Detox 2019: 90 Days & 90 K

If you saw me over the last few months of 2018, or just read the banal self-loathing crap that I occasionally spout, you’ll realise that I stepped up a gear from fat to obese last year.  At the end of 2018 I was 16kg heavier than at the end of my 2018 detox.

Therefore this year’s detox comes in two parts.

The first part is simply 90 days without alcohol. Though since I started, I have decided to extend this until Easter.

With an emphasis on repairing my diet during this time, which has become solely focused on my brain’s short-term desires, my lack of energy and motivation hindering attempts at good behaviour during business as usual.  Most days in the latter half of 2018 I had over 3,000 calories, which includes Red Bulls, chocolate, cakes, occasional morning sausage sandwiches.  Almost all of my good habits of old, have been replaced by bad habits, to keep me going through the day.

As well as having given up alcohol totally, I will be giving up or cutting down drastically the following:
Energy drinks
Sliced bread
Chocolate
Cakes

As I’ve said before, I know what I need to do to lose weight and be healthy – I have just totally lost the motivation over the last year, and had little time or energy.  Giving up alcohol gives me the mental space to do so, increase energy levels and allow the positive feedback loops.

Analysing my last year, I think one of my main issues was how I dealt with the pent-up demand from my three-month detox, which as soon as it was over, I went on a food and booze consumption binge, pie here, pizza there, midweek drinks here – a genie that I never put back in the bottle.

So, part two will be only having one weekend on the pop per month, until I am down to 90kg.  Which might take all year, but so be it. Not including holidays #OBS!

I have also set myself monthly goals – fail these and I’ll punish myself with vegetarian roast dinners. I have already failed my February weight goal. Expect a scathing review of a vegetarian roast dinner soon. FML.

I’m more than halfway through, absolutely not bothered at all about the lack of booze 98% of the time – I have had a couple of occasions where I’ve been pissed off and “needed” a beer, and there have been a few social occasions where I have missed it – like my weekend in Exeter last weekend…how good would a glass of red wine been with my steak dinner? Definitely not craving it like I was last detox though.

However, I don’t feel that I am feeling the benefits as much as last year, though last year I also gave up chocolate, cakes and severely limited red meat – this year I’ve just cut down from my over-consumption.

I’m getting there. I’m eating healthier again, doing a little bit of exercise where I get the time and broadly (seems to be my favourite word of 2019) feeling better. I’ve repaid some of my over-spending from last year and am progressing through some of my to-do lists, and started work improving my web development portfolio.

Once my detox is over, the challenge will be to find some form of balance, and not go back to binge-eating. Maybe I need a wife?

Slow progress, but as the saying goes – slow progress is better than no progress.

Detox Is Over

So it finishes.  3 months without alcohol.  Finished already.

I almost feel a little sad about it.  It’s like the end of a holiday.  I expected to jump up and down in excitement about the upcoming retoxification, but nah.  I feel very nonplussed about it.

My 3 month detox was on doctor’s advice.  There is nothing wrong with my liver per se, but it needed a reduction of the fat content otherwise there was a good chance that there would become a problem.

I’ve had my blood test today and now await the results.  Hopefully the doctor will say “party on”, or words to that effect.  Though the other realistic possibility will be that he says that it hasn’t improved as much as he expected and I need another 3 months off…I cannot see that being the case but worth being mentally prepared for.

Going out and not drinking isn’t particularly easy, especially in the evening or when there is loud music. For a Sunday roast, which seems to be the majority of my socialising now, I’m not that bothered.  Sure it is nice to have a glass of red with a nice roast, but I can take it or leave it.

I’m also not bothered about having a drink at the end of the working week – I was always quite happy just to go home.  A few years ago I had to have a drink on a Friday.  A few years before that I had to be fucked off my face as soon as humanly possible come the end of the working week (or quite often the Thursday night as I just couldn’t wait).

Which shows that I have gone from being pretty needy of alcohol some years ago, to not that bothered now.  At least in terms of need.

But I miss the feeling.  I miss the taste – a good pint of beer tastes so much better than a pint of apple juice, no matter how refreshing apple juice can be on occasion…like after a really heavy session.

Even more than that, I missed sausage rolls.  And bacon sandwiches.  And chorizo…I could labour the point but I think you understand.  I was also advised to cut down red meat, if possible.  Which I did – bar roast dinners.  And boy, the amount of times, especially at first, when I craved a sausage roll.

Believe it or not, I lost some weight.  Around 6kg from my peak in the new year.  I was aiming for 9kg, but I guess that was quite ambitious.

I did a lot of admin.  Sorting out music, going through piles of paperwork, clearing up old e-mails, fixing things on my blogs and websites that have been on my to-do list for over a year.

I saved money.  Well, I paid off my overspending from December, paid for a holiday that I’ve agreed to go on but wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise, and bought a new phone outright.

I also got my first full-on website client, and produced a website for him.  Just waiting for his hosting company to pull their fingers out of their backside and fix a technical issue with my client’s account and it will be live.

Shit got done these last 3 months.

I was almost exactly as happy.  I keep a count of my happiness rating every day, and averaged 5.003571 for March this year compared to 4.992857 for March last year (when I was drinking).

And I have been told that I look brighter.  I was hoping that I’d feel 21 again, but alas, I don’t.  I still get tired at times, especially if I have been consuming caffeine.

