Stimulus Chick

And you want to call your mother and say
“Mother, I can never come home again
‘Cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere
Somewhere in a field in Hampshire.”

I have never been one of those people who can just “be”. I’ve never been able to meditate, or just empty my mind, and I cannot just sit and do nothing for extended periods of time. Sitting is fine, but unless I’m occupying my mind with something, I get incredibly bored, very easily. Now I don’t bore easily – yes that might sound like an immediate contradiction, but bear with me – because I always have something I can be doing, reading, watching, learning about…even if I can’t get up and about to go anywhere. I’m incredibly good at keeping myself occupied and even as a child I could often be found just sat reading as I devoured everything I could get my proto-bibliophile little hands on. So yeah, I never struggle to find things to occupy myself with, but I simply cannot just sit and do nothing.

My mind races all the time, jumping from one project to another as soon as I’ve finished, constantly making notes about the next 100 things to research or the next 10 books I “have” to buy. I read 2-3 different books at any one time, watch university lectures from around the world in order to learn more about…well…everything, and I have to check out/aggregate numerous news sources every day, to find out what the “bullshit du jour” is. (I’ve had it suggested on multiple occasions that I might have undiagnosed ADHD or even Asperger’s, because of the way my brain is always looking to keep itself stimulated, in a very logical, fact-oriented way. I have no idea if that’s true and I’ve never been tested for it, because what we be the point? I’m hardly suffering as a result of it and I certainly don’t require any more medication to add to my already vast prescription.)

But I know that whatever it is that causes me to be perpetually in need of stimulation is probably something that ties into my issues with sugar addiction, or food in general. When I think about what it was that really made me overconsume so many carbs, I’m perfectly ready to admit that it was an addiction. However, I also think that one of the reasons I did eat so much, was because of the experience of having different flavours in my mouth. Being so cued into stimulation at every level, I believe that food was also a way of doing something that felt interesting at the time. I love really sour things, spicy things, herbs, regional cuisines, different textures, different temperatures and of course…all things sweet. Food it seems, has been as much about the fun way flavours hit my taste receptors as it was a response to craving another hit of sugar. Addiction being the multi-layered disorder that it is, can have more than one contributory factor. Maybe I’ve been addicted to the sensory experiences involved in eating, almost as much a I’ve been addicted to the actual sugars involved? I mean, they’re probably two sides of the same coin, but it makes perfect sense when I think about it.

The weird thing is, throughout my life I’ve tried just about everything a person can become addicted to. And I don’t just mean “tried it once, didn’t inhale (I did not have sexual relations with that woman)”, lol. No, I’ve imbibed, indulged and partaken in just about every substance out there on the streets…and have done so on many, many, occasions. During my 20’s I was a complete party animal. I believed that you should work hard and then reward yourself by partying equally as hard on your time off. And I really went for it. I could list the things I’ve done, but it’s quicker and easier to just list the stuff I’ve never done. I’ve never done crystal meth (c’mon we all have to have SOME standards!), I’ve never done PCP and I’ve never used that weird khat stuff that people from Africa like to chew (that shit makes your teeth really gross and TBH you get far more bang for your buck with regular speed). Oh and I’ve never injected anything. But other than that, if it could be snorted, swallowed, smoked or absorbed through a ‘tab’, I’ve done it. A lot of it.

And I’m not saying any of that to try and make myself sound wildly interesting (trust me, most people who are completely off their face on drugs aren’t even interesting to other people currently off their face on drugs) I’m just trying to reveal a pattern in my past behaviours that I believe still exist within me today, despite me being far too old to party anymore. (I don’t even drink alcohol!). The reason I took so many drugs was partly curiosity, but mostly just because I loved the way in which different substances stimulated my mind and body in so many different ways. Up, down, sideways (thanks, Ketamine!) or completely tripping my tits off…whatever it was that I wanted to feel, I knew I could get just by ordering up whatever substance I wanted at that specific moment in time.

And I LOVED taking drugs. I’m not ashamed of that fact…I had so much fun with them and got to experience so many different sensations and levels of excitement / euphoria / relaxation / fascination / introspection, every weekend. I mixed them up, experimented with combining acid & ecstasy, ketamine & ecstasy, ketamine & heroin…all kinds of mad combinations. And looking back, yeah, I probably was pushing my luck and sailing a little too close to the wind with some of my more extreme weekends. At one point I got the nickname “munch” because when it came to taking ecstasy tablets (and this was many years ago when ecstasy tablets actually had a decent amount of MDMA in them) I would start of with just 1, then double drop a couple an hour later, then triple drop later still and by the end of the session had probably forked out about £150 for 20 pills and subsequently “munched” my way through them (and I use the term “munched” there in inverted commas, because ain’t no one in their right mind gonna chance a whitey by chewing one of those bad boys up in their mouth….bleugh!)

But you know what? No matter how many drugs I took or how often, I never became addicted to any of them. Maybe it was because I only ever did them on weekends because of the weekday work ethic. Maybe it’s because I was doing so many different things all the time, that I never became actually addicted to any one recreational drug in particular. I don’t know. But it’s the same with alcohol. When I was younger (15+) I would drink enormous amounts on the weekend. Binge drinking. But it never became something that I got addicted to. I never felt the urge to drink on weekdays, or drink alone. It was something I was able to walk away from as easily as I did the drug-fuelled party life. I did it while it was fun and then when I’d had enough, I just stopped. Inevitably, my reasons for giving up those crazy days of drug-taking were just the usual mundane reasons: 1/ the comedowns get a lot harder to get over (like hangovers) the older you get and 2/ I ended up working a job that required me to work a lot of overtime on the weekends, so it just wasn’t feasible anymore.

Do I miss it? Kind of. But not enough to want to go back to it. I’m now content with getting my stimulation from a vast array of intellectual pursuits….along with getting to enjoy the company of my other half. But it was all the talk of sugar-addiction recently that just got me to thinking about addiction in general and whether or not I’ve got what you’d call an “addictive personality”. And I don’t think that I do. As I’ve just explained, I’ve put myself in the path of potential substance addiction, just by the sheer amount of things that I’ve taken over the years. Why does one person become a disease ridden crack-whore, when the next person merely dabbles and walks away completely unscathed? What makes person ‘A’ become an intravenous smack addict, when person ‘B’ just finds it something they can enjoy here and there and not become dependent upon?

And the only reason I can think of, as to why I might have never gotten addicted to any drugs I’ve ever used…yet still somehow became a sugar-addict, is because everyone knows about the dangers of drug addiction. I grew up bombarded with the “Just Say No” campaigns of the 80s/90s (not that they stopped this curious little miscreant from wanting to find out for herself what these drug things were all about, lol) and there was no shortage of films or television shows that charted the terrible demise of some wretched junkie. The potential dangers of drugs were embedded in our consciousness from a very early age. So even though I was having fun taking everything from A-Z, I think there still must have been some part of my subconscious keeping an eye on me and stopping me from stepping over the threshold from user to addict.

