Another great guest post from Cormac…
In a previous blog post I listed an example of what I eat on a daily basis. It is clearly a lot of food (for a human at least). Because of that, I can expect to spend about 1 hour and 30 minutes a day preparing food, and about 3 hours a week making trips to the shop for food alone. I spend another 2 hours or so a day consuming food, snacks and shakes. Minus 8 hours for a sleep, 8 hours of a Monday-Friday job, 1-2 hours of training, an hour of washing/dressing/changing and about an hour of car-time, it doesn’t leave much free time left. This is the way I have lived for the past 72 days, without a day off.
Unfortunately I’m not an unemotional automaton, and I do feel lazy about having to spend so much time around the diet and I do get cravings for something made by someone else and preferably deep-fried.
Here are a few things that I have sacrificed/reduced since then, and how I’ve countered them somewhat:
- Fast food: Chicken and Bacon pizza. McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers. Chicken tenders with a tub of garlic sauce. Greasy takeaway onion rings. A can of 7-up. 3 months ago on at least 2 nights of the week I would feel lazy and order a combination of something above to be delivered to me. I wouldn’t call that fiend territory – the percentage breakdown of what I was eating was probably 80% good, 20% not-so-good – but I wasn’t progressing the way I wanted to do.
A Solution – Setting a Long-term Cheat Day Goal: Looking back on the last two months of work have shown me that my body doesn’t let me get away with much – it has to be a zero tolerance policy. Instead of a weekly cheat meal I am going to have a cheat meal – after 150 days of eating clean (Somewhere around the December 19th mark – I’m not obsessed, I swear). I plan on making the most of this day, so much so that I imagine it will be another 150 days before I do it again.
Craving Rating: 2/5 – this died down considerably after day 50 or so.
- Caffeine: Switching to decaf tea from regular tea hasn’t been that bad, and I do enjoy some green teas. No full-blooded coffee was tough for the first three weeks, especially when the 3pm slump raised its ugly head, but the withdrawal symptoms subsided after Day 20 or so. I’ve had real coffees since then, in Croke Park, but thankfully both of them were so terrible that it hasn’t sparked a full-blown relapse. Staying off soft-drinks has also been surprisingly easy.
A Solution – flavoured decaf teas: I highly recommend Barry’s Cranberry and Orange.
Craving Rating: 3/5 – matches on a windy day and passing cafes stoke the urge.
- Ice Cream/Chocolate/Crisps/Sweets/Biscuits: From Monday-Friday I can safely say, hand-on-heart, that I don’t miss these. It’s when I go home to my original home in Waterford every weekend/second weekend and walk in the kitchen door is when it begins. Most probably because my darling mother is taking an apple tart out of the oven and has informed me that the cupboard where all the goodies are has just been restocked.
A Solution – Keep Eating! A protein shake and an apple later I should be fine – cravings feed off an empty stomach so it’s best to stamp out the grumblings straight away I find.
Cravings rating: 4/5 – going to the homestead is reminiscent of Homer’s 30 days of alcohol in that episode of The Simpsons. Speaking of which…
- Alcohol: I think I have gone out three times since I started this – and the last time was the August bank holiday (31 days ago). Apart from 4 craft beers since then, I’ve been dry. My usual M.O. would be every second weekend or so. At the time of writing I am 6 hours away from playing a junior hurling final, so I imagine that fast will be broken tonight.
Solution 1 – Damage Limitation: I haven’t given up drink; it’s of a reducing of going out. I find it better to go out and drink as much as you want for 1 night in 4 weeks than going out 1 night every week and trying to reduce your alcohol intake. Make the most of it. Some measures you can take is switching to a good craft beer – less damage to your body than a regular beer and less of a hangover.
Solution 2 – Satisfying the Hunger Post Pub/Club: You’ve wandered out of the club; there’s burger vans, hot-dog vendors and chippers everywhere. I recommend sating the urge by going to a kebab house, and, if you’re anything like me after a club, slur an order of a chicken salad. No pitta bread, no croutons, no dressing. Hopefully when you wake up, leaning against said kebab-house’s front window, you will have a pan-fried breast of chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion and olive oil.
Solution 3 – Dealing with the Hangover: Make yourself, really make yourself, have a pint of water or two before you fall asleep. Your dehydrated brain will thank you for it in the morning, and reward you by not completely making a balls of your diet plan. If you can make two promises to yourself when you wake up make them be: 1) Stick to your diet plan, even if your breakfast begins at 3pm and 2) Get to the shop to prepare for the week ahead. For me personally, if I mess up my schedule on a Monday, there’s a good chance if won’t get back on track until the following Monday. But that could just be me!
I’m sure there’s two words in your head right now (apart from “f**k off”) and that’s “wishful thinking”. It sounds very simple above and a lot easier said than done but the beauty of it is keeping it simple. Whenever I’m stuck to my bed or on a couch and I have to pause Breaking Bad, get up and go to the shop to get a sweet potato or something similarly small to make up the diet plan for following day, I just have a phrase I say in head which brings every action back to my goals:
“This is where I want to get to, and this is what I have to do”.