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manjushra

You may remember that the 1000 calorie month started 6 days after the No Bread month. So two days in advance of its expiry, here is the news.

In general, this habit was successful. I measured my food and recorded it daily on MyFItnessPal, and used a no flour no sugar strategy to achieve good nutrition on a low calorific budget. There was one day recently when I lapsed onto a packet of Doritos - which I duly recorded here - and thanks to some helpful comments from my Follower, I managed to not fall into what is know in addiction treatment circles as the Abstinence Violation Effect, simply skipped dinner after finishing the crisps then the next day got back on track. The feeling of "I might as well give up and eat everything, as this is (a) not working and (b) not pleasurable" was countered by a big mental stone-wall, which was the historical fact that *giving up and eating everything* was also not a strategy which had worked well in the past, either in terms of gaining a weight I liked, or in feeling good in life. In addition, I have a new one of those turnabout memories - when the world turns upside down through some event or conversation or realisation and you completely reframe some life experience. This particular memory is of standing on Francis' body-composition measuring machine and seeing various stats about my weight and body composition and BMR: these stats were suddenly factual and impartial and not prone to argument or a manana mentality. It didn't matter what I felt, my BMR was still this, and my body fat percentage was still that. No negotiation.

I am however having some difficulties with respect to eating out. While I am hoping to gain more self-confidence in my body image, and so begin to socialise a bit more easily, most social occasions involve eating sugary fatty floury foods and drinking alcohol. There's a birthday barbecue on the beach tomorrow that I have an invite to. I could plan some food and pack it, and make sure I have a nice soft drink, etc. But that's a lot of organising I have to do in advance, and will I like being around other people's more appetizing foods? Can I deal with their comments about my food and their opinions on whether I should be "dieting" (if that's what this is). I am fast becoming AdamAnt's Goody Goody Two Shoes. Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?

I know what I *would* do, given half a chance, though.

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Dear Follower(s),
I'm afraid I have to report a lapse. In fact, I am sitting here writing this whilst lapsing. The crumbs and flavouring granules from a packet of Doritos are all spilling over the keyboard Right Now which is a bit of a waste.

I guess this is a lapse from the 1000 cals habit (although if I stop eating them now and miss dinner, I might still be under 1000?). It's more of a lapse from the "no sugar no flour" rule, which was implied in the 1000 cals, but not really explicitly stated or held to, mainly because I didn't see it as an easy habit. So not really a lapse then, because I didn't commit myself to no sugar no flour!

I do confess that over the past couple of days things like scones and pies have never looked or seemed so good in my remembrance of them.

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So, day 30 of my no bread habit and I should report.

This weekend just gone was the Big Church Day Out - a weekend long camping/music festival, and I was on team. In previous years I've felt one of the great things about being on team was the provision of all kinds of free food: this year it was a huge problem, as the lunches were always based around sandwiches and cake, and the dinners were equally stodgy and rich. There was no point even attempting to pick the healthy stuff and leave the rest - there wouldn't be much "rest" and I would be hungry. SO, I bought 10 tupperware pots and made myself (a) six salads, three of which had added cooked beans/chickpeas (b) three pots of cooked lean meats and (c) organised a litre of yoghurt, 3oz of oats and 6 pieces of fruit. Packed it all in a cool box together with a knife, fork, spoon and tin opener, together with two or three tins/bought packets of vegetables.

What a palaver! I couldn't have imagined doing that a few months ago. But, advance planning is a wonderful thing, and the plan pretty much worked out. In the end I had to discard one of the meat packs as it probably had spoiled, and to replace that I took the ham out of a couple of ham sandwiches they'd given me. Perfect. There was a lot of food at the fest, lots of barbecue and bacon smells, but I haven't given up bacon, so I could mentally say, Yes, I'd like to plan a meal involving bacon when I get back home.

