2014 In Retrospect ~ The Year of Denial

So, Gentle Reader, I have this weird thing about denial. I was raised rather woo and to this day my family and friends still commit acts of food control in the form of fasting, or diets, or newly discovered allergies or whatever. I enjoy the challenge of limiting myself, simply to see how my body reacts and to see if I can (I guess it is a willpower thing). But I can’t really stand the idea of doing it over the long run. So I decided in 2014 that I would challenge myself with one diet fad a month.

January: No sugar except when I exercise
How did I do? OK. I fell of the wagon due to the Crudrat teas but the weather cooperated so I mostly managed at least a bike ride on those days when I wanted to eat chocolate THAT BAD.
Result? Less tired, but also less happy. I do love sugar.

February: Vegetarian (some fish)
How did I do? I eat out a lot and I didn’t want to make a fuss or cause a problem so I incorporated fish three times in order to not be difficult. Otherwise, I stuck pretty closely to a veg diet.
Result? I tried new things at old favorite restaurants that I normally wouldn’t order. Energy suffered by me rewarding myself with sugar, and less protein meant I was hungrier more frequently (yes, I KNOW: eat nuts and beans and tofu and such but they processed through my tummy faster than meat, they just DO). Skin seemed to like it.

“A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.”
~ James Beard

March: No Wheat
How did I do? In the world of tea parties, wheat is almost impossible to avoid. I had a few lapses when I traveled but otherwise fine.
Result? I ate a lot of Asian and Indian food and rice noodles, found a good gluten free bread that toasted well and was tasty, baked more than normal in order to have yummy things without wheat. Missed my pastries. No noticeable effect on skin or weight or energy or anything.

April: Break ~ Drink Water
How did I do? Everything had to be chased with a pint glass of water. Tea, meals, snacks. I already know that don’t drink enough water so this was mostly to try to get myself into the habit.
Result? Skin looked great, energy level up, familiarity with bathrooms = ridiculous. I know I should drink more water, but having to pee all the time is really lifestyle altering.

“If we’re not willing to settle for junk living,
we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food.”
~ Sally Edwards

May: No Added Sugar
How did I do? I could only have done this knowing there was an end point. I allowed myself fruit. It was hard to get through the day without rewards, I started using fruit (or worse) cheetos. I had one slip up with a cocktail at the very beginning, but otherwise I managed ok.
Result? Took amazing self control to resist rewards at the beginning but by the end of the month it wasn’t bad. I did actually feel really good (placebo?), all my aches and pains were less, and my skin was better. I did notice how many times I would reach for a piece of candy each day and stopped myself from doing so, but I experienced no weight loss at all! Which was annoying given how self sacrificing and noble I felt. After I finished and began eating sugar again, everything tasted too sweet.

June: No Processed Foods (became… Salad Fest)
How did I do? By ‘processed food’ I really meant junk and snack food, things with long lists of ingredients and lots of chemicals and preservatives. This meant candy bars were out as well as my beloved cheetos. But I was less restrictive about, say, baking chocolate for birthday cake. And cheese. I tried to eat at restaurants where I felt the food was likely to be “cleaner” so no In’n’Out.
Result? This one was too hard, possibly because I wasn’t clear with myself on the category. About a week in to the process I shifted it to: substitute a salad. Where I had to eat one salad instead of one meal each day. Much easier to do, but no noticeable changes.

Arugula, watermelon, & avocado salad with feta cheese & balsamic reduction

July: No Dairy
How did I do? I chose July because it’s mid-summer and that’s the time I eat cheese the least. (Plus the last thing I wanted was no dairy in England next month!) I do love cheese and yoghurt and I use whey protein powder in my smoothies. The biggest problem was the fact that without milk, tea first thing in the AM upset my tummy. I experimented with drinking water and eating first, but no. I ate nuts or avocado for protein and the occasional nibble of lunch meat or sausage.
Result? I also ended up giving up coffee, because I’m a latte drinker. Bit of a headache for a few days there. I gave ice tea a try with lemon. Yech. In the mornings I ended up with a chai with vanilla almond milk. Throughout the day I cycled through second dip chai bag with new Assam bag, and visa versa. That worked pretty well (and the cat stopped trying to drink my tea). I slipped up a few times because I didn’t realize there was a milk product present and there was one incident with a chocolate cream pie. I am weak. No noticeable changes.