But sugar? It’s in pretty much every kind of processed food on the planet. And grain based carbohydrates have been touted as “good” and “healthful” for as long as I can remember. Sure, we were warned that if we didn’t clean our teeth properly then the sugar would give us cavities; but no one was going around thinking:

“I really ought to be careful dabbling in these Mars Bars and cans of Coca Cola…I don’t want to get addicted and have to go turn tricks on the streets of crime to pay for my dirty, candy habit.”

There just hasn’t been the intensive campaigning out there in schools, youth groups, churches an from within the police, telling us to “Just Say No… To Sugar”. It’s really only in the past 15 years that we’ve seen the notion of carbs being the problem with triggering metabolic disorders (Gary Taubes has really done wonders for getting this message out there to the general public, but Dr Atkins had been waxing lyrical about the low-carb diets for years, before he very sadly passed away. Taubes just really refocused energy and attention on a low-carb WOE, and continues to publish books on the subject to this day) but not many of us grew up in the knowledge that carrots & sweetcorn, or cornflakes and crusty bread could be more problems than they’re worth.

I just say all this because I think our sugar-addictions crept us on us when we weren’t necessarily clued up about the effect carbs were having us. I’m not trying to pass the buck here…none of us got fat behind our own back; but it definitely helps to make sense of how I never became addicted to the various classes of “controlled substances” consumed over the years, but I definitely became addicted to sugar from an early age. And when it’s injected into everything from dressings, to freshly baked 100% chicken breasts in the supermarket, which have also been “fortified” with HFCS…well, what chance did we really stand? *GAH*!

I never wanted to admit that I was a ‘sugar addict’ (I mean, it sounds pretty fucking lame, right?) but going through those first 3 days of withdrawal taught me what it meant to feel infuriatingly dependent on a substance for pleasure, satiety and sanity. I’ve committed those 72hrs to memory, because I, in no way ever, want to have to go back to that place, admit to a relapse and put myself through the sugar withdrawal process again. That shit sucked.

But when I also think back to the withdrawal process and how amazing I felt afterwards, I was a little surprised to see how easy it was to just get on with my new low-carb WOE. Maybe I’m just lucky because I’m not a particularly addictive personality. Hence why I also never became a recreational drug addict, no matter how many substances I used. Do I have an especially good brain that doesn’t “catch” onto addictions all that easily? Am I just mentally stronger and better able to discipline myself, or is it a genetic predisposition to avoiding addiction?

Well, in full disclosure, I’ve actually been surrounded by addicts at various points in my life. My dad (now passed) was an alcoholic, my older half-brother was a heroin addict for over a decade, my step-brother was a heroin & crack addict, one ex-boyfriend was a paranoid schizophrenic heroin addict, another boyfriend was a gambling addict and a couple of friends ended up with one of them in jail and the other dying in the apartment downstairs after a heroin/cocaine speedball overdose. One would think me more likely to develop addictions myself with all those associations & relationships, but I think if anything those people all acted more as real-life examples of what not to end up like. I’ve had front row seats to the very real fuck-ups and failures of all those individuals. There was simply no way I was going to end up going to let myself end up like them.

But nobody was skulking around with a diagnosis of sugar-addiction, for me to use as an example of what not to do. Even if many of them were as addicted to the sweet stuff as me, it simply wasn’t a thing that anyone had really heard of or talked about, 25 years ago; at least it wasn’t in my social circle and I wasn’t clued into any nutritional concepts surrounding it online for a long time in the future. So yes, I WAS a sugar addict, but I wasn’t aware of it…ergo I wasn’t in a position to do much about it. Sure I was fat, but I’m really glad I never joined WW with all their low-fat/high-carb, sugary “points system” foods that would’ve merely been allowing me to stoke those inner fires with MORE unnecessary carbohydrates.

But today is a different story. I have that information, that knowledge, that power. And it has allowed me to re-evaluate my life choices, my diet, and all the behaviours I’ve needed to change in order to get a handle on it. My mind is focused, my goals are set in stone and I have multiple tools at my disposal to assist me in getting to where I really want to be. Some might think that it’s a lot harder to deal with a sugar addiction, when we live in a world that constantly surrounds us with sweet stuff, sugar fortified foods and no way of simply abstaining from all food, forever. We still need to eat and the temptations are all around us.

But I think it’s the opposite. Once you decide “oh I just don’t eat that stuff anymore” and don’t go down the slippery-slope of “just one cheat day won’t hurt!” then it’s a very simple WOE to follow. No complicated systems of sins/points/rewards, no wrecking one’s metabolism by massively restricting calories, no going hungry and no negotiating with oneself any time you’re presented with the opportunity to binge on something, telling yourself that you can make up for it with better behaviour, tomorrow. Just stick to the plan and work it – until it stops working for you. Then you can look at alterations, tinkering, eliminations, rethinking goal weight in relation to muscle mass etc…but don’t worry about any of that in the short term.

Sugar addiction is a real thing, but it also comes with a very simple solution. It just takes the individual to want to make the decision to “get clean” and stay that way. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy…some days will suck more than others. But it’s up to each of us, and us alone, whether we want to continue behaving like junkies, or get our shit together and work toward a happier, healthier future.

Because I’ve seen what that kind of addicted lifestyle has done to way too many people.

And I refuse point blank to end up like them.

Stay sensibly stimulated, y’all

Blue

Self Talk

They think that I’m crazy
They say I’m strange
‘Cause my attitude
Has taken a change

I’m not the kind of person who responds well to fluffy, gentle, soppy comments or words of encouragement – even if they come from a place of genuine care and concern. I hate being patronised and even if it isn’t meant that way, someone coming at me with a bunch of purple-prosed love-bombing, immediately makes me want to kind of vomit. I don’t want to be patted on the head for doing something good, nor do I need anyone to sympathise with me if I fuck up. It feels condescending and – newsflash – I’m actually a big girl who doesn’t need to be molly-coddled by anyone. No, I like “real talk”. Give it to me straight or GTFO.

And that way of thinking is just as direct when it comes to how I talk to myself. I mean, not talk “to” myself like some crazy lady on the bus who no one wants to sit next to (okay, so I do sometimes do that too, but that’s not what I’m getting at here), rather the tone in which I engage in “self-talk”. I talk to myself in ways which some therapists would probably find a bit severe and likely would try to psychoanalyse as being the by-product of some deep-rooted self-hatred. But trust me boo, I know me better than anyone else and trust me when I tell you that this bitch don’t respond well to anything less than a firm hand and the occasional kick up the arse.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m negative or down on myself. I mean, let’s be real, I’m pretty fucking awesome and even on my worst days I know I’m infinitely superior to all other beings in the known universe (note: I said “known” universe there…even I’M not arrogant enough to think I’m better than ALL potential sentient beings…gotta have at least a bit of humility, right?) so I’m not in the habit of being hyper-critical. But anytime I find myself veering off towards making a bad decision or going against what I know to be stupid, you can bet your life that my inner voice pipes up with an internal:

“What the fuck are you doing?”

or

“Why would you even think that’s a good idea??”

or

“Are you frickin mental? Sort your shit out Blue. Enough of this bullshit!”

And it’s usually enough to get me to take a step back and reassess whatever stupid shit it is that I’m about to embark upon. That doesn’t mean I don’t DO stupid shit – far from it. In fact some of my best memories come from doing the stupidest shit possible; often at the most inappropriate of times. But I’ve done all that stuff with the full presence of mind that it was probably an incredibly dumb thing to do…I just ended up deciding in the moment that the plusses outweighed the negatives and “to hell with the consequences”.

