Hunger has always made me feel weak. The voices in my head – what a blogger friend aptly calls the “melon committee” — start whining and bickering until it’s hard to focus on anything else. Once the rabble rousers identify an appealing target, their shrieks and screams meld into a single powerful voice that will not be denied. The chanting mob seizes control of my hands, my mouth. The battle is lost, my good intentions trampled in the frenzy.
Periodic experiments with fasting, cultivating an inner parent who calmly reprimands individual melon committee whiners before they can rile the others, has helped.
But there’s nothing like a game to help control a crowd of inner children. Lately I’ve been distracting mine with the Lion Hunter, an idea that comes from the most disciplined person I’ve ever met.
When I first got to know Bonny Damocles, I assumed that the willpower behind his strictly enforced diet-and-exercise routine had something to do with growing up in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation of World War II, when his family sometimes went days at a time without food.
There’s no doubt Bonny’s inner child is way tougher than mine. But it turns out he’s not above playing mind games to stay focused on a goal. And one way he stays on track when he feels hungry is to visualize a lion in the wild, going out for a hunt before it can satisfy its hunger.
This is what helps him put in at least one 15-minute session of stair climbing before each meal. An hour’s worth of stair climbing a day, coupled with a diet that allows him to eat as much as he wants twice a day of unprocessed food containing no sugar, keeps the weight on his 5-7 frame at just under 140 pounds. More importantly, it’s helped him control his type 2 diabetes without medication for nearly 26 years – a feat currently under consideration for a Guinness World Record, as well as the subject of a new book we’ve collaborated on, Type 2 Diabetes Pioneer.
I’ve learned a lot from Bonny over the past year. Treating diet and exercise as medicine, whether preventative or to help treat a specific health issue like diabetes, makes all kinds of sense. But it’s one thing to recognize a good idea, and another matter entirely to implement it into your own life, to build a workable routine.
“The way I do things is generally to simplify, to make things easy to do all the time,” Bonny says.
After 26 years, he knows that every single Lion Hunt he goes on will be successful. At the end he always finds a hearty meal that’s especially satisfying because he knows he’s earned it – along with his good health.