The One With the Diet

Man, the last entry was a little bit emotional wasn’t it? I think this one is also going to be a confused, rambling sort. I think that is generally my state of mind right now. Confused. Overwhelmed. Conflicted. Well, whatever. Let me get on with it.

I woke up naturally at 9am today, which was disorienting, as I’d gone to bed at 5am. I remember having bad dreams. I don’t know what they were about. But I woke up feeling slightly disturbed and not at all tired, as if afraid to fall asleep again. I decided that since I was up and about I might as well do something with my day. I’d planned to go shopping earlier in the week, then ditched the plan yesterday, and impulsively at 9am today I decided that yeah I totally would. I had convinced myself I really would like those items I saw last week, so off I went, slightly nervous as how KL would be on a public holiday.

Turns out, just like usual.  Maybe a tiny bit more crowded but not as bad as I was expecting. I even got a seat on the sky train.

I went to H&M first and typically the top I had been eyeing was itchy and looked awful on me. Most other things were like that too. Shopping is so often like that, isn’t it? Either its the wrong price, material, color, pattern, fit… the list goes on. I ended up with a couple of basic t shirts (and again, my credit card did not work, meaning I had to wander around for 20 minutes looking for an ATM to draw money. ARGH) I then headed on to Sephora, where I bought a couple of items. One I had been wanting for a while and was pleased to get, the other was an impulse born from my anger and frustration over my money situation and my stress over everything in general right now and I really think I could have done without it. Somewhere between the mess with my credit card and sephora I seemed to have decided fuck budgeting, fuck dieting, fuck everything and set myself on a dangerous course of an impulsive, emotion driven shopping binge.

Heading away from Sephora, I went into pavilion and down to a donut shop on the bottom floor I’d seen last week and had been eyeing then. I was going to buy one donut, but of course I bought six. And I so badly wanted coffee…so I got one. I felt a thrill of pleasure when I sat down to enjoy them but that did not last. I’d broken my diet, wasted precious money, for no reason at all.

Oh yes, I mentioned a diet did I not? That is, I’m currently aiming to cut out almost all dairy from my diet. Yep, you read that right. Me, the one with the sweet tooth who lives off cake and chocolate. However I read once, or maybe I was told, that dairy is often a cause of eczema. Which is something I suffer from badly, and have done so long enough to warrant the motivation to begin such extreme diet change.

I went into this diet without much thought, right back at the beginning of last summer. I stopped buying milk and bought rice milk instead. I bought plain vanilla soya milk to replace the loss of greek yogurt. I stopped eating cheese sauce with my pasta, and had tomato based sauces instead. I still ate bread and cake, with the plan being I’d reduce the amount of dairy first, allowing traces, to get used to it, to test it out, before really committing to it. And then I came to Malaysia, university started up again and together these two things made it hard to do even that. I was travelling and experiencing new cultures, I did not want to think about dieting! So I let myself break the rules on holiday. I was stressed and I wanted chocolate! So I had chocolate.

Today, I went and I bought myself six cream filled donuts and a creme brulee coffee that was half cream. The first sip was heavenly, the first bite delightful, but by the time I was finished the coffee and two of the donuts I felt nauseous. That’s the thing that also prompted me to accept this diet as something I should do for my overall well being, not just try out for the sake of my skin. That is: I’ve possibly always been slightly intolerant to dairy, actually. I love milkshakes, but I’ve not been allowed to drink them since I was small because they’d make me ill. I also have never been able to stomach omelets or too much egg in other forms. I could not tolerate rich, creamy deserts. I rarely ate yogurt, and when I did I had only a small spoonful with dry cereal, because I could not tolerate it otherwise. I could only ever eat mild cheeses like red Leicester and Gloucester, others made me feel ill. When I ate cheesy pasta for supper I enjoyed it but I could only manage half the portion of my sister, and I always felt off afterwards. I never recognised it though, that thing that was staring me in the face. The feeling that I’d eaten something wrong for me. I like cheese and yogurt and milk and cream. I like these things. But I have to accept they actually do not agree with me. I felt so ill today. I still feel ill.

