That’s not true. I am having all sorts of thoughts about self care and reward and food and emotion, some of which I am going to try and distil into more than an incoherent rambling. Aided only by black coffee because STUPID DIET.
Oh, also I hit a year sober a week or so ago, keep meaning to write a post about that. It’s kind of so much not a big deal anymore that I haven’t done anything about it. I have a little present waiting for myself that I will unwrap and show you all soon, but, you know. I’ve been busy.
So, this diet. I’m 21 days in. Specific cravings have gone. I am drinking black coffee without wincing, and the idea of a muffin seems impossibly luxurious. I am rarely hungry and I have lost three kilos. My mid day energy diphas gone, I sleep well and as long as I have a coffee in the mornings I am in an excellent mood. A resounding success, right?
Except that it’s brought up a lot of things about whether it is truly bad to retain some of one’s crutches.
I don’t miss any particular food. I miss the oblivion.
The Whole30 people refer to certain foods as ‘food with no brakes’ – those foods which don’t send a proper satiety signal to the brain, and instead allow you to eat and eat and eat. I miss those. I miss the oblivion that they provide. It could be salted pistachios or burnt fig ice cream or vinegar-drenched crisps; the texture and the flavour are less important than the mindlessness of it. This, of course, is also how I used to drink. Not for me the fast road to wipeout of hard liquor. Doing shots always seemed singularly pointless, because I never wanted to get to drunk, I just wanted the journey. What I craved is the mindless, repetitive sipping of wine. Sip, down, sip, down, sip, down, refill. Make sure there’s enough of a supply that you don’t have to think about quantities, and the thing about alcoholic liquid is that you can drink a lot of it because it doesn’t fill you up like ice cream, or quench your thirst like water, so you are only limited by your tolerance for intoxication.
So it was a red flag that I was eating the way I drank, and getting through the days waiting for that oblivion.
And this diet is designed to address that particular eating pattern: It is all about eating three big meals with no snacking in between, paying attention to full signals, sitting down at the table and enjoying the food properly. If you find yourself hungry, eat more at the next meal.
I said in the comments to my last post that the reason I wanted to address the snacking/reward cycle is that it was obliviating the real needs underneath it. And not being able to snack has, in fact, meant that I am addressing those more. I switch off the screens and read in bed. I have started quilting. I drink a lot of herbal tea because sometimes I want the warmth and comfort more than the calories.
Those are good things. But none of them hit the right spot, not really. That craving is still there. There has been nothing transformative.
And you know what? I’m starting to think that maybe that is okay, actually. That sometimes, oblivion in the form of a bag of crisps and an excellent novel is just fine. Maybe I don’t have to face my feelings all the time, or channel my energies into constructive things, or be responsible.
I am so boring, you guys. I am so respectable. I send my children off with healthy packed lunches and clean uniforms and I pay my bills and I garden and quilt and read improving literature, and once in a while I go to a book group or have coffee with a friend, and I try and exercise and I budget carefully so my daughter can go to ballet and I have been with the same Lovely, Lovely Husband since I was twenty years old, and we forego overseas holidays in order to pay the mortgage and make sure there’s something left over for our eventual retirement.
Maybe there’s nothing particularly transgressive about eating an entire pint of ice cream – indeed, Caitlin Moran talks about overeating being the addiction you have when you don’t want to inconvenience anyone with a more dramatic one. But do I want to be as clean and virtuous an eater as I am in, let’s face it, pretty much every other area of my life? I don’t know that I do. I don’t know that this is a bargain I want to make.
I’m going to see this diet out, because I’m stubborn like that. But I already know that I have willpower, and that I can conquer cravings, and that eating one way is better for me than eating another. What I don’t know, and have failed to be convinced of so far, is whether I want to live without the messy, chaotic failings, and the temptations, and even the next-morning regrets.
I have been doing this with a friend, and we keep joking ‘who even ARE we’ about asking for special meals in cafes and buying chia seed in bulk. Who even are we.
But I think, actually, that I like my usual self, muffin top and all.