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Couldn’t stand it anymore.

Made it 20 days. That was enough for me. The lack of coffee drove me fucking batshit. Couldn’t take another day. Drank green tea until I pissed green. Tried black tea, darjeeling, lemon. It couldn’t replace my cuppa. I was gritting my teeth & getting through it. That is not a fun way to exist. I was still having up-and-down mood swings with admittedly more good days than bad lately, so I’d decided to ride it out, even though I mainly felt like shit.

We went to Whole Foods & I literally stood over the bins of whole roasted coffee beans, shoveling them out & smelling them.

Then this: I went to bed Friday night/Saturday morning at 1:15 a.m. We’re trying to wean my 10-month-old daughter off her middle-of-the-night comfort-nursing marathons. She didn’t like that idea, preferred to shriek & panic & thrash around rejecting all attempts at non-nursing comfort & pitch all kinds of temper tantrums and conniption fits from 2:30 to 4:30 a.m. My nerves were frazzled, ears ringing. She finally collapsed into sleep for a few hours, then we were up again at 7 a.m. to get ready for her swim class. I stumbled through the morning like a goddam lobotomized walrus. The fog around my brain was thicker than usual. My eyes hurt. My head ached, as it had for days. I took stock of the situation, then took to Twitter to state my case as eloquently as I could manage:

I decided it was over. It’s over, Johnny! I asked Nik if it was OK that I wanted to stop. She was feeling even worse off than I was, nursing a headache a week old, with very little sleep, dealing with a kid who refuses to sleep well. She reminded me that I can “do whatever the hell you want.” So good enough. I said I’m done. It’s over, Johnny! IT’S OVER!

That photo above is of me with a Starbucks iced peppermint mocha latte. Like water to a man dying in the desert. It immediately it improved my outlook on life. Kind of shocking how fast, actually. The mixture of caffeine, dairy, & sugar rushed major good-vibes to my brain. Could almost feel myself secreting serotonin. My headache vanished before I got to our car in the parking lot. I woke up & began loving life again. I smiled really wide.

Nik said: “That’s the first smile I’ve seen on you in 20 days.”

Unnatural urges

I wrote last time how I was tired of the Whole30 because I got the point. I totally see the reasons why you’d want to try the Whole30. Get rid of processed food in your diet and excess sugar. Before I started, I ate no processed food & had minimized any added sugar. I think that’s the way to go, healthwise. If you eat too much processed food & added sugar, I think it’s a good idea to cut that shit out, see how you can live without it. Fix your inflamed gut. I had a healthy gut. Know how I know? Because I had no issues in the shitting department. Like clockwork, my colon. Everything was hunky-dory upon delivery. Check. If you have bad guts, try cutting out the things that might make them feel bad. Reasonable enough. Get a new perspective on your dietary habits. I knew I liked coffee with milk & sugar before, but never comprehended exactly how dependent I was and how miserable I’d be without it. I fully understand that now. Got it. Cool. Maybe I’ll try to cut down. Thanks.

Put me in a room with a box & say, “Whatever you do, do not look in this box,” first fucking thing I’m doing is looking in the box — mostly because I want to know why you told me not to.

My problem is I don’t respond well to denial. It makes me want to do the opposite. Don’t know if that’s me being an asshole or a human. Put me in a room with a box & say, “Whatever you do, do not look in this box,” first fucking thing I’m doing is looking in the box — mostly because I want to know why you told me not to. If I think even part of the reason is stupid, I’ll take the cover off & tip out the contents on the floor.

Over the past year and a half, since I cleaned up my diet & dropped a bunch of body fat, I think I’d done a pretty admirable job ridding myself of urges for shitty junk food. I wrote about this before. I didn’t get cravings for garbage. I achieved that by never telling myself I can’t eat certain things — I just don’t eat certain things. I never denied myself anything. That worked. I could eat garbage if I wanted, as long as I understood it was garbage.  I invariably gravitated toward the better choices, because they made more sense and made me feel better.

