Saturday was our first big night out in a long time. (A “big night,” of course, means “the children were at home and we weren’t.”) A couple of months ago, we bought tickets for a Bill Cosby concert at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in downtown Nashville, and earlier this week I made dinner reservations at what looked to be a nice restaurant with interesting items on the menu, such as bison sandwiches.

I’d like to try a bison sandwich someday, but we ended up walking out of the place. I’m not a hockey fan and didn’t think to check if the Predators were playing that night at the Bridgestone arena, which is three blocks from the restaurant. They were.

The restaurant was jammed with hockey fans, the staff was racing around trying to keep up, and nobody even acknowledged us for the first 10 minutes we stood there. The Cosby concert was at 8:00, so I’d made a 6:30 reservation, but we weren’t seated until nearly 7:00. We sat for another five minutes before a waiter dropped a couple of menus on the table and dashed off again. No “Let me tell you about the specials” or “May I get you something from the bar?” Just plop, plop, gone.

At that point, I said to my wife, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” She agreed and we left. Walking north towards the Performing Arts Center, we passed a few restaurants where we could’ve gotten a quick meal, but most of them had big TVs showing the Steelers-Ravens game. I was recording the game, and I hate learning the outcome of games I plan to watch later, especially playoffs. So we ended up at Sbarro (a sort of fast-food Italian restaurant, for those of you who don’t know), partly because we knew we’d be in and out quickly, and partly because they didn’t have a big TV showing the game.

So imagine how overjoyed I was when a pimply-faced twenty-something walked through the door, spotted a friend with whom he’d apparently had a football disagreement, and announced, “Hey, ass****! Pittsburgh won! Ha!”

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you so much, you @#$%ing pea-brained pimply-faced little #$%@.

No, I don’t expect people to stop and ask themselves if perhaps someone within shouting distance might have recorded the game .. but really, is there ever a reason to walk into a public restaurant and yell to someone sitting across the room? (I mean, besides something like, “The building next door is on fire and you all should leave.”)

Since I believe in letting my hair down (metaphorically, of course) one or twice per month and eating whatever I want, we split portions of lasagna with meatballs, chicken parmesan, and one slice of pizza. Then we walked to the concert, with me still grumbling about the pimply-faced Steelers fan.

If anyone can de-grumble me, it’s Bill Cosby. This was the third time I’ve seen him perform live, and all I can say is, he’s still the most delightful comedian ever. In one of the funniest bits of the whole show, he imitated how it sounded to him when his parents had an argument downstairs, while he listened to their muffled voices upstairs. He had the audience roaring for a full two minutes — without saying any real words. Just back-and-forth muffled voices, with all the laughs coming from changes in the vocal tones. (His father lost that argument, by the way.) Comic genius.

We walked the several blocks to where we’d parked and left just in time to run smack into bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving the hockey stadium. I now like hockey even less than before. For a little while there, it felt like being back in Los Angeles.

I had also recorded the Packers-Falcons game and decided I wanted a couple of Foster’s Lagers to go along with the game, so we stopped at a beer store on the way home. (In Tennessee, stores can either sell beer, or wine and liquor. I have no idea what that’s supposed to accomplish. Often the stores are side-by-side, with the same owner.) My wife went in to pick up the beer, because I figured if I did it, the clerk would surely greet me with something like, “Hey, how about that dramatic overtime win by the Falcons?  Uh, sir, why are you leaving …?”

So I finished my big Saturday night enjoying a combination of football, beer, nuts and cheese. Since I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting, that made Sunday the perfect choice for an all-day fast. Perhaps denying myself any food the day after indulging appeals to some part of my consciousness conditioned by years of Catholic schooling.

Most days last week, I adopted the 8-hour window method of IF, which for me means limiting my food intake to between noon and 8:00 PM. That’s no big deal. It just means giving up my usual late-night snack.

But once again, I was surprised at how easy it was to go all day Sunday without eating. No low blood sugar, no mental fog, no urge to take anyone’s head off — although when my wife started describing an interesting pork recipe she’d just seen, I did say, “Uh … would you mind not talking about the delicious meals you’re planning to make?”

I had hunger pangs for the last two hours before bed last night, but ignored them. I’d planned to go to the gym this morning and work out — exercising in a fasted state is supposed to spur muscle growth — but remembered it was closed for Martin Luther King Day. So I did calisthenics and some power-band exercises to work my muscles. I finally had my first meal of bacon and eggs around 11:00 AM.

