Free Willy is on my mind. Listening to the turmoil in my guts is bringing back to my consciousness all the sounds of the poor whale in distress. In fact, it even feels as if Willy is inside of me, searching for escape, pounding against the delicate lining of my intestines.
It’s been almost two weeks off “The Program.” I’ve been bathing my body in unrestraint. Eating without thought. See-food diet, some might call it. Cherries, oranges, kiwis, bananas, sweetened yogurt, ice-cream, bread and bagels and cake. And then, more bread. And literally, testing the waters with coffee, beer and wine.
And according to the weight scale and belt, my body has been sucking in the calories with all the haste of a bear anticipating an early winter. Eight pounds in thirteen days. Not bad, if only one was a bear.
But, aside from the weight, this new experiment with consumption has had other notable effects. I’m feeling pushed and pulled, chemically altered. Instantly, the effect of caffeine hits my head, creating urgency where none is required, disrupting the calm. After three or four cups, my heart races and my pulse skips. My stomach bloats, twists and groans. My intestines are rushed and my prostate feels like a single sandbag against the relentless floodwaters of a Red River spring. Yesterday, I had to run to the washroom and then passed water for so long that I could have squeezed in a decent nap.
And I have zero tolerance for alcohol. It too, goes straight to my head, sending it in a spin, making me feel otherworldly, strange and unfamiliar.
And while I feel pushed by caffeine and alcohol, I am more notably pulled by sugar. For this “honeymoon” phase at least, sugar owns me. I can eat a sweet, feel full, and then have absolutely no inclination to stop eating. How’s that for successful marketing! And the same holds for wheat and pastry products, all of which my body seems to recognize as recent deprivations in disguise.
It has been nice to spice things up with a little salt and pepper. And we have eaten a few restaurant meals, giving us all a break from the domestic routine. But the new tastes are not what I thought. They are not better, and in many cases, they are significantly worse; just coated with spice and sugar and fat. The new diet admittedly offers more variety and complexity, but these tastes are also more confusing. It is difficult to identify what I am ingesting, and all too often something that is really inferior is hiding under the sauce. I guess, through all this, we have discovered the origin of the phrase, “sugar-coated.”
So, perhaps the takeaways are to become a more discerning eater, to become alert to the sugar-coating, to be aware of the empty calories which are most appropriate for the pre-hibernation phase of a bear’s life, to learn to enjoy the simplicity of high value and nutrient rich foods, and to maintain variety and occasional liberties. And remember to listen when your body talks back to you, because under no circumstances should there be a whale living in your intestines!