And somewhere along the line I had accepted that ill feeling for full. That’s the problem, right there. I never feel full anymore. I always want to snack. I don’t know how to recognise when I’ve eaten enough anymore, because I often stopped once I felt ill. Oh if I eat enough food then I’ll know. When I went to morganfields and had clearly more food than I could stomach I felt full but in a borderline ill, over stuffed kind of way. But I don’t always want to be eating these huge portions to end up feeling completely over stuffed to know that yes, I’ve had enough. More than that, I’m wanting to snack because I crave the foods I should be working to cut out- fatty, heavy(for me) junk like pizza, chocolate, cake, donuts, even a glass of hot…well cold chocolate is dairy.  If I eat properly, and follow the diet, I do not feel satisfied. and without a proper kitchen nor the equipment to make substitutes, well…

Reducing dairy is making me face my issues with food head on and its..uncomfortable, to realise the extent of these issues. I am an emotional eater and it really is very bad. I have a tendency to think I’m hungry when I’m bored/stressed/emotional and I tend to crave fatty, heavy foods, to want to eat until I feel ill, exactly like what too much dairy does to me. Too much rich, creamy chocolate or cake. I want to enjoy the sweet things I like, rather than mindlessly stuff myself full of them until I literally cannot take another bite because I don’t even know… it just makes me feel good. I love that sugar high, too. the combinational sugar high and caffeine high is even better. gosh, after I’d had that coffee I had so much energy. I went and browsed around the mall some, ended up in a cute accessories shop and it was there I realized I was running out of money. Disappointed, I spent an unfortunate amount of time umming and ahhing over the three sets of accessories I wanted and finally settled on one. Then I went to find an ATM to see if my card would let me take anything more from it. It did not and I was disappointed. in retrospect,I am so glad. I could have continued for many more hours, wasting my money. Well, not necessarily wasting. But there is a difference between seeing something and analysing clearly Do I need this or do I just want it? Is it worth the price? Will it last? What can I wear it with? Rather than just seeing something going want and ending up being blinded by that want. It’s the same with the diet. Its one thing continuing to eat bread with the traces of milk, and another thing to set out to have something as dairy-filled as possible.

Today was a day of reckless, thoughtless spending. Breaking the budget, breaking the diet. In many ways I had a lovely day, so maybe today was something I needed, maybe I woke up today so I could have this one crazy day to let my emotions drive me, and so get them out. But I’m still left disappointed in myself. I’m going to have to do better than this.

Just, no more binging. Man, just no more binging.

I should be optimistic though. I have plans, goals. With the diet, that is. I think once I’m back in the UK it will be better. I’ve already wish-listed a bunch of world war two cookbooks (mock dairy products and dairy free cakes!) and vegan cookbooks and this summer I’m looking forward to learning how to bake my own dairy free bread, making my own granola bars and experimenting with egg free cakes. I should be able to introduce some dairy free sweet treats into my diet that will do something about these cravings and still be relatively healthy too.

I am disappointed in what I did today, but I do not want to beat myself up about it. I don’t want to get obsessive with this diet. More than that, I want to enjoy this. I want to do this and to enjoy it. It should be possible. I gave up using shampoo easily enough, after two years it has become habit. Once you replace your old bad habits with good ones its hard to notice the difference- habit is habit, after all. But this is much bigger than just giving up one product. This is giving up so much. I want pizza and ice cream and yes, more coffee and donuts. But I must not. Even so, I have to remember that I am still easing into this. Its too difficult to properly do this non-dairy thing under the circumstances of student halls, and I am living abroad, so the rules can be lax. As long as they don’t completely relax like today.

It’s late now. I should probably try and get some sleep, although my mind still feels wide awake. Big surprise there.