Psycosomatic Dieting

This week I’ve committed to breakfasting before I get to work, or by 830 on days I’m not working. After reading an article about nutrition and balanced diets in the Metro (#greatsources) I’m testing a theory it put forward. The assertion made by the diet expert interviewed (whose name I stupidly didn’t note down) was that a high protein breakfast was a better way to start the day than sugar and carbs.

I like eggs. I like bacon. I’m not a massive fan of bread. Seems like a great change for me if it works.

So this is day two of said diet, and day one was pretty good for me. Making breakfast at home means I save some money and get up earlier – I’m now waking up at 7 and rising at 730. I hope to change this to waking at 645, rising at 7 for a run and then showering and breakfast, to leave at about 8-810 latest. Week one, day two is not the time to judge this a failure though! Getting up earlier means I’m more awake when I arrive at work, which is probably better professionally, and on days I’m not working it should mean I get my brain into gear that much faster.

Does the breakfast itself make a difference? Calorie wise it’s somewhere around 435 cals. The breakfast I bought at work was nearer 405, so about the same on that front. The relative protein content (the reason for the change) of the new is approx 30 mg in the new meal compared to 18 in the old. I also reduce my sodium by 300 mg, which can only be good. I half my carbs and add five milligrams of fat, which in the long run isn’t all that much. From the stats, I would say this was a healthier breakfast. If I chucked in some spinach it would be even better, but I need to buy some. #firstworldproblems

Yesterday I certainly felt better, and I do again this morning. I managed a run yesterday evening thanks to the encouragement of my girlfriend, and my inherent competitiveness is going to make me match her three runs a week from now on. Whether the change in breakfast affected this pretty difficult to determine though. I think just the getting up a little earlier helps a lot with my attitude and energy, but it might be the protein as promised by the dietician in the Metro.

I’ll have to do some more research to substantiate this claim, but it would be nice if true. I also want to look into what sodium and other vitamins do for the human body – for someone who’s been fairly diet orientated for the last few years, I know surprisingly little about the various nutrients I’ve been looking to work into my diet! Vitamin A is good for your eyes, D is from sunlight, C fights off scurvy. Calcium makes your bones strong (if cheerleading taught me anything it was that I was a mug for not drinking milk for the last 20 years of my life), iron is good for the blood but doesn’t make you Popeye-strong or bullet proof and that’s about it. What a sorry display of nutritional knowledge from someone supposed to be able to give diet advice!

I have a theory that the healthier my diet, the less, or less often perhaps, I will want to eat. This is on the basis that your body eats for nutrients – and whatever chemical addictions it’s got after eating processed food – and so if it gets enough of these nutrients then it will stop asking for more. Is this going to be the case? I’m still buying popcorn at lunch so maybe it hasn’t learned yet. Hopefully it’ll only take five days and then I can start moving into the classier areas of the diet train.

How’s my exercise been going? Friday say about a half hour work out with minimal cardio and then fifteen minutes of rock climbing which sounds like nothing but when you’re as cataclysmically afraid of heights as I am it feels like a lot longer. Let’s just say not all my sweat was from exercise and leave it there. Very good fun, and a great work out, but a bit expensive for my budget. Also I’m not sure how long my nerves would survive that amount of mind-numbing terror. As an insight, by the time I finished I physically couldn’t move at the top of the wall. I couldn’t pull myself against the wall or move my hand to a better grip even when I felt them slipping. Logic, reason, everything overrun by indiscriminate and unthinking terror. What an absolute embarrassment.

Despite only being about twenty foot of the ground was much more stomach-lurchingly scary than rollercoasters, Go Ape or standing on the edge of cliff faces. I think it’s to do with not having sure-footing and stability, but that can be looked into another time – and I don’t think will in fact help quell the fear I feel doing it. So perhaps I might wait a while before doing it again…

While it’s not a great amount of exercise it is in addition to my half hour walks at lunch and whatever else I fit in during my day. Most of it is low intensity but it all adds up, and frankly I’d rather build that up and not change my calorie allotment than crash diet. I’m drinking more water, on the basis that hydration hits harder than starvation, and have cut down a lot on my fizzy drink consumption. So I feel better for that, but whether that’s just in my head.

But I think dieting is a lot about your mindset, and about what’s going on in your head. That’s the thing that drives you, makes you do thinks – your mind. And if it’s just thinking about fattening or unhealthy food and a lazy, lethargic lifestyle then it’s going to be hard to lose weight. This is a firm philosophy of mine, that really believing something is better for you, good for you and helpful for you drives you towards it or to do it. Ambition is the word I’m looking for, and one of mine is to lose weight. It’s a cognitive phenomena rather than a physical one, I think, so all of this is definitely in my head. Judging by my fear of heights, being in my head makes it a powerful force. Let’s hope it burns some fat, eh?

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