Now that I know I won’t be miserable, I’ll probably go for an all-day fast every Sunday. But if the Bears make it to the Super Bowl, I reserve the right to eat whatever I want on February 6th.

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23 Responses to “Cosby, Football and Fasting”
  1. DMF says:

    “…I wanted a couple of Foster’s Lagers to go along with the game…”. LOL…sorry being an Aussie, I had to comment. Foster’s – Australia’s national beer. Interestingly, you can’t even buy the stuff here!! I haven’t seen it locally for about 20 years. Hope you enjoyed it…and the game. :) If you ever get down to Australia you should try beers from the smaller boutique breweries. Most of them are great!

    What?! You can’t buy Foster’s in Australia?

  2. newtolowcarb says:

    Hi Tom,

    I kind of stumbled on your documentary by accident on hulu. It was great by the way and that brought me here. It was weird because I had just read Taubes’ GCBC, in a little over a week and my mind was interested in seeing more info on the low carb studies. You’ve got some great info on here and great links to more info. I was wondering where the is the best place I can go for info on fasting. Is it strictly for leveling out blood sugar and insulin for weight loss or are there other health benefits associated with it as well? I am starting a fast today to see if it helps me kick start a low carb diet. There was a guy who recommended it in GCBC around the same time Atkins had started his diet. I had tried Atkins before but for some reason i was kind of doing lean meat version which made it really hard, so I’m hoping for a better turn out this time.

    Thanks

    Richard Nikoley has good sources linked in this post:

    http://freetheanimal.com/2008/02/a-path-in-pictu.html

  3. Aaron Curl says:

    Glad the IFing is working for you. I tell a lot of people about how I go run/sprint in a fasted state and they always ask….”don’t you need carbs to go run”? I always answer…..”NO, we do not HAVE to eat carbs to exercise”. I honestly feel lighter/faster in a fasted state, which is probably a natural experience anyway. I don’t watch sports ever but I actually get a kick out of how attached sports fans are to “their” teams. I guess I will never understand the let down sports fans experience when someone ruins a pre-recorded game.

    We can be pretty certain hungry, fasted humans were adept at chasing down prey. They wouldn’t have been around long otherwise.

  4. mrfreddy says:

    Back when I was IM’ing more seriously I used to splurge on a Friday night dessert, I’d order whatever gloppy molten chocolate filled ice cream covered thing I could find. And fast the next day till 5pm. Never really affected my weight.

    I remember asking Dr. Eades (via his comments) if that would screw up my triglycerides, he responded that it would only for the short term – they would spike up but the next day’s fasting would bring them back down.

    All that said, fasting is a lot easier if you keep the carbs in check.

    That’s partly why I’m choosing Sunday for a fasting day. I don’t go nuts on Saturdays, but that tends to be my most indulgent day of the week.

  5. Dana W says:

    To me, being able to go long stretches without eating is one of the best things about eating low carb. I’m able to live my life without constantly thinking about my next meal. I’ve never deliberately fasted, but there have been many occasions that I’ve been busy and just forgot to eat all day. No hunger pangs or lightheadedness. It’s liberating isn’t it? I’m definitely more productive at work and home nowadays.

    It’s definitely liberating. If I’m stuck in a situation where I have to skip a meal, it doesn’t really bother me.

  6. Elenor says:

    G’morning Tom.

    My husband and I have switched (not entirely intentionally, it mostly just happened) to two meals a day. A brunch-timed meal (usually Mike Eades’ “6-Week Cure”) protein drink for me, and either breakfast (eggs and bacon) or lunch (hamburger or other meat) for him; and then a “dinner” meal around 7-8 p.m. So, we’re sorta doing IF without actually planning to.

    However, I have reservations about my morning coffee (around 9, when I stagger from bed, having gone to bed at midnight or 1) — with a TBL of cream and about 1/8-1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and a bit of Splenda syrup (Cookie Dough flavor…YUM!) (He just has cocoa {eye roll} — all sugar and bad stuff — but at least I’ve changed out one packet of the poison for my low carb choco protein powder…)

    I don’t think it’s an actual IF if I have cream and a bit of almond milk, yah know? But ooh, black coffee?? {shudder} I’m not sure it’s not better to just wait till noon and have it then, just before/as part of ‘breakfast’…

    I’ve decided (thank you Gary Taubes for your oh-so-motivating new book) that I need to quit all my Splenda-sweetened drinks… No more strawberry “koolaid” (Wyler’s brand, actually); no more Metro Mint water with a bit of Splenda – and MAN!! that is a hard change! Every time I sit to eat a meal, my taste buds SCREAM for that sweet drink (who knew?!) But I’m doing it except for my coffee…

    Whaddyah think? I did successfully, if unintentionally go without coffee at all for five months — started prepping for the 6-Week Cure by weaning off it — and then life intervened and I didn’t get to DO the Cure for many months… So I know I CAN live without coffee — but should I? It’s good for the liver, if the liver is ‘cured’ periodically… (I guess I COULD learn to drink it unsweetened? {wince}.)