August: Break ~ Drink Water Again
How did I do? Three weeks in England meant I was traveling which made drinking the extra water tough. But I didn’t want to restrict my diet while traveling in England ~ not with my family!
Result? Not a whole lot.

“He was a very valiant man who first adventured on eating oysters.”
~ James I

September: Stretching
How did I do? I wanted to add at least 20 minutes of stretching and two longer sessions a month. Sadly it backfired on me. I pushed myself (my fault, stupid high pain tolerance) in yoga class and busted my knee ligaments.
Result? Spend most of the time on and off the couch icing my knees instead. Finally just took the last week of September entirely off from all physical activity except upper body weights, minor stretching, and walking. End result was nothing.

October: Blue Zone
How did I do? Constant moderate physical activity, leafy greens, and legumes take priority. The first week I started with walking every day. Second week I incorporated in the steppy steppy to my standing computer desk at home and tried to still find time for a walk or bike ride. I ate spinach, chard, kale or something similar every other day. The legumes were hardest. I wasn’t sure how to add them in, but I did my best going for at least three times a week as a protein substitute – I allowed tofu as one of these options.
Result? Not great. I did try to eat more greens and I started the custom of aarugula with my eggs at weekend breakfast. Probably good for me.

“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
~ Mark Twain

November: Steppy Steppy
How do I do? Introduced the steppy steppy into my life more, a kind of low impact primitive stair master. Mornings and some evenings when doing writing business (and not writing itself) was spent on the steppy while working.
Result? OK. I feel a little stronger. Didn’t do it for 2 weeks while on tour. Have to be careful not to push it as I kinda forget I’m on it sometimes. (Which was part of the point.) However, I gained weight. Sigh. Probably stress eating.

December: Morning stretches
How did I do? Instituted a policy of stretching along side my tea in the morning. Rather than immediately hopping onto my phone. No pressure stretching just some yoga and some old dance stretches for ten breath holds for the first 20-30 minutes of being awake. In an effort to workout the kinks.
Result? Got sick and couldn’t do it.

Thoughts on this? It was an interesting test of my self control but I think my energy in this matter is better spent on other things. I’m going to have a general policy on drinking more water, using the steppy steppy, stretching, and portion control in 2015. Not really a resolution more pursing healthy living.

Instead, 2015’s theme is going to be about business…

I have no problem saying no to myself and my needs and wants (see the above denial), but I have a super hard time saying no to other people’s requests. A huge part of my psyche is still the girl who grew up in fandom and every invitation to attend a convention is exciting and an honor. But there is only one of me to go around and I keep edging on burn out. In 2014 I did say no more than last year, but I also got more requests… so… I’m going to work even harder on this in 2015.

How to Make Your Willpower Stronger — According to Science

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for January? Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Robes de Mme. Galhaut, 39 rue Miromenil. Lingeriede Mme. Culasne Ledoux, rue St. Honore. Capote de Mme. Vaulout, rue de la Paix. Title-  Journal des Dames et des Modes Date-  Friday, June 1, 1838 Item ID-  v. 19, plate 104

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Musetouch Visual Arts Magazine FB

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
6 Scientifically Proven Ways To Boost Your Self-Control

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Ways to be a More Productive Writer


Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last Releases November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order. Edits stage.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First Release date March 17, 2015 available for pre-order!

The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Orbit is going away five copies of Prudence on Goodreads. The contest is open for the next few months. It’s for the released book, not the ARC.

Quote of the Day:

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Angelica R. Jackson said:

    Re: the more water=more bathroom trips–I find I don't have that issue when I'm drinking water with electrolytes in it. I get these little Electromix packets (no artificial flavors) and use those, and I feel so much better. Concentration improves too. 🙂

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