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  October 15, 2010
Mind over Matter...


To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.  ~ Buddha

Each year, millions of Roman Catholics from around the world celebrate the coming of Easter by participating in the ritual of Lent.  The tradition of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday (usually in late February) and lasts 40 days, culminating on Palm Sunday (the Sunday prior to Easter Sunday).  

The Lenten period is traditionally a time of fast; particularly from food and festivities as followers prepare their bodies and minds for the coming of Easter (the holiest day of Christianity).  Tradition prohibits the consumption of all mammals and fowl on Ash Wednesday (this is a day of fasting) and every Friday providing for only fish and vegetarian meals.  Lent is a period of reflection, discipline and penance.

For the last 30 years, I have celebrated my own personal "Lent"; however not for religious reasons.  Instead my "Lent" is about repairing my body and mind from the "excesses and overindulgences from the previous year.

Traditionally, my "Lent" lasts about 50 days beginning on Labor Day in early September and extending until my birthday in mid-October (this year it’s a bit later due to the bike ride I took a few weeks ago).  The reason for these dates was simple.  I am a man of habit (okay...compulsion) and each year my annual physical coincided with my birthday.  No one wants to show up at the doctor for a physical exam out of shape, so I took approximately 6 weeks to shape myself up in order to demonstrate to the doctor how healthy I really was.

The actual details of my "Lent" are relatively simple: 

  • No Caffeine
  • No Alcohol
  • 1000 Calories per day
  • Hard aerobic exercise - at least 5 times week - lasting 90 minutes or longer 

That’s it...very simple...but hardly very easy...

The alcohol part is pretty simple as I’m not generally a drinker (although when I was in my early 20’s...it was much harder).  The caffeine part is also very simple after the couple of days of "withdrawal" migraine headaches subside.  The real challenge for me is the 1000 Calories per day and making time for the exercise. 

By keeping to this routine for the entire time period, I typically will lose about 20 pounds while lowering my resting heart-rate, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.  Just enough to fake out the doctors who will proclaim me to be in good-health.

The reason for my annual ritual began as a way to lose some weight and convince my doctors that I was living a healthy life but it has since transcended that original aspiration to serve a higher purpose in my life.  My annual regimen has now become an annual vow to discipline and self-control and providing an opportunity of reflection. 

When I go to bed hungry (which I do), it helps me to better understand the plight of the millions of people from around the world who also go to bed hungry each night.  How fortunate am I because I have the opportunity for nourishment whenever I want it.  So many others don’t have this luxury (including many Americans who live in poverty and squalor) and I am thankful that "one of the millions" doesn’t include me or my family.

The daily workouts help to remind me that I have but only one body and it needs to last a lifetime.   I need to treat my body like a temple not an outhouse.  My body houses my mind and my spirit and if I can make it strong, it will take me to all the places I want to go - both physically and mentally.

Lastly, my personal "Lent" allows me the opportunity to set and achieve a personal goal that I know will help make me grow (and shrink) as a person.  After it’s over, I feel like I’ve accomplished something significant.  I look and feel better.  It also gives me the opportunity to push my comfort zone a bit and make me more aware and appreciative for what I have.

One of the best aspects of my annual program is that it only last 50 days leaving me with over 300 days to eat and drink what I want.  However each year, I get a chance to clear the slate and start anew - back to my original starting weight.

The "Skinny Jimmy" diet isn’t intended for anyone but myself.  Others have tried it before and have decided that it’s not for them (that’s because it isn’t for them).  I done it now for 30 years because it works for me.

I’m sure, however, that there is a system or process that will work for you - if you want one.  The idea today is not to promote my lifestyle but rather try to get others to think about ways to improve their own lives.

It just takes a little discipline and self-control to make it happen.  Don’t wait until the end of your life to figure out that maybe there might have been more...

Start today...set a goal...make a plan...work the plan...repeat

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we try to help you grow with new ideas and thoughts...

Jim Kalb

PS:  If you’re truly interested...send me an e-mail and I’ll send you more information regarding the "Skinny JImmy" diet.

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