Day 883: Computerrrrrs (Day 21 of 100)

Yesterday was a wash; the Ubuntu install on the Plex server went down with an initramfs error, and I spent over five hours bashing away at it (with some very nice folks at Ask Ubuntu helping me out); I’ve put so much work into the Plex database that I want to exhaust every option before reinstalling Ubuntu.

Not much of a “so what” to that except that NOT SNACKING IS HARD, GUYS. Maybe just for me, but the number of times I was bored/frustrated with the process and my mind wandered down to the kitchen was insane. It really is, for me, a booze-level addiction. The magic bag works wonders, but at the end of it, it really is a “one day at a time” thought process where I do have to sometimes literally white-knuckle through that urge to just eat something and fire those happy receptors in my brain.

You’d think I’d weigh 400 pounds or something; it’s almost equally interesting that this isn’t monster “eat two pizzas” urges, but the urge to just lightly graze constantly that has got me in the state I’m in now. Which isn’t, like, horrible, by North American standards, but still not where I’d like to be.

10k in 58:18 this morning, which is pretty damn good for me. Weight loss stalled, but whatever, this isn’t about burning pounds urgently, it’s about mastering the fitness and diet portions of things.

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 785: Bad Snackin’ Sundays

All right, the year started off really strong with food tracking and the “only real food” policy, but I’ve let things slide on the food front, especially in the past few weeks, and you can see it when you look at the tracker. Gotta track!

It’s Monday and I’m feeling motivated, so it’s easy to say right now that I’m putting my foot down. But planning for the weekends — especially those social Sunday afternoon when there are chips and nuts on the table — that’s where the weakness is.

Day 758: Good Weight, Bad Sleep

Weight’s back on track — good willpower yesterday — but insomnia strikes again, with some work issues getting me up at 2 a.m. and not back to bed until around 4:30, and then in the guest room. Late sleep doesn’t mean not sticking to the Path, though, so it was just delayed cat feeding, the 10-minute exercise minimum (which, with weights, can feel like plenty) and now on to this.

Insomnia has definitely been on the uptick, after spending the first few weeks of 2019 sleeping like a baby. I ordered a book a while ago on it, but it seems to be stuck in shipping somewhere.

Snacking and sleep are the Achilles’ heels. There doesn’t seem to be a strong correlation, though; I would’ve expected a “insomnia leads to tiredness, leads to bad decisions,” (or the same thing, but with stress at both ends: stress is bad sleep, and stress is bad food) but that doesn’t happen with the food, just the sleep. It’s weird.

Day 756: Slight stray from the Path

Yesterday got away from me a bit — our lunch plans were derailed, which led to a kind of improvised afternoon/evening, and then some extra unplanned snacking. Popcorn and nuts, which isn’t exactly devouring a bag of chips or whatnot, but still.

Up early with nightmares (and cats), so this morning’s off to a weird start as well, and also with some low-willpower nut snacking. I’ll have to loop back and be honest in the calories for yesterday and so far today.

I’m going to open my spreadsheet for positive reinforcement — those graphs showing the downward trend really help — and regroup for the rest of the day.

It’s interesting that it’s not really a mindful act to stray; the best description I have is a tight self-justification loop, but that’s embedded in a certain kind of impulsive mindlessness. It’s a bit hard to describe, but if you can imagine a small cog of “whatever, you need this” spinning inside a much larger haze of not really thinking too much, that’s how I end up straying.

I think that’s one of the things about the water drinking that really helps, especially first thing (which I didn’t do this morning): it forces me into being awake and mindful. “Drifting” is the dangerous thing.

Day 744: There’s Vomit on my Sweater Already

It’s weird, the things that get stuck in your head. Right now, it’s a going-to-sleep conversation from last night that made me laugh out loud, which is just a riff on the Eminem “Lose Yourself” bit “there’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti” (and if poetry is detail, I know the guy’s a creep and all, but damn that couplet packs in a lot of information).

So now it’s permanently in my brain as

there’s vomit on his sweater already
mom’s a Yeti

and that has just been cracking me up all morning. I don’t know how these things get stuck up in there.

All right! A bit of a stall on weight, and body fat (I just ran a calculation to be sure the body fat scale works, too, and isn’t just delivering the same ratio of body weight every day). But yesterday was a huge one for snack resistance, with delicious temptation laid right in my path, and I’m happy to have abstained. Reminiscent of “February Sprint” last year, this whole “stay on the path” thing seems to be a mantra that really works for me.

