Nepal Dan: Day Five (ish)

Blueberries and yoghurt for breakfast, that can only mean one thing…I’ll be hungry in about three hours. This is not an issue as I am jumping off the fast train at lunch time. The idea was to do the full five days, I have flexi-time owing to me that I am going to take this afternoon. This will probably result in me playing the guitar all afternoon in between bouts of watching CSI. Sounds like bliss to me. Before that, I shall walk down in to Ormskirk at lunch time, go to Greenalgh’s and get myself a beef steak pie – of course this will then require me to walk the nine and a half miles home in order to burn the thing off, but hey, well worth it!

What have I learned? Well, for one, going without water is just stupid! Okay in Winter it’s manageable – just. But at all other times of the year, given that our brains are over 75% water – it’s just stupid. I’ve had at least one headache every day – which is why I’ve had water, once the headache has kicked in. Net gain, nothing! Another thing I’ve learned, going without food makes me (I am not going to speak for anyone else) incredibly moody and touchy, it annihilates creativity (my book writing has really taken a knock this weak!) and in short I have really not enjoyed myself whilst fasting this week. (You don’t say!)

Would I do it again? The short answer is never outside of Winter. I am more than happy to do this again in November to February, outside of that, forget it!

I really hope more people donate to Jenny’s Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/EHU-DEC/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socspondesktop&utm_content=EHU-DEC&utm_campaign=post-sponsorship-donation-desktop

Jenny has really done well at this with nothing at all consumed during Sunrise to Sunset so please give generously.

Nepal Dan: Day Four

Not long to go now, thank goodness!

At times this fasting business can get a person down. When I did the winter version, whilst I would hardly say it was a breeze, however, it was easier because the length of the days were much shorter. When for example I eat at 04:30 and eventually reach lunchtime, I go for a walk, to take my mind off food – and because it’s good for me and the realisation hits me that it’s eight and a half hours until I can have a good cup of coffee or something to eat. Hmmm, worse still is that right from day one I have said – “I’m having water” – anyone who knows anything about me will probably recall that I am prone to dehydration headaches. I get really bad ones, and as such at this time of year when the weather is somewhat warm, well my body needs water.

So, as you can see, it’s got to me a bit. This is the last Spring / Summer fasting that I ever attempt. I am more than happy to do the shorter day ones.

{updated at: 12:55} Okay, on reflection, I have had considerably less water today than other days. This is down to the fact that the Just Giving website have me down as doing this without water. Jenny and Taz are doing this dry…I’m not. Sorry but I never said that I would.

So, yeah. Onward…

PS: Here is the link to Jenny’s Just Giving Page: https://www.justgiving.com/EHU-DEC/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socspondesktop&utm_content=EHU-DEC&utm_campaign=post-sponsorship-donation-desktop

Nepal Dan Day Three

Fasting for Nepal:

Well after attempting one Blog Post on the bus – stupid IPad and its’ ‘I’ll put in my clipboard what I want dear human, not you!’ – I thought I was doing really well managing to type two handed on a moving bus. Ah well!

In a good mood today even though at 4:25 I couldn’t finish my meatballs breakfast, I did have a lovely cup of coffee though whilst listening to Cheryl Fernandez…(something Italian sounding?) singing Only Human, little pleasures make all the difference. The 44 to town (hey it was raining okay!) was so quiet that I was glad I would only be on it for a few minutes. Then it was a case of not singing in the rain at the East Bank Street stop for the 385 – a good thing too as I was astounded by how many people were at the side of me whilst I was gazing off into the distance, completely oblivious – now does that sound like a wound up man?

The 385 was busier than normal, people attempting to avoid the rain I figure, which meant steamy windows…one day I will do a drawing on them, I just know it, need to have an empty bus though and the passengers just keep getting on. I digress.

I had my first hunger pang on the 385 – only three hours-something since I ate, so that isn’t a good thing.  I’m not looking forward to tomorrow, it’s my long day from 08:00 – 18:00 – I will get to have this on Wednesday (my least favourite day more often than not) sooner or later, just takes some manipulating (evil). As for today, I have only three more days doing the three hour technical services secondment, it really isn’t standing around feeling like a tool for ages, nooo it isn’t! I should be able to get to the gym tonight, not planning on having anything major for tea, maybe just yoghurt and blueberries who knows.

