Day 879: The Magic Bag (Day 17 of 100)

I pack a lunch, which is nothing special, but in my bad habit periods I also have a tendency to go down and pick something up at the school cafeteria, or meet a friend at a pub and order fries and a soft drink, and… stuff. I’m also a terrible home snacker. It’s a problem that we’ve talked about a lot here before.

This isn’t a new thing I’m doing, but it’s a little story I’ve made up for myself about a thing I’m trying to stick to (one day at a time!).

I have a magic bag.

Every morning, I can put whatever I want into the magic bag. Usually it’s a salad with some legumes for protein, some fruit, a snack like half an avocado or a cup of peanuts in the shell, or something. But I can put whatever I want in there! If I want to put a can of soda in there, I can. I can put a bag of Skittles in there. I can put eight bags of Skittles in there! As long as I have it in the house at the beginning of the day, I can put whatever I want in the bag.

And then, for the rest of the day, I can only eat what I’ve put in the bag.

It’s the kind of Cartesian drink/don’t drink thing that works well for me. I operate best with do/do-not, not shades of grey (you can open the bag of Skittles but only eat five). Literally putting my food into a bag and saying “anything outside this bag is forbidden is easier on me, mentally, than saying “you can eat whatever you want, just be sensible about it.”

Not everyone’s wired like me! That’s pretty obvious at this point. But these are the kinds of things that help. Magic bag!

Day 857: The UnF* It Diet

It just doesn’t sit right.

I’ve been thinking pretty consistently about the F* It diet thesis for the past 48 hours, and maybe this is just me being obstinate or immature, but I’m not ready to acquiesce. I still think I can do this.

I’m also a smart guy and aware of the sunk cost fallacy: I’ve invested two and a half years in this project, so throwing in the towel on getting fit is as much about pride, and sunk cost in terms of attention and time and thought, as it is about actual good decisions.

I am yo-yo’ing, though. That’s inescapable. I’m in an up and down pattern constantly. I get on track, then something happens — vacation, injury, illness, emotional slump — and I get off track. Absolutely true. It keeps coming back to discipline, and consistency.

And it’s a bit tiring to keep coming back to that same point of “I don’t know what can motivate a true lifestyle change,” especially if dedicating time to thinking and writing/talking about it every day hasn’t done it. Mindfulness, at least in the morning, is present.

But I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

I’m all the way back to Day 13: Kill the Bear. That’s 844 days ago. 844 days ago, I was talking about this key piece of motivating thought: if other people can do this, I can do this.

So what have I been doing for 844 days? Shouldn’t I be looking at a whole lot of dead bears?

Day 855: The F* It Diet

A book my wife has read, and wanted me to read — I’ve sort of read it, in the sense that I read the first few chapters, then realized it was a Blinkist-type book; it makes a point, then provides 10-15 pages of anecdotes and personal stories, then remakes the point, then moves onto the next one.

The central message is that working to lose weight us ultimately no good, it’s hard on your system, and winds up setting your body’s “set point” for weight even higher on the backswing. After a year of going sober and 1.5 years figuring stuff out, it’s an interesting perspective on how I’ve definitely been yo-yo’ing all that time.

I’m still holding on to the idea that I can get back down to my pre-broken-foot weight, though. Literally, in some cases — I got a couple of shirts I’ve been hanging onto for like a decade.

It’s… interesting to think that maybe I’m just at the weight I’m at now, and resistance is futile; there’s no formula or trigger that will get me back down about 20 pounds. I’m not sure I like that message, and the processing in my head right now is do I not like this because it’s defeatist, or do I not like it because I don’t like its truth?

It’s a certain amount of exceptionalism, too. When somebody says “80% of people who lose weight gain it right back,” there’s a strain inside me that says “yeah, but I’m going to be one of the 20% who do.” Which is partly a good thing; confident, ambitious. But I also recognize this strain of thinking in that Steinbeck quote:

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

Am I a “temporarily embarrassed” fit guy or am I crazy?

I’m not going to make any grand internal decisions right away — the weather’s nice, it’s running season, so the way I figure it’s a great time to take another kick at the can this summer toward actually hitting those goals. But this is some good foundation for reflection on what makes more sense — being happy where I’m at, or striving to be who I was.

Day 719: Cookie Sick, Time for Change

Oh, wow. Yesterday was Holiday Cookie Day, and I legits feel bad today. Physically and emotionally.

So let this be a PHOENIX FROM THE COOKIE ASHES kind of moment. I could pull it together to quit drinking. I’ve done it for 719 days. I can pull it together to not eat garbage, and maybe that’s the next big thing.

I don’t eat garbage now.

I can cold-turkey this — I did it for booze — and why not start today? I have no holiday parties ahead of me, one two-day family visit (but they’re not big junk food people), and I think it’s been well established that I’m good at quitting, but not good at moderating.

Time to quit.

It’s a different scenario, and that’s going to be a factor. People drink, but they don’t, like, ply you with booze. There aren’t shots lined up in the company coffee room because somebody made a bunch of shots for their kid’s birthday party and there were shots left over.

