Friday, 18 November 2011

Stress, Wine, Willpower and a chat with Dean Dwyer

I'm having a hard time with stress lately.  I have teens, need I say more?  It's an affliction.  Sometimes I love them alot, somethings I think they're deliberately trying to give me a heart attack.  So at the end of a long day, Steve, aka MFD (see sidebar), likes to pour me a nice glass of red wine to sip on as we prep and cook our dinner together and try to unwind.  Stress makes me crazy and irrational.  And tired.  Last night I was cranky about having drunken the glass of wine.  I know, irrational.  As if it was someone else's fault.  But I felt like it was.  I like to call Steve my enabler.  So he has suggested that wine, for me, is an amplifier.  If I'm cranky, it makes me more so.  If I'm glad the week is over and I'm ready to unwind, one glass short-cuts my unwinding and puts me straight to sleep.  Sometimes at 7 pm.  I'm such a party animal.  At least I don't fall asleep face-down in my food.

So under stress, Steve and I both have issues with willpower.  The other day, we sat down with Dean Dwyer of Being Primal for a skype conversation about this problem.  This is an awesome thing Dean does, taking time to talk to paleo-followers and listen to how their journey is going and offering some tips and suggestions along the way.  (If you haven't done so yet, check out his website at or his facebook fan page Being Primal.  He has some very thoughtful, rational ideas on how to go about living the primal lifestyle and he does indeed respond to every email sent to him).  So we skyped (is that a word?) and the internet speed was terrible and the screen kept freezing when we were making the weirdest faces, but we had a really great time talking to Dean anyways. 

Dean talked about the importance of making room in your week for planned cheat foods, because willpower is only so strong, and he also reminded us that willpower is indeed a learned thing.  It does not come automatically.  (Really, we talked about a lot more than that, but how long can I make this one blog?!)  Honestly, hearing that he has 3 cheats in a week makes me feel a lot less like a failure for breaking down and having a non-paleo treat.  Because I think he's pretty ripped now, and he's made this huge journey over the past year and a half and he's absolutely succeeded...with a few cheats built in....  You gotta check out his story...

So, in light of my conversation with Dean, I had a cheat.  And I didn't berate myself over it for once.  I had, after all, eaten nothing but the good stuff from Sunday night until Thursday afternoon when I was confronted by two lovely deep-fried battered chicken pakoras.   I was at the office, there were phones ringing, my name being paged, I'd just returned from a half-day meeting and was feeling the stress amp up immediately.  I scarfed back those two cold pakoras...  And then I suffered, oh, I suffered. I suffered immediately and I suffered all night long.  I felt like I'd eaten two rocks.  Normally, this is when the self-loathing kicks in.  I get bloated, tired, crampy, cranky, lethargic  and gassy (I'm so sexy...).  I have to put on the baggy hoodie that hides my belly.  Normally, at this point, I won't go near a scale for a week. 

Now, I started this journey, like almost everyone else, thinking to lose a few pounds.  But somewhere along the way, shortly after the carb-flu had passed (whew, that was an ugly stage) I realized it really was about my health.  My body was not meant to eat grains.  It does not like them one bit, and this tiny taste of doughy deep-fry had me, once again, eyeing up the laxatives, thinking....  Well, it took just that one little thing, that small cheat to remind me of why I'm here, and what paleo has done for me.  That one cheat renewed my commitment to paleo.  (Now if only I could get through to my teens so easily...)

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