It’s quite simple as long as you don’t get bogged down in a preconceived notion about the term. Usually “hedonism” refers to doing things that feel good in the moment such as eating decadent things, having sex with random (or at least adventurous) partners, and drinking booze with abandon. There is an implicit selfishness about it, a kind of “live for today” mentality. That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking very specifically about doing what feels good and not doing what doesn’t feel good. In doing Jack Kruse’s Leptin Rx and CT I ignored that things didn’t feel good some of the time, because of the promise of feeling and looking better, and of living longer. So far these results haven’t panned out (although I am still alive, seemingly). It was difficult working out the time to take 30 minute cold baths every day, and even more difficult to withstand the core body temp “afterdrop” following it. It was also no fun being hungry as my blood sugar dropped between meals when I would go 5 or 6 hours without eating…but I was determined to stick to the prescribed 3 meals a day, no snacks. I missed out opportunities to share wine with friends and family. I avoided exercise, which used to make me feel good and helped my mood, my energy level, and my ability to cope with stress. High Intensity Interval Training was supposedly the exception, but that kind of exercise just makes me want to hit the inhaler. I don’t look forward to anything about it.
There were some good things I found in Dr. K’s prescriptions: I always feel best when I eat a BAB. I also feel best when I avoid diet coke (which I used to drink every day) and when I avoid sugar and all artificial sweeteners. I feel great when I don’t eat grains. I love grass-fed meat and coconut oil…two things I never would have tried if not for Dr. K. I also feel good eating more seafood, which I didn’t go out of my way to eat before. I also really love the way Kruse encourages people to use scientific feedback – labs – to measure their progress and to identify the cause of problems.
So what I’ve decided to do is take the good stuff I learned from Kruse, throw away the junk I don’t like, and add in the stuff that feels good that I’ve been avoiding (because he said to).
Here’s my TO DO list:
- Exercise: I plan on doing cardio exercise most days – something low impact like the elliptical trainer on the lowest setting, with the intention not of burning calories but of helping my brain work better, reducing my fasting blood glucose, clearing my head, and exercising my cardiovascular system. When I do this first thing in the morning I typically have lots of energy all day long. I started this today with just 10 minutes. I’ll increase a minute every day or two until I’m at a half hour or so. In the past, my fasting blood sugar has dropped quickly when I was doing a half hour of biking on level terrain every day. And it felt great. I looked forward to it every day and even took off work some days to be sure I got my ride in.
- Diet: I plan on continuing with a Paleo diet, including grass fed meat, seafood, vegetables, occasional fruit, lots of fat, and nuts. I’m going to shoot for 2-3 meals a day, but I’m not going to be hungry. If I’m hungry I’ll make a mental note to eat more at mealtime the next day, but I’m going to eat, dammit. Hunger sucks.
- Yoga The other day I did a few yoga poses. I only did the ones that felt good – not the ones that make me feel fat or old. I didn’t do downward dog or warrior pose, or anything that required flexibility, balance, or strength. I just did child’s pose and cats pose…and it felt great. So I’m going to include yoga whenever I remember, only doing the poses that feel good. Sometimes this may be just savasanah. If it doesn’t feel good, I’m not doing it.
- Alcohol: I’m going to drink alcohol sometimes. Maybe once a week. But sometimes. (Note: More than 3 drinks does NOT feel good. To me.)
- BHRT – I’m going to continue with this. I want to have things in proper balance and then see how I feel. I’m currently between doctors, which is difficult, but I hope to make contact with a new one this week.
- Labs – I’m going to get labs done this week and we can see where I’m at with a full thyroid panel (which I’ve never had), HS-CRP, Vitamin D, Adrenal Stress Index, metabolic panel, including VLDL (which I’ve also never had). I’m also thinking of some kind of test to evaluate for food intolerances. I’m going to hold off on a hormone panel till the right day of my cycle next month. This ought to give me some idea of how far I have (or haven’t) come this year, and a baseline for my hedonistic plan going forward.
- Caffeine and supplements – Yes, and Yes. Caffeine pills work well for me without affecting my appetite. I haven’t been taking supplements since I moved…mostly just out of disorganization, but I’ll start again tomorrow. I’ll detail a list in a future post.
The WON’T list:
- I won’t be hungry.
- I wont eat till I’m too full in order to avoid eating between meals.
- I won’t freeze my ass off if I don’t have to.
- I won’t eat sugar or artificial sweeteners (much)
- I won’t drink coffee or tea or anything else that makes me feel hungry after drinking it (much)
- I won’t eat MSG (if I can avoid it)
Something has to give. I’m starting to doubt whether or not I can even be happy. Maybe my brain is so damaged from years of poor diet, disordered eating and depression that I just don’t have it in me to feel peaceful and joyful on a daily basis. I know it’s possible for people to be happy – my husband is a happy person, so I know that despair is not just the human condition. It’s my condition. My condition sucks, mentally and physically. I need to get better.
This plan is about trying to find happiness in the life that I have. As long as my health sucks my attitude and prognosis remain bleak. I don’t want my little girl growing up with a crazy, unpredictable, unhappy momma. I have to fix this.
So my plan involves stopping the rationalizations that say it’s ok to eat the Swedish meatballs at IKEA and “just a bite of chocolate cake won’t hurt”. It will hurt. It does hurt. My gut has hurt all day today because of these. It involves thinking for myself and not blindly following. It involves being honest and reporting that I suck at this sometimes. But I’m not giving up. I’m mad the world is the way it is with its Food Pyramid and it’s commercials and its Healthy Whole Grains and its brainwashed doctors. I need to fix myself. You know, so I can fix the world.