It seems totally astonishing to me now (to quote RIchard Burton), that I do not regret giving up bread or envy other people their eating of it (much - there are moments when that happens). The worst part in the festival weekend was when I had been stewarding all afternoon and hadn't eaten for five hours, since lunch of salad plus beans. It was too long, and if I had been at home it wouldn't have happened. When released from my duties I walked quicker than I have in quite a while back to my tent, past the rest of the team eating curry, rice, naan and cake, and literally fell upon my food. And half way through that meal, things were better. My stomach stopped panicking. When I finished, I was replete in such a nice, unbloated way, with absolutely no craving for seconds of anything. And I think those two feelings are the things I am gladdest of all to be free of: I would formerly enjoy bread so much that I would eat unwise portions, and suffer discomfort later, and often crave some of the more addictive combinations of sugar, fat and flour - and then give in to those cravings. Having a simple nutrition plan that says "No" means I am not faffing about around the slippery slope.

Apologies that none of this is particularly novel - I sound like a reformed character from a diet book. But hey, the month is up, and I wanted to reflect on whether the simple "giving up bread" has mutated into a habit. I think it has. It seems easier for me to arrange non-bread food for myself even on a camping trip, than to have to tolerate eating it when given to me for free.

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I went to a group training session last night - it was high intensity interval training and I found it so hard it was upsetting.

Today I've been assailed by food smells at school, and aware of feeling hungry, and a bit moody (having marked a few class books).

I got home and discounted the doughnuts and the toast and the leftover sausages and the cookies as viable ways to feel better. I was left with a tub of cottage cheese. So I ate that. 9oz of cottage cheese, with pineapple bits in. Who'd be me?

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I was overjoyed to find an actual weight loss of 2lbs on my scale yesterday morning, the day after an intense workout with the PT. He'd also told me that the 3 litres of water wasn't some kind of optional extra, and that it isn't about 3 litres of any kind of fluid - tea and coffee just don't count.

Challenges: No 1. Yesterday I felt extraordinarily lethargic, and didn't do much at all. I'll have to get used to keeping busy even on the days after my PT workout. No 2. Upcoming weekend away at a Christian music festival, where I'm on team. They provide food - all the kind of food I don't eat - sandwiches, crisps, lasagne, cake, biscuits.... I am planning out my food now and realise that it is possible to do this (<- a bit of a surprise, actually!). I need a tupperware with prepared salad for 2 meals for each day - sprich, 5 salad tupps. Also, I'll need a pre-cooked lean protein with a cooked veg, so that translates into 2 legs of chicken, 1 tin of chickpeas, 1 tin lentils, and other tins containing things like chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn, ratatouille. It's not the greatest culinary line-up, but I don't want to lose track, or lose my "habit", or assume that whenever I can't have a *nice* meal, I have to eat the stuff that got me to this point in my life in the first place.

I will need to buy more tupperware.

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This is amazing - I'm still on these 2 habits. I've had periods of sugar/flour/wheat/volume abstinence before but it was always much sloppier in terms of adherence, and I was always feeling hard done by about it. In this round, I am feeling serene and right in myself. It's difficult to describe, but things seem more positive all round. I've already posted about how I seem to be more confident at work, and I'm also beginning to entertain fancying thoughts about various guys I see. Somehow that was all switched off before, perhaps because I felt I was so out of the running that it would be insulting and pointless to even think in that direction.

I've also posted before about the lack of a discernible drop in weight. I DON'T CARE! What's important is that I'm not gaining weight, turning into an old fat slob with no energy or initiative or joy. Tomorrow I have my first proper 1-1 training with Francis, which will almost certainly kill me, or perhaps turn some of this pork into muscle.

And tattooes! I want a tattoo. I am designing one in my head. It will be monochrome flames, leaping up the side of my back from the hip and spreading out over the shoulder blade, peeking over the shoulder and onto the arm.

If my other reader is wondering whether to have a go at an easy habit, you should. It puts you in a different position in terms of outlook, opens doors to possibilities unseen.

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Yesterday I ate cheese after dinner. So I didnt' achieve the 1000 cal.

