Feeling much better today

About half an hour after I posted yesterday I did end up chucking my guts up. I felt better immediately afterwards so luckily it wasn’t a hanging around kind of stomach bug. In hindsight I did find the fridge door ajar at work when I retrieved my tuna sandwich and there’s no knowing how long it had been that way. In this heat that obviously wasn’t good.

I slept loads too. My first sleep yesterday was about 6 hours. A few hours after I got up did some meditation and got so chilled out I fell asleep again and slept another 7 hours. I now feel caught up from my weird overheated work sleeps over the weekend.

I’m getting more into my new habit of doing a 24-36 hour fast each week. I have breakfast after my final shift of the week and then fast until at least breakfast the following day. I think that the combination of fasting and huge amounts of sleep is a good one, allowing my body time to make repairs. Given the amount of poison I’ve forced through it for almost 3 decades I think my body is probably thankful.

I bought myself a sober treat last night. I subscribed to the headspace meditation app for a year. I fancied a refresher course in meditation and I’ve tried a couple of different apps but didn’t find one that resonated until this. I like the guy’s voice and teaching style a lot. It costs about the same as ONE bottle of wine per month so when I look at it like that it’s a real bargain. If anybody else is tempted there is a currently valid coupon code of MINDFUL which gets you 25% off a year’s subscription.

That’s about it really. It looks like it’s going to be another super hot day here. I’m feeling good, peaceful, creative and motivated so I’m very thankful for that.

Wishing you all a good one too 🙂 x

123 days

I was tempted to use the title, as easy as 123 but as you know, it hasn’t always been easy to get to this point. It’s 4 months! It sounds odd to say it, slightly surreal but also very, very real.

I’m feeling fortunate that at the moment it’s taking zero willpower to not drink. I just don’t want to. When I think about a large glass (bottle) of red I get a strange cognitive disconnect. When I imagine smoking a cigarette after 16 years it just seems absurd and unrealistic. I can feel a similar attitude developing in connection with alcohol but it’s still vague and a far weaker internal reaction. Hopefully this will get stronger over time.

Some niggly health issues have escalated, prompting me to get my butt off to my doctor. I’ve had some blood tests and am waiting for the results and a hospital appointment for a scan. My gut feeling is that it’s not a worst case scenario, but there’s always that horrible ‘What if?’ fear lurking deep down. The waiting is the worst part. It’s good meditation fodder along the lines of ‘This is happening, it’s my reality, it’s pointless trying to hide, run away, numb out etc’.

I’m currently about 22 hours into a water fast and feeling fairly good. It’s purely for healing and spiritual reasons and nothing to do with weight loss. It’s something I turn to when I am having health issues or feel like I need to hit the reset button. Previously my longest fast was 5 days when I was having pretty bad skin and gut problems. It helped those but didn’t do my thyroid any favours so I stick to 3 days or less now. I’m aiming for 48 hours but will adjust either way depending on how I feel. Strangely, it has coincided with ramadan and I remember doing some fasting this time last year too. Ironically my muslim-raised partner is not.

I also need to say, if you have any struggles with an eating disorder or think of it as a weight-loss plan, please don’t go there – it’s not a one size fits all kind of thing.

Fasting has long been considered a natural healing practice. Animals do it instinctively, humans tend not to. Huge amounts of our energy is used up digesting our food and processing anything undesirable which realistically includes a lot of the ingredients (and chemicals) in our modern processed foods. It takes a fair few hours without food to ramp up our natural process of autophagy allowing the body to focus more exclusively on its healing and eliminating/detoxing processes.

When I think about the logic of fasting I have a mental image of a factory. Imagine the production lines constantly running, the workers are all focussed there and completely ignore the building that houses them. Over time, the building gets dirty and falls into disrepair because nobody has done any cleaning or maintenance. Fasting seems like stopping the production lines to allow all the workers to spend a couple of days doing this essential work.

It’s going to be a quiet couple of days which I’m really happy about. I’ll do lots of reading, meditation, thinking, drawing, some very gentle yoga – all the peaceful and relaxing stuff. Despite the ups and downs, uncertainties and pain, I’m feeling pretty grateful and focussed at the moment. Last week was scattered and grumpy, next week… who knows, but I’m confident it’ll be a sober one ;D

Wishing you all a good sober week x

 

Day 33 – Sliding into a slightly darker place

After the mainly upbeat and revelatory state of the first month I seem to have slipped into a slightly darker place. This is manifesting in a number of ways.

