Ryan: A Simple Marvel

A couple of weeks ago during our morning black coffee, Kim said to me, “So a lot of my friends are going to see Captain Marvel.  Why are all my friends wanting to see this movie?”

Fortunately, I had the answer.  I took a deep breath, and for the next 15 minutes, I described the character’s rich history in various Marvel comics titles.  I explained that Carol Danvers was an Air Force fighter pilot in the 1970’s when a freak accident gave her super powers. Originally she was just a thinly veiled female version of an already existing male character, the original Captain Marvel, but she soon joined the Avengers and grew into a strong hero in her own right.  I detailed a particularly controversial storyline involving a bizarre supernatural pregnancy, culminating in Carol feeling betrayed by her team and leaving the group. She was later attacked by a renegade mutant called Rogue and lost her memory, so (naturally) she left Earth and traveled with a group of space pirates for a few years.  Eventually she returned to the planet, rejoined the Avengers, led a version of the team, and battled alcoholism. In the last couple of years, she emerged victorious and claimed the mantle of CAPTAIN MARVEL!

I should have suspected that my story was falling on deaf ears (the Facebook scrolling throughout should have been a clue), but I was pretty impressed with my compelling explanation of how Captain Marvel is a true comics icon, a character of depth and complexity, a truly human blend of weakness and strength, tragedy and triumph.

Kim paused for a moment and said, “So….Captain Marvel is a WOMAN??!!??  That’s all you needed to say!”


Sometimes we want a detailed explanation and sometimes we just want the nutshell version.  Both are equally right, but it’s frustrating to get more...or less...information than we want to make sense of something new.

When someone asks me about intermittent fasting,  I usually give a very simple explanation. Nothing but black coffee and water for about 20 hours, then eat what you want.  Repeat. This nutshell version of IF makes sense to me. It captures the simplicity and the freedom that I have found with fasting.  This wasn’t always the case, however.

As a fasting novice, I was much more invested in knowing the details.  I wanted to know the science behind IF. Insulin resistance? What is that, and how do I know if I have it?  Are my blood sugar readings optimal, and if not, how do I know? What’s the deal with autophagy anyway? I wanted to know what doctors and scientists had to say about it.  I wanted to know what foods were optimal for fat loss, overall health and longevity.

Both are equally right, but people have individual thresholds for what is too much or too little information.  Sometimes when I give my nutshell version of IF, people will look deflated and say, “So you just starve yourself then?”  Whoops. That person needs a scientific journal. Stat. Other times I offer a more detailed explanation of fasting and notice the glazed expression that suggests something more simple and intuitive is in order.

Intermittent fasting works if you know the details, and it works if you don’t care about the details.  Just do it. Your body - and Captain Marvel - will thank you.