29th December 2005
I was part of a coffee club at Rochester and Rutherford hall. Each night we would visit a different floor at the hostel, steal their milk, and indulge in our luxury blends. Half the fun was in trying to work our way through their milk without them noticing.
Heck, I even wrote a song about coffee. I can't remember how the whole song went, but the 12 bar blues chorus went like this:
This would be one of the standard numbers that the band I was in, The M.A.N. band, would perform. The M.A.N. Band is going to get its own pages one of these days.
I lurved coffee.
One day I couldn't get any coffee. I think I was at a Christian Union camp, or somewhere like that. It was a sad day. What was even worse though was this splitting headache that I got. I realized that my body had become addicted to coffee and was complaining that it didn't have any.
The thought of being addicted to a chemical substance horrified me and I decided to give up coffee. I have not had an instant coffee ever since. I sometimes get a filtered coffee at somewhere like Starbucks. Maybe five a year? Something like that anyway.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Illegal
I decided to draw a line in the sand for alcohol. The line I drew was at teetotalism. The last drink I had was when I had just left Ashburn Psychiatric Clinic and was desperately looking for a way to escape from my head. It didn't work and I just got ill. I can't really remember the last time I had a drink before that. I suspect it was toasting at a friends wedding, or possibly having communion at an Anglican church. Five years or so ago anyway.
If you haven't worked out that tobacco and illegal drugs are just plain stoopid things to take, then nothing I can say here will convince you otherwise.
When I started to earn money after university, both of these things changed. I had money to buy food with and could afford to catch a bus everyday.
My weight ballooned out of control. I got up to 120 kg, which puts me well into the obese range. Pictures of me from that period can be found here and here. I think I was something like 110 kg in those photos.
I started shedding that weight a few years ago. I started jogging and that helped. Going crazy helped a lot too though I wouldn't recommend that method!
The weight really started falling off though when I left Ashburn Psychiatric Clinic. I came the realization that if I had food in front of me, I would eat it. Put a box of chocolates in front of me at the start of the evening, and it would be gone by the end of the evening. I just couldn't help my self.
There have been scientific studies on this sort of problem. People with eating problems would be placed into two group. One group was given two sandwiches and told they could help themselves to as many extra sandwiches from the fridge as they wanted to. The other group were given four sandwiches and told they could help themselves as well.
It was discovered that the second group would eat a significantly greater amount of sandwiches than they first group, even though both groups had access to the same amount of sandwiches.
They would see the food. They would eat the food. I did exactly the same sort of thing.
To combat this problem, I would go grocery shopping every day and buy the food that I would eat for that day. If I ran out, it was just too bad. I slipped up a few times, but I was pretty good overall.
I started to get quite scientific about it. I would weight myself everyday and calculate the amount of kilojoules I was consuming. Heck, I even entered this information into the computer and made graphs of weight loss and kJ consumption.
I even worked out the math behind weight loss and drew up little tables like this one:
I knew that if I could keep my kilojoules intake low, by controlling my eating, and maximizing the amount kilojoules I burnt, by walking everywhere, then I would lose weight.
I did. At a fast rate too. About one kilogram a week.
Looking back at it though, I realize that I didn't approach the weight loss in a healthy way at all. I obsessed about it. I think I wanted to control something in my life at a time when my life was spinning wildly out of control.
Err, why are you telling me this?
I've sworn off coffee, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. I know they are not healthy for me. Yet I seem to have this blind spot for fatty foods.
Obesity is a huge problem in the western world. It often leads to Type II diabetes, which is a nasty thing to have. My mother has diabetes and suffers terribly with it, though she never complains.
Eating all this fatty food is just plain bad for me. It is even a stoopid thing to do. I don't smoke because of the damage that it does to my body. But I still eat too many fatty foods and these are doing just as much damage as the smoking would.
So, time to draw another line in the sand. I am going to significantly cut down on the amount of fatty foods that I eat and the sugar I consume. I'll no longer gorge myself at fast food restaurants as a way of treating myself. I'm not going to completely cut them out of my diet though. Going to a fast food restaurant once in a while is okay, particularly if it is with friends.
I'm going to try and not obsess about it and just try to eat healthy when I can.
2005 and 2006 Malcolm Trevena.