    (Sorry this is so long — but my morning coffee ‘sets me off’ “verbally” and I ramble on for about 2 hours after it. My husband just rolls his eyes and lets me go… It turns out it happens typing too…)

    I gave up putting cream in my coffee so my fast would be an actual fast. It doesn’t take much heavy cream to provide a small meal’s worth of calories, which means the fast is over.

    I know I COULD live without coffee if I had to, but I won’t.

  7. Ned Kock says:

    Hi Tom. Fasting for even 24 h and exercising is not really likely to lead to muscle loss; contrary to popular belief. And as you do something like this regularly, you’ll probably notice that you can go a long time without eating. The reason is that you liver glycogen tank will increase in size, as a compensatory adaptation:

    bit.ly/eNsXWI

    As for strength training in a fasted state leading to increased muscle growth, I guess it is possible, but I am not so sure. It will certainly increase circulating growth hormone (GH).

    bit.ly/hkvlfv

    But GH does not lead to increased muscle gain in the absence of other factors, notably testosterone. Young women have significantly higher levels of circulating GH than young men, but only the later put on significant amounts of muscle by lifting weights. (Particularly upper body muscle.)

    bit.ly/eKYfEh

    What the extra GH is likely to do is to increase body fat catabolism. Exercising fasted is a good leaning down, as long as your overall calorie intake in the days after the exercise does not go up too much.

    Increased body fat catabolism is actually my main goal. Putting on a little extra muscle would be nice, but at my age (52), my purpose for weight-training is to avoid losing strength and muscle mass as I get older.

  8. Tom, you’re so right on about Cosby. Coincidentally, I stumbled upon a conedy radio show on a trip back from Tulsa this weekend, I literally was laughing till I cried all by myself in the car at his bit about teaching his daughters about sex, and them walking in on him as he peed standing up.
    All about daddy’s ‘Wally Wally’.
    totally clean, no bad words at all, and its probably a bit thats 20+ years old, but STILL darn funny.

    Now about your aversion to hockey, maybe there is no hope for you after all! Would it help you to know that it was the Blackhawks who were in town to play your Predators on Saturday?

    Nope. I’ve tried to watch hockey and just can’t get into it.

  9. Ellex says:

    Don’t let the shouter keep you from watching the Steelers/ Ravens game you recorded. It was a helluva game. (Go Steelers!)

    Yeah, I came home and sort of buzzed through it. Figures the game that came down to the last play was the one someone had to go and spoil for me. The Packers game, of course, was a blowout.

  10. Sarah says:

    I tried to do my second fast, a 24 hour, during PMS. TMI, I know, but it was a really stupid idea because PMS makes you even hungrier than normal. So, it ended up being a 14 hour. Better than nothing.

    I usually skip breakfast anyway so maybe I’m already IFing and don’t even know it.

    I am, of course, completely unqualified to discuss the effects of PMS on hunger, so I’ll take your word for it.

  11. R Dunn says:

    I still don’t know who put the bullet in the furnace.

    … and stop talking about my mother!

  12. BrentG says:

    “But if the Bears make it to the Super Bowl, I reserve the right to eat whatever I want on February 6th.”

    I absolutely agree, Tom.

    BEAR DOWN, CHICAGO BEARS!!

  13. Galina L. says:

    Probably, the 8 hours window of eating provides exactly half of your 24 hours day and night cycle completely free from insulin spikes because eaten food gets digested during 3 – 4 hours (8+4=12).

    That seems to be the theory. I feel a little leaner, but don’t have a scale at home.

  14. TonyNZ says:

    I almost cried…

    “Drugs are more effective than margarine” is a bit like saying “You should kill yourself with a gun because knives don’t always work.”

  15. Sarah says:

    Aw maaaan, did you hear Drew Carey lost like 80 lbs by cutting out starches?

    Shoooooot.

    Yup, I saw that.

