I love swimming. I have been an avid swimmer since early childhood. But, this article is not about swimming, despite the title.
When I say “swimming upstream” what I am talking about is doing things the hard way, and particularly going against the flow. Doing things the opposite of the way most people are doing things.
In my life, it seems that I almost always swim upstream, I go against the mainstream. It does make life a little difficult at times In most cases, though, from a personal standpoint, swimming upstream has been successful for me, and has given me a good life. Just not an easy one!
As an example, what I am doing right now, health-wise is very much swimming upstream. It goes against what the vast majority of people are doing. At times, that has made this part of my journey difficult. Lots of explaining why I am not doing what they think I should do. Lots of trying to convince people that the way I am doing it is working for me, and I have to do what works for my body. In most cases, it is impossible to explain to people to the point where they can understand and accept that I am doing what is right for me.
I admit, when I started doing a Low Carb High Fat diet, even I thought it was crazy. But, during my lifetime I had pretty much tried every other type of diet. With the whole world focused in on eating low fat, when you suddenly start eating a high-fat diet people think you are crazy. As I said, I even thought it was crazy, but I decided to give it a try and see what happened. I mean, since nothing else had been successful for me, what did I have to lose?
I know that some people will answer that question, “What did I have to lose” by answering that I could lose my life. I expect that answer. But… I almost died last year by following the current medical advice of going low fat, etc. So, you can lose your life no matter what you do. The simple fact is that by doing what I am doing now, my blood tests and other medical indicators are much better than they were before! My cholesterol is low (although from what I read, I don’t think that is a good indicator). My heart is very healthy. I have lost a lot of weight. The absolute best indicator is that I feel great. I feel better than I have felt in decades.
So, based on that, although I am definitely swimming upstream with the diet that I eat, I feel I am on the right track.
Fact is, I don’t even like to call what I do as far as diet to “a diet” – no, what I do is a lifestyle. I am not temporarily eating high fat and low carb. That is my lifestyle, which I intend to continue for the rest of my life. I don’t find it difficult at all, in fact, it is easy. I am actually eating the things that I like to eat. When I first switched, I did miss a few things:
But, those things are in the past now, and I have no cravings or desires to eat those things again.
Probably my biggest thing in which I am swimming upstream is Fasting.
I started doing Intermittent fasting on February 14, 2017. Before that date, I had never fasted in my life. I started out doing 16 hours per day of fasting, and eating for 8 hours, then went to 18 hours fasting, 20 hours fasting, and finally long term fasting. These days, I usually fast 6 days per week and eat on Saturdays. Over the course of the past few months, I have done fasts of 10 days, 12 days and even 15 days. I mix it up to keep from getting into a habit.
Why mix it up? Because if your body figures out that you are doing the same thing all of the time, it adjusts your metabolism to match up with the eating that you are doing. If you constantly throw mixed signals at your body and keep it guessing as to when you will eat, then your metabolism does not adjust downward, making it harder to lose weight.
Like I say, fasting has been very difficult in terms of convincing people that you are not killing yourself. People believe that if you go for more than a few hours without food you might die, or at least get very sick. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. Back in history, our ancestors fasted regularly. In the caveman days, it was feast or famine. They could not go down to McDonald’s and get a burger. They had to kill an animal. Sometimes they would not kill another animal for weeks, and would basically have no choice but to fast during those times.
Some animals still do the Fast/Feast cycle today. Think about bears, they hibernate for the entire winter. Do you think they wake up every few hours to get a meal or snack? No, they don’t. They eat again when it is spring time and they wake up from their hibernation. People can do it too, if they choose, without bad things happening, unless they are very thin when they start fasting. For an obese person like me, long term fasting is not an issue at all.
Will I ever change?
So, as I have pointed out in this article, I swim upstream constantly. Not only in these aspects of my life. In nearly every aspect of life, I tend to do the opposite of what the crowd does. It is not something I set out to do intentionally, I guess I just think differently than the crowd. When I analyze things to determine what I should do, I come up with a different solution from what the majority comes up with. So, yeah, I swim upstream.
Will I ever change? It is very unlikely. It is what I am used to, and I am not swimming upstream in an attempt to be contrarian all of the time. I am doing what I feel is right. That is just a personality trait, and it is unlikely that it will ever change. I am OK with that.
Bob: Almost all scientific discoveries were made by people going against conventional wisdom.
Keep at it. You are doing the right thing.
Hi Richard – I never thought about that, but it is true. Contrarians are the ones who make the discoveries, but also a lot of failures along the way too.
Here is another one where I am swimming upstream.. I don’t believe in Global Warming either! 🙂 LOL
It’s not too hard to trick your metabolism once you get going. It’s the same way with exercise. You get very little benefit from one particular exercise once your body gets used to it. I write from experience.
The Marine Corps, where I spent 20 years of my life, always seems to always focus on running. Running did nothing for me after the first few years because I got used to it. I had to find time (hard to do with a family) to work out after hours. Most of that time was spent in a gym doing circuits training.
I’ll start fasting this week, starting with one day a week and gradually working my way to multiple days in a row. I can’t cut out all of the high carb foods even if I want to but I can push them to the first meal of the day (toast and/or hash browns) so I can burn them off before the day is over.
I already eat very little the rest of the day. It’s the only way I’ve been able to keep my weight stable. I can’t exercise the way I want to because of old ankle and knee injuries.
Sounds like you are ready to get going RT! Congratulations and good luck with that! I hope it does great things for you, as it has for me.