Sunday 8 December 2019

The diet of diets is working despite the pain

Tough mudders - but is feeling the burn really key to our happiness?
Tough mudders - but is feeling the burn really key to our happiness?
Brendan O'Connor

So the diet of diets, as daft as it was, appeared to be working to some extent. For those of you who missed it, I looked for patterns across the new year's diets, mainly looking for things that didn't seem too taxing and I came up with roughly this:

No breakfast, thus causing me to roughly eat all my food in an eight-hour window and also meaning only two meals - these are buzz concepts right now.

No junk, apart from maybe the odd square of chocolate or a small bite off a Wispa or something. You may keep a Wispa in a tub in a fridge to nibble on. But in general try and snack on pears.

Smaller portions at dinner and fill up the plate with greens.

And it wasn't too much hardship and it was working reasonably well. Two pounds lost in the first week. To be honest, I was expecting more. I thought even the act of stopping the four-week orgy of eating and drinking I went on for Christmas would have meant I dropped more than that initially as the bloatage (pronounce that in a French way) came off.

But, as always, there were events. And I don't mean fun events that I went to and ate and drank. I mean bad events, unexpected events.

This guy crashed into me on his bike. I too was on a bike. He was very apologetic so I'm taking that as an acceptance of responsibility. I was going slowly and we both actually managed to stop or swerve before there was full impact. But there was falling off involved. Slow motion falling off, which should have been grand. But I think the handlebar dented my side. I was a bit winded at the time, but I got back on and cycled to work.

I lived with it manfully for a few days. But it wasn't getting any better and I needed reassurance so I went to a clinic. Turns out it's a broken rib or ribs. They were vague about it. Once they ascertain that there is no collateral damage to kidneys or lungs, they basically don't care. It's painkillers and off you go and take it easy for a while. You'll get over it.

And I'm grand really. I'm bearing it all with little complaint and great dignity. I'm going with Brock Bastian on this. He has a new book called The Other Side of Happiness where he suggests that to know happiness, we must embrace pain as much as pleasure. My initial response when I read about the book was to kick myself for not thinking of writing it. And then I moved onto acceptance - acceptance that I won't be reading the book but that the tips from it are enough. "Pain is more of a challenge than a threat" and "Value pain" and "Look for discomfort". I like it.

But I think pain for me can tend to send me slightly to the dark side. I get a bit Rear Window, sitting around brooding. After what I will now refer to as "The Accident", I could feel the pain getting in on me mentally after a few days. So I decided to get on with life, ignore the pain, or at least to just live through it. I started walking. I went to the cold sea for gentle swims, and found it to be the best anti-inflammatory going. In general, it was all fine, as long as I didn't try to bend down, move suddenly, get out of a chair, or go to bed.

What I did not do was start comfort eating. I had a beer over the weekend, a Mexican dish and some pasta, and the odd dark chocolate Bounty, but I stuck with two meals a day, and I got back on track on Monday.

If I can lose two pounds on a bad week, feeling dark and with little movement, I can definitely do it again this week. One tip if you're following this so-called diet. You'll get tired of pears. I've moved onto kiwis for now. And also let's start drinking more water. Okay. Be good and let's check in again next week.

Sunday Independent

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