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Alas! I have returneth from the rugged wilderness of West Virginia where the work to reward ratio is probably the highest I’ve ever encountered. I was swarmed by insects, walked through miles of nasty bogs, got completely drenched by hard rain, bushwacked up the nastiest slope of all time ever, and got ripped to shreds by thorns only to see 50 miles of trees, shrubs, and rock. The Rocky Mountains have spoiled me (where even the crummiest 3-mile hike will take you to a vista of scenery that is incomprehensible).

I did see one black bear. One glance at my intimidating presence from 70 yards away was enough to send him running for his life into the forest. 100% sheer intimidation.

But I did get some good reading in (It’s amazing how easy it is to sit down and read with full attention for 5 hours straight when there’s no access to the internet, television, phone, family, friends, fridge, or flesh of sum yung gal). The first notable mention is John Parkin’s F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way. Coming from a mostly spiritual/psychological point of view, Parkin shares many ideas about just letting go and eating the food, letting go of goal-oriented exercise and doing what’s enjoyable exclusively, and getting past the relentless pursuit of perfect health and just, well, saying Fuck It.

While there’s no doubt that many health seekers need more than anything to take a large dose of the wonder drug Fukitol that I have touted in the past, particularly myself and my readers, this is not the message many others need. Some people have clearly overdosed on the drug already and need a strong counteracting supplement to their diet and lifestyle. There are plenty of people that forego their health and have for decades, only to find that the quality of their lives is slipping away due to their convenient and habitual junk food and junk life. One 180 reader found the site when looking to clean up his diet after habitually drinking 13 cups of coffee per day and eating movie candy every night for dinner. I won’t name any names, ahem, Yusuf Clack. Excuse me. Something caught in my throat there. But you see what I mean.

Even I probably swung a little too far in the Fukitol direction over the past couple of years after becoming so disillusioned about ?health food,? and I can’t help but feel thrilled at how tightening up the ship for the last 5 weeks has treated me. So Parkin’s message may be just what you need to hear. I’ll certainly never forget the times when I let go of the many health adventures I was on only to feel better instantly eating food that I had convinced myself was poison.

Or, like me, maybe you are going through one of those phases where you are eating very clean and falling in love with real food all over again (or about to do some really wild cultish-sounding nutrition stint that involves peeing on all kinds of test equipment). Who knows. But I know that Parkin’s message is good medicine for many people reading this. And I love the way he states it all. I will include some food and health related quotes that I gathered from the book below, totally unedited. If you are offended by the language, then you are probably in need of reading it the most. Thanks to Chris of for turning me onto this book (I think that’s who it was, maybe it was another one of you British bastards, who all seemed to be named Chris and give the most outstanding book recommendations on earth).

pp. 57-58

?So why all the jokes? Because our stuff around food just consumes us. And I find this very funny. In one way or another we spend so long thinking about it. I’m a man and I think about food a lot. Maybe I’m a man who thinks like a woman. But from all that you hear, women are supposed to think about food a lot more than men.

And if we’re thinking about sex every ten seconds, I reckon we’re thinking about food for at least seven of the other seconds. It’s just amazing how any work gets done in this place.

And I’m being funny about it because that’s the first step in the Fuck It direction.

Our obsession with food is just crazy. And it is hilarious.

Food (like love and sex) is a major area of meaning for us. Though most of us are probably in denial about that. If we were asked to list the things that really matter to us, we probably wouldn’t include food. But it’s usually one of the things that matter most.

First, then, it’s worth getting conscious around food. Start to notice how much you think about it. Notice what goes on when you think about food. Notice how you are when you’re eating. Notice how you feel when you eat good food that you think you should be eating. And notice how you feel when you’re eating bad food that you think you shouldn’t be eating. Notice how you are when you see other people eating either extremely good food or extremely bad food. Notice how you feel when I keep asking you to notice how you feel. Anyway, just start to get an idea of how much food really matters to you.

Next, have a little inward giggle about how you are around food. Otherwise you’ll cry.

p. 63

?Say Fuck It to your diet. And Fuck It when the voices start coming up. How about saying Fuck It and eating what you really fancy for your next meal? Say Fuck It afterwards when you start to feel bad. And go with it and see what happens. If you put on a bit of weight, say Fuck It.