On the other hand, the social buy-in to “I’m eating better” is much lower-key than “I’m not drinking.” Nobody says “you’re not fun anymore because you don’t eat cookies.”

Here we go, then. Simple rules:

  • No casual snacking. Planned food only.
  • No making recipes with more than, like, 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • No goofy cheats.

It’s December 21, 2018. Let’s do this thing.

Day 578: Hard 30!

This is gonna be hard! I think in part because we haven’t done a super amount of planning going into this. Writing an exam last night killed my evening, but I think tonight my wife and I are going to sit down and actually brainstorm some meal ideas, work out a shopping list, etc.

Fruit salad and walnuts for breakfast this morning, leftover tomato/potato casserole from last night for lunch, and my partner’s on top of dinner. What will it be? I don’t know!

But: no bread. No grains. No sugars. Will it make a difference? Or will I just eat nut butters til I pop and make no difference at all? Who knows?


Day 577: Whole30 August!

After exercise this morning, chopping fruit — a fruit salad is the first food for August, kicking off a month of disgustingly healthy eating.

I have been a bit remiss — well, also busy — so I haven’t actually really read up on Whole30 yet. This is me kind of leaning into my wife’s enthusiasm; she wants to try it, I’m happy to give it a shot, but I haven’t really done the work yet. The program rules are here, I just have to read them.  So a little homework for me once this is done.

* * * UPDATE * * *

Whole30 is stupid if you’re not a meat-eater. They have a web page on it, but neither of us had read it carefully and it’s essentially a whole page of “but you really should eat meat!” That’s a non-starter for my wife, and I’m supportive of her on this, so that’s that.

Instead, we’re going to draft up our own plan this morning — expect a month of tons of vegetables, legumes, and fruit, no grains at all and absolutely no sugars. It’s’a be rough!

The challenge here is really going to be prep time. Making this stuff is hard. Scheduling for it is going to be a workout.

In other words, this is another sprint — August Sprint this time. Here we go!



Day 568: Sluuuuugish

A great weekend! Fun, friends, lots of relaxo time. But a lot of salt. I don’t know how that happened, or when I became The Guy Who Can Sense Salt Levels In His Diet, but I woke up this morning bloated and terrible.

To my credit, I did get up and hit the exercise straight away, but then went on a staggering horrible run that left me feeling like I was sweating ooze and sorrow.

I bought a pitcher yesterday, and will have greater ease of measuring my water consumption at home — it’s got measurement lines on the sides! — which will hopefully keep the dehydration/salt monster from striking again.

Discussing our mutual feelings of blargh this morning, my wife wants to try Whole30 in August… tricky for vegan/vegetarians, but apparently not impossible. In the spirit of science and trying things, it’s worth a shot… but also worth remembering that it will not be The Thing. The Thing is not coming. It’s going to be an experiment with items that possibly carry over into daily life,  but I need to stop expecting stuff like that to be The Thing.


Day 402: Eating Safe

February Sprint continues. Still feeling good — uncomfortable at a few points during the day, but we unpacked that yesterday.

I was just checking in on minimal safe calories per day, though. I want to get the weight loss stuff back on track, but I also don’t want my kidneys to explode or something. So while I’ve had a run of a few days at about 1,000 calories per day, that’s pretty much just a ramp in, and I need to start thinking about eating a bit more on the regular.

Of course, the Internet being the Internet, it’s 99% horseshit out there. Fortunately, if you know how to do site-restricted searches, you can go right to the source and search, like, Health Canada for estimated calorie requirements. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it’s at least based on something, which is more than I can say, for, like, WebMD or whatever.

So I think coming in at about 75% of my “maintenance” intake, which comes out to about 1600 calories a day for food.

Let’s get this straight: I do not enjoy this kind of food tracking. It’s hard for me to lean into. I just find it fiddly and annoying. But it’s the February Sprint, and I can get behind a few weeks of aggressive food tracking to drop some pounds… healthily.


Day 336: I Feel Gross

Ate too much at a birthday party last night, which kept me up all night with acid reflux and an unhappy stomach. My body is rebelling against me! And/or trying to enforce good behaviour kind of emphatically.

So today’s definitely going to be a big reset day, following the last week of not quite getting back on top of things after our long weekend out of town. Last week was a disaster. All you gotta do is get up and get going again, though. So time to do that.

Getting a bit better at bouncing back, so it’s time to bounce back! Short entry today so I can hit the ground running and get a bunch of crap done before I start to feel, well, floompy. Laundry folding, machine assembly, Church, and more! Get on it before my brain turns in on itself.

Day 301: Cheat Days

I definitely ate too much yesterday — but logged it — but that’s no excuse. Which we’ve established. The idea of “cheat days” has never worked out well for me in the past, but maybe that’s something worth unpacking again, just as a means of guilt management.

Should I have “cheat days?”

I don’t know. I feel like scrupulously logging everything for good or ill will be my “cheat day” every day. It’s keeping me… not honest in terms of intake, but in terms of reporting.

So I might try to take it real slow foodwise today. Lots of water. Try to get myself back on keel after a big food day yesterday.