Saturday, August 4, 2018

Hard and Fast

Today I woke up, drank some coffee and - before I could talk myself out of it - I went to my bedroom to unpack. I got through 6 boxes, marginal by anyone's standards, but my room is 6 boxes less crowded and (OMG) I found my bra stash.

I wish I hadn't gone out and bought 2 new bra sets, which almost 3 weeks later have yet to arrive from UK, because if there's any human who never needs to purchase another piece of lingerie, I am she.

For starters, by shopping my closet boxes, I now own 10 "new" sets, most of which are fucking GORGEOUS Empreinte styles. Note: I can only fit into 1 size of Empreinte bra (because they don't sister size and the difference between cup and band sizes is so bespoke that it fits or it doesn't). My Empreinte moment, which lasted near a decade, came to an end a few years ago when my body shape changed. Due to a reversal of shape change - I mean, I do not have the shape I did at 35 but I prob have the same general volume - I've got me some fine new bras!

Y'all know I'm more of a minimalist than average (if not at all a true minimalist), but I am SO not down with Marie Kondo. I did not read the book (who needs to, every article on the planet has precis-ed it into oblivion) because I do not like being told what to do. Do I need some lady who's likely half my age to tell me that if something doesn't bring me joy I should chuck it immediately??

Today I put practically all of my clothing at the back edge of the closet because none of it fits. I have suits I spent a thousand bucks on gathering dust because they're a couple of sizes too big at this point. There is no fucking universe in which I'm going to ditch that clothing because I may need it again someday and it's a) very well made and b) stuff I'd prefer not to replace on the basis of potential short-sightedness.

Be mindful of your wardrobe because you are an evolving being and it's every bit as much fun to find new things in your closet as it is to go out and buy or make them. In fact, in some ways it's more fun cuz it's free.

After this energetic spurt, I went to do some yoga (man, that room is a beautiful studio), hand-washed a bunch of things (how I missed my 2nd floor, flat railing that doubles as a clothing rack) and put together my week of supplements (albeit a truncated version of the old regime).

When I went to the rental, I opted not to do any of the regular self-care things I had done prior to the move, which was counter-productive in many ways but, hey, I was struggling. Of course, to counter-balance this, my diet changed radically (which no doubt, has helped my inflammation in the ways that all of the sacrificed elements of the regime do too), but I must be vigilant to side-step pain, and that, my friends, I most certainly have not been.

Since returning to my real house (construction zone though it is), I am back to body scrubbing, supplements, yoga and making my own potions. I did cook in the rental house - and I had a lot of fun re-engaging with that skill. But, not-fun fact, the cabinets in my new kitchen are my greatest reno disappointment - though I'm confident it will be set right, one way or another - because, while the kitchen's super well-designed (by me, I might add) and gorgeous to look at (superficially), the finishing is shit. It's awesome till you try to open the cabinets and drawers and then the flaws become entirely evident. I'm not going to dwell on this because dwelling is my kryptonite, but cooking has been challenging because it means I have to, well, open all the cupboards.

To switch gears, a few posts ago, Barb told me about a new book she read that changed her way of eating. The marketing-forward title didn't grab me - it's called The Obesity Code and it's by a Toronto diabetes specialist named Jason Fung - but I listen to my blog friends so I went out and bought it. People - you have to get this book. If you are the skinniest mini in the land, you still need to read it cuz it's not about obesity. It's about blood sugar stabilization and hyperinsulinemia. Obesity is only one of the many fun symptoms of blood-sugar disease - and all of these symptoms are manageable by getting rid of the highs and lows of blood sugar spikes (caused predominantly by eating fiber-free carbs, straight-sugar and processed foods).

Look, I know, this is an impossible sell. You need to do this when and if a) you perceive you need to do this and b) you are ready, potentially, for one of the worst interim periods you can imagine.

But here's the thing. What I got from this book wasn't all the good intel about hyperinsulinemia. I knew that already. What changed my relationship to food, on reading this book, is that I am no longer afraid of forgoing it. Fasting - a concept you know I loath - has become my friend. I'm now able to understand why I've always hated breakfast, large volumes of food, why I've always felt controlled by eating. The less you eat - and the more those meals are stabilizing by being high in fat and protein - the less frequently your blood sugar rises. Sure, we all need food but we need a fraction of what we generally eat, and 99 per cent of us do better eating that food in specific batches i.e. no grazing, within specified windows of time. Once you get rid of the delicious, delicious, druggy-delicious carbs, you don't feel compelled to eat. And you don't need to eat that much to live very happily, without shaking or feeling sick or hungry.

Never say never cuz I've introduced intermittent fasting into my life - corroborating the way I used to want to eat (cuz food made me feel sick, but I didn't understand that the carbs were fucking up my instinct by fucking with my blood sugar), but never managed to achieve.

And it's so not hard. Really. (Well, it's so not hard cuz I've already done the incredibly hard part.)

I eat between noon and 8pm. I generally eat 2 meals. I do not snack. Snacking just raises blood sugar and makes me feel bad. I don't stress about it when this plan doesn't work out but it usually works out. One of the meals may be a large salad with protein and fat. The other is often straight protein with a side of fat. I drink as much booze as I want (wine, natch) and I don't really want that much lately. Coffee and wine are fine, in moderation, cuz they don't spike insulin. It's easy to cook for this diet. There are many gorgeous meals to be had. It is not in any way restrictive. I mean, I eat a zillion calories of fat per day and it all tastes great.

But again, this nutritional overhaul has happened in phases for me. It's had to cuz I'm so freaked out by change. I do not recommend intermittent fasting (of the many different varieties which the book explores) until and unless you ditch the carbs. With carbs, it's impossible.

