So this is what I'm thinking.
I eat pretty well. I keep a generally consistent diet of natural stuff. I am an ingredients reader. A label watcher. If it has the words "High Fructose Corn Syrup" in it, I generally put it back. I avoid "enriched wheat flour" or processed anything. Kashi fills the pantry. I don't tend to obsess about calories, but I am thoughtful of them in context of fuel for where I am in my workout season, and I generally do not overeat. I'm thoughtful of when I'm eating protein, fat, and carbohydrates. I don't drink soda, enjoy beer and wine only occasionally, and am pretty good about drinking lots of water. All good, yes.
I also throw it all out the window if, for instance, we're dining out. I'm a sucker for french fries. I can seriously eat 5 pieces of pizza and an order of 10 buffalo wings like it didn't just happen. If it's deep fried and described with the word "appetizer", I'll have 6, thanks. I crave Mexican food. More often than I'm comfortable admitting I grab a single candy bar in the checkout aisle, and I have a tendency to develop a pseudo-addiction to sweets if left unchecked. I am more than willing to "share" a dessert at a restaurant, and I famously have no willpower - such that we simply cannot purchase sweets to have in this house because I won't have one or two mini candy bars, I'll have eight or 13.
Helpfully, I casually ignore said indiscretions as though they aren't really happening. Because dining out, as you know, doesn't count. And one candy bar on the way out of Target hardly matters. 4 baskets of chips and salsa before my meal count as part of the meal, thank you very much, but are immediately forgotten about once my burrito arrives. And there are no calories in food consumed in the car while traveling distances longer than 100 miles. Or at movies. Everybody knows this.
You can see, then, that for every 4 or 5 days of pretty disciplined eating, I can have 2 or 3 of gluttony that more than make up for it, not to mention the Milky Way or Milk Duds that go un-noticed in the course of a day.
I've often wondered - what if I truly, really, seriously stuck to my guns. What if I absolutely omitted the garbage and junk. Not "did my best", or "really tried hard", but seriously went with nothing but clean fuel all the time. What would that be like? I don't have a desired outcome - I'm not trying to lose weight, specifically, or anything like that - though I'm sure I'd appreciate any health benefits. More, I just wonder what it would be like. How it would feel. How would I feel during, and after. Would I miss the junk - is it more important to me than I think? Would I be able to do do it? Because it sounds easy on paper - but when my whole family gets together and we order pizza, for instance - can I have just one or two pieces? When a bag of rolos is on the table, can I ignore it? When my Grandma makes her cookies, can I forgo them? Can I have zero tolerance for anything unclean and unnatural? I mean - is it even practical? Possible?
So, I'm going to try. This has actually been (a successful) week one, but I'm going to technically call Monday my starting date - only because that's also when I start training again in earnest, so might as well combine the efforts. I'm not going to write down every single thing I eat, and I'm not going to count calories, or anything like that. But I am going to try and stay with clean fuel with absolution. No exceptions.
It will require creativity at restaurants - avoiding dining out when possible, but when not, or when preferred (such as on a rare date with my wife, or out with friends or family), I'll have to find the healthiest thing I can, and in the most sensible portions - even if that requires my not eating the entire plate's worth. Sometimes we get together with my family for happy hour, with pizza or cheese and crackers, etc. I'll have to request thin crust when possible, and stick to only a piece or two of veggie, or Canadian bacon. I recognize that the world goes on around me, and I don't wish to remove myself from it with this experiment - life is too short. And, maybe that will be part of the point. Who knows.
Anyway, I'll share the progress with you here. It's not a stop and start kind of thing - if by Wednesday I'm eating an entire bag of chips, then I suck, the experiment fails, and much about me is revealed. I doubt that will happen, though - it's the "should we get dessert?" thing that will really tempt me, I think. I'll keep you apprised of the general and specific progress. I'll also let you know how, if at all, my workouts, energy levels, weight, lifestyle, etc. is being exceptionally affected by the experiment. And of course, you are welcome to join me, one and all.
So - presented here so as to create a bit of accountability. Making it real, that sort of thing. Here goes nothin'.
Friday, January 04, 2008
So this is what I'm thinking.