Month Without Alcohol / Food Journal

A few weeks ago, I decided to go alcohol free in the whole month of March. The reasons are not important to detail here, but it seemed like a good exercise. Today is day 13 without a drink. I like drinking. But I would also like a more optimal state of health and I had reason to believe that drinking wasn’t helping my health. A month off was a gift to my body. It’s harder going without my frequent fine companion ethanol on Fridays (maybe especially so on this unlucky one). But what makes it easier to bear is how amazing I actually feel today. I really feel good. I’m serious. Today was awesome. Alcohol is an insidious friend.

So I feel good about that. But also, I feel good about my food journal. Yes, I am back to keeping a food journal. Six years ago, a different me wrote about his love of food journals on this blog. I had forgotten how much I believe in them, to be honest. I was woken from my slumber by Josh Hillis’ words in Fat Loss Happens on Monday, which I recently started reading. I really do believe in food journals. Therefore, six days ago, I started keeping a hand written food and health journal. The details of my diet, metrics of weight and body size, statements of gratitude about my body, my workouts, doctor’s appointments, and other stuff are going in there.

The journalling is going well. It’s a change for me to use a paper journal. But I am loving it. It never crashes, or does wonky things. It is handsome and feels nice to hold. I’ve kept good track of everything this week, and it’s marvelously focusing.

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Concerning my diet on Aug. 11th, 12th, and 13th, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I could and should refer to this three day stretch as “Days of Gluten,” since, as it happens, I ate a gluten-filled meal for dinner each of the days.

On each of these days I ate very low carb from breakfast until dinner or after dinner. But then, went a bit haywire with dinner. But Thursday and Friday nights I did not snack after dinner, or did not eat significant quantities of anything. And all three days I ate low calorie enough during the day, or skipped lunch, with the result that I experienced real, stomach growling, gut churning hunger at some point on each day.

On all three days I had eggs and breakfast meats for breakfast, with either a little bit of fruit, or no carbs. I had very small lunches, low calories, also low carb. But Thursday dinner was a big fat 1/2 pound cheeseburger with some fries from Cook Out. Friday was pizza and beer at Asheville Pizza and Brewery downtown. Saturday I had spaghetti with a lovely buffalo meat garden veggie sauce. And later Saturday night I ate dessert.

Weigh in on Saturday: 192.0 lbs.

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A perfect shit storm has hit me lately: health, family, household, etc. I have a broken arm, along with insomnia and jet lag (awful combination), my dog died on Tuesday, and then so did my fridge (the repair was expensive). Add to that an unpleasant, sad anniversary on Wednesday that I’d rather not discuss in my public gym notebook… my life feels shadowed by a melancholy gloom and doom.

I ate well all day on Wednesday, but then went a little haywire after dark. This is a very old eating pattern for me. Not my ideal.

Day started at 5:20 am with only about 3 hours of sleep. Coffee w/ half half. About 8:00 am, I had a breakfast of three eggs scrambled in butter, plus a banana. And 12 oz. milk. More coffee w/ half half. At lunchtime, say 1 pm, I had spinach, a cup of leftover brown rice, and two cans (8 oz) of sardines packed in olive oil. I ate the oil too… nice dressing. Dinner was shrimp in butter, and broccoli. Plus another 12 oz glass of whole milk.

Later I drank whiskey, ate .75 QT of vanilla ice cream (refrozen after the fridge got fixed, and barely edible), some jelly beans I found in the cupboard, about 4 oz of cheddar cheese, and 2 oz, of almonds.

I justify my behavior to myself with all kinds of excuses. I have no pain meds and can’t fall asleep at a reasonable hour even on only 3 hours of sleep… so whiskey seems right. Plus it’s a memorial libation for Marshall, and Jude. Etc. I have watched my mom make excuses like this. She’s still excusing herself at 70 years old. Maybe I can get a better grip.

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14 days ago I posted a food journal entry. 13 days ago I broke my left arm skimboarding. I haven’t posted much. I have some pictures and video of me skimboarding this summer, and x-rays, and post op photos. I’ll publish them all here in good time. I plan a post about pipoboarding. I wish the photos and vids were of higher quality and didn’t show off my gangly sports style, but whatever.

I’ve continued to eat the way I have. Light or no lunch. Protein heavy breakfast with minimal fruit or other carbs. Veggies, a little starch, and meat for dinner. Night time cheating with (small amounts of) alcohol and (rather larger amounts of) sweets and sugar. I’ve been nearly 100% gluten free over the past two weeks. I’ve added glasses of milk and whey protein also, since breaking the arm.

No working out at all. Strictly mobility and stretching.

Weigh in on Tuesday, Aug. 9th, 3:30 pm: 190.5 lbs.

