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Volume 11, Issue 37: My Intermittent Fasting

In the "My Atomic Habits" article last week, I listed intermittent fasting as one of my atomic habits. I thought to elaborate further on that for you, hence this article. First of all, intermittent fasting ins't something out of this world or complex. It's a fancy name for what most people ordinarily do without calling it intermittent fasting. It's basically having an eating window and a non-eating window.

A simple intermittent fast is what happens naturally for most people. Most people eat during their waking hours and of course not eat when they are asleep. This in itself is intermittent fasting. The difference between this and the "fancy" intermittent fasting is that the later restricts the eating window during the awake hours. The easiest intermittent fasting method to follow is the one that aligns with your saccadic rhythm. This basically means eating during the day and not eating at night.

I mimic the 16:8 method. When I wake up in the morning, I don't consume anything aside from plain warm water until 9am. I usually have my breakfast at that time unless I am held up. I should ideally have my last meal by 5pm but I adjusted my window to 6pm as that's the earliest I could negotiate with my family for us to have dinner together every evening.

I am a foodie - I love to eat, and I eat more than anyone else in my house. Even so, my weight is constantly under 60kgs and my body mass index is 22. Now, you may be thinking, lucky you, right? But my health parameters have nothing to do with luck. It is sheer discipline. The discipline now isn't in what I eat because I enjoy what I eat and can't stand what I used to eat before. The discipline now is in how much I eat.

You don't need a lot of discipline when you sit down to eat if you don't love food that much. But if you are anything like me, you have to discipline yourself not just every time you sit down to eat but in determining what you are going to eat in the first place.

I love chapatis, and I must have dessert after dinner. The recommended amount for chapati consumption is once a week. I take chapati most of the week. It's my favorite carbohydrate for dinner, and I enjoy it with any kind of accompaniment. However, the chapati I take is not the one most people take. I make whole meal chapati for myself - the healthy option. I love them. I make them thin so I can enjoy two at a meal. Most people don't like them before they are not as "tasty" as white flour chapati.

I also love to take something sweet after dinner. But my "sweet" is not the regular "sweet". I take sugarless hibiscus tea for breakfast and I don't eat regular cakes and pastries. Therefore my "sweet" is a different taste of sweetness. Once every week I bake for myself oatmeal scones. No one else in my house can stand them. But I love them. I enjoy them so much that I have to discipline myself every day not to overindulge in them.

For 3 cups of ground oats and 1 cup of sesame seeds, I mix in 4 mashed ripe bananas, orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice from one orange and half a cup of grated coconut. That's it. Nothing else other than baking powder and cinnamon powder. No sugar nor sweetener nor oil nor essence nor nothing. I have come to love them dearly. It's my dessert of choice. I used to bake different kinds of oat cakes and muffins but these scones are my current favorite.

So for my intermittent fasting, I don't deny myself the foods I like. I enjoy my whole meal chapatis a couple of days a week for dinner. Because I enjoy food, I tend to eat until I am full. In fact I am working on eating a little less. But if it weren't for disciplining myself every time I sit down to eat, I could eat more every time. I just put a stop to it. I am also the only one at my dinner table who has dessert every evening - two small oat scones. I bake for my family regular cakes and muffins every now and then.

After I am done with my dinner and dessert, that's it. I don't taste anything else other than water until 9 o'clock the next morning. I have a light lunch, mostly a smoothie. I would prefer a heavy lunch and a light dinner but I kind of don't want to have a festive meal by myself. Hence the full dinner with my family when everyone is home in the evening.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 11, Issue 36: My Atomic Habits

Reading James Clear's Atomic Habits book earlier this year illuminated the atomic habits that I have adopted over the years that changed the trajectory of my life. Atomic means very small. An atomic habit is a regular practice or routine that is small and easy to do. Here are some of my atomic habits that have set me up for success.

  • Atomic Habit #1: Go to bed early

I retire to my bedroom at around 7.30pm to get ready for bed and fall asleep by around 8pm. This habit comes in handy because I like to wake up early and getting enough sleep is important to me.

  • Atomic Habit #2: Wake up early

I love the quite morning when most of the world is still asleep. An early morning affords me the opportunity to spend time with God unhurried and exercise in the wee hours of the morning so that I can have time to read before work.

