Friday, 31 August 2007

Still on the primrose path

This is the longest I have been continuously off-piste all year, without CoM, and knowing I'm not getting my 100%s, and having no idea of my calorie intake. Does this bother me? Well, yes, in that it's constantly nagging at the back of my mind that I am not being as disciplined as I might be and therefore there will be a price to be paid (or rather, being paid - I can see/feel already I am somewhat more padded than I was six weeks ago!); in another way, no, in that off piste for me means enjoying good food, mostly in the company of people I love, although sometimes alone, and that I have every intention of getting back onto the straight and narrow after this weekend - not much point in even attempting to do so with a friend's dinner party tonight, and dinner with the neighbours tomorrow.

It has, however, and in conjunction with April's post about lapsing and making excuses to oneself for that, whether I have the discipline to CRON long-term for longevity. Do I believe, I guess is the question. Do I believe that CRON will extend my lifespan? Do I believe that even if it does, that I will have access to advances in medical care that will extend it even further? Do I believe that CRON will take me to 120 (for want of a better lifespan to use) and keep me in the kind of physical condition that makes life worth living? And I don't know.

My concept of mortality is, to put it frankly, f*cked. Ever since I watched my father die, and indeed tacitly encouraged the doctors to prevent him suffering more than he needed to, I've felt every single day that I will be taken as quickly and without warning or chance for farewells and in complete and utter helplessness in the end as he was. In the beginning I tried to get counselling for this; now I accept it as part of my life and I live with it, although I hate feeling like it. So really, I should be grasping at the chance CRON offers (because I have no reason to doubt that the chance is there, even if I don't and never will understand the science behind it). I should be taking every single care in the world of my health and my body. I should be constantly vigilant, as Robin has it. And yes, this is why initially CRON appealed - that and, of course, consuming loads of veggies and monitoring calorie intake fits perfectly with a pattern of eating I've had for - well, over fifteen years now, perhaps longer.

But I am not constantly vigilant. I am not careful. I doubt. Alongside the fear of dying is the fear of not living. And that fear brings with it the f*ck it mentality that I was talking about in my previous post. This is what I need to get a handle on. I do not believe that, to use the analogy someone posited on April's blog, that my life will be whittled away french fry by french fry or, more appropriately for me (since I don't eat fries), sip of red wine by sip of red wine. In moderation, I believe everything is fine. But recently I've not been moderate in my sipping, and that is starting to worry me greatly. I need to find the will to tackle this. It should be so easy (so just stop) but it's not. There is always one more excuse.

I'm not sure where this post is going... :-) I guess we all have to live our lives in a way that suits us. Often this is going to include bad habits and all we can do is try and minimise the damage. There are too many variables, too much uncertainty, to place all ones eggs into a basket. I am 100% behind the principles of eating according to a CRON diet - I can't imagine not eating my piles of veggies every day, and I won't compromise on that and take the easier, more convenient options - not unless I am backed into a corner with hunger pangs akin to snarling wolves (ironic, isn't it, that even then I have to have P almost threatening divorce before I will eat some bread but when I am not hungry, a slice of toasted rye bread is almost irresistable?). But am I ever going to be a hard-core paragon of CR virtue? Am I ever going to do everything possible to maintain my health? No. I should, of course I should, because it is so foolish not to when the price to be paid is inevitable and it's only a question of when, not if, but I am too human. I cannot take the steep and thorny path. I just... don't want to, not all the time. And so be it, if this is weak.

Mary wrote in her blog that she wishes April a long, healthy, human life. And so do I, with all my heart. I wish it for all of us. And I wish for all of us to enjoy it for as long as we can enjoy it in ways that are particular and peculiar to each of us, without fear, or anxiety, or guilt.

And now I am really not sure what I've been blathering on about, but I'm going to hit publish post anyway. And then I am off to dally with a group of friends for dinner via a long walk along the Thames to break in my new and vertiginous shoes. There will be pain. :-)


April said...