But I didn't give in to my craving for chocolate bunny. So I am still free of bread and refined carbs.

Hoorah!

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So this is the hardest day to date. At several points today I've considered eating an entire chocolate bunny and calling that my 1000 cals for the day. But, resistance was not futile, and here I am, as of 7pm, still on my two habits.

It's been a hard day for lots of reasons. Or perhaps only one: I had to do a morning at school because of an Open Morning, preparing lots for it in advance, and literally one single visitor came to look around the school, so it all felt like a massive waste of time. I then had to teach in the early afternoon, having had no time to prepare for it, and so wasn't off work until about 3:30. That, to me, is a long working week - from Monday 8am to Sat 3:30pm, and I am sick of it.

The results of my first full week of abstinence are inconclusive. Francis weighed me last Friday afternoon, and that was 64kg which turns out to be 142lbs. I weighed myself on Tuesday morning and discovered that in my bathroom in the morning I am a mere 9stone4 - 130lbs. So, have I lost 12lbs? Or is 12lbs the difference between my morning weight and my afternoon weight? Since Tuesday, I've lost nothing that is discernible on my olde worlde scales without me wearing my glasses or using binoculars. So I'm disgruntled about that.

But still. There are lots of ways of looking at that, and resistance is not futile.

I'm still having trouble accepting or creating social invitations (despite feeling a little thinner and a little happier about myself). I think I'll have to hit that one in Month 3.

It being the weekend, there was a MattDamon film on which I watched and briefly yearned for a Matt Damon in my life/bathroom.

Ok, not *that* briefly.

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The day no for No Bread is the same as the date, so that's 13. 13 days without eating bread, croissants, bagels, wraps, crackers - that's amazing. I can't remember the last time I achieved that abstinence in the bread department.

The 1000 cal thing is 6 days less than the No Bread, so that's Day 7 currently. Equally amazing. To achieve this, I've cut out sugar and refined carbohydrates, and it's been good. I've totally assimilated the idea that if I eat more than 1285 cals in a day, I will inevitably put on weight, as the machine (which does not lie) assessed that as my baseline. If I eat one little fairy cake, that won't assuage my hunger for fairy cakes. So there is no point even having one.

Is it a coincidence that I have had a really good week at work? I feel confident in my teaching, and I led a staff meeting just yesterday, pretty darn well actually.

I feel hugely thinner, but I am not really (according to the trousers). But doing anything else than this will not make me thinner either.

The trousers say I'm a little bit thinner.

My personal trainer had to cancel our first session today so I get to delay the addition of the new habit (exercise) for another week. One thing at a time.

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I guess this is Day 9 of No Bread, which has gone successfully, and Day 3 of 1000 cal, which I've managed too.

Last weekend, I was relaxing at home, having a good read, waiting for the kids to come back from their weekend Elsewhere. I was in a restless mood. I'd had enough of reading, and of waiting. I chanced on some Tim Ferris stuff. I felt the urge to pace around the room, thinking about my life.

Sam, my eldest daughter, has come back to live with us again, after a few years at university. Her coming home reminds me of her leaving home. Sadly the date of her leaving is bound up with the date my relationship with D broke up, when I chanced across him making off with another woman.

It seems to me that my decreasing confidence in leaving the house and socialising with friends dates from that massive wallop to my confidence on Sep 14, 2012. Before that breakup, I had imagined that I was kind of good-looking, sexy and interesting, and after that, I had trouble believing that so much. My life became more protected, and more limited. I became more satisfied with homely things. I became nervous of what I looked like and seemed like in conversation.

As I paced the room last weekend (as well as I could on a recently recovered ankle fracture), I felt that it was time to become more myself again. I didn't like or identify with the person who ate too much because they had given up on other sources of dopamine.

Somehow, Sam coming home gives me a feeling of becoming more myself again. Maybe it's just a symbolic thing, or a milestone, or an inexplicable motivation moment.

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