Saturday, 28 November 2009

Week 12 Day 83: eating again and the weirdness of it all


On Thursday night, while I was sitting at LL HQ waiting for my first ever LLL meeting to start, I was flipping through the little book you get when on LLL. Obviously, as there's a meal involved, what and how you eat is a bit more complicated than the full abstinence programme. There's a whole list of allowed proteins, vegetables, fats and oils, dairy and condiments, and vegetables. I read the list (so much of this, point zero seven of this, beans but not baked beans, this but not that, that but not that) and my mind spun.

Helpfully they also have recipes to start you off. One of them was for mushrooms, scrambled eggs(!!!) and bacon(!!!!). At this point I hadn't had my final pack and I immediately performed a mental inventory of the fridge. Now, I have become deacquainted with our fridge of late - given that I could have precisely nothing in it - but I was pretty sure we had eggs, bacon and mushrooms. I was so excited!

Of course the meeting was a late one so I got home at about 10, when thoughts of bacon and eggs are the furthest from even my little food-obsessed mind. So I made do with a milky coffee.

I was far more excited about this. The lack of milky coffees has been my largest burden while on abstinence - I have discovered a tolerance for black coffee, and I do love my banana lattes (I'm drinking one right now), but as far as I'm concerned milky coffees are Where it's At. The only time I've come close to wobbling in abstinence was when I almost ordered a gingerbread latte at Starbucks rather than a black Americano.

[NB: But kids, it's not worth it. It was a struggle in the moment but in 10 minutes I'd forgotten all about my gingerbread latte lust. That's the thing about abstinence and cravings: if you're in ketosis your hunger is blunted, so if you're tempted just mentally time-travel ten, fifteen minutes into the future. No matter how bad your craving is right now, you might be sweating and salivating and thinking you'll die if you don't have that thing, but just a few minutes from now you'll be thinking about something else, I guarantee it.]

Anyway, so I made a milky coffee (I even did the 'milky coffee' dance while the kettle boiled and my boyfriend called me a loser) in my favourite spotty mug, and took it through to the living room to drink while eating my peanut bar.

And it was....

Weird. Firstly the milk tasted off - it was a fresh thing of skimmed milk; I only drink skimmed anyway. I had my boyfriend go into the kitchen and check, but the milk smelled okay. It just tasted.... weird for the first few sips. And very filling! I usually go through about five or six mugs a day - now I was wondering how I managed it, and pondered how strange it was that it felt so filling when the LL shakes are so much thicker. But I started enjoying it towards the end - the flavours were very intense in my mouth - I could taste everything individually; the coffee, the milk, the sweeteners. Again I wondered at this because I can't taste the individual components of my banana latte.


The next day I had my meal for dinner. Egg, bacon and mushrooms as I had planned. And god, I've never been so nervous about making bacon and eggs in my life. My stomach flipped over, my hands were shaking. Actually, I didn't get up off the sofa until about 5 minutes before I was supposed to eat: I'd forgotten it wouldn't just involve the kettle and my hand blender. Finally I managed to cobble together the ingredients on my plate: garlic grilled mushrooms, grilled bacon and a poached egg. It just looked like so much - I mean, three rashers of bacon! Three rashers of bacon came to the weight specified in the book, but I couldn't believe I'd be able to swallow it down.

Shakingly I took my first bite. Tiny tiny tiny. And it was like something had exploded in my mouth: the bacon tasted so strong - again I thought something might be up (we had frozen the bacon) and got my boyfriend to taste it - he confirmed that's how bacon was supposed to taste. It was just so intense! So... meaty and, um, baconny. It was almost too much. The egg and mushrooms were less intense, but still very eggy and mushroomy. It was like someone had just turned UP the flavour! I ate really slowly; the meal filled a tea plate and I took about 30 minutes.

Afterwards I felt incredibly full. I'd been drinking milky coffees (well, as milky as my 300ml milk allowance stretched to) all day, and my stomach had sent me to the toilet a few times more often than usual. Before I began LL I had all the symptoms of IBS, but they cleared up within a couple of weeks of starting the programme. I couldn't figure out if it was just because - perhaps - I had been eating more than my digestive system could deal with properly - or whether it was a food intolerance. I definitely don't have any food allergies, but I wondered if it was a wheat intolerance. I figured it couldn't be milk, because there's loads of milk in the packs. But now I'm wondering. I hope not because, hello?! MILKY COFFEES. But this is me tending to panic before I have all the facts. It could just be that my stomach's not used to eating, you know, FOOD, so I'll give it a couple of weeks.

Today I had my meal for lunch: flaked hot smoked mackerel on a salad of carrots, spinach, rocket and watercress and tomato. And it's LOADS! To meet the protein requirement it's ONE AND HALF THINGIES OF MACKEREL! I put it all in a big salad bowl and it almost filled the bowl. Again, the flavours were so intense - I can completely still taste the fish in my mouth as though I've just eaten it.

But I'm sorry to say I wolfed it down. I'm not sure why - maybe because I wanted to eat it while it was hot, because I was nervous (it is SO ODD to eat: I really feel like I'm doing something wrong and someone's going to catch me!), but mostly probably because of habit. I shall be watching this in future. No one is going to kill me if I eat slowly.

Today also I went to Sainsburys and ACTUALLY BOUGHT STUFF! Tins of tuna, fresh smoked salmon, Parma ham, cold roast turkey, marinated tofu, Quorn mince (both for the freezer) and about a ton of vegetables. Very exciting. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I'm out in the evenings so I'll need to take my meal for lunch - I'm trying to plan it all in advance so I don't get caught out.

I'm going to grill the chicken breasts with some basil, then dice them and stick them in a salad with some Parma ham and artichoke hearts. The same with the turkey. The smoked salmon I'll have tomorrow with a spinach omelette, and I'll make a tofu stir-fry thing on Friday.

And I think it is this - this planning (and not reluctant planning, either) that proves to me that I'm not just doing this as an emotional stepping-stone to cheatingland. The boyfriend bought some brownie things at the supermarket and it would have been easier than ever to reach across and have one "because I'm eating food anyway", "it's not that massive a cheat" etc. but it honestly didn't occur to me. I mean, it occurred to me in the way that "I wonder what would happen if I jumped" occurs to you for a millisecond when you're on top of tall buildings, but not in any meaningful way.

I mean, I know I plan to eat over Christmas, but on the days that I'm not eating I plan to stay on the programme 100%. And I know I probably won't lose weight over that period. And that I may have to go through all the getting into ketosis woe and misery and unwellness again. But the thing is, it's worth it. I'm being flexible in order to give myself a nice time over Christmas, and continue losing in the new year.

I may have to take a packed lunch to work on Monday, actually, as my colleagues have threatened to gather round my desk because they can't believe I'll be actually EATING FOOD.


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