Okay signing off now.

Do jutra!

Nepal Dan – Day Two

Well, I couldn’t finish my lovely tea (roast beef and various veggies and stuffed mushrooms, nom, nom, nom) last night and today I wasn’t able to finish my Tesco’s Spanish Tortilla this morning.  This happens to me every so often – though not often enough for my liking, whereby my stomach effectively slams a door shut and waves a finger in a “no way” kind of gesture. Of course I am hoping that you (dear readers) are reading this with a symbolic as opposed to literal head on. For the record, my stomach has neither a door or a finger! Incidentally, the first time that I can remember this happening was when I was just fourteen and had started ‘courting’ (can you believe my parents used to call it that?) my first ever girlfriend, Alison Brabbin. Alison, if you’re reading this…get off you stalker (only joking, blame the lack of caffeine, I know I am).

Yesterday, I had three separate headaches, all easily aborted by paracetamol but they’re still a bit of a nuisance. I’m putting this down to my severely reduced caffeine intake – I haven’t had any regular coffee since Saturday in Marks and Spencer’s café at Chester and with these quite petulant mood swings…I can tell!

Tonight I have my guitar lesson with John, he makes a really good cup of coffee, which I’ll miss, but I can still have water…I think I’ll buy a big flask as ‘the thirst’ which I remember from 2013’s Winterdan, once it starts to kick in on a regular basis, is a real pain in the backside (again, not literally!).

Tonight I won’t be breaking fast until roughly nine o’clock, it takes that long getting back from Ainsdale on the 49, hey maybe I could catch the 44? Nope, all three Ainsdale buses arrive within five minutes of each other at night and the 49 is nowhere near the 44 and 47 stops.

And another hunger pang has just smacked me in the stomach. Think I’ll do the Wigan Road loop for my lunch time walk. Until tomorrow…

 

Just an update, for the ‘walk’ I went through the Hub (only means anything to Edge Hill staff and students) down St. Helen’s Road into Ormskirk, through the town centre, back up Wigan Road, Mill Street, Ruff Lane, Work. Probably about an mile and a half in 37 minutes.

Nepal Dan Day One

I know it’s a crappy title, but I’m trying to follow a theme here, so just bear with it ok?

Right so I have now been awake since 4:10 or thereabouts. I had a huge breakfast of one of Tesco’s Spanish Tortillas at 04:41 and a cup of coffee – decaf. Since then I have pretty much stuck to nill by mouth, with the exception of two paracetamols on the bus as my left temple was beginning to sting – I don’t think this is anything to do with the fasting yet…that might well kick in at either at lunch time or around four this afternoon.

Sunset tonight, for London – I haven’t found one for Southport yet, is at 20:50 – ouch. But I have said that if I am thirsty I will drink water, mild sugar and food cravings I can fend off but dehydration is a really horrible condition so I’m not going to go without, plus this means I can go to the gym tonight!

Okay, so I may be back with an afternoon post. If not then I’ll be back tomorrow, oh goody, guitar lesson day 🙂

Nepaldan

Next week, both myself and my line manager from work will be showing our support to the wonderful country of Nepal who’s residents have been hit hard recently by not one, but two devastating earthquakes.

Between dawn and dusk, or sun rise to sunset we shall be consuming no calories, no food, no alcohol…in essence nill by mouth, each day. This will end on until sunset on Friday. I am looking forward to this one as it will be coming up to the longest times of daylight and should be a real challenge, which aim to meet. Let’s hope that I can stave off the dehydration headaches. Damn! I’m going to have to turn down one of John’s cups of coffee at Tuesday night’s guitar lesson…oh well, it’ll be worth it.

So, expect a blog post every night, next week folks.


Here are the reasons why we’re doing this:

Nepal’s recent earthquakes are the worst disaster in the country’s history with more than 8500 people dead with many still missing, thousands injured. The UN estimates 8 million people affected with 2.8 million people displaced.

