Two lots of good news this week. Firstly, I miscalculated the end of my hermitage…turns out I can start the reintroduction phase this Friday 13th, not Saturday 14th. Secondly, it appears I am in some form of remission. Even though I still have marks/scars, the lesions themselves are dormant, all of them, which I haven’t experienced for around three years. It’s all happened very quickly, too, with complete settlement occurring over just one week. That’s not to say everything has disappeared, because it hasn’t, but if things stay as they are, then it’s going to be a lot easier to judge, in the coming weeks of reintroduction, which foods I am reacting to.
It’s the best scenario I could have hoped for, and something I honestly couldn’t see happening even a fortnight ago. It never ceases to amaze me just how quickly this disease can strike like a scorpion, and then retreat like a naughty child, in a matter of days, hours even. I still have four days to go, so the optimism may well be premature, but it’s almost as though Bacchus himself is willing me towards Friday, so he can hand me a lovely swig of plonk the minute I wake up.
But excited as I am about this pending early morning mini-celebration, there’s also a touch of anxiety. I’m looking forward to entering the reintroduction phase, naturally, but I’m also secretly terrified that, having come so far and learned so much (and many of those lessons will be permanently adopted), that I will somehow just lose myself in the novelty of being able to eat or drink something that’s been off limits for so long, and fall headlong back into a downward spiral of indulgence and misbehaviour.
With alcohol, especially, although I can hold my drink like a docker (or so I’ve been told), I know full well that drinking leads to carb-cravings and, because the alcohol may well impair my otherwise impeccable sense of decorum (ahem), those carb cravings will end up being satiated at the chippy, which in turn will lead to bloating, salt & sugar overload, weight gain and immense self-loathing.
Some boring clarifications
On Friday I’ll only allow myself one glass of ‘something’. I’d initially decided it would be vodka, but now I’m leaning towards Rioja. Whatever I choose, that can be the only drink I consume over the following week, so it has to be the right decision. Also, the contents of said beverage can only contain one previously-banned substance (ie. the alcohol itself). So an organic wine, which would only contain grapes (a safe food) alongside the alcohol, would probably be the wisest choice. Most vodkas (my original choice) are grain-based so, should I have a reaction, it wouldn’t be clear if it was to the grains, or the alcohol. Similarly with beer/lager – there are malt and yeast issues to consider alongside the alcohol.
This might be me being over-cautious, but if I can go a week without reacting to wine (well, not in that way, anyway…) then it’s a pretty safe bet that alcohol is not the culprit. Thinking about it, maybe I should just reintroduce a new alcoholic drink every week. That way, I can cover yeast, potatoes and sugar cane as potential triggers, and have a bloody great time doing it.
But joking aside, there’s something else I’ll be keeping an eye on during the reintroduction phase, and that’s my own self-discipline. I’m no stranger to willpower – when you’re self-employed you quickly learn to knuckle down, because there’s no regular pay cheque at the end of each month. You slack off, you starve, simple as. But sometimes it feels like this Elimination Diet has woven a gossamer-like magical spell web upon me which, although appearing strong on the outside, needs only a gust of wind to tear it violently apart. And once it’s broken, it would be impossible to repair.
The last thing in the world I want to do, is fall back into bad habits. Right now, at this moment, I can’t see that ever happening – I’ve learned too much to un-learn it, and the benefits I’ve enjoyed have been too numerous to list. But there’s still a tiny part of me that cannot guarantee I won’t ring up for a Domino Pizza at 1am when the five cocktails I had earlier that evening demand a fast-food fix. One thing leads to another, so if I avoid the trigger, then the other stuff doesn’t happen. But that trigger is usually a bevy, or two, or ten. And because I’m choosing alcohol as my first reintroduction food, it means my actual food list remains the same as the past 8 weeks – and mopping up that nice bottle of Rioja with roasted butternut squash or a sweet potato soup, might not be enough to satisfy my inevitable cravings.
The solution to this conundrum is simple – don’t drink. Choose something else to reintroduce first, like eggs or coffee, even chocolate, then wait a few more weeks before hitting the ale, so at least there would be more of a food variety to accompany the indulgence.
But the very sad truth is that I’m already having dreams about the taste of that single glass of red wine come Friday and I reckon that, if I can come this far without cracking, then surely I can be strong enough to keep things on an even keel and not allow Friday the 13th to live up to its unlucky reputation?
Well I’ll soon find out…
Week 8 (of 8 and a bit)
Average daily calorie intake: 1,162
Energy level: 8/10
HS severity: 1/10
Weight loss: 2lb
Total weight loss (56 days): 17lbs (1 st 3lbs)