Which is probably why I ended up letting myself get to the size I was back in August of this year. It’s not that I was just naively plodding along, getting fat behind my own back – I KNEW that I was eating badly and making myself unhealthier with every sugar-saturated snack I scarfed down – but I was actively choosing to make those bad choices because there really didn’t seem to be any immediate, short-term consequences affecting me. I was telling myself “to hell with the consequences” on a daily basis. And it wasn’t until the fibromyalgia & arthritis kicked it, that I really started to feel the physical effects of all those bad decisions. When that shit started to go south, it was time to sit down and have some serious conversations with myself about what I was going to do about it.

“Ya gotta sort this crap out, Blue. Stop messing around and playing fast & loose with your health. You’re way too fat and it’s time you did something about it.”

Now I’d messed around with the idea of losing weight before, but the motivation was never really there. It was always just a vague, nebulous notion of being a bit thinner, but my life was too good for there to be anything truly impactful to give me the impetus to make any changes for good. So I’d maybe make a slight effort for a while, lose a bit, then when I got bored I’d just abandon the idea entirely. And why not? It’s not like there were any tangible ramifications to my actions that were spurring me on to stay the course. So my “self-talk” at the time was more like:

“Fuck it. It’s not like your life is going to be any different if you lose a bunch of weight. Why bother? Life’s too short!”

or

“You’re just a big girl Blue. Always have been, always will be.”

and

“You have a gorgeous boyfriend, a great job, loads of friends – what difference would being thinner make? Nah, you CAN have your cake and eat it!”

And eat the cake I did. I ate ALL of the cakes. And they were bloody good cakes too (life’s too short for “sad” cakes – that much I still stand by). But the time came when the love of cake got in the way of my being able to live the rest of my life properly. And so I decided to make some changes to my eating habits.

I already knew a lot about the low-carb WOE, T2DA, hyperinsulinaemia and the problems that a carb-heavy ‘Standard American Diet’ caused. For the past 20 years I’d been keeping up with all the studies and new information available about Atkins, The South Beach Diet, paleo, keto and carnivore – maybe deep down I knew that I was going to put all that research to good use one day – so I was already intellectually prepared for the change over to a low-carb WOE; but in order to succeed on this new way of life, I still needed to make the necessary changes to my mindset.

I couldn’t really call myself a serial failed dieter…because in order to fail, I would first have needed to actually try. And if I’m being at all honest with myself, I really didn’t make any effort to try during those prior proto-forays into the world of weight-loss. I didn’t care about the outcome, so I never sat down and thought about the process of goal-setting, with a view to losing a certain, desirable amount of weight. This time was different though. I had a very real desire to set and achieve a definitive goal, with some very real reasoning to motivate me to want to do it. Cue my newly focused “self-talk”.

Some people say that it’s a really bad idea to have an “all-or-nothing” approach to eating habits when trying to lose weight. You’ll hear talk of the “80/20” rule where you eat on plan for 80% of the time and then get to eat off-plan for 20% of the time. Which probably sounds fairly sensible if you’re just doing CICO. But eating low-carb is different. If you eat off-plan, you take yourself out of ketosis, make your body change over to glycolysis, your pancreas has to suddenly start kicking out huge amounts of insulin again, your inflammation levels ramp up and then you have to go back through the keto-flu misery when you finally decide to get back on-plan and have to force your body back into ketosis again. Never mind how horrible it probably feels to have to endure the sugar-hangover and subsequent keto-flu; that really can’t be a very healthy process to regularly put your body through. Sure our bodies evolved to be primarily ketogenic with the ability to eat berries and some vegetation when animal food sources weren’t readily available; but our bodies were never designed to deal with insanely high amounts of processed sugars that most of us eat on a daily basis.

I don’t want to come across as some kind of newly converted keto-evangelist, because lord knows I’ve put my own poor body through the wringer over the past 40 years. But it just seems really counter-intuitive to go to all the effort of ridding one’s system of all that sugar and become keto-adapted, if you’re going to keep regularly returning to that previous way of eating, under the premise of being “sensible” and following an 80/20 rule. If you’re willingly regressing back into old eating habits on a regular basis, then you’re not doing this for health or for the long-term benefits to your body; you’re really only concerned about the weight-loss aspect of it. And that’s not what I’m trying to achieve with this new way of eating.

I need this to work, because I need to fix my health problems. Sugar is a problem for me. It’s not only something that I believe I became addicted to, it exacerbates my fibromyalgia and my psoriatic arthritis. It triggers inflammation in my body, causes lethargy, plays havoc with my skin and contributes to brain fog. Having eradicated it from my diet has shown me just how much better I can – and do – feel, now that I no longer consume it. So why would I want to add it back into my diet again – even if only for a day or so – when I know how badly it effects my health? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Which is where my specific mindset or approach to all this comes in. When I first started out on this new low-carb WOE, I just sort of assumed that like many others, I would have “cheat days” where I actively made the decision to eat lots of “carbage” again. Because that’s what everyone else does, right? But I also wanted to make sure that I took at least a couple of months to really get myself properly settled into eating low-carb before I allowed myself a day off.

“Give it 2 months, then when you know what you’re doing and you’ve lost a bit of weight, you can have a day off – but not before then.”

So I went about eating this way, started seeing some results and also began feeling a lot better. The craving for sweet-stuff largely abated and it stopped feeling as though I was depriving myself of anything important. I still cooked pasta, potatoes, rice and bread for the other half, and whilst I won’t deny how great some of that stuff smelled (freshy basked bread especially!) there never came a moment when I thought I wanted to actually eat any of it. Not even when I ordered a take-away pizza for the man himself! I’d simply told myself:

“I just don’t eat that stuff.”

Much in the same way I tell people that I just don’t drink alcohol, any time they offer me a boozy beverage. It’s not that I’ve never drunk alcohol, I simply choose not to any more; because it makes me feel like shit the next day (and the hangovers have gotten so much worse with every passing birthday). So when the first couple of months of eating low-carb were under my belt, I had a little chat with myself about possibly wanting to have a “cheat day”.

“So, are you going to have a blow-out then?”

“Do you really need to eat something sugary?”

“Is this what you really want?”

“How are you going to feel afterwards?”

“Is it really worth it?”

And when I sat and thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really want any of it. It really wasn’t worth it. I went through a weird little process where I tried to remember how I felt eating various food items in the past, and then I interrogated those memories to try and figure out how important it was for me to taste those foods again. It was actually quite difficult to conjure up any other associations with with sugar, other than:

“It tasted really nice!”

Which wasn’t really all that good of a reason to start putting the stuff back into my body again. So I decided not to. And I then decided that I wasn’t going to go off-plan at all over the Christmas period too; because what’s the point? A few moments of brief enjoyment, followed by potential feelings of guilt for having let myself down and then the inevitable carb-hangover? It just didn’t seem worth all the hassle.

“You don’t need that shit, Blue.”

“Why poison your body all over again, when you’ve gone to all this effort to get it out of your system?”

