Wednesday 17 April 2013

Business trips

So, I’m over the midway point of my crazy trip in North America. Am glad I was honest with myself enough to not think about doing the 5-2 while travelling. My body clock is totally out of whack, due to lack of sleep and jet lag. Add to this that I’m boozing with customer and colleagues, it makes my head hurt and tires me. Tonight, I’m going to the leaving do of a young guy I was training. C was just a god element, it’ll be missed not only by the time but our customers too. So, before I leave town on his last day with the company, we’re meeting at Hooters for a drink. Tough job, I know, but someone’s got to do it.




Wednesday 10 April 2013

Hangover v. Fasting

When I was an undergraduate, I used to do like any other self-respecting undergraduates do at least once in a while: I would get smashed out of my eyeballs up to the point where I couldn’t remember much of what happened. Am I proud of it? Not really, but it was all good harmless fun at the time, and made the whole undergraduate experience both more enjoyable ( and a bit longer, if I’m honest.)

During these years of seeming invincibility, I would take care of any hangover with one thing: pasta. I would cook myself a huge serving of pasta with copious amounts of full-fat creme fraiche, lardons and onions, and generous sparkling of parmesan, with the conviction that it would help me recover from the hangover faster while watching daytime television and drinking water.

These days, as a middle-aged man, I don’t drink alcohol as often and as much (Thank God.) As a result, I don’t metabolize alcohol the same way. Plus, as Frenchman, it is not in my culture to just ‘go to the pub’ to socialize. Socializing for me is more “come to my house and I’ll cook a roast chicken with a nice bottle of wine.” So, in essence, I’ve lost the habit of drinking heavily and drinking often. Don’t get me wrong: I can still hold my booze, and drank many of my wife’s (Chinese) uncles under the table during our wedding banquet.

So, yesterday, I got through about 3 pints of ale, and when I got up this morning, I did feel quite bloated and rather hangovered. Why did I choose to resume my 5-2 on the day after I had too many beer is still a mystery to me. Oh, well, keep calm and drink roobios.

Tuesday 09 April 2013

Old habits die hard. Or do they ?

Funny how, once you’ve set yourself on the course of a diet, your feeding habits change almost instantly.

Not a month ago, I probably wouldn’t worry about the amount of what I eat, and would always try to please the wife by finishing her and Cecilia’s dish, so that nothing was left. I remember going to bed a few times feeling so stuffed that I felt quite uncomfortable laying in bed (I sleep on my tummy) and feeling my throat being under pressure.

Since I openly discussed this with my wife, she doesn’t expect me to finish everything, and I’m not afraid of offending her if I don’t got for seconds.

I’m not trying to make myself any better than I am. I do go for seconds when the dish is good (my wife’s noodle soup is an orgasmic delight that no Homo Sapiens I know of would consider turning down, especially the hot’n’sour kind) but I didn’t feel under pressure to have seconds of yesterday’s steak pie (even though she makes it really good.) And I think she gets it and leaves me alone, and doesn’t push me in a corner to finish everything.

What I feel pressured by is the Bakewell Tart. She makes it so good, and the fact that it’s stuffed with so much ground almond, that I can’t resist (I always say that if I had the choice, it’d go for death by hummus and frangipane, please.)

She baked the tart on Thursday night, and, conscious that she doesn’t really enjoy it that much, she’s left it to me to eat most of it. With the curry tonight in mind, I’ve had to plan on eating bits of that Bakewell tart every day so that it’d be finished by tonight, so I can get back on the fasting tomorrow until Thursday.

So, I’ll need to keep a bit of room tonight during the MBD curry, so I can finish the Bakewell Tart and be serene that it won’t tempt me tomorrow.

Hard work, but it’ll be worth it in the end, I know it!

Friday 05 April 2013


Last night, I got an email from Rob, the MC of Men Behaving Dadly, aka MBD. In a word or two, MBD is the best thing on this good Earth next to the invention of sliced bread, automatic flush toilets and fuzzy logic chip-controlled programmable rice cookers.

Picture this: once a month, a bunch of dudes meet up on a Saturday morning for a couple of hours with their toddlers in a massive, three-roomed, playground at Fulwood Church (did I mention that I live in Sunny Sheffield?) The aim of the meeting is various and multiple:

  1. Let the toddlers play on the wooden slide, exchange infections, chase each other for 2 hours, turn the whole place into an indescribable mess and learn how to brutally and/or cunningly defend their turn on the wooden horse without arousing the said dudes’ suspicion.
  2. Get something to eat for everyone involved, with unlimited amounts of tea or coffee, fruit juices for the little ones. Around 11am, one dad leaves to get the order of butties (any yanks out there: first food-related item listed on Wikipedia) for everyone present. Rob and I spent numerous months figuring out which one was the best on offer and ultimately agreed that tomato & bacon with a dab of HPC sauce was swell to the ultimate degree. (Anyone interested in joining, you get it for free on your first meet.)
  3. Spend two hours away from the wife’s nagging, so you can spend two hours chatting with your mates about football, rugby, cricket, cars, holidays, past girlfriends (occasionally), but mostly how to earn enough husband points to best avoid the wife’s nagging.
  4. Give the wife a well deserved rest from the madness, so she has the time and freedom to get a hairdo, a bath, and/or a facial, go shoe shopping, meet with her girlfriends, or do whatever takes her fancy.
  5. As a result of 4, collect even more husband points (see 3, above), in some kind of a double-whammy, snowball effect. I need to say here that, when I heard Rob say one day that MBD had been started by two women, I got confirmation of what I had known all along: MBD is a female conspiracy to get rid of the husband and kids, which my own wife is happy to admit and strictly enforce!
  6. Redeem husband points during the ‘MBD Socials’.