  16. Sigi says:

    LOL – like DMF, my first reaction was “Foster’s? Really?”. I don’t know a single Aussie who drinks the stuff. Come down to Australia, Tom, and try some *real* beers. And bring the family by my place and I’ll ply you all with another great Aussie tradition – the lamb roast!

    I can cheerfully manage a 15-18 hour fast, but by mid-afternoon I do get too ravenous, so I’m not contemplating an all-dayer just yet. Mind you, I imagine if I were more into ketosis it might be different. Will have to experiment and see…

    BTW, I just received my Fat Head DVD, and am looking forward to watching it on the weekend! Thank you for the speedy delivery. :-)

    Leave a comment and let me know if the DVD plays correctly. We tested the master disc, of course, and there’s no reason to believe the DVD plant didn’t make perfect copies, but there’s that little nagging worry … what if they screwed something up?

    Aussies may not drink Foster’s, but compared to most of the domestic beer in the USA, it’s a treat … although my favorite indulgence beer is still Guinness. Must be genetic.

  17. Laurie says:

    I Love fasting! Learned about it on Eades website. Eons ago when I used to be a jogger, I would sometimes bask in and get a ‘runners high’. IF makes me feel like that. IF and low-carb baby!. Nobody dares try to stop me doing these things. I cannot forgo morning coffee with cream, so on the one or two days per week when I fast, I stop eating at 4 pm on one day and resume at 8 am the next- avec cafe creme. 16 hours of just water and tea (I can drink tea neat) and I feel great.
    Taubes had a recent post about why some diets that are low-sucrose, but not low carb, seem to work for some for a little while. I could never tolerate the hunger on those old diets I tried, vegetarian, low-calorie, uber low-fat, what have you. And they never worked. There was some suggestion and some research that calorie restriction over the long term, extend life span and I remember watching a special about this emaciated, grumpy, rabbit-food eating researcher touting the benefits. Poppycock if you ask me. Why not eat animal fat and meat to your content and fast for 15 or 16 hours once or twice a week instead? There’s a joke about those long-term, calorie restricted diets. You will live longer on them, but you won’t want to live longer eating like that!

    I’m with you. I’m not going to adopt a diet plan that might help me live longer while also making me want to kill myself.

  18. Sorry Tom, off topic but interesting I think…
    @TonyNZ – did you see this on last night’s news:
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Think-twice-before-popping-that-cholesterol-pill/tabid/420/articleID/195194/Default.aspx

    Doc from NZHF no less – perhaps there is hope!

    It won’t be off-topic for long. That’s the subject of tonight’s post.

  19. Oh and re beer – reminds me of the old joke “What’s the difference between US beer and making love in a canoe? – Nothing, they’re both effing close to water”

    ;)

  20. Amy Dungan says:

    Bill Cosby. I’m so jealous! He’s one of our favorites as well. I’ve considered trying IF, just not sure if I can do it. On the other hand, I did just avoid the temptation of my arch nemesis, chocolate birthday cake, sitting around our house for 5 days. If I can do that, I can probably do just about anything. ;)

    All you can do is give it a shot and see if it works. I’m down six pounds since New Year’s. So far, so good.

  21. Sigi says:

    Tom, as you requested, I’m letting you know that I watched my new Fat Head DVD, and it worked just fine! Thank you, I did enjoy it.

    And now, every time I pick up my new copy of Gary Taubes WWGF (which arrived today – yay), I will have a little flashback to Gary and co, flying through the air, on their superheroic mission to examine the data…

    Thank you for letting me know. I’ll sleep a wee bit easier now.

  22. A few years ago when Dr. Mike blogged about IF all of us low carb writers tried it and wrote about our experiences. I did similar to what you did with a weight lifting workout at the end. Jimmy Moore said I was a bigger man than him (I am a woman.). He didn’t want to workout after a fast that long. Still makes me laugh.

    I worked out on Wednesday around 11:00 AM after fasting since 8:00 PM the night before. My energy level was good.

  23. Scott says:

    Aw c’mon don’t be mad at hockey. Just think if that pimply faced jerk had been a hockey fan he would have shout something about the Predator’s losing (I”m assuming) and not ruined the football game for you. Also, the Pack’ will save you from a self induced carb coma this Sunday :)

    Must admit, I’m worried that the Bears have to play the Packers, who seem to be peaking at exactly the right time.

    (Psst… I could never say this out loud when I lived in Chicago, but I like the Packers and have since I was a kid. If the Bears don’t win the division, I root for the Packers to win and go all the way. Shhhh.)

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