“Why would you want to go and make yourself feel like crap again?”

“Only a total fucking dick would go and start eating sugar again. Don’t. Be. A. Dick!”

And with that I just kind of decided that I didn’t want to feel like shit anymore. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to feel healthy again. And I wanted that way more than I wanted ANY slice of cake. It felt like I’d flipped a switch over in my brain as I just kind of let go of the notion that I needed or wanted to eat that way again.

“You’re so much better than that that, Blue. You don’t need any of that crap.”

“Bollocks to cheat days – they’re for the weak!”

“You’re fucking ABOVE that shit!”

(Did I mention that my inner-self also cusses like a sailor? Because that bitch has got a real mouth on her – probably should’ve warned y’all about her earlier, hmm? Yeah…my bad.)

I know that some people will be reading this thinking that I’m full of hubris and setting myself up for a major fall. And maybe they’re right. But maybe they’re just judging my ability to stay committed to this way of eating/way of life, based on their own ability – or inability – to do so themselves. Maybe I’ll stay committed to this choice, because I have so much at stake health-wise. Or maybe I just want it more.

All I know is, eating this way makes me feel good. And deep down inside myself I actually believe that I can stay committed to eating this way for the long haul. Because despite all my jokes and wise-cracks about cake, I really don’t feel as though I’m actually missing out on anything by not eating sugar. Yes that might change and yes I don’t know for sure how I’m going to think or feel 3 months, 6 months or a year or so down the line. But I know how stubborn I am and I know that when I’m determined to do something, I just fucking do it. And I know that the little voice that speaks to me inside my head believes I can do this too.

“You got this, Blue. And you damn well know it.”

Course I do. I’m fucking invincible.

Make good choices folks.

Be invincible.

Blue

A Thoroughly Uneventful Weigh-In Day

Urgh…just another one of those maintaining weeks today folks. No real reason for it, ain’t nothing we can do about it, but accept it and keep on keeping on! Weirdly enough I was convinced that I’d lost weight yesterday and jumped on the scale a day early, only to find that I had indeed dropped another pound. But it wasn’t an official weigh-day weight, so I disregarded it and today, lo and behold, I was back up a pound again, lol! Bodies are weird! So yeah, no weight loss for this week.

I’ve probably been putting my body through all manner of undue stress lately. I was awake for nearly 72 hours during the election (24 hours of which I spent moderating a stream my buddy was running) and thanks to my chronic inability to remember stuff, I ended up having to go out on 3 different days, which completely wore out my poor, decrepit carcass. Add to that the fact that I also just quit smoking and this poor body of mine doesn’t know whether its coming or going anymore. Yesterday I slept for almost 24 hours (by no means a record time for me, lol) and only ate 2 protein brownies with a couple of cups of coffee, because the thought of any real food just made me feel nauseated. So the fact that I managed to maintain my weight and didn’t just put on 5lbs of stress & inflammation, is quite the biological miracle.

Today is lovely cold and crisp; a perfectly autumnal November day. The temperature is currently 12°C ( for you weirdos on the other side of the pond, that’s about 56 °F) and I’ve still got both my kitchen and bedroom windows open, so there’s a constantly cool breeze floating through the apartment – just the way I like it! The cooler air definitely makes me feel more alert and less drowsy (I don’t understand how people live cooped up inside with central heating on blast, drying out the air and making y’all sleepy) so I think I might spend this evening catching up with some reading.

The other half is making steak again tonight, but this time we have 2 sirloins each instead of the porterhouse for a change and instead of Portobello mushrooms we have some chestnut ones and some asparagus tips to accompany the meat. I still have yet to really break out of my comfort zone and start getting more creative in the kitchen; I do mean to, but I’m also just really happy eating steak a couple of times a week and having home-made burgers on 4 or 5 days too. Burgers with broccoli, cauliflower and cheese is my favourite go-to meal these day and when I’m tired, or sore, or whatever, it’s nice to know that I can throw that together with very little effort and really enjoy the results.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard someone spout the same old rhetoric about how if you don’t get a bit of variety in your diet, then your plan is likely to fail. Apparently you’ll get bored and find yourself eating off-plan foods to compensate. Really Karen? Because I’ve always been a pretty repetitive eater. Don’t get me wrong, I love so many different flavours, textures and various world cuisines…but I also have a habit of finding something I really like, and then obsessing over it for AGES! There’s something quite reassuring about sitting down to a meal and knowing that you’re going to love it. There’s a time and a place for being adventurous, but when you’ve had a long day, you’re absolutely knackered and just want to be nourished from the inside out, by some lovely, warm food…it really ain’t the time to be chancing your satisfaction on something you’re not even sure you’re going to like. Thanks but no thanks. I’m just going to stick to what I know for now and be guaranteed a good feed!

So yeah, that’s what’s on the menu tonight and I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t actually eaten anything else today so far and I can feel some beginnings of real hunger pangs starting to creep in around the edges of my stomach. I’ve definitely started to learn how to recognise what constitutes real hunger and not just a sugar craving, these days. I still don’t get massively hungry or have much of an appetite at all, being in ketosis. But every now and then, after an extended period without eating, I do feel real hunger. And it’s totally different to a sugar craving. It’s less urgent, less overwhelming, and much easier to just understand it for what it is: a cue to eat something soon…but the world isn’t going to end if you don’t acknowledge it immediately.

So I’m going to take my “real” hunger and go prep the kitchen for the other half to do his chef magic in, grab another cup of black coffee and start prepping my bujo for next month’s Christmas themed spreads.

Have a very good evening y’all!

Blue

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail…Right?

Today’s post was inspired by my blogger-buddy Mel’s recent post, in which she look into the recent practice of ‘Intuitive Eating’ and whether or not it really stacks up as an effective, useful tool for those looking to lose weight. I’ve linked to her post below, which y’all should definitely go check out because she does a way better job than I do, at properly examining the pro’s and cons of IE. And you should totally be following her blog ‘Lighter, Brighter Me‘ too, because she does a lot of posts like this, where she critiques various weigh-loss tools & techniques (and she also uses the word ‘arse’ too, which immediately gets bonus points from me, lol!). So yeah, go read what she has to say first, before checking out my own random waffling. Enjoy!

What Is Intuitive Eating?

We’ve all heard it, the old adage: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And I for one have always been much more of a planner than a seat-of-your-pants kinda gal; but for some reason, when it comes to one particular part of this weight-loss journey, I’ve actually stopped thinking too far ahead.

What part is that?

Meal planning. Or lack thereof, in this particular instance.

Now when I say I’m normally a planner, I mean I like to know what I’m going to be doing today, tomorrow, this week, next week and as far into the future as possible. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak, but whereas my other half is super laid back and just lets life come at him any which way regardless (something that drives me absolutely nutso at times), I feel like I need to be prepared for whatever’s going to happen, in order to stay sane.

