More self denial

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Funny that, self-denial; one would have thought it might mean, “denying yourself something” (i.e. going without in a sort of giving up for lent kinda way). 

Which is something I brought up last week. Remember the 5:2 diet? You eat and drink what you like for five days of the week, but then on two, non-consecutive days, you must strictly control your calorie intake to 600 calories if you’re a man, and only 500 if you’re a woman. Well, it’s working…big time.

Brian headshotBoth She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have shed some serious flab this past week; around six pounds, each! Not bad, not bad at all for a diet that has you counting the calories only TWO days a week. And in case you’re wondering what 600 calories looks like, well here’s a typical fasting day — breakfast is a small bowl of oatmeal and a grapefruit, no lunch, and dinner is chicken and grape salad with tarragon and mayonnaise dressing on a bed of lettuce. I know, it’s not much, but when you’re doing your fasting day you keep thinking, “Tomorrow, I can eat whatever the heck I like!” 

I’m not going to lie to you, the ‘fasting days’ are not easy for me, especially since I work from home – surrounded by food all day. She Who Must Be Obeyed thinks it’s easier for her as she’s in an office all day, away from all food. Perhaps. 

In order to spur on the wife, I’ve committed to steering clear of “fun beverages,” too for a while. The deal is, I am not going to have a fermented beverage until she’s lost her first 10 pounds, which I thought would only take about two to three weeks given that you tend to shed a lot in the initial stages of a diet. Now that we’re off to a flying start, I’m thinking of upping the ante and staying of the booze a bit longer.

Of course I haven’t told hef yet, but I was lying in bed last night and I began to wonder what a life would be without alcohol. No, I don’t have a problem, I have a hobby – I like drinking with friends, or even strangers too if they’re fun to hang out with. 

But I began to wonder, could I do without alcohol for a sustained period of time?  When I think back on my life, (I’m 52) I realize that I’ve never given up booze for more than a month, that’s how intimately we’re acquainted. So, last night I asked myself how long did I think I could go without a drink? Could I last two months? What about six months?  That sounds like a heck of a long time without a beer, a glass of wine, a drop of whiskey. And for what? Just so I could prove it to myself that I’m capable of the abstention? Do I need to prove this to myself? I don’t know, maybe I do. 

I remember one time, someone asked me why I was preparing to run a marathon and my simple answer was, “Because I can.” I meant it to sound like I was celebrating my physical well-being. Maybe it’s time for me to celebrate my sober-self. Maybe it’s time for me to push the limits of sobriety, just to see what would happen. Stay tuned for “The Sobriety Diaries.”

Brian O’Nuainain is a native Irishman who currently lives in Bossier City. He is also owner and operator of Across the Pond and Beyond, a company that organizes international vacations. You can reach him at acrossthepondandbeyond.com.