I had a cake binge this weekend. Twelve days into what was shaping to be an effortless Whole30, and I succumbed to the call of the hollow carbs. I don't feel bad, I'll just start the challenge over again, but it got me thinking about how I feel when I eat healthy – or what is currently considered as healthy (these things change every two years, never commit too much to an eating philosophy).
Of course I feel awesome after a couple weeks of clean eating, it's impossible not to. You're getting quality vitamins and minerals, you poop less (more frequently, but less extreme), you feel like you can run a mile at full pace, repeatedly, and you think of food as fuel and not an indulgence.
The problem comes when you get hungry. Before radically changing my diet, bathroom breaks were a state of emergency, now that honour goes to meal time. Living in a constant caloric deficit is part of the weightloss journey, and gets easier once you get better at ignoring the cravings (the voices don't go away, you just turn your music up). But every so often, your body throws a wobbly and refuses to tap into the abundant supply of energy stored around your mid-section, arse, hips and thighs.
I use the word wobbly because you feel a bit wobbly when you're over your mealtime, and should not be permitted to interact with people or be tasked with selecting your own food when it happens.
Case in point: We had friends over for brunch on Saturday, and because I bought 90% of the catering on my way home from gym, my strategy was to get up early, help my wife with the prep, entertain my daughter until she needed a nap, then rush out for a quick 5-K run which would bring me back an hour before ETA and I could clean the shower after using it. This way I'd sneak a spoon of yoghurt and an apple for "breakfast", and preoccupy my body with activity before rewarding it with my wife's delicious bacon and spinach homemade quiche.
Predictably my 2-year-old didn't play ball, meaning I couldn't fit in the run, and then the guests arrived slightly later than expected. For a normal person (1.75m, 75kg), this isn't a life-altering change. But for someone in a caloric deficit, who had a massive workout the previous evening and only had a spoon of yoghurt and an apple for "breakfast," it feels like the end of the world.
When brunch was served, I was like a crazed animal. Everything was on the menu and in my belly. And the next day was a Mother's Day high tea that followed my healthy, paleo-approved Sunday lunch. Cake and biscuits were inhaled by the sliver (my portion control has improved quite a bit).
You'd expect me to feel guilty after a particularly bad weekend, but I'd only disappoint you. You see, I think I've finally reached a point where I can have a reasonable pig-out, but know that you can redeem yourself after. I haven't had a binge like that since I finished my last Whole30, almost 2 months ago.
Now I feel guilty when talking to other people about nutrition. I yak on-and-on about "gluten free" and "paleo" and "blueprint" as if they have a clue as to what I'm on about. I've become such a nutrition asshole that I've begun lecturing people who are in a helluva lot better shape than I am.
What this weekend allowed me to do is do a proper assessment of my current diet and it turns out to be not that bad by anyone's standard: I (well, my wife) prepare 95% of my meals from scratch, sourcing the best and freshest ingredients we can afford; grains comprise about 20% of our food; and we even make our own sweet treats!
I'm very happy to finally be in a position where the big lifestyle change has faded into a background of routine and that I am still making gains at gym and losses on pants size. There is still some way to go, but I think I have the fuel for the journey pretty sorted.
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