The key difference is this isn’t a sprint, this is a lifestyle, and there’s a certain amount of allowable nostalgia to that. “Ah, I remember when I used to grab a bunch of sandwiches and enjoy them”, in the sense of “ah, I remember a cold IPA on the deck on a hot summer day”. But in both cases, ending with “…but that’s not what I do now.” I suck at meditation, but I think the early lessons in “let the thought enter your brain, don’t fight it, but then let it slide right back out again” is a useful one.

Day 720: Living La Vida Sugar-Freea

Not really true, it just makes a good line. And I forgot and had a Brio yesterday, so there.

I feel good about the decision in general, though. I’ve been struggling to get and stay back on top for months now, so maybe a big bold play is exactly the thing to get me going in a new direction.

Yesterday went pretty well (but one day is also easy-peasy). I’m going to give myself a reasonable exception while visiting my folks because it’s easier to have a g_d cookie than to try to explain these sorts of things.

In general, though, I’m’a work on just quitting snacks/sweets. Without the “make it at home and then cookies are okay” workaround. Flat no to everything. It’s just easier that way.

Day 677: Snack Monster

Terrible food day yesterday!

I’ve been doing well with the “think like a 175-lb. man” mentality. It’s all about finding the dumb tricks that work, right? Recently, “would 175-pound me eat that?” has been a pretty good defense against unsanctioned eating.

Buuuuut yesterday was bad. I stayed after work to help some colleagues test-drive an educational board game (good educational tool, not a great board game) and they brought snacks. And I just kind of mindlessly snacked.

It wasn’t like I set out to do it, it’s just kind of something to do with your hands/mouth when it’s not your turn to play. So by the end of the evening I’d consumed a shameful amount of snacks, and after a week of clean livin’ it did not feel good both emotionally and physically.

I’d like to say lesson learned? I think the very slow, very painful lesson, which I have not yet learned after 677 days but am getting there at a glacial pace, is that I may have to treat Bad Food like booze. My off switch is pretty good. I’m actually kind of excellent at saying no to things.

But my dimmer switch is messed up.

It’s almost the same package of hang-ups as sobriety. What kind of no-fun jackass doesn’t eat snacks? There’s a pretty tired cultural stereotype of people that try to live healthy as Niles Crane types. I buy into it. I shouldn’t buy into it.


Day 447: Confident Eating

My first entirely on-track food day yesterday in… a while. I don’t know what’s been getting me so snacky lately, but it was very confidence restoring to just eat meals, no snacks.

I did have to mentally check in and tell myself “discomfort is part of the process” multiple times through the day. I don’t want to rail about the evils of Western society or anything, but I really do think I picked up the idea, somewhere, that ever feeling hungry is bad. It’s okay to be a little hungry!

Don’t starve yourself!

I’m figuring out my food in the morning and making sure I’m getting more than enough calories. But I’m really going to strive to not eat more than what I plan. “No snacking” seems like a simple idea, until it’s 8 p.m. and you’re just kind of idly thinking it would be really nice to nosh on something.

I did well yesterday, which should be fuel to do well today. Ticking off the “Did Not Snack” box on the checklist last night felt good. I want to keep that going.

Day 445: Cyclicality

Failed on not snacking yesterday. But the checklist yesterday night reminded me that I failed, and that stings. So that might help me today.

My anniversary yesterday, and my wife, who is the most wonderful person in the world, bought me a kilogram of jelly beans. I love jelly beans. They’re my favourite candy.

They have to go.

I can’t resist the power of jelly beans. I ate jelly beans last night; I ate too many jelly beans last night. Jelly beans, and caramel peanuts, are the two Achilles heels for me. Here are things I have tried:

  • Keep them on a very high shelf where I will need a stepladder and therefore intention and thought
  • Pre-portion them into small snack sized containers
  • Ask my wife to hide them
  • Get angry with myself
  • Try to forget
  • Try to ignore

Sometimes these things will work for a matter of hours. Sometimes days, even. But they inevitably fail; I’ll have a bad day and a failure of will and find myself snarfing toffee peanuts and/or jelly beans and weeping on the inside.

So I love my wife, and I love my jelly beans, but they will end up in the staff kitchen today in a bowl with a spoon for serving.

I know I shouldn’t drink; I need to recognize that there need to just be some no-go foods for me as well.