Friday, April 19, 2013

No woman is an island and The 5:2 diet

No Woman is an Island

At forty you should be able to live off the connections you have made in life up to that point. You should be able to call friends in your social circle who will put in a good word on your behalf and secure you a job, contract, a link or get you into wherever you need through an alleyway. The job markets favor the young, but at forty you shouldn’t be standing in open queues for jobs at least not as your only option. You should have by this time created an inner track for yourself among a group of people.

I hope I am not depressing anyone by these revelations.

I believe that we are given youth and youthful vigor and those rosy cheeks of youth for the key purpose of establishing the networks that will sustain us later in life after all that which is admired in youth has faded.

Think about how integral your grandparents are to the family structure and how embedded they are even when they are past their prime years of reproduction and production. Well they spent all their youthful years building and ploughing into what ever structure they have around them, so they are now embedded and bonded to the structure and we often cannot imagine the family without them.

Youthful energy, vigor and beauty is expended to establish and expand and even attach to networks that will feed and sustain you as time passes.

Inequality will never be totally eliminated form social systems. The problem is that sadly many of us black women in particular, take seriously chitter chatter about transparency, equality and anti discrimination so mush so, we hinge our progress to the idea that society will treat us fairly. We get floored when society does not 'walk the talk', instead of getting real and getting savvy. I remember how in the nineties, people were waging their fingers at African nepotism. Africans who put their brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews and even their grandmothers in civil service positions as soon as they became governors, ministers or got put in positions of public trust were lampooned. Hey but guess what, we practice a variant right here in the West except we call it networking! It might be slightly more flexible but it's still about making space for people we know and circumventing a transparent open selection process.

At 40 when the open job market turns against you, if you cannot call upon or expect help from a network of friends and colleagues or fall back on a social network for help, then you might not have done everything you could to be really connected and linked into a healthy social circle.

Youth is winsome, people take to you and forgive transgressions and any hot headed actions. Not so easily done when you are over thirty therefore youth is the time to get in certain attitudes, positions on matters and to work out stuff from your system (and even form a group of same minded others who go on to win patronage), before its starts to count against you. As I said, people take to young ones and are happy to make allowances. Folks want to take the young under their wings and show them the ropes! When you are older you will depend on grit, experience, strong nerves and social networks.

Let me also add that no network is closed, but all social networks remain open for the admission of new members. On the basic level of marriage and mating even the network of royals and the mega rich that are very exclusive remain open to admit new members. Young royals must marry, widowed and divorced blue bloods will also remarry. They will look to recruit from adjacent social groups. They will poach the very best of other groups, select for high social value attributes. They will even lay hold of others for the plain reason that these have strayed into their path and they have made a 'connection'.

Anything can be a selectable attribute. Black women moan about being seen as exotic, well guess what, exotic is a social capital. If you are seen as different because of your racial characteristics (and this often cannot be helped no matter how much you mimic mainstream attitudes and presentation) then you should be happy to trade on an element of exoticness which is actually a positive positioning of 'the other'.

The question remains, will you recognize what attributes are attractive and sought out in you by others. Like the man who went to market to sell oranges but someone saw the lovely basket used to display the oranges and made him a crazy offer worth twice the value of the fruits he was selling.

Doing your bit to link into useful networks:-
Bake cakes for the office
Invite relevant people to drinks at the house/house warming etc
Organize outings
Go to evening gatherings/pubs and clubs with the office team
Participate in buying rounds of drinks for others
Get involved in charity events (marathons, bike rides etc) and ask for sponsorship
Join local causes and local organizations like wildlife societies, art etc

The Fast Diet

Could you do the 5:2 diet? (Also known as the Fast diet)

I have done quite a few of the diets out there, some more radical then the other. Late last year I decided to continue to my goal weight and was considering two options, which were Atkins diet and food replacement, but just before I could make a decision, along came the 5:2 diet. As the name implies, you more or less fast for two (better consecutive) days a week while being free on the other days.

There are a number of different variations on this theme. Some people recommend fasting every other day.

The thing about it for me was that I was not unused to fasting (for spiritual and health reasons). Indeed many of you have either fasted for lent or for spiritual purposes so fasting is not too alien to you (all you need do is not gorge on food after breaking fast or eat light meals) and many black women can say the same, and so therein lies the bonding factor that might just make this 5:2 diet the one that many black women might find they can stick to and successfully use to finally overcome in the area of loosing weight (of course in all this you have to have accepted that all weight loss protocols require a level of sweat, discomfort, effort and discipline!).

I have had a good lot of success with this method because my psychology has been more receptive to periods of low food intake as opposed to everyday denial. 2 days of fasting/low food intake come to an end in no time at all, and while going through it, you always look forward to days of eating fully. I will say that the days of fast also train you to eat less on the days you can eat to fullness. There are a number of other health benefits to the 5:2 regime which you can explore for yourself from one of the website on this method  intermittent fasting (there is an American alternative which you can google)

From the website:

As its name implies Intermittent Fasting means voluntarily abstaining from eating, but only for quite short periods of time. Using this approach it is possible to eat what you like, most of the time, and get slimmer and healthier as you do it. By reducing your calorie intake for two days a week (500 calories for women, 600 for men) you’ll lose weight and enjoy a wide range of health benefits – the joy of the Fast Diet is that the side-effects are all good.

In this book we outline our experiences of a so-called 5:2 regime

As I always say to my readers, you as the individual will always have find a method that works for you and most of us will have to sift through dozens and dozens of approaches for years even, until we happen upon the one that just gels with our nature and temperament. I don’t discourage black women from using any method that works no matter how bizarre as long as it is not health damaging. I will take it that you all are adults and will be mature in deciding for a method that works (be it fat blocker pills, dairies, exercise regimes and what have you).

I don’t think fasting and low food intake even for a couple of days is unhealthy (I mean ask the yogis and Buddhists and besides you do have some food intake in this diet).

Read some testimonies here

Next blog post on Dieting available on 4th May

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First Steps to Personal Empowerment

Do Black Women in Afros
Date White Guys?

Supposing I wanted to
Date a White Guy...?
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ak said...

A lovely lady I know who is a salon owner and my hair stylist brought up the idea of starting an ICOMSA with women she knows who have no kids because she has one ex-husband but no kids and she's 50. I know that this lady more than likely has never even heard of the BWE blogs at all but she said that it would be a good idea for women who don't have kids or who may not have kids to get together and help each other where they can as they grow older. I agreed with her and told her I was interested in it.

Anonymous said...

This is a very useful post. It really gives me something to think about, and others as well I hope.

You can't just go bumbling thru life and expect good results.

ak said...

Hi Halima! I did comment on this post a couple of days ago. Do you still see it anywhere? Thank you : )

Mrs. Glam said...

Another great post, Halima. I like that you mentioned how networks that are forged in youth are what sustains us when we age. I never thought of it that way, but as a woman quickly approaching 30 years of age, I need to work harder on forming those networks! Time is of the essence.