Greetings from Day 10 in the Queen Leda Palace of Virtuous Sobriety. So far, it’s been a reasonably easy ride, even over the weekend, when I ventured into a pub and didn’t drink alcohol. Only the other day, I was thinking, almost cockily, how easy it was to just choose not to drink. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, I wanted a glass of wine. My dad comes for tea that day and we usually enjoy a glass of red wine with our food. Instead we had an alcohol free beer, which was fine but much less pleasant. It was the first day I had a real hankering for it, a craving. I wanted the finest wine available to humanity; I wanted it here, and I wanted it now…
Like any diet veteran, I know that one of the pillars of success is no access to whatever badness you are unable to resist. No cake/crisps/wine in the house. Nothing to lead you astray. Sigh. The alcohol free beer is mainly because I get bored of water and herbal tea of an evening. Sugary, fizzy drinks are an occasional treat, but I don’t have them at home. The beer thing has recently taken a very happy turn with the discovery of this loveliness:
Not only is it the tastiest alcohol free beer I’ve tried, according to the label it’s also a refreshing isotonic drink, enriched with vitamins. That’ll do me. I sourced this today at a former colleague’s beer emporium and that was where I had my second craving: looking at all the shelves of differently flavoured beers, with their interesting, colourful labels. I did manage to restrict myself to the booze free ones and by the time I got to this evening, the urge had passed.
One of the things I’ve been keen to avoid is mad sugar cravings from the lack of alcohol: I remembered mainlining biscuits and cake wherever possible at the Buddhist weekend. It’s probably why I discovered a sweet tooth for the first time when I was pregnant. While I try to avoid too much sugar, I underestimate how much I consume overall and how much my body is addicted to it without my brain even noticing.
After reading about it online, I am trying the herbal supplement gymnema sylvestre. It’s alleged to help with sugar cravings and has had some success treating people with type 2 diabetes. To be honest, I am not the woman to confirm this or not. I keep forgetting to take it and have only popped a few. If the next week to ten days is going to be a tough bit, then maybe I should try remembering.
While the need for sugar is a real thing, it’s not the biggest obstacle. My main worry about that is the possibility of substituting booze blubber for sugar bloat, when I want to lose weight. The biggest challenge is all about mental attitude and habits. And acceptance that things have to change, for real.
On the one hand, I am fully up for the challenge, determined to see out the 30 days, even though at the moment it does seem like endless weekends stretching ahead of me. As you would expect from QL, I will do it. It’s just that there’s this annoying, niggling part of me that wants that thing that alcohol delivers.
Not in excess, mind. Not to get drunk, not deliberately anyway. Not to forget, or even to remember. Just to be…nothing. That smooth, warm glow you get after a glass or two. A contented, happy feeling. Any more and you start to go a bit blurry around the edges, a bit wrong. This is not wrong. It’s about losing sight of you and your small, petty stuff for a while, and feeling part of a wider consciousness. Some get it from religion, others from drugs like alcohol. More sensible people get it from things like yoga and meditation. So, I need to dust off my meditation apps and get turned on to the cosmos. Find a better way to shake off the day.
Aside from this activity, one must dwell on the positives. Whilst I’m not sleeping well just now, I do have more energy overall and I’m not so tired during the day. It’s not so difficult to get up at six am for the gym, so I do. Last week I was at the gym four times, with an added session of aerial yoga. I feel fitter and a bit more comfy in my jeans, so I guess I’m on the right track, even if it pains me.
At the gym, I am slowly getting better. Not to compete against the others but to beat myself. And to know that I’ve actually tried my best and haven’t given up. I think that I am capable of more. There is a spark of it sometimes, when I feel completely fucked near the end of a workout, but somehow steel myself to roar through ‘ten last good ones’. How much more could I sustain that? It’s attitude that does it, not fitness. I am getting closer to a better attitude.
It’s fairly obvious isn’t it? You can only find out what you are truly capable of by pushing yourself, seeing how far you can go beyond where you are. But it’s not an easy process. In fact, it’s often downright uncomfortable and frustrating; giving up can seem like the easy option. If you don’t mind staying where you are.
Instead I’m learning the art of holding still; not giving up, but hanging on for a moment. If I crave, don’t give in or fight against it. Take no action, let it float past. Remember absolutely everything passes. If I’m dying in the gym, just stop and breathe for thirty seconds.
Then clear the mind and get right back on it.
Until next time,