The Whole30 tells you that you can’t eat certain things. These things are badYou must never eat dairy, sugar, & grains because they are terrible for you. Therefore I wanted them immediately & in large quantities. I also wanted to eat good food. I sought out new recipes, & I intend to keep doing that. But over the past 20 days I fantasized at great length about eating bullshit I hadn’t craved in a year and a half. I felt like all my hard work was suddenly flushed down the toilet. This is a partial list of non-Whole30 foods I suddenly had an urge for:

  • Pizza, pretty much any quality, any brand, any toppings
  • An asiago cheese bagel, toasted, with sundried tomato cream cheese from the bagel place up the street
  • Sushi
  • That fancyass 80% cacao premium dark chocolate
  • A greasy bleu cheese burger with fries
  • Bacon, in general
  • One of them fancyass sammiches at Whole Foods
  • A buttery toasted grilled-cheese sandwich
  • Those giant baby’s-fist-sized jumbo marshmallows for making monster s’mores
  • A hot-fudge sundae with cherry chocolate chip ice cream from the ice cream place that used to be our regular before Nik got really nut-allergic just walking into the place once
  • Magic Shell — that fake chocolate stuff that creates a crunchy chocolate layer over your ice cream, which I have not eaten since I was about 6 years old
  • A spicy beef and bean burrito from Tallulah’s, which is pretty much the best fucking burrito I’ve ever had
  • Always, every day, coffee with cream and sugar, constantly

I literally had a fantasy of eating all this shit in one day. I thought, “When this bullshit’s over, I’m buying a fucking pizza and eating the whole thing then going to the ice cream shop & getting a massive hot fudge sundae, then I’ll swing by the bagel place & get like cream cheese like half an inch thick on that motherfucker.”

That’s not healthy. Not talking my goddam gut health. That’s not emotionally healthy.

I don’t like that.

Nik felt the same way. Around day 18, she told me she wanted chocolate, really badly. Nik never eats chocolate.

Clearly I’m not good at denying myself. I should taper. It’s better.

Obviously this approach works for some people

Of course it does.  I know a lot of people benefit from it. You tell them, “Don’t look in the box because, trust me, it’s not going to be good,” & they’re like, “Sure, chief. Whatever you say.”  “Never eat dairy,” they’re told. “No dairy. Can do.” Off they go, whistling. Or maybe they struggle with it but they make the shift more easily. Or maybe these people are better adjusted than I am. I don’t fucking know. Certainly possible.

Here’s a great example of a person who loved it.

Nik & I feel like we were doing great beforehand. We were at like 90% Whole30-compliant anyway. Nik is more like 95%. For me, that remainder kept me from flipping my shit, & most of it was my regular coffee. Without it I became very miserable. Never experienced the rush of energy some people describe. Always tired & mopey. Part of that, I’m sure, is because I slept like shit. Probably helps when you can sleep better, since rest is basically the foundation of your health. We’re probably not going to sleep better for the next couple of years, the way this kid is going.

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Nothing is over — you just don’t ‘turn it off’!

It’s not over, Johnny. I’m breaking the Whole30 for my coffee only. The rest goes on. I’ll keep eating pretty Whole30-compliant for the rest of the 30 days, except for my coffee, because I’m a miserable asshole without it, obvs, & taking it away will only lead to lots more bitching & nobody wants that.  That means I will continue to cut out milk (apart from the drop in my coffee), cheese, grains, legumes, whey protein, creatine, all that stuff, & add some back in slowly after the 30 days are over.  It’s not per the rules, but fuck it — a few small cups of coffee a day aren’t going to turn me into an unhealthy wretch.

So far I lost about 7 or 8 pounds. Personally I don’t think of losing “weight” as necessarily positive, since what you really want is to lose “body fat.” If I dropped 7 pounds of muscle I’d be even more pissy. I think probably much of my loss was fat because I leaned out a little bit. That’s nice. I’d like more of that.

I’ve tried some different spices in the spice rack. I’ll keep that up.

The taste of coconut oil grew on me. Cooks pretty nicely.

I’ll continue to not eat processed food in the future. Not that it was a problem to begin with, but whatever.

The part I’m most curious about is the psychological stuff. My issues with the Whole30 were mainly due to my head, not my stomach. It made me think about food in ways that were unsettling. I’m curious to know, now that I’ve given in a little bit, if the urge to eat all that shitty food listed above goes away. If I let myself have my coffee the way I want it, will the cravings for Magic Shell and pizza go away? I think they will. Which is weird. That seems to be how I work.

I’m going to try to cut sugar & creamer out of my coffee, because believe it or not after all this fucking whining I do want to take it black. It’s cheaper, for a start. But I’m going to taper off a bit at a time until I get accustomed to the taste. You just don’t “turn it off.”