One estimate suggests 8000 Rohinga refugees (mainly from Burma) are floating in the Andaman Sea (between Bangladesh and Malaysia) in a desperate state of hunger while no country takes care of them as yet.

Doctors without Borders/Medicins Sans Frontier (MSF) are one of the few international organisations which are delivering care to the stranded Rohinga people while Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) with an impressive track record of responding to disasters worldwide, have launched a massive campaign to raise money for the earthquake victims of Nepal.

Edge Hill University’s first year Geography students periodically raise similar campaigns of ‘Fast for Disaster Funds’ with their tutor Dr Tasleem Shakur. Last year they raised around £900 for the Philippines disaster. This year while the students are back to home for their summer break, Tasleem launched a similar campaign with his colleagues in IT department joined by Jenny Jordan and Mark Wild with a fasting pledge (sunrise to sunset without food or water for around 16 hours a day) of at least 5 days between 17 and 26 May 2015. They expect others will either join such fasting campaign or donate money.

Please donate money to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) here to help the desperate earthquake affected people of Nepal.


Source = https://www.justgiving.com/EHU-DEC/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socspondesktop&utm_content=EHU-DEC&utm_campaign=post-sponsorship-donation-desktop

The diet (oh no, he used the “D” word)

For a kick off, we shouldn’t say we are ‘on a diet’ – not sure how this would end the world, but you know these touchy, healthy types…

So, last week and the week before,  I tried to stick to a lunch time diet of mainly raw vegetables. It was actually kind of addictive (and this is from someone who is generally not an addictive type – whatever that is) because after you (or I in this case) have eaten the veggies (Kale, Tomatoes (don’t start!) Spinach and Asparagus) you kind of feel healthily good and not one iota sanctimonious, but still full.

This week I have been a bit less disciplined, I’ve had sandwiches and  meatballs…and I could really tell that junk was going in.

Now, I know some will say that a brown bread sandwich filled with chicken and mayonnaise and salad is neither the healthiest or unhealthiest thing in the world…it’s the bread that is the beast. I have cut down my bread intake over the last few months to such an extent that I now feel bad eating it – this has to be psychological as opposed to physiological.

So yesterday, I reverted back to the raw stuff, with a couple of slices of Serrano ham, and although I was still a bit grumpy in the afternoon, we’ll write that off to the ear thing, by evening I was once again a calm person. Today, there is the same lunch but without the ham, I already feel calmer than I have for the earlier part of the week so maybe, just maybe there is something to this healthy eating kick beyond the obvious weight control aspects.

Winterdan

Over this last year I have shown a bit of an interest in “going that bit further” doing something for the sake of testing myself and seeing just what I can put up with. On the walking front this has meant reaching such summits as Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike and next year I hope to add Scafell, Helvellyn via Striding Edge and all the ‘horseshoe walks’ that I can muster…plus March’s Right Pig Walk over Whernside and Ingleborough taking in Simon Fell and Park Fell is set to be a real tester at 13 miles…or 17 if you measure in Yorkshire mileage!

Anyway, that’s all well and good but what about when I can’t get out and about walking? Y’know when I have to go to work etc? My job can be challenging enough with the clients repeatedly forgetting their passwords…or worse still telling each other their passwords…and relax! Although strictly speaking I am not that religious…I am a Zen Quaker – “find your own God and he probably doesn’t need you to build him a church!” I have been interested in the Ramadan commitment since working with someone a number of years ago whom used to do the whole nill by mouth from sunrise to sunset…I used to feel so sorry for her..but strangely drawn to the practice of fasting on a daily basis.

This year I was all set to actually try this out for myself…but the first weekend of Ramadan was set to collide with my walk up Skiddaw which I had been planning on doing for about four years. Skiddaw without water (especially on the day when I did it; with the temperature at nearby Keswick recorded at 26° Celsius) whilst not exactly suicidal, would have been a really stupid practice and to be honest…impossible. I postponed my attempt at Ramadan until next year…Then Tornado Taz turned up!