The initial joy and productivity brought by a sense of time expanding has given way a little to restlessness and laziness though I’m still fortunate that I don’t suffer too much from boredom. The novelty has worn off. I need to make a plan to stay productive and use my time well but also build in lots of down time and relaxation. If relaxation time is counterbalanced by lots of progress in other areas of my life then it feels good. If ‘relaxation’ turns into something bordering on lethargy (or a teenage game-playing marathon) then it’s heading to a darker, unproductive place. I don’t want to swap treading water for a ‘dry’ version – tired of standing in quicksand maybe?

I’m not feeling much better physically and there are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I’m drinking too much coffee. I do love the feeling of a good coffee buzz but I also know it’s not good for me. I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease about 7 years ago. My doctor told me it was a lifelong and incurable disease that could only be managed by taking thyroxine. I had other ideas. I researched everything I could about it and identified a number of possible nutritional deficiencies and things I was doing wrong with my diet. The short version of it is that I went from horrendous blood test levels and being barely able to move my ass off the sofa to normalised blood tests and a reasonable level of energy again – all with supplements and dietary changes (much to my doctor’s annoyance but that’s a whole other story). The two most critical dietary changes were cutting out gluten and coffee.

I’ve been rewarding my sober efforts with coffee and various baked goodies which I really need to stop because I can feel my low thyroid symptoms creeping back in which is totally unacceptable. Being gluten-free isn’t really a big problem, I’m used to it to a degree and if I really want something sweet and baked there are plenty of alternatives that I can buy or bake myself. Coffee however is a huge one. I love it and giving it up feels almost as bad as not drinking even though I’ve been coffee-free in the past and I know it does make me feel so much better. I’ve also been having some mild stomach irritation – nothing terrible but it’s definitely there. I’m going to taper down over a couple of weeks – I can’t face the just-been-punched-in-the-head coffee withdrawal headache. Sigh 😦

The baked goodies, and chocolate, and sweeties thing also means that I’m not losing weight either. I know I should be going easy on myself and not tackling too much at once but I have reasons beyond superficial appearances to get my 2 stone off. One of my knees is irritated and painful at the moment, as are both my feet. At my job I walk on average 6 miles a night (18 miles a week), on a hard floor while lifting, carrying, pulling and pushing – some things I lift are up to 18kgs. It’s hard on my feet and knees and they tend to hurt. With extra weight on they tend to really hurt. I’m tired of joint pain and I know how much difference losing weight makes.

On a funnier note, I’ve been stubborn recently about buying new casual trouser for myself at this weight. I’ve lived in a pair of black velvet jeans to the point they developed a small hole in the crotch area. As I couldn’t think of a scenario that would involve me showing that area in public (particularly as I’m now not drinking!) I thought, oh well, never mind. I sat down at the top of the stairs a few days ago and heard a ripping sound as the hole got somewhat bigger. A few unladylike poses in front of the bedroom mirror convinced me that a line had been crossed and the beloved velvet jeans went in the bin. My nearest alternatives need about 6lbs to come off before I can wear them comfortably and so I have a bit of a problem. Oh the drama 😉

When I was younger I lost about 4 and a half stone using a food diary to count calories. It was a hassle to swap wine for vodka to cut calories but I did it. 2 of those stones have crept on again and never really gone away. I’ve tried various alternatives to lose them but nothing really works as well as calorie counting. I’ve low-carbed but that doesn’t work with a physically demanding job – I nearly passed out at work a few times to learn that the hard way. I’ve been doing 5:2 fasting but I have a tendency to go a bit off the rails on non-fasting days. Counting calories and using a diary for accountability is the only way that I know has worked in a long-term way and now I don’t have to count wine calories that should be a hell of a lot easier. I like the reported health benefits of fasting so I’m planning a combined approach – one day of fasting a week (6:1) and using myfitnesspal to do the calorie counting.

I’m gritting my teeth and hoping I’m not too crazy to be dealing with all this at once. I’ll blog here for accountability which I think will really help.

Happy Thursday to you!