I have a planner that I normally put together myself, which has a future log for the coming year in it, a calendar for every month and then weekly lay-outs that list everything I need to do on a particular day (as well as a separate part for recording my meals, my water intake and the time I take all my meds in a 24hr period). I also keep notebooks for separate things that need to be tackled – project based notebooks – which themselves are divided up into ideas / brainstorming / plans / timetables, and I schedule certain tasks to happen on certain days each month, well in advance too. And it’s just as well that I do, because if we left everything to the other half’s “c’est la vie” way of thinking (complete with Gallic shrug) we’d never get our prescriptions renewed, we’d forget to pay our bills and we’d probably never know when anything important needed to be dealt with. He’s an amazing man my other half, but if he has one particular peccadillo that can really piss me off, it’s his total nonchalance when it comes to planning ahead. (Babe, I love you, but omigod would it kill you to make a note of when you have a doctor’s appointment coming up?? GAH!)

But I digress…this is supposed to be about me (It’s ALL about me, duh). So yeah, like I said, I’m a natural planner and normally apply that mentality to every aspect of my life. You’d probably expect therefore, that as I’m doing my best to lose weight by switching to a low-carb WOE, I’d take that approach and plan the absolute shit out of my meal-times, snacks and overall consumption. Right?

Well you’d be wrong. And no one is more surprised at that than yours truly here. Because I went into this on day one, with a firm plan of what I was going to eat, for every meal, of every day on that first induction fortnight. I spent hours in the supermarket meticulously scrutinising every label on everything I purchased to make sure there were no hidden carbs/sugar in anything (I mean when you find out that a single serving pack of precooked chicken breast has had HFCS added to it, you learn pretty quickly not to trust ANYTHING on the face of it.)

But then reality kicked in. And by reality, I mean appetite. Which for the first 72hrs was RAMPANT! The minute I told myself I wasn’t going to be eating sugar…yeah…I wanted sugar. My brain went into the addict’s frenzied headspace – which is really just your psyche going through the 5 stages of grief with added hunger pains for good measure:

  • Denial (I’m not really a carb addict, I’m just hungry – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Anger (Why the hell can’t I just eat carbs like everyone else – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Bargaining (Well, maybe I could just reduce my carbs gradually…one bar of chocolate on my first day can’t hurt – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Depression (This is shit; I miss chocolate already – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Acceptance (Okay, I guess is just my life now – FEED ME WHATEVER!)

And the only way I was able to get through those first 3 days, was by constantly shovelling down any low-carb foodstuffs I could get my grubby little hands on. Those carefully planned out meals I’d spent all that time thinking out in advance? Yeah…no…they went right out the window as I did everything I could to stave off the raging hunger (which was really just cravings) consuming my every waking thought. I was stuffing fistfuls of ham and slices of cheese into my mouth whilst I was cooking a chicken and steaming some broccoli and cauliflower; I was chugging back a whey & MCT oil shake while gammon steaks were under the grill; and I was chomping down a protein bar whilst waiting for my other half to make me an omelette.

Thankfully I was able to coast through a good amount of time over those first 3 days by sleeping my way to the promised land of ketosis. But it was still pretty hairy during waking hours. No amount of Pepsi Max managed to convince this addict going through withdrawal that the sweet taste it was supplying was enough to satisfy my jonesing for sugar. But I got through it. Headaches and cravings eventually gave way to that weird moment when my body switched over to fat burning mode and all cravings went right out the window. Hallelujah!

And with the arrival of ketosis, there was of course the disappearance of my appetite. Great. Now I can just eat the meals I planned to eat in the first place, right? Well, um…no. Not really. Because now I had the exact opposite problem to the insatiable hunger of those first 72hrs. Now I didn’t want to eat ANYTHING. That roast meat & veg I had pencilled in for dinner today? No thanks. I really don’t feel like eating a big meal right now. The chicken salad I planned to have for lunch the following day? Urgh…please! I really can’t face that at the moment. And with that ALL my plans for eating certain meals at certain times and on certain days went out the window. In fact, at the end of the first week I had to throw out a bunch of fresh produce, because I simply hadn’t eaten them within their use-by date. I don’t know how much money I wasted trying to buy enough food to cater for an appetite I no longer had, but it really pissed me off to have to toss so much of it in the trash. Oy vey!

Shopping then became an arduously boring task, where I had to look for things to eat which would keep for longer (whilst still being suitable for Atkins Induction) and also figure out just how much fresh meat & veg I could realistically expect to eat in the next 7 days. I have to limit my shopping to just once a week, because my annoying health issues cause me to hurt and seize up after every trip out. I can’t just ‘nip to the shop’ multiple times a week to keep buying things I run out of, so a degree of planning is still pretty important. But actual meal planning? Fuhgeddaboudit.

I can sit and draw up all the pretty plans I want at the beginning of the week, detailing every meal and beverage and snack I intend to eat for the coming seven days. But when I get up on any given day, you can damn well guarantee it, that I am NOT going to want whatever it is I’ve got scheduled in for consumption. Some days all I want is a protein shake for lunch and a chicken salad for dinner. Other days I wake up and the only things that sounds appetising are burgers and sausages and eggs with mushrooms. And there’s no way to know before time, what it is my impaired appetite will see fit to allow me to consume. And when I think about it, maybe that’s okay. Maybe the human body is smart enough to know when it needs more of one type of thing than another. Maybe, just maybe, even my obliterated metabolism is still able to intuit what’s suitable and right for a certain time or day. And maybe I should try to learn to listen to it.

Lots of people are currently talking about ‘Intuitive Eating’ as another fad or hype beast from the ‘eating for health & wellness’ community. Numerous books are being written by a variety of authors (some of whom have actual credentials, but many others who are really just trying to capitalise on the current trends for some lovely shekels) instructing us to simply tune into our bodies’ internal sense of moderation and regulation, in order to lose weight. Moderation? Regulation? Does this 235lb lump of lard look like it knows how to moderate its own food intake? If I could regulate the amount of carbs and other macros I consumed myself, I WOULDN’T BE IN THIS STATE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grr…

But I get what they’re trying to say when they tell you to listen to what your body is telling you it wants/needs. Not because I would ever have previously been able to hear anything other than

“I need more chocolate, STAT!”

coming from my own carb-addicted carcass; but because now I’ve lowered my carb intake to fewer than 20g a day, I’ve freed up my mind to be able to think more about what it actually needs, as opposed to what my hyperinsulinaemic system thinks it wants. (Which was always, invariably…sugar.) And as I’ve been reading more about zero-carbers and carnivores, who base what they eat on any given day on how their bodies feel when they wake up in the morning, it does make sense on a very primitive level. When I was eating however many hundreds of carbs a day (I really have no idea how many and I’m kind of terrified to go work it out), what I thought was hunger was probably mostly just sugar cravings. (I mean, you can’t get to 270lb and be truly hungry for more ‘fuel’ can you?) All I’d feel is a coercive prompt from my stomach saying “FEED ME!” and I’d give it whatever I fancied. Which more often than not was small in regards to it’s portion size, but massive with regards to the carbs and calories it contained. (Box of buttery, dairy cream fudge anyone?)

But now I don’t have the carb-addict’s constant craving for sugar. I don’t even have what I can call a real appetite anymore. I can easily go 24hrs without eating and then when I do decide it’s time to consume something, I just sort of tap into what my body is telling me it wants and go with that. Today that just so happens to be sausages and salad. Would I have had that planned out on my little menu scheduler? Probably not. But then the entire concept of what actually makes a meal these days has been completely up-ended. Gone are the days of meat, potatoes and veg with gravy…in are the new-fangled combinations of chocolate protein shake and pork rinds! Or the mindblowingly dull 3 burgers and nothing else. Yep, things are a whole lot different around here now come feeding time.

