Category Archives: Good Intentions

Lost + Found

Lost + Found

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I got through 21 days of Whole30 before succumbing to a glass of Pinot Noir last Saturday. I meant to complete the program—which I was also calling Sober October—but found another glass of wine in my hand on Monday night, out to dinner with family, and yet another while out to dinner with colleagues on Tuesday night. And so on. I expressed some self-serving (not to mention wine-serving) thoughts about the ‘magical thinking’ around needing to complete 30 days. And how much I loved Whole30, even while quitting it.

Here’s what I lost: a few pounds, maybe three, but more significantly a narrowness around my waist. I have a pair of pants, purchased this time last year, that had begun to make me feel bad and sad—tight around the waist which caused my stomach to look wide and round.

Here’s what I gained:

  • My attachment to wine in the evenings, as a means of changing my moods. Before Whole30, I felt deprived if I couldn’t pour a glass after work; now I feel slightly repelled by the thought of the wine-induced shift in brain chemistry.
  • My hunger for grains—pizza, pasta, sandwiches, popcorn. I craved those kinds of carbs. But now I don’t.
  • A super-productive run of weeks—a renewed interest in getting things done, as compared to the dulled and restless mood I felt before the program

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Continue with moderate drinking. No rules come to mind, but I’m thinking about them, at the very least.
  • Continue with the zero-to-minimal grains. For instance, in the airport very early this morning, I was thrilled to find RxBars, which satisfy so completely.
  • Continue with the focus on protein—was that the key to my improved energy?
  • Continue to avoid entirely sweets and salty snacks, which I’d protest are not a weakness of mine, until I consider the late afternoon candy, pretzels, popcorn and whatever else is being dispensed at the office.

Here’s what I’m still missed: a creative urge, the inspiration to write, this post notwithstanding. I’m writing it but in a workaday way. Same applies for reading. I can’t find the intellectual curiosity to take up ambitious novels, favoring pulpy women’s literature (The girl/woman in the window/on the train/in Cabin 10 and in all sorts of other perilous situations) and murder mysteries. And somehow connected to this is my aversion to yoga. The task of emptying my mind seems impossible; worse, it doesn’t appeal to me. At all. Where have you gone, mind of mine? And when will you return?

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Cleanse, Day 18

If I am honest, this cleanse’s only real rigor is around alcohol. I’ve had coffee (and milk in it) every morning, a little couscous (gluten), some tortilla chips (processed food) and, last night, chicken tika with nan. Not a lot of any of this over the course of 18 days but not the strict adherence  I once thought was the magic behind the cleanse — the results being 5 pounds lost, better sleep, clarity of mind.

So, then, results for a relaxed (for me) exclusion diet? Abstaining from alcohol is the key to better sleep, better moods and clearer thinking. I eat more (and better) food, when I don’t have to accommodate the calories in wine, so I have better energy. Wine makes me sleepy, which means I struggle to stay awake in the evening, getting in bed at 9:30, only to wake up at 2 or 3. Poor sleep means fatigue during the day, which affects my moods — the week feels like a slog, I can’t find pleasure in it, I just want to crawl into bed with Netflix. Wine can also make for what I think of as matchstick moods — irritability, impatience, anger. Much more can be written about this (hello passive voice! I’m on to you!) but not right now.

The above sounds so logical and so self-evident that a reasonable person would skip the stupid cleanse and stop drinking wine on weeknights or most weeknights. More on this too: being a reasonable person. 

As for weight loss, I’ve been reading more about set-point weight and the body’s old survival-mode insistence on regaining lost pounds. From “Why You Can’t Lose Weight On A Diet” (May 6, 2016 by Sandra Aamodt, author of “Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession With Weight Loss.”)

Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters’ weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding.

The net-net is precisely what I’ve found: it’s easier to lose weight than it is to keep it off. Post weight loss, even extreme measures will be rewarded by regaining those pounds: exercising daily (me), counting calories with an app (me), cleansing (me). The only question is how quickly you’ll put it back on. I lost 20 pounds and, after two years, have regained 10. Can I be a reasonable person and just accept that?

 

 

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New Year’s Resolutions For Me This Time 2017

It’s only fair that I share my list, now that I’ve posted my mostly annual New Year’s Resolutions For Others.

  1. Choose Kindness. Because it is always a choice.

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  1. Judge less.
  2. Write more.
  3. There is beauty everywhere. Find it.
  4. Read poetry. It pretty much explains everything.
  5. Keep working on these things.
  6. Lest this start to sound like a Pinterest board waiting to happen: Stop drinking so much wine, you wino.
  7. Also: would it kill me to learn Spanish?
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Hello 2017

lighthouse

As is my custom, I start the year with good intentions, this one being a 30-minute run, for which I was rewarded with a view over the Black Rock Harbor, the Fayerweather Lighthouse and the Port Jeff Ferry. 2017: so far, so good.

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