And that was the reason for his email. There is a social next week, on Tuesday. Socials involve: meeting at the pub for a pint (will one be enough to last 45 mins ?), then cross the road for a curry. I never managed to attend, as my job demand lots of travel, but this time, I’m in town, and I’m determined to attend.

Issue is: if it’s on Tuesday, I can’t imagine splitting my 5-2 into Monday: fast, Tuesday: beer + curry, Wednesday: fast, Thursday onwards: normal. To me, if I want maximum effect from my fast, the 2 need to be consecutive !

So, I’ll be entering my second week of 5-2 diet next week, and I already have to make compromises and move days around. I doubt my body will notice the difference, though. And on my third week, I will pause the 5-2 because of my crazy travel to North America. The fourth week will be the test of my determination, I guess.

All of this makes me think that, as Frenchman, food for me is a very social experience. This episode makes me realize that fasting is very personal and meditative, and does not fit very well with a social lifestyle.


Thursday 04 April 2013

2 done with, 5 starts with break-fast

Had a normal amount of granola this am. I feel that I could still go on with the fasting, but I know this won’t last, so I have to get back to eating normally.

Made it into work and had a cup of almonds as my mid-morning snack.

I feel great. Can’t wait for my packed lunch though (udon noodles with roast chicken scraps.) The wife decided yesterday that we were going to eat out at the Mexican restaurant tonight. I suspect she got a good news at the 20 week scan. Is she going to be able to keep the secret from me? Time will tell.


Had my lunch, and I obviously quite enjoyed it. Immediate effect is bowel movement that I can feel pushing. Need to go now, Sorry, blog. Be back later.


That reminded of a discussion we had with a GP. He said that when you fill up your stomach, there’s an automatic room-making bowel movement that follows. So with that in mind, (no need to visualize here) I’m having an epiphany: I didn’t have a bowel movement during my 2 days of fasting, and now that I finally filled up my stomach, it’s here. Funny thing (funny as in peculiar, not ha-ha) is that it was a small one. It all starts to make a lot of sense.

To be truthful, I’m getting the hang of this blog thing now. This is going to be better than Evernote to keep my food diary.


I have just booked my planes for a business trip. Fly to the USA on Monday, Meet with customers (which means dine and drink) on Tuesday and Wednesday, then fly to Canada at 06:00 local time to meet a customer and fly out same day at 23:00 back to Amsterdam and connect at 14:00 local back to Manchester. Stupid week if you ask me, but most importantly, how am I going to follow the 5-2 regime ? I can’t do 5-2 during weekends.

This reminds me of a customer of mine that is muslim. When she had to travel to the USA during Ramadan, she decided to pause the fasting, as she feared her body would be unable to cope with the stress, and I think it might have been allowed by the religion.

Wednesday, 03 April 2013

5-2 Diet: the start

During the DIY Easter extravaganza I just lived through, I had the immense pleasure to listen to Radio 4 virtually non-stop.

One thing caught my attention more than anything else: the 5-2 diet, which is meant to be very good for your nervous system, protect you from disease, lower your blood glucose level and cholesterol.

I talked about to the wife, and she laughed at me, dismissing me by saying: “Well, I’ll be curious to see how long this will last”, which I didn’t judge necessary to comment and took as a challenge.

And then, yesterday, due to work, I skipped lunch, and only got in a position to eat any after the local sandwich shop had closed. So, I decided that this was the start of my 5-2 diet.

I didn’t eat anything until dinner. My wife thought I was grumpy. I was, but not because I hadn’t eaten anything for the past 10 hours, but because she’d asked me to do more DIY after a full day of work. The word boring and inconsiderate comes to mind.

Anyway, I had a can of lentil soup, and nothing else but water, and I felt great. I fell asleep quite late, but otherwise, I coped quite well I thought.

This morning, I weighed myself, and the verdict was clear: 92 kg for 23.4% fat, which is on the ‘+’ side, according to my dear friend the electronic scale.

Had a normal breakfast: 120 grams of granola and about the same of soy milk.
Now, it’s 09:35 and I’m already quite hungry, but I’m determined to last the day. Had two cups of redbush so far.For the lunch break ,I fled the office during the lunch break, as to avoid the smells of food.
Tonight will be tomato soup with maybe a slice of bread (let’s get crazy), and I’ll be eating normally again.


Had a whole can of tomato soup (reduced salt, for good measure) and a slice of bread for dinner.

However, as soon as I arrived home (7pm-ish) I surprised myself snacking on three carrot sticks and a small amount of humus that Cecilia had left untouched.

Had a bit of a headache, after dinner, but the most significant feeling I had was of general toning of my muscles. I felt like something was happening to my limbs, as if an electric current was going through.

Strange and pleasant.