3rd shift (again). I’m here to inform you, I was not just some bum working at a gas station. Stockperson, deli expert, Subway sandwich maker on steroids, cashier, organizational expert, janitor; I had never busted my ass like I did when I worked at Wawa, and you will *never* guess how I was treated… Like some stupid ass kid who can’t do better for themselves. It’s wild how these people are “essential” till you can start shitting on them again.

There is no part of my personal journey where I did not deserve to earn enough to survive, while I was able and willing to work 40 hours a week (although I was often cut off at 36 so they didn’t have to pay for me to have health insurance, yay ‘Murica). Point blank. If you can say to my face, and by proxy my child’s face, that we do not deserve to survive comfortably, I beg you to do so, so I can remove you from my life immediately.

Perhaps having a face and a human being that you know to go with a story will help you learn empathy. Not a single one of these people is asking to be able to buy their own yacht, working 40 hours a week at Burger King. They are asking to be able to afford spaghetti and the electric bill in the same month. They are asking to not die of eminently treatable conditions because their employer keeps them at 36 hours a week and doesn’t have to offer them company health insurance. They are asking for the ability to survive because the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation. The next time you want to trash someone who puts in their hours but is stuck earning minimum wage, I want you to remember me. It’s clear to me that “putting yourself in their shoes” is not enough to convince you that people who work just as long and hard as you, have less free time than you, and cannot afford a fraction of the things you do, deserve to have basic necessities. So just remember me, working nearly 40 hours a week, on third shift, earning $13 an hour before taxes, going to school full time, and realizing that no matter what I did, I was on a treadmill to no where. I couldn’t save. I wasn’t going to have a useable degree, if and when I ever graduated. At $13 an hour, I had no chance of living on my own. And this was all before I got married and had a child. It was not enough to survive on, a decade ago.

If you are so angry that people are getting breadcrumbs, I implore you to redirect that shit to the people who control the breadcrumbs. They are the ones who deserve your ire.

– Hoping this finds you warm, well, & safe. Much Love & Light ~ Jess