Excellent post Sara!

I figure I will always drink one glass of wine more than is truly optimal... but I love it, so there! What bugs me is when I do things that I don't really love, that don't make me feel good, and that don't improve my health, but I just do them anyway for no good reason. I think it's a matter of making conscious decisions about what makes you happiest, then going with that.

Unfortunately, too much wine gives me horrible anxiety attacks. Not worth it. Delicate balance required for me. Took a long time to figure it out, but now that I know, I kick myself for having that last glass that pushes me over the edge. I know quite a few people who get anxiety from too much alcohol, but I have no idea what chemically causes it. Someone should do a study... free wine for medical purposes!


Ali said...

Hi Sara, I love this post because I struggle too, knowing what we know yet still slipping into patterns when I just don't care to enter my data, search for my veggies and plan out all my meals. I think one of the hardest things about CR for me is not knowing whether it will truly work and wondering if I cheated myself out of a life that could have been more delicious. The question I then ask myself is why aren't the things that nature surely intended enough to satisfy my food desires. ali

Arturo said...

Hi Sara
I enjoyed the post also. Being that I'm closer to Mary's age than April's, I espouse Mary's view that CRON may not prolong our life, but make it healthier. That's because we began later in life, in our 40s. It will certainly give us "health span". Like you, I'm not perfect in the practice either. Sometimes I really slip one day a week. My problem is baked stuff. It shouldn't be called "goods", should it? I fall for baked baddies. hehe.
Hey Ali, nice to know you're still with us.

skinnybitch said...

Hi Sara,

Great post!

You know, when I spoke of constant vigilance, I didn't mean to suggest that I expect perfection from myself or anyone else. I think it's absolutely fine to have the cheese plate and port once in a while, even if it might shave some time off my golden years. Sure, there are trade-offs in life, and no one but me can decide what my priorities should be. My only point was that I can't make good decisions about those trade-offs if I willfully ignore all the pertinent facts.

When I speak of constant vigilance, I'm talking about awareness. I want to make sure I'm not kidding myself or my readers. If I'm consuming over 50-calories-worth of Splenda a day, I don't want to blithely pretend that isn't happening. To me, there isn't necessarily a right or wrong food choice in any given situation. Rather, there is an informed choice and an uninformed choice.

My goal isn't to always make the "perfect" food choice. Rather, I want to make informed food choices. Sometimes that will result in the consumption of a gigantic kale salad. Sometimes it will lead to the consumption of wine and cheese. As long as I'm being mindful about it, I think both choices are equally good.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I hope this makes some sense.


Steph said...

Hi Sara :)

I get this completely - it's similar to how I feel. I believe that CRON can, at the very least, give us a healthier life. I'm watching my own father battle for his life, and it's always in the back of my mind - if I do this, can I avoid what he's going through?

That said, I also believe that stressing and putting ourselves under stress for not being "perfect" can probably reverse any of the good effects of CRON. At the very least, the improved nutrition of your diet can only be a good thing. Being happy is even better.


Linda said...

It can be so hard to do CRON on top of a busy life, and expecting impossible standards from yourself can lead to stress and guilt, which are counter-productive. Even if your CR is not perfect you are still eating far far better than the majority of people. So congratulate yourself on that! For what it is worth, here is my suggestion. Try and imagine you have never heard of CRON, then re-discover it for yourself afresh.

magallanica said...

As a former anorexic, orthorexic, purging bulimic, Cron devotee and obsessed yogini, this post is one of the more enlightening, honest and true pieces I've ever read.

It's about choice and real self nurturing, not about attachment, struggle and deprivation.

It's about inner talk, balance, moderation, awareness and middle path decisions.

With much love


Sara said...

Thank you for your comment, Paz.

Judith (MoMR) said...

Come back, Sara! I really enjoy reading your blog. Your writing style is excellent (intelligent, thoughtful, personal and humourous) and hearing about "things British" is a nice change. More, please! :-)