I love not having to think about food the way I used to. I love not being compelled by my appetite. I love not having to spend as much time or money or energy eating (I know that sounds weird. I wouldn't have expected this from me.)

I have no idea for how long I'll do this. I'm a human being and my life will no doubt introduce things that may require me to manage my diet differently. I may ditch this altogether and "relapse". Addiction is addiction and, while it's hard to come by fentanyl (for example), we all have to eat and everyone's doing it, out in the open, constantly. My relationship to food is profound, non-negotiable, sometimes joyous and other times horrible. It's an expression of who I am, of where I'm at, of what matters to me at any given life-stage.

That's all I got today.


  1. I am so glad you got the book...both literally and figuratively. Although I backslid a bit on the carbs while camping...even though I did a lot of preparing ahead , I still feel better than I have for a long time. The fasting is not that hard and my sugars are the best they have been in twenty years. My son is doing the program as well and has had wonderful results. My sister is working on doing it as well, but is not quite committed to it yet. I have been fasting once a week for 36 hours (my metabolism was very messed up), but for the last few weeks have been doing what you do, as I found it easier for my summer routine. It is more flexible than most people realize.
    Glad to hear you found some treasures while unpacking! Take care


  2. Oh dear, I have so much I want to say. I think this is a beautiful and brave post.

    Six boxes? I would consider it good if I got through six boxes in a day. and I don't think of myself as marginal. Yesterday I did 7, today I've only done 3 although I had hoped for 10. Considering that I just did something that caused my back to flare up and I am lying on the floor with my feet up on a chair, I may have to be happy with 3. But as soon as I can move, I will do my stretches and strengthening exercises, as I can, and we will see. I don't think one should hold oneself to anyone else's perceived standard.

    Does that mean the Empreinte bras fit again? Or didn't fit, were top beautiful to let go of, and now they fit? That is wonderful. I'm all for holding on to things you love. I fit into things I hadn't worn for years because I was too big for them, and now I'm not. I got rid of a lot though, not because Marie Kondo told me to, but because I released all my black, or most of my black. It wasn't because it isn't my best color, which it isn't, but because I felt heavy and almost sodden and listless whenever I wore it. I realized I would probably never go back to black and those clothes needed to go to someone who would love them.

    I like that the book has helped with a shift about your diet. I haven't read it, but I've read a lot on that subject. My problem was never knowledge, it was believing enough in my ability to make the right choices for me when everyone else seemed to think differently. I strugg;ed a while because no one I know locally eats like I do: mostly protein and fat, vegetables, and some fruit. I eat a lot of fat and a goodly amount of protein. There is something about living in the southern United States and carbs. My step-daughter's family eats almost the opposite of what I eat, so sharing a meal with family often becomes a fraught thing but we are getting better at negotiating, and respecting each other's choices. I do occasionally have a grain (I have a weakness for corn tortillas, and I'll occasionally have sticky rice, which I tolerate better than the other varieties. But those are rare. I often go for months without eating either and try to do so only when I really want them, and not for some emotionally destructive reason. Besides, I have found that neither of those items, for me, starts the addictive cycle of carb craving that I have struggled with most of my life. I still occasionally get sucked in by social pressure and then relapse. But it gets easier not to give in. I love food, and cooking, and the only way to not let it control me is to control it. I firmly believe carb and sugar are an addiction. They most definitely are for me.

    I don't believe in being a fanatic about anything, even diet, although there are things I have to avoid because I am celiac, and I do maintain rules, because diet and carb load really affect my arthritis and my pain levels. Mostly I am more interested in being pain-free than in eating something that will be temporarily delicious, but a life time of cultural programming can be hard to overcome. All any of us can do is just get through our days as best we can.

  3. I do so appreciate your spirit. And, I knew you'd unpack at your own pace.

  4. The Marie Kondo book is absolutely horrifying, a good hate-read if you're into that sort of thing. Like, as a kid she was so obsessed with decluttering that she'd throw out things that belonged to family members without telling them.

  5. I really love Marie Kondo’s books, I love the general approach and the specific trics to help keep a place organized. Maybe it is for a different age group with different life circumstances. We live in a 47sqr m apartment and that will not change soon so I need all the trics anyone can think of.

    As for intermittent fasting - I don’t eat as frequently as others but after trial and error discovered my “fasting” caused some of my migranes (I dont eat carbs so I think it was the fasting). Im also worries about the ketotic state people are trying to achieve . Ketones are dangerous to a developing brain (which is why pregnant women must eat every few hours to avoid it) so Im not sure they are safe for adult long-term. Can they harm brain plasticity? I didnt see enough research proving fasting is safe (although intermittent fasting is probably not so ketotic). My current nutrition is based on vegetables and fruit, protein and plant basd oil (mostly in the form of nuts and Tahini) and I feel the strongest I felt in a few years. I eat carbs ones or twice a week and processed sugar twice as well. Also dried dates almost every day but always with nuts to balance the sugar. The best addition to our nutrition is loads of green leaves in many ways, especially in shakes. Lets see if I can keep it up while I add more runs to the schedule.

  6. So glad you read the book and are doing the ketotic way of eating and IF. I did the diet for a year and half ... could never IF before that diet but was very natural to do the IF on ketosis. While my eating window of 6-8 hrs worked wonders, any smaller window than 6 hrs or a longer fasting of 23-36 hrs messed me up. I’ve heard this from a few other women on this diet as well. So you might want to stick to the window that works for you.

    I am now on a mostly gluten free soy free sugar free vegan diet due to a health issue (not caused by keto) and i’m hoping this is just a temporary please my body needs to go through. And I can’t do IF anymore and my insulin spikes are crazy - so i’m trying to eat protein with every meal - it’s esp. hard when travelling. I keep telling myself my most repeated parenting mantra - this is just a phase and this too shall pass.