And so it is with a heavy heart, that I must put away my plannerish-things (as far as food is concerned that is) because for once I have to admit that I actually don’t have complete control over what it is I’m going to eat every day. I mean obviously I’ve banished carbs (not including my 20g max daily allowance) but once that’s just accepted, there’s no craving for them and then all that’s left is what my body decides it wants on a particular day. It’s very freeing, but it’s also very strange and something I’m still getting used to. But maybe it’s good for me to not have every single moment of my life planned out to the finest detail. Perhaps it’ll do me good to let go of the reins and try living somewhat in the moment.

And right now, this moment is all about those sausages I’ve got under the grill. So on that note, I’ll bid y’all adieu.

Until next time folks

Blue

A Hard Habit To Break

Things I thought I would really miss when switching to a low-carb WOE:

  • Fish & Chips
  • McDonald’s Sausage McMuffins / Big Mac, Fries & Thick Shake
  • Thick buttered toast with jam / peanut butter & Marmite
  • Macaroni Cheese with cayenne chilli pepper
  • Dairy cream fudge
  • Boiled new potatoes
  • Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars
  • Southern fried chicken tortilla wraps
  • Chinese take-away Singapore style chow mein
  • Chocolate cake

The reality however, has been very different. In those first few days before slipping into ketosis, I was of course craving every single kind of carb-heavy, sugary food I could think of (withdrawal is a powerful thing) but once my system had used up all of its reserves of glucose and glycogen, all my cravings fell away.

Okay, so if I’m being entirely honest, that lust for chocolate cake has still hung around at the periphery of my consciousness, leaping into the forefront of my minds eye any time I overdid it on the protein bars, or when my TOM hormones were up the wazoo. But I haven’t been tempted into actually buying or eating any of it – even when I’ve been face to face with the stuff in a coffee shop, or in the supermarket. My resolve has remained strong and those little cravings soon dissipate when I turn my attention to something else or eat some protein instead. And I’ve researched a few keto recipes for chocolate cake, which would only put a 3g/4g dent in my daily allowance…but I’m trying to hold off on making one until I really, really want one and know that nothing else will do. (The main point behind going low-carb was so that I could embrace a healthier way of eating for the long term – not some dumb crash diet so I could “lose 30lb by X-date and get into some size 4 clothes and look super hot to all the boys!” So I don’t want to get into the habit of indulging in keto-cake on a regular basis. I know that’s a slippery slope and I refuse to allow myself to undo all my hard work, just so I can keep my sweet-tooth hooked on “healthier” alternatives.)

But yeah, aside from that occasional longing for a big old hunk of squishy, chocolatey, frosted goodness badness, the things I thought I’d really miss, really haven’t actually bothered me. For the most part of course, I’ve simply not had much of an appetite to speak of. I can go a long time without eating…although the moment I begin to eat, the hunger does start to fire up again, reminding me that I’m supposed to still be eating something at least once a day. But a lot of the flavours I thought I’d miss can be satisfied in a variety of low-carb ways. Mostly by just losing the bread and the side of potatoes or chips (proper chips – British chips…the kind that come with battered fish, not the bloody snacky, crappy things that we call crisps!)

No, the thing I’ve sort of begun to feel as though I’m missing, isn’t a particular food, or flavour or take-away joint. It’s a feeling. The feeling of being stuffed!

Now please, before anyone decides to chime in with:

“If you’re still hungry, you’re obviously not eating enough! There’s no need to go hungry on Atkins!”

Yes, I’m well aware of that. And I’m not restricting my intake of food to the point of making myself hungry, before you ask. As I’ve already mentioned both in this post and throughout this blog before, my actual appetite is incredibly diminished. When I do eat, I eat to the point when I feel as close to satiety as I think I am and stop. I consume plenty of protein and fat, along with a bit of salad or some steamed broccoli & cauliflower. And when I’m finished I’m not hungry and I feel like I’ve consumed enough.

But that’s not how I used to roll, before I switched to low-carb.

I didn’t eat until I was pleasantly full or satisfied; I would eat until I was fit to bursting. My plate would be piled high and I wouldn’t stop until I cleared it. It felt completely normal to eat enough food for 2 men (men who were doing a physical job consisting of hard, manual labour) and then keep on eating until everything had been demolished. My eating habits were so messed up, that I would go all day without eating, then come the evening put away at least 3000cals in a single sitting. (I dread to think how many carbs I was putting away every day!) And despite that hugely bloated feeling that would hit me as my engorged stomach caused me to feel incredibly uncomfortable, there was something disgustingly satisfying about feeling just so incredibly…full!

I don’t know why this became such a norm for me. It’s not like I was ever starved as a child, or had food withheld from me for any reason. I’ve always been able to afford to buy and eat whatever I wanted, in whatever quantity I desired. I’ve never been or felt unloved at any point in my life, so it isn’t a substitute for nurture or affection. And I don’t eat to quell my emotions either. If I’m sad, I lose my appetite – the size of my arse alone is a testament to just how happy I’ve been throughout my life! So I really don’t know why I felt so content eating myself to the point of barely being able to move after dinner. I know that my desire to always clear my plate hearkens back to my childhood when my parents would insist upon me finishing everything I was given; but that doesn’t explain the weird, grotesque pleasure I seemed to gain from always wanting to eat and eat until I was close to doing a Mr Creosote.

But eat I did and stuffed I was. Happily, disgustingly, despicably full.

And I simply do not eat that way any more. I take what I need, eat what I feel my body requires and stop when I’m satisfied. Only I’m not always really, truly “satisfied” – hence the added air-quotes – because I’m just not eating to that point of sheer gluttony anymore. Most days I’m fine with that, but some days I really feel as though I’m missing out on that ridiculously full feeling. Which is bizarre on the face on things, because it wasn’t a remotely comfortable feeling. It felt awful: that creeping heat rising up my neck, the waistband of my trousers straining against my swollen belly, and the almost laboured breathing thanks to my distended stomach battling with my lungs for extra space to spread out into. Not nice.

It was hideously unpleasant and weirdly pleasurable all at the same time – and I’m not some screwy BDSM type who gets off of my own pain. The only thing I can possibly chalk it up to, is the fact that so much of my food was taken up with carbs/sugar. Being a carb-addict I probably (like all sad, pathetic addicts) needed to keep pushing the envelope whenever I got my “fix”; so the junkie-high feedback loop in my brain made me want to consume more and more every time, to try and get back to that big “high” it remembers having had in the past. And because the only time it remembers being given that immense sugar-high was during a time when I was stuffing myself to the gills, does it now equate that “rush” with the bloatedness?? Could that be reason for my desire to feel so completely “full”?

I’m not your average fad-diet, flip-flopping air-head. I think long and hard about everything I do…and everything more besides. When I bump up against a problem or a niggle, I like to find out what’s behind it – often in a bullish, determined way…but also at other times in a much more careful, deliberate manner. Either way I don’t like not knowing – especially if it feels as though my own behaviours are manifesting some subconscious shenanigans, that are creeping in on the sly when they think I’m not paying attention.

