Springingtiger's Blog

The Bollywood Diet


wpid-S5002168_2.jpgI was at an event the other day (an Introduction to the Landmark Forum) and afterwards a group of of were in conversation about the philosophy that underpinned the work. During the course of the conversation we touched upon the fasting at Ramadan and its benefits, unfortunately we were interrupted before we could explore the topic in any depth.

I always feel a little sorry for my Muslim friends when the month of Ramadan falls in midsummer, it is a long time between sunrise and moon-rise, a long time to fast. After a month of hungry days who can blame them for celebrating its end? After a summer Ramadan anyone who has fasted through it gets my respect and they well deserve to celebrate.

Going without food is one thing, but the moment you call it a fast and attach rules to it it becomes much more challenging, I suppose that’s just an irrational psychological reaction. I once did a full Shivratri fast from dusk one day, through the night, through all the next day and night until sunrise the following morning. Approximately thirty-six hours without food, water or sleep (I confess I dozed off for up to half an hour sitting upright at my desk). It is the sort of thing that should be done perhaps once and remembered fondly. On the other hand, some years ago I used to fast on Mondays and Fridays, but this was easier as I was allowed fruit and water.

The best thing about fasting, apart from the satisfaction, was the heightened appreciation it gave me for my food on the days when I was not fasting. However I have never found fasting easy, it is as if the moment I call it a ‘fast’ I am possessed of an abnormal hunger. I have discovered the same thing trying the 5:2 Diet also known as the ‘Fasting Diet’. On every reduced calorie day I experience a terrible desire for biscuits…biscuits, crisps, chocolate, sweets, in fact anything inappropriate.

The strange thing is I can easily go without food for extended periods and I do as long as my interest is engaged, A good book can do that as can an interesting walk, a good film or a deep conversation on spiritual or philosophical ideas. I am never as hungry as when I am deliberately trying not to eat. That distraction removes hunger shows it is often not a genuine physical hunger, but merely a way of occupying my mind until something more interesting comes along. Perhaps I should launch a Bollywood diet where the dieter watches four Indian films and in between films has a calorie counted snack, which would mean that for over three hours at a time, I’d be distracted from the uncomfortable knowledge that I was dieting. Why Bollywood? Because the subtitles demand attention. During a Hollywood film I could easily focus on jelly beans, popcorn and chocolate.  Indian films are long, very long. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series or films from Shaw Brothers or Golden Harvest would work as well, but not for as long.

I think some serious research is called for, I wonder if I can get away with putting housework on hold in the service of nutritional science? I fancy a hard day’s research.


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