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food tuesday july 26th 2011

coffee w/ half and half

weigh-in: 197.0 lbs

about 9:00 am
bites of leftover sausage and egg from kids breakfast

about 11:15 am
2 egg omelete fried in butter w/ fat slice of monterrey jack cheese
1 large grapefruit

about 1:30 pm
medium sized bowl of ground beef with tomato, spinach, and basil

selzter water

iced coffee w/ half half

a few raspberries, blueberries, and slices of banana, a sip of Yael’s beer, and maybe one bite of the kids’ dinner (see below for description)

surfing session (before and after: lemon ginger green tea… awesome pre and post cold water surfing)

… then

10:00 pm (post surfing)
white rice, pinto beans, large serving of chicken enchillada casserole (4 corn tortillas, chicken, musrooms, green chili sauce, monterrey jack, mexican farmer’s crumble, and cheddar cheeses, el pato sauce)

glass of tequilla with ice

piece of candy from Bruce’s: “dark chocolate peanut butter bar”

bowl of vanilla ice cream with boysenberry syrup (yes it has HFCS but I love it)

seltzer water

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Food Journal for Monday, July 25th

Weigh-in 198 lbs

Coffee w/ half
A little heartburn and stomach sour this am
2 eggs fried in bacon grease
1 large banana
Coffee w/ half

Seltzer water
Coffee w/ half

Late Lunch:
One pulled pork taco: corn tortilla toasted in bacon grease, kale, pulled pork (a few ounces), Valentina sauce.
A small number of leftover French fries

Walk on the beach

4:30-6:30 pm: shot of vodka, club soda and lemon x 2

For dinner: white rice with home made ground beef and tomato sauce with fresh basil and spinach

Nighttime binge while reading:
Whiskey and club soda
Vanilla and Mint Chocolate chip ice cream with home made “hot fudge” <– quantity: large; this was serious binge behavior!

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This pathetic entry covers almost an entire week in which I didn’t compose new entries. Wednesday, July 13th (21), Thursday, July 14th (22), Friday, July 15th (23), Saturday, July 16th (24), Sunday, July 17th (25), and Monday, July 18th (26).

Days start out pretty well, usually. My morning meals have not been stellar, but they are ok. It’s always first coffee with half and half or milk. Then we usually have breakfast. It’s eggs, sometimes with cheese, and whatever breakfast meat we happen to have on hand, such as bacon or sausage or even smoked salmon. For carbs it’s fruit, or oatmeal, corn tortillas, or even none. On at least one of these days (today, day 26) my breakfast has been ridiculous. It was leftover pork ribs and a large slice of pizza. I kid you not. I give myself: B- grade on breakfasts.

Daytime snacks and lunch: I mostly haven’t been doing ‘snacks’ or ‘lunch’. With some exceptions, like, sitting on the beach after surfing yesterday I had peanuts and corn chips. Or occasionally I will have a tablespoon of almond butter, some fruit, a handful of peanuts, that kind of thing. Lunch is often skipped, or is leftover meats, with a little bit of fruit. I find that lunch tends to interfere with mid-day activity on the beach or in lifting, surfing, etc. Sometimes this means that “lunch” looks like a daytime snack. Grade on lunch and snacks: C+.

Dinner has been the main meal of the day, and usually the healthiest, with the exception of day 25, where we had Pizza. I can’t recall at present (end of day 26) what I ate last Wednesday. That’s not surprising. There has been fish stew and spinach (day 26), pizza, salad and crab (day 25), salmon, carrots, and green beans (day 24), bbq pork ribs, mashed potatoes, and broccoli (day 23); other meals, of which I am less certain of the timing, include ground beef with tomatotes, broccoli, kale, and zucchini (probably day 21). With the exception of Pizza dinner and cheating I have been probably 95% gluten free. Grade on dinner: B+.

Alcohol: “never on a school night” has not been in effect. But then, it’s not a “school night.” Beer, wine, liquor. All has been fair game. During the day, not so much (I have grown very fond of having a beer after surfing, though). Up to kid bed time, I am very restrained and discreet. After dinner, the later I stay up, the more I drink, it seems. Especially when the house is filled with old friends as it was over the weekend of the 15th-17th (days 23-24-25). Grade: F.

Post-dinner binge eating: yes. My sweet tooth is in total effect. Chocolate and butter (i.e. fudge sauce), random candies left lying around by the kids, ice cream, cheddar cheese, almond butter, even Pizza (on nights 25 and 26). Grade: D+

Weigh-in: 192.0. What this tells me is that, pretty obviously, whatever I am doing is not hurting the “bottom” line.

