The following is discussion of Day 6 of my
10-day 6 day detox. To begin with Day 1, click here.
The detox ended at 1pm on Saturday, which was day 6. The detox is dead.
Long live the detox.
One underlying principle of my approach to food is that things must be reasonable. This goes two ways. You can’t eat as much as you want of anything that you want at any time that you want – that’s not reasonable. And you can’t starve yourself or just drink juice or maple syrup or lettuce or whatever all the time – that’s not reasonable. Part of the problem, though, is that that those two are the obvious ends of a spectrum and there is no clear line in the middle where reasonable changes over to unreasonable. Reasonability is something like pornography in that you can’t define it, but you know it when you see it.
And about halfway through my day 6, I saw it.
The day started well enough – Saturday, with a home project on tap, so an early start. After a run to acquire some materials, I came back to the house. I sat down for breakfast with one of my shakes and a bowl of applesauce. My wife and 2-year old had scrambled eggs, toast, and a little fruit.
And it was here that things began to crumble. Egg, toast, and fruit. With a cup of coffee for my wife and a little milk for the boy. This is a reasonable breakfast. Or, if you enjoy double negatives like I do, this is not unreasonable. Nothing – NOTHING – wrong with that breakfast. And I badly wanted an egg. Just an egg. But I powered through, and I ate my applesauce.
Then on with the day. Did you ever have one of those days that went almost precisely NOT like how you wanted it to go? This was one of those days. Just nothing went right, and it became clear very quickly that I was going to get a third or less of my list done. Just bad. And then a plan changed – my wife and son were supposed to go over for a visit with her parents in the afternoon, and instead they wound up coming over to our house for dinner. With a challenge to impress them with our choice of restaurant.
So you can see the problem here, right? I’m limited to eating basically lettuce and having a gross shake and there is no polite way to bow out of dinner (not even counting that I didn’t want to – I enjoy visiting with my in-laws). So the question became – what was I going to do? Three options – bow out of dinner, polite or no; go to dinner and either not eat anything or be one of those restaurant patrons that orders way off menu; or just go to dinner and eat. I was not going to not be at dinner, so we’re down to two options.
My wife’s suggestion was to come to dinner, order a salad with basically nothing on it, and make it work. And that would have been the course recommended by anybody that really believed in the detox part of this regimen – in other words, those that viewed this as something other than a jump start for me. The problem was that everything inside of me screamed that I wasn’t going to do that. I wasn’t going to go and sit in one of my favorite restaurants and watch people eat my favorite food and not eat some of my favorite food and pretend that was OK because I was on some silly diet thing and needed to do it for the sake of the thing.
That is unreasonable.
What I couldn’t do was articulate WHY it was unreasonable, not initially. I knew that it was, but when my wife asked me to defend the choice to just go eat I struggled to do it. This made me cranky – on top of hungry – in the middle of a shitty day. It really turned a bad day into a worse day. But I’d made the choice. Lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and dinner was our favorite Mexican restaurant. I had a burrito and a beer.
They were delicious.
I was emotional that night, for whatever reason. My son didn’t take a nap, which is fine during nap time but generally winds up being not-fine the closer you get to bedtime. And near the end he fell on the driveway and did a total face-plant into the asphalt. Which made the whole bedtime thing go not-smoothly which always sucks. I felt bad for him – he’s 2, and he’s exhausted, and none of the way he feels is his fault – and yet as the grown-up you’ve got to get him washed and get his teeth brushed and get his story read and get him to sleep. When I put him to bed I told him that I hoped we both had better days tomorrow, and I gave him a hug. And when I told my wife that story later, I cried, and I didn’t know why. I’m not ashamed to cry, but I sure do like to understand WHY I am crying.
And I am not one to take things I don’t understand about how I feel and choices I made and let them go, so I’ve stewed on it for a while and decided that I was right – this was unreasonable. The primary emotion that I felt when I thought about going to that dinner and basically not eating was, it turned out, embarrassment. I was embarrassed by the thought of placing that order. I was embarrassed by the thought of having that discussion with my in-laws, even though this particular set of parentals would have been the absolute most understanding of all. I think I was embarrassed by having spent the money that I did on a stupid set of shakes and supplements and vitamins that I don’t believe are necessary. I was just overall embarrassed by my overall actions. And I was worried less about how I would feel about stopping this than about how other people would see me, what they would think of me.
To hell with that.
This time last year I was in the middle of a period of weight loss where I lost 50 pounds. I shed a fat four-year-old. And I didn’t have to watch my family eat reasonable meals and pine for the meal I wanted. And I didn’t have to be starving. Or, for that matter, headache-y. Or super gassy. Or worry about gastrointestinal integrity.
And I sure as hell did not have to be embarrassed by what I was doing. There were no mixed feelings about the path I was on – it was unequivocally a good thing. Unequivocally.
You know – no equivocation.
I believe in food. Real, honest to god, chew it up and swallow it, food. I believe that eating good food in reasonable portions is the best way to live a healthy life with a good balance between physical condition and everything else that is a part of living life. I believe that meals of bland-ish chicken breast, a green vegetable, and rice are healthy and should be a heavy part of my meal rotation. I also believe that a burrito and a beer every now and then is also a very good thing. And I believe I know how to do this and, for whatever reason, my will has been weak. I am resolved to un-weaken it, and now.
I am not sorry that I did this, other than the money and the kind-of-embarrassment thing. I learned some things – the biggest of which is that meals don’t need meat in them to be delicious. That is a key takeaway that I want to start incorporating into reality. I also learned some things about my priorities – also a key piece of knowledge. I can now begin to build a pattern of behavior that will help me reach my goals and achieve balance in my life, balance between my priorities.
Writing about this was not a no-brainer for me, because I feared this exact post. But I’m glad I did. This post has been cathartic to write. I have signed back up for Weight Watchers, effective today. Tomorrow morning I’ve got religion. And I’m planning to go for a run tomorrow morning, my first in 3 weeks. I know how to do this, and I plan to do it.
The detox is dead, but I’m still buckled up.