Because the human brain is a crafty bastard. If it wants something, it’s gonna do EVERYTHING in its power to try and make sure it gets it. Which is why beating an addiction is about 30% to do with getting over the physiological dependency and 70% is you getting over the psychological dependency…something that doesn’t just go away overnight or disappear as soon as you’ve gone through physical withdrawal. That’s why addicts so often relapse. Even when they’ve been through rehab and detox; unless the underlying psychological reasons for that addiction have been worked through, the habitual behaviours, triggers and social interactions stop the addict from being able to make a complete break from their dependency.

I am a carb-addict. I will always be a carb-addict. Eating low-carb for 5 weeks and moving my body over into fat-adapted ketosis might have cured me of my immediate physiological dependency on sugar…but it sure as shite hasn’t undone years of maladaptive behaviour or erased any of the negative or positive associations my brain and body have made with regards to sugar consumption. I’ve made a good start by changing my eating habits and trying to retrain my brain when it comes to things like eating, satisfaction, satiety, appetite, hunger, cravings or a thousand other issues surrounding food. Yes, I’m on the right path, but I’m not remotely cured. I’m not sure if I ever really will be. This is something I’m going to have work on every day for the rest of my life. Some days will be harder and others will be easier, and I understand that. What I’m doing now is trying to mentally prepare myself for whatever sneaky little ways my brain will employ to try to get me to give it “just one more” fix. It’s going to throw up all these reminders of days gone by, when eating to excess felt so damn good. It’s going to put me through the wringer, confronting me with emotions I didn’t even know were connected to food and even concoct a bunch of lies, to get me to go off plan. My own brain WILL be working against me.

I’ve always known that for someone to be successful in changing their eating habits in the long term, it has to be as much to do with a shift in their mindset as it does a movement on the scale. And yet despite understanding that on an abstract or theoretical level, I’m only now beginning to truly know what that means as I find myself plagued by the various games of subterfuge and self-sabotage that my own mind is trying to play with me. I know that I can have incredible willpower when I need to summon it. And that will undoubtedly help take me a long way in this battle to get myself to a healthier weight and overall physiology. But I’m not invincible (no matter how many times I try to tell myself that I am) and eventually there will be cracks that appear in my psychological armour. Little niggles or strange, unidentifiable behaviours that have a much deeper root cause. If I don’t continuously keep on striving to address and work on those idiosyncratic issues, then I will at some moment be caught off guard, at a weaker moment and who knows where that worrying path might take me.

Today my brain was telling me that it wasn’t happy, or satisfied by simply eating enough to satiate my hunger and fuel me as a very overweight human being. It told me it wanted to feel full again. Not just full, but stuffed. Why? Not because it was hungry. But because it wanted something that it associated with those times of intense gluttony. It sought the reassuring sensation that went along with my reprehensibly replete, postprandial corpulence. It remembered that along with that gormandising came a super-mega hit of the sweet-stuff and all the serotonin kick-backs it elicited. So I think it tried to make me remember how much I enjoyed feeling full, in the hope that I might go ahead with all the other dysgenic behaviours and choices that had previously culminated in me getting some of the white-stuff get inside me.

But as much as I feel as though I’d really love to experience that gluttonous glee “just one more time”, I simply cannot let it happen. I could at any point in time choose to “cheat” or give myself a day off, but what would that really achieve? One brief passing moment of intense exhilaration…followed by a boat load of guilt, annoyance and huge disappointment in myself for having given in to my basest of urges. Sure, I could tell myself that “I’ve earned it” or that “everyone needs to treat themselves with something naughty every now and then”, but the reality is I DON’T need to refill my brain and body with it’s drug of choice. I haven’t “earned” a full 4 days away from this way of eating, only to have to go back through sugar withdrawal AND also have to start right back at the beginning again of my psychological journey to mental wellness.

I’ve said it before, but this is not a vanity project for me. This is about my health and my quality of living, going forward into the second half of my life. I made it to 40 despite being massively overweight, without being diagnosed with diabetes or any other metabolic disorders. My blood pressure, fasting glucose etc has always been fine. But I wasn’t going to continue to be so lucky forever. The illnesses I do have affect my joints, my muscles, my connective tissues, my brain, my skin and so much more. And the one issue lying at the centre of all these problems – the single most contributing factor to how all those other health issues were slowly losing my my quality of life – was my weight. My ridiculously heavy weight, putting pressure on all my joints and threatening to exacerbate my fibromyalgia & psoriatic arthritis. Type II Diabetes was only around the corner surely.

Any time I take off to “cheat” isn’t a “reward” to me…it’s me letting the addiction crawl back in, take control for a while and do even more damage while I eat carbs/sugars with abandon. Why would I do that to myself? Surely I deserve more than to just derail all the progress I’ve made so far and play havoc with my “recovery”. It’s weird: if I was an alcoholic drying out or a heroin addict coming off the smack, no normal person who cared a jot about my wellbeing would tell me that it’s okay to have “just one more” drink or injection, because I “deserved it”. Everyone knows that those addicts need to abstain from the very substance upon which they had become addicted to. But when those of us who are addicted to carbs/sugar start to make excuses as to why we think we should be able to have “just one cheat day” or “just one day off”, there are no shortage of people queueing up to tell us that it’s okay.

“Everyone needs a day off every now and then.”

“Enjoy your break and just get back on the wagon again tomorrow.”

Really? Is that what you’d be saying if I was planning to go off and have myself little “break” from recovery, with a few hypodermic needles full of heroin? I very much doubt it. And if you would say that then you’re not a friend or a supporter – you’re my enemy and you want to see me fail. So why don’t we view those who encourage food addicts to slip the same way? I’m inclined to believe that at least some of the people who rush to tell the sugar-addict that it’s okay for them to have a day long binge back on the white stuff, are in fact the very people you do NOT want to have around you. They’re not just enablers, but they want you to fail. Maybe so that they can a/ smugly do better than you or b/ set up a nice background of “understanding” in order for them to have their own relapse. Someone who cares about you, wouldn’t want you to backslide into an addiction you’ve been working so hard to rid yourself of.

I don’t want that to happen to me. I don’t want to slip or backslide. Doing so isn’t just a “mistake” or “falling” off the wagon. Cheating or going off plan would be me making a choice. A bad choice. And I’m not about to sit here and make pathetic excuses for making bad choices when no matter how badly my brain is trying to make me eat some sugar, it would be solely and completely my fault. My bad decision making. Being carb-addicted may well be a hard habit to break, but that’s something I’ve chosen to do and I plan on sticking to it.

Chocolate cake cravings be damned.

Blue

Day 1. Appetite For Reduction

Other half: “Do you want a biscuit babe?”

Me: “NOOOOO! I’M NOT ALLOWED ANY!”

Other half: “Oh shit, sorry babe. I forgot.”

