Thursday, 14 July 2011

Why does “Checkpoint Charlie” let the chocolate through?

It’s no good coasting along day to day, reasonably contented, doing my day’s work and coming home to research my stories, writing them up, hunting for photos to illustrate them or for my Photo Finish section – it’s all too cosy.  For obeying the lapband I mean.

The will to either diet or use the lapband the way it was intended works for me at both extremes, either when I’m really happy (and I don’t use the word lightly) or when I’m very down in the dumps.  Then it’s – respectively – no effort, or I grit my teeth because I’m so low that I’ve got to do something.  This in-between situation is hopeless.

And why?  Because the bad habits which brought us to lapbands in the first place never really change, merely (if we’re lucky) our attitude towards them.  Specifically, you can resist the chocolate, the ice cream and the biscuits by willpower, by calling it “choices”, by reasoning your way out of putting them in your shopping trolley, but only for some of the time.  At some point your brain and stomach work together to say “I don’t care.  I want some chocolate and I don’t care”.  When you finish it you say “Right, I’ve had my chocolate, it’s out of my system now”.  Sure, till next time.

I don’t need a fill, I get stuck often enough to know that, though sometimes it “lets” me eat more than I should.  It struck me recently that the band acts as a Checkpoint Charlie –

“...You over there Mr Mash Potato, you can go through, but not you Mrs Steak, yes you, I’m pointing at you.  I told your brother sausage-with-skin-on yesterday, had to throw him out too.  Salad family?  I don’t care how virtuous you are, push off, there’s no room for you through the gate.  Chocolate?  Certainly Your Majesty, right this way, I’ve prepared the red carpet.”

I genuinely enjoy the right foods, and I get so cross when I can’t have them, that in the end I resort to the wrong things, and not just the once.  I can’t accept that what I can’t eat in 20 minutes shouldn’t get eaten at all, or rather, I’ve been unable to persuade myself to think this way. 

The band is forcing me to change my eating habits, and not always for the good.  I don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, which is annoying (I make smoothies or soup sometimes, but get bored with that)  and, more seriously, I had evidence this weekend – probably – that I’m not getting enough fluid either. 

I drink lots of water in the latter half of the day, but very little, if at all, before midday and during the afternoon.  Last Friday afternoon I was heading home from work and got stuck in a traffic jam for an hour.  I suddenly realised that I was experiencing the onset of a kidney infection – it’s very quick, and the only way to fight it is to drink at least a pint of water straight away.  But I was stuck in the car, with the wheels of a massive lorry at my eye level, and no hope of getting out. 

By the time I got home I was thoroughly miserable, though relieved that 18 months go when I had the last infection, I had kept back a couple of antibiotic pills, because I remembered how painful it was until an emergency doctor sorted me out.  I had a very uncomfortable hour until the pill started to act, and the following morning (Saturday) I spent the whole morning at an emergency surgery – my usual one isn’t open on weekends.

The doctor was very understanding; even though I should take the whole course of pills, he quite understood what had motivated me 18 months ago to keep two pills back, and even suggested I do the same this time.  In my case kidney infections are a by-product of my Type 2 diabetes, and as long as they don’t happen too frequently, it’s OK to keep them at bay with antibiotics. 

But in addition to controlling the glucose levels in my blood, drinking lots of fluid will also do the job.  Not letting myself drink on a journey is a childhood thing, I was frightened of needing the toilet because I knew I couldn’t use the stinking hellholes which the public toilets in Argentina used to be.  My brain would freeze and I’d refuse to go near them.  I’m still squeamish, come to that.

So many hang-ups to overcome.  It feels like such a long road sometimes, and I'm the one who's making it longer.


To finish with a smile - a true story...

From my Eavesdroppings blog No. 120:  Truth or Consequence

Whom: Shy, spotty, hormonal schoolboy (16) meets shy girl (19) with long hair.

When & Where: In the 1970s, on a bus in Buenos Aires, as they both prepare to descend the steps to get off at the bus stop, the girl first, a step below him.

What were they were wearing: He is in school uniform, she is in private clothes – a skirt and a revealing crocheted top.

He said to her: (Horribly embarrassed) Er, oh dear, excuse me, it looks as though my flies are caught up in your top…

She said to him: You horrible pervert, what are you talking about? Let go, I want to get off the bus! (Sound of sniggering from people queuing behind them)

The consequence was: They were stuck fast, and there was no time to untangle. They had to get off the bus with her pulling away and he pushing out his hips to try and ensure that he didn’t pull her top right off her. It took some 10 minutes to disengage, because in the process her long hair became entangled in his zipper as well.

What the world said: Spectators on the bus were amused, bystanders at the bus stop were bemused and the young protagonists were acutely embarrassed. He has not forgotten it to this day.


Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's photo archive

Gilbert & Sullivan's the Yeomen of the Guard, 2011

Non-Digital:  Exmoor stream, late 1990s

Non-Digital:  Looking out at Exmoor
from door of Selworthy Church, late 1990s

Non-Digital:  Portishead, early 1990s

Fiddling with Photoshop - two examples of "Before" and "After"
(both pictures non-digital)





For me, this is why Photoshop is such fun.  I had no idea I could rescue so much of the walls surrounding the cloister windows in both these shots.  It was quite a revelation.



Sandy Lee said...

That is so right. Love the Checkpoint Charlie although soon, there will be many who won't remember what that really was since the wall came down so long ago. I'm the same way, although I can now eat veggies and fruit. I'm not losing and chocolate under any circumstances goes down so easily. Hope you get through the checkpoint. And love all the pics.

Vagabonde said...

I do not drink enough fluid either and had two urinary infections in the last year. I was told to drink pure cranberry juice, which is very tart. I drink a glass of it with some water every morning but I have to remember to drink more water during the day. I like your before and after shots – I need to study my Photoshop Elements program but it seems I never have enough time.

Joyful said...

I can't even begin to imagine what you're dealing with but my heart goes out to you. I can understand about not wanting to go to the washroom in those awful places. I had it too but hate to be thirsty more. I hope you can drink more water in time.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for noticing the new layout! I was reluctant to try in case I didn't like it but I saved my template into a document so that if I want I can go back and change it. But I do so love to look at big pictures on screen. Mine look better that way I think but your photos look good no matter what!

Lonicera said...

Thanks Sandy, have enjoyed reading how you also munch under stress, with which I thoroughly identify! Some days it feels that it's the only way to feel actual pleasure, which of course if all wrong. It hadn't occured to me that younger bloggers wouldn't know what Checkpoint Charlie was... now I'm thoroughly depressed and need some chocolate.

Lonicera said...

Vagabonde - Having always loved drinking lots of iced water, I find it extraordinary that now I'm older I actually don't notice that I'm thirsty. Then that kidney pain comes along and takes me by surprise and scares the heck out of me. The lapband doesn't let you drink lots of water too quickly, which makes it even more of a right royal pain...
You'd enjoy the lightening and darkening of pictures on Photoshop, it's so easy to pick up. That's why I use Picassa less - because it doesn't let you select part of the picture to change.

Lonicera said...

Joyful - the issue of drinking or not because of long journeys and/or the fear of unpleasant toilets has blighted me all my life, though I'm quite sure a lot of women share this fear. It was easier to cope with then, but now that I know it could bring on kidney infections it feels like catch 22.
I love your new layout, and am still trying to find someone who will change mine to exactly what I want, because then I don't plan to ever touch it again!

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