Monday, September 12, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance

When I decided to forgo alcohol altogether for 2 weeks (and then practically forgo it for 3 more), I must have been high on drugs.

Oh, I know it's all part of my recalibration, the worthy means by which I'm going to be attractively wearing the smaller sized clothing in my closet once again in the future. But honestly (as I said to materfamilias lately): If booze makes you fat, then we've got a problem. Cuz I do not intend to live without it for any extended period.

Think what you will, at this point. If you're new to this blog, you may wonder if I have a problem. If you've known me for a long time, you may be amazed that I'm denying myself anything, for any reason.

Here's where I'm at, after week 1 of my return to moderateness, after a few months of living large. (Note: Apologies to those who find people writing about their eating habits to be way past boring. I agree, it's a special kind of narcissism, but y'all showed some interest in the plan, so I thought I'd tell you how it's going...):

Well, it's going. I'm doing all the things I said I would:
  • No alcohol of any kind
  • No refined sugar (save a small amount of chocolate in the evenings)
  • More with the healthy fat and protein. Less with the carbs (I stay under 100 grams per day, which is in no way "low carb", according to those who practice that lifestyle, but is much less carby than what you find in your average first world diet. Once you kill baked goods, it's hard to get to 100 grams of carbs a day.)
  • No junk food
Am I forgetting something? It's hard for me to focus when 80% of the fun in life has been stripped away.

Seriously, though, I'm not physically craving anything. I'm not hungry. I did have a day last week when I thought I was coming down with something. Looking back, I wonder if my body was a bit shocked by my abrupt resumption of the kind of moderate living that - I presume - helped me to go from being fatter than I wanted to be (years after having a kid), to the size and shape I would like to be - and which I have recently mildly deviated from in the name of happy extravagance.

The truth is you can become habituated to any kind of lifestyle and, at some point, you probably will. It's a precious few who go into middle age, with its attendant hormonal shifts and sedentary responsibilities, without losing the shapes taken for granted in youth, at least initially. The longer the life, the more opportunity one has to become attracted to bacchanalian, gustatory delights - and to satisfy that attraction. Sometimes you're going to go for the taste / get lazy / decide to eat gleefully despite the potential outcome (you choose the terminology).

Those stereotypical 1950s ladies never upsized their clothes, from youth to old age, because they were fucking careful. One might even say restrictive - though I prefer to say moderate. And yet, they managed to drink the booze. Hmmm.

You know how single-minded I am. Now that I've decided not to drink for 2 weeks, even though I'm really questioning the merit of that element of the recalibration, I'm all "I said I was going to do this, and now I'm going to do it dammit."

Never mind that it's wan and, frankly, immoderate.


  1. I applaud both your abstinence and your future return to moderate and or occasional indulgence. As you know:).

  2. Count me in as interested.

    I know I could give up alcohol for very good reasons. There better be a very good reward at the end of it, but I could. Two weeks is something you can do. It seems to me moderation is the key, a bit of alcohol here or there is okay.

    (says the girl drinking Angel's Gate...)

  3. It isn't boring to read about your efforts!

    If it's any consolation, I couldn't stick to alcohol abstinence for more than one week. Good for you going for two more and then some.

    I'm making some progress on weight loss exercising harder and more frequently. It's really tough, unless you happen to be born with no taste buds or something.

  4. Thanks for the nod -- I've had this book-marked since you posted, wanting to come back and comment, but this is crazy-time at work right now. C.R.A.Z.Y!! But yeah, the fucking careful of ladies-who-never-changed-size -- there's a great passage/chapter in Elizabeth Bard's Lunch in Paris that describes exactly how French women are trained to do this -- and reined in by serious social cues if they step out of the moderation circle and have that larger piece of cake. . .
    Bit by bit, I've had to realize, sadly, that there are things I can never eat again (exaggerating, of course, but maybe once or twice a year, tops) if I want to dress a certain way. And realize that I can't just do WeightWatchers or whatever until I get to the wanted weight and then go back to old ways. Very sad. But possibly healthier . . . Still, my alcohol-free month has receded far into the future, to my family's amusement.

  5. That sounds like a good plan. We're all cheering you on!

    I haven't had any food or health overhauls recently, but when I was younger I definitely did my share of drugs/drinking/partying and not caring about what I ate. I stopped drinking a few years ago since I didn't like feeling hungover every weekend, and it helped to stop hanging out with friends with whom my only bond was to go out drinking. Nowadays I just politely refuse alcohol and if I'm asked I allude to my past.

    I'm at the dojo 3x a week and I walk to and from work, and definitely need a lot of energy. What's worked for me is eating all the time but in small portions, and avoiding processed food and restaurant food. When your body gets used to eating a certain way, I definitely can feel it when I'm eating terribly and will actually start to crave healthy foods. I think of it more as a lifestyle choice than as dietary guidelines.

    Good luck in your journey and keep us posted. :)

  6. I'd rather give up Cadbury Dairy Milk than alcohol!

  7. LPC: Oh, I know you do!

    Seraph: It's not as bad as you might imagine. Not that it's as good as you'd hope :-)

    Susan: Or one of those 1 in a million metabolisms.

    F: It is strange when you finally, viscerally understand that moderation is the way forward, no options. Not that we don't need to test that water sometimes.

    Janice: Thanks for your perspective. I know what you mean about craving the healthy food. At the moment at which I embarked on my recalibration, I was almost sick of the richness. Almost :-)

    Wendy: Knowing you as I do, that is quite something. I never thought you'd say you love anything more than the Dairy Milk.

  8. damn, girl, you can be so DISCIPLINED! i am an indulger. i have a lot of bad habits. it is true that these habits can be curbed. but i tend to just indulge and then complain when my clothes don't fit right or i feel gross. brilliant strategy, no? :)

  9. J: I am an indulger too. With lots of bad habits. The discipline is just a flip side.