We are all too aware that there has been a natural disaster in the form of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines on Friday (8 November), causing catastrophic damage. It is reportedly the strongest storm ever to make landfall, hitting an area where thousands of people are already homeless after an earthquake in mid-October. The plight of these unfortunate people has so affected a colleague of mine Dr Tasleem Shakur (and twenty five of his students) to such an extent that he has decided to engage in a little Winter Ramadan, nill by mouth from dawn ’till dusk for charity.

Here is the JustGiving website address for you dear reader to sponsor them

My involvement? Well Taz was aware that I was aiming to try Ramadan this year so he told me of his charitable act and asked (hmmm!) if I would join them in their fasting…I honestly could not think of a good enough reason to say “NO”!. So I’m on-board! I must stress that I am not doing this for charity. You cannot sponsor me.  I am doing this in support of Taz and his students and at any time I could jump ship and eat or drink something. My plan is to do this for seven days finishing at dusk on the 26th of November (that’s a Tuesday folks!). But, if I am doing well I may well stay with it until dusk on Thursday.

Day 1
For me this started this morning. I had my last drink at 07:15 on the bus to work and my last food was a sugar-free polo at 07:00 also on the bus.

How do I feel? Well there’s no point in liying about it, I’ve felt better! I have a slight but persistent headache on the left hand temple side and can feel myself getting irritable a bit quicker than normal. A colleague has just brought to me an huge box of biscuits as an act of gratitude for sorting out her laptop – isn’t life great some times??? I have no qualms about quitting, it isn’t a face-saving exercise etc…I do just want to see how far I can go. However, given my more distant past history of cluster headaches etc then if this gets much worse (and I mean a lot worse) then I’ll just go zero calories – water, water and more water. For now, so far so good 🙂

Day 2
How’s it going? I had a bit of a gorge last evening when I got in from work – probably shouldn’t do that, well we all make mistakes! This morning I had one of Tesco’s pretty gigantic Spanish style omelets – the Chorizo from which first gave me heartburn then a heavy gut, this seems to have melted into my system now…Only to be replaced with the grumpy side-effects of Hypoglycemia, I am somewhat anxious and more than a bit irritable…At this rate weekend is going to be a real blast!!!

Day 3
What’s up? Today was surprisingly easier than I could have dared to hope. I really filled up for breakfast consuming 3/4 of the other Tesco Spanish style Omelete and a chicken breast that I had sneekily cooked the night before. Subsequently all was quiet on the gastric front. However from out of nowhere I had developed a backache that I just knew would get better once I had taken a couple of painkillers which I had to hand. One problem…NILL BY MOUTH!  At four twenty five in the afternoon I went to the shop on campus in order to buy a packet of sugar free polos for post fast and in order to ask Faz at what time sunset was due to be. Imagine my delight when I was informed that it had been FIFTEEN MINUTES earlier! Awesome I could drink again which I did say out loud and which prompted him to ask if I was fasting to which I confirmed and was further delighted to receive a free Wonka bar…This day was just getting better. I returned to the office and my colleague Ian (whom had been expertly doctoring an I-Phone all day) couldn’t make me a cup of coffee quick enough! My first cup of coffee for ten hours was wonderful, the painkillers consumed defeated the backache and all was well with my world!

Day 4
The long slog! I envisioned today being tough and in all honesty it proved me right so far. Having had my last food at 07:10 and finishing my last coffee at 07:20 and with nobody around to make sure I don’t cheat (you’re only cheating yourself…) I have had to self-regulate…and I am very good at it too! Although I am really hungry now and would almost kill for a drink, I am managing, I appear to have what I would call good passive determination – I am good at not doing things. Of course it would be good if I was like my friend Karl who is excellent at doing things (Leaden Boot Challenge etc) or Jenny my boss (Yorkshire Three Peaks) and I do wonder if once you become aware of your strengths in one aspect one can then channel them in order to become better in other aspects, can I become as good a ‘doer’ as I am a ‘not doer’? We’ll see!

Day 5
¿Tienes hambre? ¡Si un poco! Sorry for the temporary Spanish diversion but I have to vary things to a degree in order to keep this relatively interesting. Sunday turned out to be just as easy or as difficult as Saturday was. There was one exception, on Saturday Chris drove herself to and from work, on Sunday I drove her to and from work and had to wait another five minutes for her boss to stop gabbing on and open the (insert expletive here) doors in order to let them out! I don’t like waiting for people and waiting for people when one is hungry is just not nice!

