Day 889: Magic Bag Strains (Day 27 of 100)

It’s been an okay couple of days for the Magic Bag, but it’s definitely flexing against the necessities of life. Things get unpredictable when you leave the house, so there’s been some adjustments yesterday and today.

On the whole, though, I’m happy. Weight’s up a little, which is kinda weird, but obsessing about points isn’t the point; this is 100 days to retrain myself on how I eat, and hopefully my instinctive approach to food, which is going to be healthy in the long run.

It might be good to point out I’m not starving myself; I’m eating appropriate calories for a man, just in the lower half of that range. I’m also not hungry all the time, which is a good sign. About an hour before meals I start to get hungry, and I think that’s also a good sign; by the time I eat, both lunch and dinner, I’ve got an appetite. That seems like how things should be, instead of just kind of being sated all the time.

Sunday today; no ‘real’ exercise but we’re going to do a nature trail this morning, and hopefully I’ll have a big nap late morning or early afternoon (D&D last night; I’m running on about five hours’ sleep).

Day 888: That’s three 8’s! (Day 26 of 100)

Things are… still good. Sleeping well (probably partly because of good regular exercise), feeling positive. Yesterday was a bit of a challenge for the ol’ Magic Bag, because even if you can see a menu online before you visit a restaurant, you still don’t know exactly what the food will be, and I felt full all afternoon in an uncomfortable way I haven’t felt since I started this, with an added appearance from the Salt Monster.

My first weight gain in two weeks on the scales this morning too — again, I suspect not really understanding portions when I filled the magic bag in the morning, and some water retention after a delicious (but salty [and that’s why it’s delicious!]) meal.

Today’s another restaurant day! So I’m going to be very conservative with food for the rest of the day and save up, and try to do a little presearch to see what our options are. The town we’re going to abuts a reserve, which means there might be more interesting food options, but the vegan question is always a good one.

Day 885: Never Negotiate With the Food Table (Day 23 of 100)

Big event at work today, and it’s one of those events where there will be a speaker and “light refreshments provided,” which usually translates as mixed sandwiches, crackers and cheese, squares, and possibly a cake. A Food Table.

Sandwiches are my nemesis, as I think I’ve mentioned before. I don’t know why, exactly. I’m not a sandwich guy at home. I rarely make sandwiches and I don’t desire sandwiches in my routine life. But put me in front of a table of half-sandwiches made by somebody else, and it’s like a terrible switch flips in my brain. Sandwiches!

Texting with my wife (4 a.m. start, she was at work for 5), she asked why I don’t stick some snacks from this event in the Magic Bag, as that’s kind of the whole Magic Bag idea. After some reflection, I realized that it’s easier for me to avoid the Food Table than to negotiate with the Food Table.

Once I’m in a relationship with the Food Table, there’s a lot that can go wrong. I can crumble in the face of sandwiches. I can just kind of pile stuff on a plate absent-mindedly as I talk to somebody else. I can start doing that mental math-game calculus of well I did do twenty minutes of spin this morning so just one more…

Avoiding the food table, though, is a delight. Pure and simple. Just avoid the food table.

More importantly, don’t start playing the mental math game of what-counts-what-doesn’t-count, etc.

So yes. It’s going to take some willpower in the face of sandwiches, but there will be no Food Table negotiations on this day.

Day 882: Sunday in the Magic Bag (Day 20 of 100)

Not gonna lie, last night was rough. I did it! Don’t get me wrong. No snacking, I did it, but it was a white-knuckle late night as I waited up to pick my wife up at work at midnight. Hooray for shift work!

Weekends have always been the weak point; this is my first Sunday since setting up the magic bag metaphor (and I’m really a sucker for story, I think; this really does help). So logging after this, and then filling the bag for the day. I’m not averse to “cheat day” philosophies, as long as it’s in the bag.

It’s also rainy as heck today, making this a good day for… something. Not sure what. But it’s not an outdoors day, for sure.

Day 881: Managing overtraining (Day 19 of 100)

Yesterday’s run was brutal, and I spent the rest of the day feeling my heart — I haven’t worn a heart rate thinger in about two years (no use for ’em, in the end), but I recognize overtraining. Going up a flight of stairs at work got me sweaty.

So today was good exercise, but about being slow, deliberate, and paying a lot of attention to form on the rowing machine. I wound up sweaty anyway — it turns out control takes effort, just different effort than hard aerobics.

The Magic Bag will be put to the test this weekend as my wife’s working shifts; I do well when there’s somebody else in the house, not in a direct policing way, but it just sort of ambiently helps, somehow. One day at a time! Off for radio soon, then a day of various chores; then on my own to maintain good behaviour for the evening.

Day 879: The Magic Bag (Day 17 of 100)

I pack a lunch, which is nothing special, but in my bad habit periods I also have a tendency to go down and pick something up at the school cafeteria, or meet a friend at a pub and order fries and a soft drink, and… stuff. I’m also a terrible home snacker. It’s a problem that we’ve talked about a lot here before.

This isn’t a new thing I’m doing, but it’s a little story I’ve made up for myself about a thing I’m trying to stick to (one day at a time!).

I have a magic bag.

Every morning, I can put whatever I want into the magic bag. Usually it’s a salad with some legumes for protein, some fruit, a snack like half an avocado or a cup of peanuts in the shell, or something. But I can put whatever I want in there! If I want to put a can of soda in there, I can. I can put a bag of Skittles in there. I can put eight bags of Skittles in there! As long as I have it in the house at the beginning of the day, I can put whatever I want in the bag.

And then, for the rest of the day, I can only eat what I’ve put in the bag.

It’s the kind of Cartesian drink/don’t drink thing that works well for me. I operate best with do/do-not, not shades of grey (you can open the bag of Skittles but only eat five). Literally putting my food into a bag and saying “anything outside this bag is forbidden is easier on me, mentally, than saying “you can eat whatever you want, just be sensible about it.”

Not everyone’s wired like me! That’s pretty obvious at this point. But these are the kinds of things that help. Magic bag!