April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Perhaps You'd Prefer to Be Back in Your Cell, Princess?

Last night I did something I hadn't done in a long time... I took a very late night walk.

My CR friendly dinner company turned out to be not that hungry, and had brought over some bread and feta, along with some fresh cherry tomatoes. I decided not to cook, and she ate the bread and cheese, while I ate six cherry tomatoes for dinner. We shared the wine, which was heavenly with tomatoes. After she left, I realized I had so much energy that I had to do something active... it was about ten by this time and around my usual bed time, but this medication has my sleep schedule so messed up that I was awake when I should have been asleep. So I took my walkperson out for a moonlight walk.

I do my best thinking while driving and while walking, and last night I thought a lot about all the transitions I'm experiencing in my life right now. Well, really just the move, but that's a big one. And losing a Kieffer and a half (that's 30 pounds, for those who are just joining us and don't know that I measure my weight in terms of my 20 pound cat!) as well as completely re-ordering my food universe, has been a pretty big change. I thought a lot about the crossroads I've been talking about for the last little while: getting more serious about CRON, risking the real social struggles that are involved when you do something that's not "normal." I've never really considered staying at the moderate stage... it's just not who I am, about anything. But I did find myself being a little whiny last night as I considered how much harder I need to work at my nutrition and what I might have to give up.

As I was mentally whining to myself, I recalled a line from the first Star Wars movie, which is now the headline of this post. Han Solo has just led Leia, Luke, and Chewie into the garbage shoot, and Leia says, "Some rescue!" The line may actually be, "Perhaps you'd rather be back in your cell, your worship," but it's close enough. (I suspect that in this crowd I am more likely to be called on misquoting Star Trek than Star Wars, so I'll trust that you'll forgive any slight paraphrase.)

It made me think of the beginning of my CRON journey, when I weighed 137 (the highest I had ever weighed by far), was still wearing an eight petite and still getting whistled at my construction workers, but was seeing signs of aging and feeling just terrible. I was starting to feel... normal. I was starting to look normal. I was losing my health, gradually, but I had clearly started down that long death march that is the standard American lifestyle. No one else saw it as a crisis, but I knew I was headed in the wrong direction.

When I first bought _The Beyond 120 Year Diet_ by Dr. Walford, it was definitely with the attitude of "Help me Obei Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" That was February 16, Presidents' Day. I read it all in a day, and re-read it, and re-read it. I loved it. And his suggestions for what to eat, being lowfat, were not that far off from the lowfat vegan lifestyle I had lived for five years before the Year of Nutritional Disaster (aka the nachos and margarita diet era.)

But it wasn't quite kicking in. I needed something to kick me into shape. And I needed to not feel like I was doing this alone.

That's when I discovered The List. And the rest is history.

The first six months have been like clawing my way out of the grave with my fingernails, just like that saint who got de-sainted when they found splinters under her fingernails, proving that she did not go willingly into martyrdom when she was buried alive. I am proud that I didn't go willingly to the grave, and the process of getting to this point has been frustrating, exhilirating, and just plain mind-blowing. Both the changes in my body and the changes in my mind have been so much more than I had even hoped for. The zen effects of CR, the energy I feel, the friends I've made, the things I've learned... you've heard about it all already, but I can't help but re-iterate the joy this process has brought me. It's important that people know that this isn't just about pie in the sky when you don't die, it's about the here and now, about having a long and full life. Okay, for me it's about being on the cover of Vogue at 100, but we all have our reasons!

I can see why a lot of people stop here. You look great, you feel great, you eat great, and you still get to pretend to be a normal person, as long as you don't get caught carrying old posts around in your evening bag when you go out on weekends.
But I know very well that I'm not satisfied with the moderate benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I know now how much more there is to reach for, and I believe I can do it.
So I have to make some changes. I mean, look at my last two days! Where is the protein? Where is the fat? Okay, I had some eggwhites, I had some olive oil, but high carb darkness in ziti form was the order of the day yesterday! Do I really think that eating a lot of steamed zucchini will solve all my problems? Sure, it's great stuff, and I can pet myself on the head for being such a good cook, but where's the calcium? Where's the iron? I have my software, I know what I have to do, I have to do it all the time, not just on "good" days.

So last night as I walked, blasting Carly Simon's "Have You Seen Me Lately?" into my ears and gazing at the pretty stars, I found myself whining about the work it's going to take to make changes. And I heard the voice of a young Harrison Ford in my head, asking if perhaps I might prefer to be back in my cell.

No, I would not.

I've clawed my way out of the grave, and now it's time to take the next step.

So aren't you wondering what I'm going to eat today? I am too! Eggwhites are good, some skim milk (where oh where has my calcium been? O Calcium, where art thou?), I'm going to steam all my vegetables and eat a lot of them and tupperware the rest for eating this week at work. Some grape nuts perhaps because the fiber is good and though it's fortified, it ups my nutrient totals significantly. I'm going to spend some time today packing food for the week that will get my nutrition right every day.

Oh, and I'm going to try to give up my cottage cheese packs. They're just not that nutrient dense, and they fill me up, crowding out other things. I know Willie will be so happy to hear that. Willie hates cottage cheese.

I'm also going to: try to mostly finish packing the house, help my mother out around the house this afternoon (aha! an opportunity to blather on to a captive audience about the wonders of CR!) and then tonight I have a meeting of this progressive book club I'm in. It's a fun book club... we read lefty literature and discuss it. Some of the other people in it are kinda famous activist types from back in the day. I already did my four mile walk, but I may fit in another since it's a gorgeous day and I want to enjoy the weather while there's just a touch of fall in the air.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Meanwhile, thanks to all for your comments! It's so nice to know I'm talking to someone out there! Hang in there Dani... the software is on the way! Thanks for all your helpful advice, Kenton... I promise I won't eat that mercury laden tuna anymore, and I'll learn to space out my protein instead of trying to do it all at once. And thanks fan without name... you're so sweet!

More soon!


  • At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ‘Nice blog thoughts on pushing the CR envelope even further as you perceive it. On CR progression, the optimal nutrition (ON) part will become easy & second nature, but the "weird" perception problem of weight attenuation, on the other hand, may indeed worsen with time! For me, the level of weight loss is tantamount to the level of sacrifice. Our very own Brian D. appears to feel the same way, and has chosen to recoup some poundage for a quality of life (QOL) levity effect – ‘must have been a tough call for him. Looking through his CR seasoned eyes, maybe in the years to come we, too, will choose the voice of moderation … but not for me, not now. Hmm, might a CR-pushing practitioner evolve through emphasis of other qualities, such as being nice(r!) and potentially more empathetic, rather than emphasis on body curves, to find favor among peers!? Such refinements would seem to beat the alternative of being placed “back in your cell." :-)~ ouch!

    If you're going to push CR, the progression down and position along the path should be commensurate in scope with your level of CR vigilance & precaution. IOW, BE SAFE. As I explore further, my efforts hopefully reflect that principle ~ and that's the best one can expect of oneself in such precarious contexts where the drive to forge forward is so powerful.

    BTW, it's okay by me to eat the tuna -- just don't pig out on it on a regular basis ;-)

    Also, I don't see why you'd want to give up the cottage cheese at this stage in your CRON (later..? maybe). You enjoy it, it fills you up, and IMO it's a source of desirable nutrients and quality protein. What gives?


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