Day 6
Argh a Monday Many people don’t like Monday…I tend to flit in-between treating it as any other day and loathing resentment. Today it’s just another day. I had really bad stomach ache on the walk to the bus stop this morning and I think that this might be down to the consumption of some cruciferous (Broccoli and Cauliflower) vegetables that I believe were out of date – they did come out of the packet in a bitty fashion. The stomach ache has now more or less passed – thankfully sans embarrassment, all that remains now is the eternal thirst. Roll on Five O’clock or whatever time of day sunset is today!

Day 7
Come Va? Yesterday I saw that the fasting is beginning to take its’ toll on Taz. As a seasoned faster this is a little disheartening to the rest of us (well me anyway) and today I am feeling a bit similar. I felt fine at breakfast, which this morning was remainder chicken breast and noodles, and even better when walking to the bus stop – that’s more of a walk then I take credit for really as it is roughly a mile away from home! Anyway on the bus I started to feel a bit drained. Then when I got to work we are still in the throws of the great student password change so all hell was gently oozing out. By the time of the first lull I was feeling decidedly queezy every time that I stood up. As a regular sufferer (do people suffer from) Labyrinthitis I am no stranger to feeling dizzy and it is nothing to worry about. I do feel that I will be able to continue fasting from sunrise to 16:30 each day until Friday but am now in a bit of a rush to get it all over with as I do miss my mid morning, lunchtime and mid afternoon cuppas! All the same the one that I now let myself have at 16:30 is nothing short of scrumptious (I always hoped to be able to type that word one day!).

Day 8
Ist es weit? Hmmm German? The observant amongst you will hardly fail to recall that previously I declared my intention to stay on this Sunrise (well 07:00) to Sunset (well 16:30) fasting for just the one week – starting on Wednesday 20th November and finishing at Sunset (!) on Tuesday 26th – that would have been seven days. However and Taz and the twenty-five Geography students are continuing on until Friday of this week…so will I. I do have to declare that this is not a reluctant continuation, I have been bitten by the fasting bug (well something had to get bitten!) and will be doing Summerdan next year. Summerdan? I hear you retort. Well I can’t really refer to what I am doing as Ramadan for a few reasons: 1. I am not a Muslim 2 I am not going to be doing it in the Islamic month of Ramadan as this starts on June the 29th 2014 when I shall be on holiday. Instead I shall aim to start my daily fasting on Monday May 5th and finish on Sunday June the first. And if today is anything to go off…I’ll be a right grumpy old git!

Day 9
The end in sight. Tomorrow signifies the end of this bout of fasting and I can say that I am in two minds about the whole thing. On the one hand I have enjoyed the challenge, I believe I have met the challenge and would love to try again for longer. However, longer can be dual-applied in this scenario as the daily fast in summer will be from about 4:00 a.m. until 21:30. In addition to this my poultry ten days pales into insignificance compared to Ramadan which as we all know lasts for twenty eight days. That’s a lot of hurt and self denial but on the other hand once more…anything that is worth doing takes a lot of effort…As I said, I am in a dilemna!

Day 10. ¡Ha terminado! And that was that. The tenth day went by fairly quickly – though I hasten to add that being stuck in a room with other colleagues scoffing and handing out chocolates did strengthen my resolve, a lot! Yes I will do this again. I will do ten days whenever the need arises for charity and I am going to do a pre-emptive Summerdan next year in May. Why May – we are supposedly going on holiday in June / July and to be fasting whilst on holiday is (for me) all kinds of wrong! For my 28 day version next year there will be a welcome addition of …water!


Thanks for sticking with me folks…Back to the walking soon

 

Taz wants to get to £1000 for this worthy cause. If you haven’t donated already please spare a thought and some pounds/dollars/euros for those less fortunate than us whom twice in a few weeks have been struck hard by nature’s fury. To donate to this desperate cause visit the JustGiving website here: http://www.justgiving.com/Jonathan-O-Flaherty

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