Bless his heart. He means well, he’s just going to take a while to get used to the idea that I’m no longer going to be inhaling sugar like Tony Montana at the end of Scarface. We both are. *GULP*

It’s day one of my grand journey into the abyss…I mean my new approach to eating, but my body is already pulling every trick it can think of to get me to consume carbohydrates. I guess I’m much more of a carb-addict than I realised. I mean, I’m not hungry, I’ve eaten twice already today, but that’s not going to stop this evil trickster brain of mine from trying to get its fix. Part of me thinks it must be psychosomatic: the fact that I’ve made this conscious decision to begin Atkins induction could be enough to trigger my subconscious into thinking I need/want sugar more than I really do. But I swear I’ve already got the beginning of a headache coming on – a real bastard behind the eyes, like the hangovers you only start to suffer once you’re over 30; the type that take a whole day to get over. Bleurgh…this is going to be fun.

I got up at midnight, the way any normal person with a completely decimated excuse for a circadian rhythm does, took my meds and immediately started to panic.

“Do I have to eat already?”

“Oh frick…WHAT am I even supposed to eat?”

“I can’t remember anything I read about any of this low-carb thing!!”

“How many carbs are in a cigarette??”

Yeah, I started to spaz out pretty much the moment I got up. That’ll be the anxiety rearing it’s ugly head I guess. So I double checked the information leaflet that comes with my Diazepam (y’know…in case the pharmaceutical company who manufactures it, sneak a bit of the old ‘sweet stuff’ into their tablets…because reasons??) and chucked a couple of them back with my coffee.

“OH GOD DID I PUT SUGAR IN THIS? IT TASTES SO SWEET? FRICK, FRICK, FRICK…WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE??”

Okay, so it wasn’t sugar, it was liquid sucralose, but for a moment there, my super-anxious, crazy brain was already imagining me falling at the first hurdle; failing before I’d even gotten out of the starting blocks. Which is just so totally me – both the likelihood of my being the master of my own misfortune, and my being insanely paranoid about bringing about said misfortune. Everything was okay though. I just put the idea of having to eat out of my mind for a few hours, grabbed my coffee and my water bottle, and settled down to get this blog sorted out ready to go live today.

Okay, so in reality I watched a two and a half hour long episode of ‘Silent Witness’, then wasted a bit more time on Pinterest (one of my time-stealing, guilty pleasures) before getting up the courage to think about food. Immediately, all those ‘low-carb breakfast’ recipes and meal suggestions I’d so meticulously researched over the past few weeks went right out the window and I just settled for a can of tuna, three slices of ham, a cherry tomato and a piece of cheese. Zero prep, zero cooking, zero effort. Just the way I like it.

And it was fine. I wasn’t hungry before I ate it, but of course I’m one of those people who once they start, it’s really hard to stop. Well normally anyway. I’m used to not eating for a long time after I get up, but when I do eat a meal, I eat a MASSIVE portion of whatever it is, stopping only when the plate is clean, regardless of how uncomfortably full I feel. Not today though. I just ate my “breakfast” and went about putting the finishing touches to this blog.

Within an hour I was getting the itchy-brained preoccupation with wanting a snack. I tried to have a word with myself:

“Are you really hungry, or are you just bored?”

“Are you maybe just thirsty?”

It was blatantly obvious though, that what my crotchety-assed self was hankering for, was of course, sugar. (Bear in mind that I’d been asleep for 16 hours and hadn’t eaten for close to 24 hours, so it’s no surprise that this carboholic was jonesing for a fix.) So I grabbed another couple of slices of ham and chugged back a glass of Pepsi Max, to try and fool my body into believing it had been served up a shot of the sweet stuff.

As if.

This hulking great carcass of mine ain’t stupid. It knows the difference between sucrose and sucralose. And it’ll be a cold day in hell before it lets me get away with some sneaky bait ‘n switch bullshit like that, without there being some nasty consequences.

Brain: “You think you’re clever, Blue? You think you can fool me with that sugar-free Pepsi Max crap? Well let’s see how well you fare with this little slice of payback.”

ZAP!

Dammit! There it is again, right behind the eyes. More of that headache to remind me that we ain’t in Kansas anymore. And then comes the never-ending film-reel of all the lovely, sugary crap that’s still in the house. Snickers bars? In the other half’s big bag of snacks in the front room. Salt caramel ice-cream? Right there in the freezer, buddy. Crusty bread rolls, crumpets and tortilla wraps? In the cupboard next to the fuse box.

On and on and on it goes. The constant reminder of what’s just a split-second away from me at any given moment. Temptation, screaming at me from inside my own skull. I feel like one of those heroin addicts who spend 45% of their day thinking about scoring, 50% of their day trying to score and 5% of their day actually jacking up. When did I get this way? Just how much sugar was I consuming on a daily basis? Am I really a goddamn carb-addict?

“Urgh. How long is this going to last? 3 days?”

“What if I’m one of those people who take a week to get into ketosis? Is this going to be my reality for the next 7 days?”

Oh frick. I gotta eat something else. What do I want? I mean, let’s be real, what I really want is a bar of chocolate. A ‘Cadbury’s Dairy Milk’ bar, dipped into a cup of coffee with milk and two sugars. But that ain’t happening. Not today Satan. So I settle for some roasted chicken breasts with steamed cauliflower and brocolli. Whatever. It is what it is…and what it is, is just about the only thing I can be bothered to “cook”. (Not including the potato waffles and gravy that I also had to make for the other half.)

“BUT WHAT ABOUT FATS? IF I DON’T GET ENOUGH FATS THEN I’M NEVER GOING TO GET INTO KETOSIS??”

*Sigh* I’ve never been a fan of oily foods. I rarely fry anything, I despise chicken skin and the fats on meat. I never butter my sandwiches and I cannot get my head around the idea of drizzling olive oil over a salad or pasta or anything else. Of course I eat ‘fatty’ foods, but they’re mostly things that are composed of a mixture of protein, fat & carbohydrate. Fats on their own kind of creep me out. But I know I have do it to get into ketosis. I forgot to buy coconut oil the other day, to put into my coffee, so until then I’m going to have to wing it. Best I could do was melt some butter on my veg and into my chicken, and stick another piece of cheese on the side of the plate. Meh.

*****

It’s now coming up on 6pm. I’ll probably be up until 3am, when I’ll take some sleeping tablets and hopefully sleep for at least another 12 hours. Surely that’s gotta help pass the time until that sweet, sweet, ketosis comes and magics that insatiable hunger away? Right? I mean I know my sleep schedule is totally screwed up and it’s not even ‘home-made’ sleep (I gotta get mine ‘store-bought’ – or at the very least, prescribed). So my leptin and my ghrelin levels will be completely up the wazoo…and lets not even get started on my HGH. You only have to look at my five-foot-small oompa-loompa stature to realise that my body quit bothering to try making me grow anything other than outwards, a good 29 years ago; thanks genetics! Yeah, chances are my sleep is going to be practically useless to me metabolically, and every Rip Van Winkle coma I snooze my way through is doing nothing more than putting off all that awake time I need to endure, by sweating out every last drop of glycogen left in my muscles.

Wow, I really do sound like a junkie don’t I? Well I guess I kind of am. I’m a junk-food junkie. A sugar baby. A cane-head.

Damn.

“Hi everybody. My name is Blue and I’m a carbohydrate addict.”

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