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Friday July 8th 2011

Lousy sleep and only 11 hours of fasting under my belt when I ate breakfast at 8:30 am:

Coffee w/ half half
3 eggs fried in butter
Leftover kale greens made w/ onion, olive oil and salt
Fried leftover russet potato (a couple of oz)
Sausage patties (maybe 3 oz)
Two small gluten free pancakes
Apple cinnamon syrup (homemade)

Later: coffee w/ half half
Couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter
Couple of strawberries

After workout at 2:00 pm:
1 beer

2 rockfish tacos: rockfish, lime butter, sour cream, pico de gallo, corn tortillas
corn chips, strawberries, more sour cream and pico de gallo
1 gluten free chocolate chip cookie

… very satisfying post-workout eating …

iced coffee w/ half and half; shot of Kahlua in dere

for dinner, about 6:00 pm:
sweet potatoes, several oz
lacinato kale, about a cup
broccoli, about 1/2 cup
10 oz steak
shot of whiskey

post dinner snackage… it’s Friday and the folks are back in town… I kept nibbling for a while… while finishing a novel in an easy chair. Didn’t stop eating until about 11:00 pm.

shot of vodka, shot of whiskey
almonds and chocolate chips
vanilla ice cream and strawberries
cheddar cheese and salami

Definitely a cheat day!

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Ate breakfast at 8:30 am, after 13.5 hours of fasting. Got about 10 hours of sleep overnight, almost unbroken (except for a brief get up from 5:10 to 5:20 am, during which time I decided to bail on surfing). Felt awesome.

Wild Salmonberry from the margins of Oswald West State Park in Oregon

8:30 to 9:15 am
Coffee w/ half and half
3 smallish gluten free pancakes with butter and real maple syrup.
4 oz. or so of breakfast sausage patties
2 eggs fried in butter

After breakfast:
more coffee w/ half half

Around “lunchtime”
very small piece of leftover breakfast sausage
more coffee w/ half and half

Note: for some reason, I’m just not interested in lunch. Truth be told, I didn’t much feel like eating breakfast either, at least, not until I started eating it!

On a walk with the kids in the late afternoon: a few wild salmonberries. They are peaking right now. Slightly sweet, slightly sour, slightly bitter. Strange and wonderful.
For dinner about 6:00 pm: a handful of corn chips, rockfish tacos (4 of them) with six corn tortillas, totalling about 57g carbs), with lime butter, sour cream, and fresh pico de gallo, and probably about 10 oz of grilled rockfish. Perfection. Plus 1/2 cup of white rice, some boiled carrots, and sauteed spinach. At the end: a couple of small squares of dark chocolate.

For dessert at about 9:00 pm: 3 gluten free homemade chocolate chip cookies, about 1/2 pint of vanilla ice cream; a very small number corn chips. And to bed early.

So, yes, I ‘violated’ my eating window, and rules against refined grains (pancakes, cookies, tortillas) and sugar (ice cream, cookies). But I feel ok. And overall, it was not a particularly “high calorie” day.

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Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Been pretty good today, so far… not counting the refined grain products in my lunch.

Coffee w/ half and half before breakfast

Breakfast about 8:30 am: 3 egg and sausage omelette fried in butter, cantaloupe

Coffee w/ half and half while grading.

Lunch about 12:30 pm: large cod fish and chip “taco” (medium sized flour tortilla, salsa, cole slaw and cabbage, deep fried battered cod)

Second lunch about 1:30 pm: medium sized serving of leftover beef/zucchini enchillada (corn tortilla, tomato, sauce, onion, zucchini, grass fed ground beef, butter, enchillada sauce, 4 cheese mix)

Sparkling water

Coffee w/ half and half… and more grading.

I had missed a glorious day at the beach while working on finishing up summer school classes. But I finished grading and filing grades, and that was done. To celebrate that, and the arrival of my parents, and the early arrival of the sun on this fourth of july weekend, I had a whiskey.

Everything went very well through dinner. For dinner, it was carrots, potatoes, green cauliflower, stewed beef shank and marrow bone, and mushrooms sauteéd with bacon. And a beer.

After dinner, I had more of my homemade strawberry ice cream; good flavor, terrible ice cream texture. I also had the last few of those star cookies I mentioned yesterday. And some chocolate truffles. And a little more whiskey.

Things were ok for a while, but my sister and her kids arrived sometime around 10:00 pm. She brought bags of food which I unpacked. Among the items: gluten free almond cookies, chocolate chip cookies, coconut cookies, and many other goodies. I had another glass of whiskey. And various cookies. And raspberries, and cheese. And more chocolate. And truly, I lost track of what I ate, or how many times I went back to the kitchen counter. Basically, I went on a binge. I stayed up too late, ate too much, drank too much, and

Not sure what happened to my inner nutritional warrior. He sure wasn’t with me last night. I guess that, like me, he… is on vacation?

What can I learn from Thursday? I notice a pretty clear pattern in my behavior, which is that you get a couple of drinks in me, bring on the night, and I start to forget things that seem much more important to me in the morning. Things like, getting enough sleep, or healthy eating (e.g. avoiding sweets, keeping a daily fast).

Given the realities of the upcoming family holiday weekend… a beach house, ample stocks of booze and food, and my normally more relaxed attitude towards these things on Fridays and Saturdays, I can guess I won’t return to intermittent fasting until Sunday. That’s ok. It really is.