Arctic Foxtrot. And more...

Aviation brings people together. In 2017, when Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday, aviation unites the country by bringing the technology and inspiration of airshows to the most remote areas of the country - where people have never seen anything like this in their lives. With 97 airshows North of the 60th parallel, EVERYBODY will have a chance to celebrate Canada's 150. Official website: This is a blog of Anna Serbinenko, the only Canadian female aerobatic performer, embarking on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Three years later. I have travelled, explored, discovered, dared, fell down, got up, did it again, achieved, conquered, enjoyed, loved, remembered, lived... So many experiences are just too grand to keep them to yourself. So i decided to revive and keep up this blog with sporadic postings. Subscribe to get notified about the new articles!

A Prayer for Dessert

I looooove food. I grew up in a Ukrainian family where all women knew how to cook really really well – and not exactly low calories food. Well, almost all women – I don’t cook, it keeps the world a safer place. Or simply because the life is so crazy busy that I can’t possibly find time to do it. And – although I can cook and even pretty tasty – I often favor time allocation towards more “productive” work. Anyways, not the point.

All our family events were centered around food. And even a simple visit to a grandma was usually associated with a meal that looked like they were feeding an over-starved kid who did not eat for at least three months! 

You think the North Americans are much different? Try a “cleanse”. For debatable reasons and debatable benefits, you can skip food (not water!) for a week or so, and – believe it or not! – still be alive and even well at the end of it. I tried it once with my partner. Guess what was the biggest challenge? Spoiler alert: it’s not what you might think. We ran out of social things to do! Taking a lunch break together? Oh, we can’t have lunch. Date night? What kind of date does not involve at least a coffee with dessert, or a snack, if not a full dinner? Road trip? Can’t try that local restaurant rated almost 5 stars on the Trip Advisor!

Somehow, in our spoiled society we believe that we will severely suffer if we don’t get at least 3 meals per day. But better 6 if you include snacks. Outcomes of this lifestyle include but not limited to extra fat in our body and extra “fat” in our brain. I don’t mean that literally of course about the brain. I refer to the fact that we are so busy with daily “stuff” and the rat race, that we spend little time thinking – and doing – very little for the “big picture”, purpose of life, legacy, eternity and spiritual life. 

We’ve all heard of fasting, in different contexts. Intermittent fasting, fasting for medical reasons, prayerful fasting. Basically, not eating any food or only certain types of food for a specific reason.

You can think of fasting almost as an extreme version of a diet – like restricted food vs. no food. But it’s not entirely true. Diets usually deal with the types of food, maybe quantities. Fasting is about the timing – when you eat, not what you eat. Not to say that both cannot be combined for whatever reason. 

Speaking of diets – I suck at it! I can only restrict myrself so much. I know for a fact that it is not the matter of IF, but WHEN I crack and that piece of dark chocolate jumps from the shelf straight into my mouth, unwrapping itself in flight. Sticking to calories budget is challenging, and “almost-no-calories” snacks that you “forget” to record, can so easily add up to extra 500 calories in a day. So realistically, even if you commit yourself to a 12 weeks diet to lose 20 pounds, but go back to the old habits right after – who cares? Your body will quickly rebuild its “reserves” it got used to. So unless you are committed – and more importantly, actually capable - to stick to your new diet for the rest of your life, don’t even bother torturing yourself for a few weeks. 

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert – probably not something any modern human would even attempt voluntarily. Weight loss was not His issue of course. Christians fast sometimes on certain days of the week or holidays of the year. Other religions have that fasting element also – Ramadan comes to mind. The goal here is to stop, reflect, give up something earthly for something eternal.

Are you even comfortable being on your own? Quiet? Reflecting? Or you are so addicted to distraction, social media and noise – because they keep you away from that discomfort?

Now, after all this above-described whirlwind of thoughts that came to mind, the always-optimizing me asked the question: Why can it not be combined? Why can we not, while stopping and reflecting on life, or simply finding a quiet moment for ourselves, or just finding extra time to do something you always wanted – read a book or learn a new language – benefit from healthier eating habits? Maybe not even having to give up on the treats we love. Sounds too good to be true? Hear me out and do the math. I switched to only one (very good) meal per day, and here are some highlights:

  • Each meal takes you what, 30-60 minutes on average? Of course, it ranges from a quick sandwich swallowed while reading emails to taking time to shop, cook and serve the meal – or drive to the restaurant and wait for someone else to do it for you. Either way, it’s time. This is your gain #1
  • It’s a kind of “food management” method too. Counting calories and sticking to, say, 1500 calories per day budget can be tricky. But have you ever tried to eat a 1500 calories meal all at once? Even if you add dessert, you probably are not exceeding 1100-1200 calories in one meal. And if it’s your only meal in a day, you just won the “disciplined eater” award while licking the last piece of cheesecake off your spoon. This is your gain #2.
  • You can still enjoy food! In fact, instead of limiting myself in each of the 3 – or more – meals in a day, each time cutting back as much as possible, I now get to enjoy the whole range of foods I love, even without skipping a reasonable dessert. This is your gain #3.
  • Finally, channel your new time and energy. Yes, your stomach will be reminding you that it consists of emptiness. In the past, you reached for a snack when it happened. But what if you grabbed a glass of water instead and read a few pages of the book, did a language lesson on the app or said a prayer – reminding yourself that whatever you do is more important than a temporary discomfort you might feel. While the really enjoyable meal is just a few hours away anyways. This is your gain #4.

Losing weight for the sake of losing weight is hard, self-centered and often unsuccessful. But when it happens to be a by-product of you making more time for something more important, then both the richness of your life and the slimness of your line will benefit from it.

Remember to stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, electrolytes, and even unsweetened beverages. Life can be so enjoyable in healthy, productive and deep in many ways.

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