  • Atomic Habit #3: Week planning

I don't like starting my week without a list of clothes to wear, workouts to do and audio books to listen to. So each Sunday evening I select and note down my outfits for each day of the week, my workouts for the week and the audio books I will listen to.

  • Atomic Habit #4: Meal planning

I have always done meal planning in some form over the years. Currently, I sit down every Thursday evening with a note pad to decide what we are going to eat the next week and list the ingredients that will go into each dish. I then pre-cook the meals on Friday afternoon after my cleaning lady has prepared the ingredients for me. This practice saves me lots of time during the week.

  • Atomic Habit #5: Intermittent fasting

I started with the 16:8 method but switched to 15:9 method in order to eat dinner with my family. I have my breakfast at 9am or later if I am held up, and family dinner at 6pm. I don't follow any diet but I eat mostly whole foods. This practice and working out has helped me maintain my ideal size and look.

  • Atomic Habit #6: Listen to Audio Books

I listen to Audio books or instructional or inspirational podcasts while cleaning, organizing, cooking, working out, in the shower and when getting dressed. I practically use all empty blocks of time that don't require mental concentration to educate or motivate myself while performing mundane tasks.

  • Atomic Habit #7: Time with God

This is the first thing I do every morning when I get out of bed. I study the word of God and pray. It's my anchor. Over the years I found that if I don't do my personal devotion first thing in the morning, it won't get done.

  • Atomic Habit #8: Brisk walking and strength training

This is another of my early morning routines. I used to walk for an hour to an hour and a half every morning and do a longer workout but now I do a challenging walk for half an hour and strength training for half an hour every weekday morning.

  • Atomic Habit #9: Reading and writing

In addition to listening to Audio books, I also read hard cover books and e-books. This is a key daily habit for me. I target to read for an hour each day but I fall short almost half the time. Writing is another key daily habit for me but I miss most days of the week.

How about you? What are your atomic habits? What do you do that have set you up for success? And what is the one habit that you need to work on? I need to work on writing something everyday.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 11, Issue 35: Bring Your A Game

Are you blooming where you have been planted? At your place of work, at your home, among your family and friends, at your church? Are you bringing your A game whenever you show up?

I have come to appreciate my career as my calling, my opportunity to fulfill the purposes of God for my life while earning a living. My work as a homemaker is also a calling, another opportunity to represent and serve God in my sphere of influence.

Joseph's is one of the classic stories of all time in the Bible. Here's a young Hebrew man from an affluent family who had been sold into slavery in a foreign land by his own brothers. He had every reason to pout and just exist. But Joseph showed up at his unpaid slave job at his master's house, and thereafter in prison with his A game.

As amply put by Pierce Brantley in his brilliant book Calling: Awaken to the Purpose of your Work, "Joseph had every right to simply clock in. The situation certainly required nothing of him. No one had asked him to lead in his master's house or in the prison. No one had forced him to use his administrative skills. No one had asked him to bring his A game. But he did. Whenever there was something to be done, he was the one who did it. Everywhere he went, he stayed present to the situation. He added value."

As a slave, and as a wrongfully accused prisoner, all you have to do is show up to work, right? But regardless of his circumstances, Joseph did way more than show up. He brought his A game every time. He didn't have to use his leadership and administrative skills in these forced positions. But he did. He did not hold back his abilities on account of being a slave or having been unfairly treated.

It did not matter where he was or the circumstances that got him there. He went to work as if he were at his dream job. Joseph did not wait until he was second in command (Prime Minister) to Pharaoh to employ his leadership and administrative skills, he put them to work from the moment there was work to be done in his position as a slave, and later as a prisoner.

Are you waiting for your dream job or your dream house to bring your A game? Joseph did not start blooming after he was appointed second in command to Pharaoh, the ruler (king) of Egypt. He was blooming all along - as a slave in his master's house, and as a prisoner. Long before he knew what would become of his dreams.

To nail the point, Pierce added, "Joseph's ticket out of jail was a direct result of his understanding that his mission was always where he was. He would have completely missed the opportunity if his heart hadn't been in a position to stay present in his circumstances."

