No Carb Thursdays

Latest life tweak is ‘No Carb Thursdays’.

Why ‘No carbs’? Because I love carbs but they also make me feel bloated and lazy. And avoiding them all, all the time, unnecessarily taxes my will power. I have reduced the usual intake, but it still spikes occasionally (actually more frequently than I admit).

Also because I’ve gained nearly 1.5Kg in last week—76.6 last Thursday, 77.9 today. And I hadn’t run in four days. And I’m not happy—about a few things in particular, but also that low-intensity background unhappiness in general.

So I decided to try a new thing.

Why ‘Thursdays’? Because today is Thursday, and I didn’t want to put this off till tomorrow.

Continue reading No Carb Thursdays

81.4

The weighing scale read 81.4 Kg on Saturday, 10 Aug. Last time I weighed this much was on 26th February, more than five months ago.

As recently as a month ago, on 5th July, I weighed just 78 Kg. I gained 3.4 kilos in a month!

That 81.4 isn’t a single spike. My average weight last week was 80.3 Kg. A month ago it was 78.3 Kg. Even the weekly average increased by 2 kilos​ :(

Based on BMI (25.4), that makes me officially overweight.

Continue reading 81.4

Eating rules

1. No screens

No TV, no phone, no laptop, no kindle. No, not even a book. When eating, eat. Listening is allowed, as long as it is to other people in person, not a podcast, radio, etc.

While eating, stay with eating. Taste and enjoy the food, not what’s happening on the screen while absentmindedly dumping the food down the throat.

This rule also helps with the next one. If the screens are off, the mind has more space to think about food and eating. Which allows us correct ourselves when we slip into the assembly line mode of eating.

2. Idle hands till the bite has been swallowed

Once a bite is in the mouth, keep the hands idle till it’s been chewed and swallowed. Keep the fork and the knife down. Keep the sandwich down. Don’t break the next bite of the roti.

Keep hands idle till the previous bite has been swallowed (repeating). Then prepare the next bite, put it in the mouth, and make the hands idle again.

Eating is not an assembly line job. There’s no need to maximise throughput. There is a need to taste, enjoy, chew and digest all that is going in. Rushing a bite because the next is ready in the hands makes a fast eater, doesn’t make a good, happy, healthy one.

This rule also helps stay on course with Michael Pollan’s advice on not eating too much. Keeping hands idle while chewing slows down the eating rate. This means that the food hits the tummy while we are still eating, making us feel full earlier.

On the other hand, the assembly line mode of eating is an invitation to overeat. The high turnover of bites means we can eat a lot more before the first morsels hit the tummy. Result: we’ve already overeaten before the tummy can tell us its full.

3. More greens and fresh vegetables than the rest

Greens + fresh vegetables on the plate >= everything else (bread, cheese, meat)

Remember Michael Pollan’s advice:

Eat food.
Not too much.
Mostly plants.

This rule helps stay on course with the third statement.

Just the fresh vegetables ought to be more than the carbs on the plate (bread, roti, dosa, rice…).
Fresh vegetables + greens + cooked vegetables ought to be more than everything else combined (meats, cheeses, fat, beans, dals, et al).


That’s all for now. Might update these rules in the future as I learn/discover more.

Continue reading Eating rules

The siesta / the coffee nap

Today was an 8/10 day.

I had a productive morning of work, and a good round of ankle exercises, stretching and wobble board (~4 mins nonstop). Then the boys and I went for a brisk walk in the woods. The wind was blowing from the north, so the wheat husk didn’t bother me much on the walk today. Did a few more stretches on return, then the boy and I had lunch.

If the day had ended there, it’d have still been a 6/10 day1.

Lunch was two courses—a toast with egg mayo and some bhaji (minus pav), and two pieces of oven cooked chicken fillet. It was heavy. By the time I finished lunch, made and drank coffee, my brain was shutting down and eyes were closing. I put on British F1 practice session on the TV but could barely keep my eyes open.

With the boy snuggled up next to me, there was no point fighting the sleep. So, I set an alarm for 15 mins later, took off the specs, and lay down next to him on the (sleep corner) of the sofa. 15 mins later I snoozed the alarm. 9 more mins. Next time the alarm rang, I was already partly awake. I stayed on the sofa, enjoying the boy’s hug, and read the latest Stratechery article (It’s about Shopify—one of the new tech companies I quite admire). By the time the article finished, I was wide awake, full of energy and raring to go.

If the morning work session was productive, the evening session was doubly so. I wasn’t just getting a lot of work done, I was even enjoying it—both the work and the feeling. It was awesome. I took a break midway to walk around a bit. I also cut and diced some apples during the break—treats for me and the boys. Then it was back upstairs for more work. Finally, I had to stop working and tear myself away from the desk at 19:30, an hour after my ‘stop work’ alarm.

R had gone to get the cold pizza for dinner, so the boy and I spent 10 mins walking around in the backyard—smelling the flowers, the clean breeze, and making sure I achieve my step target.

It was a good day.

Continue reading The siesta / the coffee nap

Today in food fusion experiments

Wholemeal toast (warm, medium toasted), egg mayo (cold), Indian style spicy beans (cold)
Wholemeal toast (warm, medium toasted), egg mayo (cold), Indian style spicy beans (cold)

It didn’t taste bad, but the strong flavours of egg mayo and the beans sort of cancelled each other out. I got a bit of both flavours, but neither was too distinct.

Based on experimentation: Indian style vegetable dishes go better with humous, while egg and mayo does better with my usual cucumber-tomato-onion-rocket combo.

Achievement of the day: meals without screens

Ate both meals without screens.

No phone, no TV, no laptop, no kindle,… nothing.

Yesterday’s lunch—the first fully screen free (alone) meal—was a bit of a mess. I was anxious, itching to either pick up the phone or switch on the news.

It took a bit, but by the end of the meal I was calmer. I also took longer to finish the meal—spending more time on every bite, chewing better, putting the fork/spoon down between the bites,…

Today’s lunch was easier. Yesterday’s experience comforted me that any anxiety was unwarranted.

Dinner was harder in the usual aspect—R was home and watching TV1. It was easier in another way—there was a beautiful sunset outside. I placed the rocker facing the sunset (back to the TV), and slowly ate my dinner watching the orange sky and the green canopy.

It was quite pleasant. Slow, tasty, pleasant 🙂

Continue reading Achievement of the day: meals without screens

Knackered. Happy knackered.

Saturday morning: 50th parkrun. Maddie remembered. Thank you Maddie. Paint pickup from Screwfix on the way home.

Got a happy S for company in the afternoon.

Spent the evening on the road behind the house, painting the fence. It took nearly 4 hours for 8 panels. The wood hadn’t been painted in at least 7 years, if ever. It was drinking paint. A 9L can didn’t finish a single coat on the 8 panels.

A late dinner, some Glastonbury on the beeb. Late night.

Today began late, with an aching body.

Took boys for a short walk. Then went for a 70 mins easy run.

Showered, ate, washed the dishes in the sink, made a coffee, and read a book.

Around 7pm, I returned to the rear fence with the second can of paint. Spent the evening clearing the ivy at one end of the fence, then giving the fence a second coat (first coat for bits under the ivy and the bottom fifth).

Finished at 21:30. Cleaned the brush. Fixed (correctly this time) the shower holder. Took a shower. Shaved.

Now, having a pre-meal of peanut butter toast with red wine. Chicken schnitzel is in the oven.

It’s been a productive, happy weekend.

The only area of improvement is that I didn’t get to spend much time with Duds 🙁

Tweaks for 2019 – Be frugal

I don’t have money, and I need a lot. So, I need to save money.

I have strict work and personal relations targets this year. They require me to be very focused, and not squander time or attention. I need to be frugal with my time and cognitive capacity this year.

I have set myself a target for running time, and I have an entry in London Marathon to address last year’s failings. Combined with demands for attention on work and relationships, I can’t afford to waste time or energy this year. I need to be frugal with my physical and mental energy, as well as with time.

I weigh too much, having gained 10 kg in the 7 months since the ankle injury. I need to lose weight, eat frugally.

Final tweak for the year: I will try to be frugal this year, with everything. Continue reading Tweaks for 2019 – Be frugal

Tweaks for 2019 – Eat Slower

I eat very fast. I start preparing my food after R has started eating. 5 mins later I’ll start eating. I will have finished my food, rinsed my dishes, and often finished the dessert before she finishes eating. Yes she’s a slow eater. But it only highlights how fast I eat.

If we are watching a serial on the TV, I finish food before the starting credits are over. If we are watching a football match, Ole Gunnar’s Man United are still shaking the opponents hands before the whistle by the time I finish eating. They’ve scored 2 goals by the time R finishes eating.

Eating fast had its advantages growing up in a big joint family. It meant being able to go for a second serving quicker – before the favourite dishes got over. It also meant being able to finish food quickly to get away from prickly adults and back to fun/play/book/isolation. An ability to eat fast also meant that when forced to eat dishes I didn’t like, I could quickly swallow them after chewing just twice.

I want to eat slow.
To enjoy the food more – keep the food longer in my mouth so I can feel the taste longer, taste more of the juices.
To eat and digest better – chew the food longer, into smaller bits so it digests better.
And so that I eat less – ensure more of the food has reached the belly, and registered with the brain before I finish the first serving. Fewer, smaller second servings will be the result, hopefully. Continue reading Tweaks for 2019 – Eat Slower