Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Diet and Psychological Reform, Update 2

Those who don't care about the minutiae of my life, click here for the moral of the story.

Well, it's been a stressful, hectic week. This, of course, is a very bad thing in combination with attempting to change my overall mindset.

Thursday was supposed to be a fast day for ADF. However, I knew my Friday was going to be a very busy day, and worried that my caloric intake might be too low to sustain myself. So I compromised, and had some pecans. Only, that turned into about 1000 calories. I wasn't terribly worried at that point. I was, however, extremely disappointed in myself as I'd been working feverishly on an Arduino project called the MIDHuman (more on it in later posts), but, having never taught myself the basics of soldering, damaged a part crucial to the device and ruined part of it. Worse still, I'd been planning on using it at Friday's show. It was just another scenario where I had jumped into something, not bothering to learn from the ground up, and it came back to bite me in the ass. A rather humbling realization for me, once again.

Enter Friday, where my schedule consisted of working (at Whole Foods) from 8-3:30, coming home, and leaving for the concert I was playing at by 5:30, which would take the rest of my day.

I should state that I love working at Whole Foods. I'm in the specialty department, meaning I oversee cheese, coffee, beer, wine, and some other offbeat things (candies, pâtés, etc). It is an incredible place to work, and the level of professionalism I've seen there simply astounds me. There are but two downsides to this job:

1.) I am almost always surrounded by some sort of food. Often cheese, as it is the most labor-intensive product we carry.
2.) We share a department section with bakery, meaning often that food which surrounds me is tainted with breads, muffins, pastries, etc. On normal days it's not a problem, I can easily turn it down. However, if the binge mentality ever starts, things rapidly deteriorate.

And so it was, of course, that first thing in the morning one of the ever-so-good-meaning bakery ladies walked over and laid half a pastry on my table.

"I can sample it." I said to myself. I didn't want to offend her and felt this would be a test of my willpower.

So I did. No harm, no foul. I narrated in my head that this tasted disgusting (another AP exercise, another post), and went on with my day. Until I saw the caramelized pecans which had gone past their Sell-By date.  I'd helped myself to a cup of them. One more sample and that was the extent of the damage I'd done at work. This was a different binge mentality than before. I knew I was in control and the damage I was doing could be repaired by the next day's fast. As long as I didn't make a habit of it, I'd be fine. I went home and took a nap before the show.

I woke up late, hurrying to pack everything into my car (which was a lot). I arrived at the venue, helped set up, and all was well. I was operating the mixer for the first 4 (of 7) acts. However, I was panicking because I wanted a bit of time to practice my set and set myself up. Finally, the owner of the PA we'd borrowed, who is a DJ, came over and operated the board for me. I went backstage and unwound and practiced. It wasn't till I was onstage, set up, behind a closed curtain that the problems truly began.

DJs tend to be really cool people, but a 2-channel DJ mixer running two turntables or CD players or whatever are ENTIRELY different beasts than a 16-channel mixer running microphones and direct 1/4" inputs. So, while I'm setting up my equipment, nothing, nothing is working properly. I can't speak into my mics without feedback, much less sing, the digital piano I'm using won't come through the PA, and the output from my Mac is inaudible. Nevertheless, I tried to press on. While I'm singing, the broken boom mic stand I'm using swings away from my face, resulting in me having to walk off-stage, get duct tape, try (unsuccessfully) to joke about it, and fix it. Finally, while I'm still struggling with my levels, my friend in the next (and final) band is in the crowd, rushing me to get off so they can finish their set. 5 minutes later, he walks back stage and whispers the same thing to me, taking no precautions not to let anyone else hear him. So I cut my set.

Obviously, at this point I was pissed off, and did my best to cover it up. Unfortunately, there was a smorgasboard of food (-like products) for the performers that night, and I didn't hesitate to help myself. M&Ms, brownies, it was bad. At this point, any semblance of control and willpower I had was gone, the result of a very tense and abrasive evening.

Yesterday was supposed to be a fast as well, and the first attempt while working. I allowed myself a 100-calorie budget (since my co-workers often ask me to sample a cheese or two), but unfortunately, that quickly crashed as well. Found some more caramelized pecans, as well as cheese, etc., and by the end of the day had racked up 2500 calories. Fortunately, minus the caramelized pecans, it was all strictly Primal food, so the damage was not NEARLY as bad as it could've been.

The Bottom Line

  • Stress is incredibly detrimental to willpower, and can break the delicate balance of Assertive Psychology. It has to be managed well and I'll be looking into it. 
  • I have to get into the habit of meditating daily. It happened rarely, if at all, these past few days and I'm more than willing to bet that allowed me to become so stressed.
  • I may shift my all-day fasts to simply 2 times a day. I've got two reasons for this:
    1. It's less rhythmic. I don't think cavemen always went one day without having food, then found some the next. It's been suggested that the body can fall into a sort of routine, which we don't want to happen.
    2. It's more practical. I've had to turn down two dinner invitations this week due to the ADF plan, and it's simply exhausting to have to explain to people what I'm doing, then deal with the consequent worries or judgement. This way, I can build my diet around my life, not the other way around.

That's about it for now. Sorry for the rushed nature of these posts. More thought-out stuff coming soon, but I felt I owed you guys something after the long delay.

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