Your mission is exactly where you are. Stay present. Bloom where you have been planted right now. Work as if your boss is the Lord Jesus himself. Bring your A game every day, irrespective of your circumstances. God will shift gears when you are engaged and He is ready.

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 11, Issue 34: Rest is Best After Hard Work

I don't know if this is true for everybody, but but I find work deeply satisfying, and the rest that follows hard work the most enjoyable kind of rest. Hard work is deeply satisfying, including mundane housework.

I actually don't know any other way to rest. I always work first, then play - and I sure enjoy my rest times. Whether that's my professional work or my passion or housework, I rest better after getting some work done. I feel I deserve it, that I have earned it, and so I enjoy it more.

A number of people border on two extremes when it comes to work and rest. There are those who work themselves to the ground and don't appreciate the importance of good rest. And there are those who do no work but rest all day, all week, all year. I could be wrong, but I don't think people in either of these two categories find life very satisfying.

We are built to work, and to rest. Focusing on one at the expense of the other is going against the manufacturer's manual. A machine repeatedly operated contrary to it's manufacturer's manual is bound to malfunction at some point.

None of us is too important to the work we do professionally or at home to step away from it from time to time to rest. And no one is too accomplished to work or make a contribution to others with their abilities and energy. Hard is work is truly deeply satisfying, it's a blessing, a privilege. The book of Proverbs puts it this way: “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” Proverbs‬ ‭12:24‬ ‭MSG‬‬.

And here's how the quester put it: “After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. We should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift!" ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭5:18-19 MSG‬‬.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 11, Issue 33: What's Your Therapy?

What is your therapy? Each of us have a few activities that we find therapeutic. If you are lucky, you find or make opportunities to engage is such activities regularly. If you do, you find that you are usually in high spirits a good amount of time, if not all the time, regardless of your circumstances.

Which activities do you find therapeutic? Mine are time with God, brisk walking outdoors, writing, cleaning and organizing spaces. I will talk a little bit about my therapeutic activities in this article to inspire you to put words into your therapeutic activities.

  • Time with God

I am fortunate to be able to say that I don't remember the last time I didn't have my early morning time with God. This habit took a long time and a lot of failures and frustrations along the way to cultivate. When I started almost two decades ago, I struggled with waking up early consistently but I have had a good handle on it for several years now.

Time with God for me is really a privilege. I don't have to pray, I get to pray. I don't have to read the Bible, I get to sit under the instruction of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. This time is precious because it anchors me for the day ahead. It's the reservoir for my life. I have a dedicated space at home where I do this each morning, and when I am not home I use the most convenient space available.

  • Brisk Walking outdoors

Aside from strength training, brisk walking is my main form of exercise but it does more for me than keep me physically fit and agile. I find walking very therapeutic. It refreshes my mind, energizes my body and enhances my mood. I like to walk very early in the morning, so the morning breeze adds to the refreshment. I also use this time to pray. I do this every week day irrespective of where I am in the world, or the weather. It's another thing that I have gotten a very good handle on doing consistently over the years. I walk indoors when the weather is unfavorable for outdoor walking.

  • Writing

If I had all the money in the world, I would spend my days writing, raising parents and coaching people. Writing is my muse. It is the thing I lose track of time doing. It's needless to say that I enjoy writing. I find it energizing, exciting and quite therapeutic. I have been writing consistently for slightly over a decade now. I try to post 52 articles on my website each year. That makes for one article each week. Some weeks I write more than two articles while other weeks I write none. But when I sit down to write from my heart, it's sheer enjoyment.

  • Cleaning and organizing spaces

I just like to clean. I know there are probably very few people who can say that, but there are a few of us who enjoy cleaning. I truly enjoy the few minutes I invest in cleaning parts of my house every day. I could go on and on if it weren't for the very limited time I have for cleaning. Don't ask me to organize events, organizing small spaces is my arena. The only criteria is that the space has to be not too messy or cluttered, otherwise I would be too overwhelmed to start. I find organizing a room or a closet in my house therapeutic.

It's your turn now. Can you put words into your therapeutic activities? What is your therapy? What activities do you find therapeutic? Go beyond listing them down to writing what about them you find therapeutic. Then see to it that your schedule affords you the privilege to spend time on your therapeutic activities regularly.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi