Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ruling the Lines

You know how I was talking about the world ending yesterday? Well, the weather continued to cut up something chronic, and I eventually decided around ten to go and have a shower. It was a nice bit of timing in that just as I'd started to get dressed, the power cut out. I mean, there I was, half naked with dripping wet hair, but at least I wasn't in the shower with the water running. (That would be particularly bad where I live, as we're on tank water that's brought into the house by a pump -- which, naturally, runs on the now-absent electric supply.) So, I managed to get my pyjamas on and wandered back to my room. I have a candle on my bedside table and a torch hanging from my bedstead, not to mention my father's headlamp was on my parents' dressing table, so I was fine. And because I had my laptop on, I had sound and music to guide me around anyway. So, my brother and I lit candles, made appropriate zombie noises, and waited.

It wasn't off for long, thankfully -- it's bloody cold right now, and as I said no power here = no running water. But it was a bit sad, really, as power cuts in terrible weather? Are a lovely time to snuggle up in a big rug with a good book and some sort of treat. Basically I just crawled into bed and tried to read Anna Karenina by the madly flickering light of my vanilla candle; I got sick of it ten minutes in and ended up just zoning out to one of my ambient CDs courtesy of my freshly-charged iPod. Ah, technology, how you do keep us company even when the lights go out.

It does remind me, though, that I need to find one of our old telephones. The ones plugged-in currently are cordless and therefore worse than useless in a power cut or an end of the world scenario; we have normal phones somewhere, though. And yes, my brother and I both have mobiles, but we live in a Dead Zone for mobile coverage. Which is probably a nicely ironic moniker for such a situation, ha ha ha.

But yeah, I got through the powercut without resorting to food, even though I did have that instinctive yearning for it. You gotta go with the victories when you get them, yeah? But that wasn't really what I was intending to write about today. I've been thinking about Afterwards quite a lot recently, as you can probably imagine; it's likely one of the reasons why I am struggling with staying on it because despite being afraid of The End I am getting to the point where I am ready for it. But part of being ready is understanding the rules and changes of life on the other side, and...yeah.

Basically I am going to avoid juice, Lift Plus and milk as regular drinking options. I think I'm going to try and stick to tea, water and Diet Coke as much as I can. Although I need to cut down on the Diet Coke anyway; right now it's particularly useful as a kind of appetite suppressant because the carbonated part of it tends to fill my stomach. It's not great for my teeth in the long run, though. I don't really care about the aspartame hysteria, though; whenever anyone says "cancer!" to me I just get Stewie Griffin's voice in my head saying: "You know, they say starlight can give you cancer...but then again, what doesn't these days?" But yes, I am thinking that this? Is something I can do and I know that I can do it, because I've done it for months on end as it is. Even when I was off-plan, I can count on one hand the number of times I drank something that wasn't water, tea or Diet Coke. So, that's easy.

Another thing that will remain non-negotiable? Breakfast. Believe you me, before this diet, whenever I read things about improving health and saw the inevitable: "Eat breakfast every day!" admonition, I rolled my eyes. I was not a breakfast person. These days? I am a total breakfast convert. I love breakfast. I am particularly looking forward to being able to eat yoghurt and cereal for breakfast whenever I want, which again is hilariously ironic as before the diet the only yoghurt I could stomach was frozen. I am also going to keep up with my omelettes, and on the occasional weekend I will have muffins, French toast or pancakes. But they'll be treats. Either way, though? Breakfast happens. That's the final word.

Lunch is a more complicated beast -- I need to think about this one a bit. I need to restrict my carbohydrate intake even once I am off the diet phase, and by "restrict" I mean I don't want to eat carbs at every meal, and I want to avoid bread most of the time. I think I will experiment with wraps and tortillas and things, but in the long run? Lunch will mostly be salads, probably with shredded chicken or prawns or tuna. Fairly similar to now, really, but I'll be able to add in things like avocado and carrot, which I have been missing. And bean sprouts! Maybe I'll experiment with hummus and soups, too. Lunch is definitely going to be the interesting option, and I think my Healthy Food Guide magazines might be consulted quite a bit. (I actually just got one in the post today; I will read it tomorrow, I think, I've got other things I really ought to do this afternoon first...)

Dinner is the real adventure. Again, I want to try and curb the level of carbohydrates, but I am not cutting them out completely. I just have so many things I want to try from my recipe books, and I think I'll just let my whims and my waistline guide me as to what I can cope with, and what's just inappropriate. Obviously I am going for vegetable-heavy options, or meat-driven dishes, but we'll see.

Desserts...are interesting. Certainly there's a lot of things I want to try and will, but I am laying down the law of having to "earn" any dessert I have. If I haven't exercised that day, dessert will not be an option. It will not be a treat for simply having a bad day. I'm also reminded of a rule I had in university; I almost never bought biscuits at the supermarket. If I wanted them, I had to make them. I think I'll go with that here, too -- if I want dessert, I have to make it myself. This isn't exactly a chore as I obviously have developed a deep and abiding love of baking, but it does mean it takes time and effort to get my treats. And I need to move away from my usual default setting of Instant Gratification. Which means I am not to buy sweets or lollies or whatever, unless it's a special occasion (for example, the lemon sherbet lollies I can only get from Queenstown). Sweet things need respect.

Snacks...I'm still thinking about them. Definitely I want to have at least an apple a day, as I am in love with them, and I do like a good orange or mandarin or kiwifruit. I also have my crackers, and I can keep up with them happily enough, even plain without cheese or tomato. This is a trickier one, I think, as I don't want to go overboard but I think I need to make an effort to snack between meals at regular times to keep my blood sugars on an even keel. When I fast between meals I end up binging later, so this is something I also need to work on. It'll be a work in progress, but in the end the current snacks I have -- two crackers around ten-thirty, and an apple around four -- do keep things relatively even for me. They're a fallback I can live with.

So, with some basic rules already in mind...let's go to the meme again.

Day Six - Do you have any disordered eating habits? How do you overcome/cope with them?

Oh, god, you can see from what I've already said that my previous eating habits? Were disordered as hell. Basically I would get up in the morning and not eat anything before I went to work. As a consequence I would be starving by ten, and around ten-thirty I would go to the supermarket and buy a huge egg sandwich, a bottle of Lift Plus, and usually some sort of sweet. A bag of Pineapple Lumps, perhaps, or a giant bag of m&ms. Or a three-pack of Whittakers Peanut slabs. Or a fun pack of Moro bars. Or a huge bag of Wine Gums. Or a block of Cadbury's. You know, the usual suspects. I'd eat some then, usually. At lunch I'd go home, and because I never organised lunch or planned it or anything, I'd eat whatever I found in the pantry. Usually it was a couple slices of bread with Vegemite. I went through phases where I'd eat six grilled cheeserolls with lashings of butter, or kiddie hot cross buns with the same. Sometimes I'd seek out sushi, or I'd just have some sort of savoury scroll or bun or scone. In the afternoon, I'd usually be back into the sweets bought earlier in the day. In the evening I'd get home and hunt out some sort of snack before dinner -- peanuts, biscuits, chips if someone had a bag open on the bench. Or slice or cake, if Mum had been at the supermarket that day. I then had dinner, which for me was all about the carbohydrate component -- bread, potato, rice, whatever. I'd then have bread again as a snack at some point. And all through this, I'd drink Lift Plus, orange juice or milk like they were going out of fashion.

Weekends could be quite bad, too -- I liked to make pasties sometimes, and I could eat three of those in a weekend. I loved cooking up huge bowls of popcorn chicken. Often when I needed to study I'd drive to the dairy and get a large bag of barbecue chips and eat it while studying, washing it down with Lift Plus -- and usually I'd acquire K-Bars to go with. And if I ever cooked, it was always some dessert thing. I also had McDonalds at least once a week, usually because I'd been out at some sort of meeting after work.

So, yeah, my eating habits before? Definitely lousy as fuck. I don't want to go back to them, that's for sure -- and not just because of the weight thing. When I read all that I've written, I realise how gross this all was. So, the second part of the question...I've already overcome them to some degree, obviously, in that I am on a strict diet that allows for none of this previous malarkey. But my time off the diet assured me that I can fall back into old grazing patterns easily enough; it's far easier for me to turn things down when I have no leeway than when I do. So, in the's going to have to be planning ahead. Because before? I never thought twice about what I ate. I knew it was making me fat and tired and ill and disgusting, but it was wilfull ignorance on my part. My eyes are open now. I'm not closing them again. Now that I've seen the world with light, the thought of blinding myself out of sheer laziness? Is abhorrent.

Still, if I want to live in this new world...I need to play by the rules. And right now, I'm reading the rulebook. We'll see how it goes. I'm thinking it will go well, actually -- because thinking ahead and thinking positively are what I need to do. So, let's do this thing!

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