My bet is that you will start to get over your issues around food.

My bet is that once you can eat what the hell you want, you won’t need to stuff the whole of a birthday cake into your mouth in one go because you know you can have more later or tomorrow if you want.

My bet is that without so much tension around ?good? and ?bad? foods you may well start to want to eat some of the foods that you thought were ?good? but were so painful to eat. You’ll find that you actually like eating these foods. But don’t start thinking they’re ?good?, just eat what you want and see what happens.

And my bet is that, eventually, you will start to lose weight?

So Fuck your diet and start saying Fuck It; Accept how things are and how you are because everything is OK like it is ? let food and your body shape matter less to you. And observe what all these zen dudes have been monking on about for so long: that when you lose your desire for something, that’s the moment when you start to get it.

pp. 73-74

?It’s tiring and boring to wander from one therapy to another achieving different levels of success. If one therapy seems to be working, you really go for it and get your hopes up. Then it seems to stop working and you get depressed. Every therapy is offered evangelically by someone who was ?cured? by it and they think it will do the same for you. It may help, but it’s usually not the cure.

Of course, there’s the chance that it may be. Those hot stones under your eyelids may well cure you of your curly toenail syndrome.

But I’d prefer to look at another possibility.

Some people get so tired and bored with trying everything and spending lots of money and investing so much energy that they simply give up. They say one big Fuck It and finally give up wanting to be whole and well and perfect. They?re still feeling pain and discomfort like they always did and they just say Fuck It and give in to it. Nothing makes any difference anyway, so why should they go through the added pain of hoping it’s going to go away?

They give in fully to their condition. They surrender completely to their pain. They give up wanting to be any different from how they are, now. They probably start eating things they haven’t eaten for a while, they may start drinking and smoking again. What they certainly do is RELAX. The one thing you’ll always do when you really say Fuck It is relax.

And you know what happens? Maybe not straight away. Maybe not for a little while. But they tend to get better. This takes them by surprise, because they?d given up needing it. But they get fully better and achieve what they?d always wanted. Only they’re genuinely not bothered about their health anymore, so it doesn’t matter that much now ? even now they’re suddenly in full health.

pp. 103-104

?Any attempt you make to control yourself? to impose discipline on yourself? can create some tension. It creates pressure that you usually can’t live up to. And the disappointment you face when you can’t live up to your own expectations is even more tedious than the frequency with which you let yourself down.

So just say Fuck It to it all. Just do what the hell you want. Try not to set up daily tasks for yourself to get fitter or thinner or smarter (though we all still will, of course). Once you lose the tension of these self-imposed expectations, you will feel so much freer. And when you feel free, you will be more tuned in to what your body wants:

? You will feel like exercising when you feel energetic.
? You will fell like vegging out in front of the telly when you don’t.
? You will feel like eating healthy food sometimes.
? You will feel like eating junk at others.
? You will feel like stopping eating when you’re full sometimes.
? And other times you will eat until you feel sick.

This is life. Give in to it.

The remarkable thing is that when you give in to the natural flow of life, you will most probably exercise more than you were doing when you were a member of a gym. And you will probably eat healthier food overall than when you were seeing that nutritionist. And you will probably eat smaller portions overall than when you were on some ridiculous diet.

p. 121

?Yes, my friends, it’s time to say Fuck It to your issues. Say Fuck It to your journey into healing and wholeness. I was on that journey, and I did find that it was going on a bit. That underneath every issue and pain was another one. Then another one. Then another one. There is a bottomless well of pain if you really fancy taking the leap.

So, thus far, we have two paradigms, two ways of seeing life and our journey through it:

1. To focus on the pleasure, and ignore the pain, at whatever cost
2. To focus on the pain, and forget about all the pleasure.

There is, of course, another way. A way where we accept that life is just a dance between pleasure and pain. If you ignore pain, it doesn’t go away. If you try to heal pain, there’s still more there. Because pain is part of life.

Life is pain and pleasure in equal measure.