So, as it is my first post-detox evening so what am I drinking?

Summer fruits squash.  As normal.

I had a sausage roll for lunch to celebrate, just a cheap Sainsburys one and I cannot say it was that good.  I would have enjoyed a salad more.

And now I have just cooked myself some pork fillet in a BBQ sauce.  It wasn’t that special – I overcooked the pork.  I am particularly looking forward to a bacon and egg sandwich, but that can wait until the weekend.

Alcohol can wait too.  I did consider buying some beer for tonight, but I’ve got loads on at work at the moment, and could do without an unnecessary fuzzy head.

Don’t worry, I haven’t become a Jehovah’s Witness or anything.  I have booked myself a table for a celebratory pie at Piebury Corner.  They serve beer.  Thursday evening after work – you can come if you want.

Normal service then resumes.  Pending doctor’s further advice.

And my taking notice of it.

I might do this 3 month detox again one year.  It was alright.

Detox 2017

It’s that time of year again.  Detox time.

In fact, this is now day 8 of my detox – I’ve been so busy being unemployed that I literally am not getting time to do any blogging.

I already feel much better.  I was drinking too much, and too often.  I have quite a dislike of getting up at 7am and going to work even if I have had just two beers the night before, not to mention the increased chances of having not slept properly – which means that I rarely drink the night before work.

Not having had that worry, there were more excuses for having a drink, especially with 2 full litres of vodka in my room at the beginning of January, and some leftover other bits and bobs – I hardly bought any!  Needless to say that a week ago, I felt fairly rubbish.  I needed a detox.

I was initially worried a month ago about how difficult it might be to have a detox during the ups and downs of unemployment, I was having a fairly miserable spell a while back, tempered by rejection and continued unemployment.  There was a bit of me that thought I wouldn’t do it.

But by time February 1st arrived, I was welcoming it with open arms, and feel so much better after a week.  Not quite yet feeling as energised as I want to feel, but that will come.

So the usual things are out – alcohol, caffeine, crystal meth, krokodile, cigars, cannabis vapes, MDMA, MDMB, MDMD, MDMR, R2D2, etc, etc.

Also banned are cakes and chocolates.  With one exception – if I make the cake myself (I have cooking and baking targets to meet!).  Though the last time I did any baking, it was a semi-disaster with apple turnovers that stuck to the baking sheet.  Still tasted nice on day 1.  Thrown away by day 3.

I didn’t ban bacon as I did last year – sugar probably has far greater a negative effect than bacon does.  There are other unhealthy things I could have banned – such as sweets – but I am not yet willing to banish every little delight from my life.

The detox will last for 37 days.  Because I am 37 years old.  And finishes just in time to get the train to Hull to celebrate my mother’s birthday.

Re-Re-Tox

It’s over!

I woke up this morning and considered whether I should do a shot of absinthe or not.  In the end, I declined and had some milk and weetabix instead.

36 days have gone with no beer, cider, chorizo, vodka, wine, crack, ecstasy, quaaludes, LSD, cannabis, whiskey, brandy, gin, lager, ale, ketamine, barbiturates, cigarettes, bacon, sausages, MDMA, cocaine, GHB, speed, 2Ci and sex.

Yes I have been ever so boring over the last month.

It works.  I feel less tired, my body feels better, I have been having 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY single night, I have lost weight, I have my web development portfolio half-completed and saved up enough money to buy some vinyl decks at last.

Life hasn’t been totally dull either – I have been to the pub a few times, been out for non-alcoholic cocktails, I was DJing, went to Hull for my Dad’s birthday meal.

I don’t mind being sober.  If the doctor ever told me to give up drinking, I wouldn’t be that bothered.

But I do miss a few things.  Last Sunday I had a nice two hour walk to a country pub and it would have been so nice to have had a pint of cider when I arrived.  A couple of times I’ve had a really, really good steak and it would have been wonderful to have accompanied that with a nice glass of red.  I did also really quite fancy a beer when I was on the train to Hull.

In fact, it is always quite remarkable how such influences pervade all areas of life – even the Economist had a front cover the other week saying “How to do drugs right”.  Granted, they were talking about drug policy, not getting high.

But there are so many occasions where alcohol just seems appropriate.

Caffeine is what I really want to knock on the head.  I do think it makes me more tired by stealing energy reserves in advance.  I feel a lot less tired than I was – although I know part of the answer is doing more exercise, annoyingly the outside cupboard with my bike in has had a broken lock for almost all of my detox.

Anyway.  Fun James is back.  I’m going out from Friday night until Sunday.  Bring on the retox with a weekend in London.  Some of you might even be joining me as I
attempt to re-create Withnail & I, Trainspotting and Fear & Loathing In
Las Vegas, all in one night, bookended with family meals.

No discipline.  No morality.  No respect.

Where to start?

Detox 2016

Two years ago when I did my fear-inducing virgin detox, I needed it.  I had been drinking and partying almost every weekend since I was 14.  I’d certainly not had any more than a week’s break from intoxicants since my early teenage years.  My body needed it.

This time I don’t need the detox so much, but I want the detox.  I am craving my detox.  And it is for a greater variety of reasons than just my health.

I am expanding my detox this time.  Firstly to 36 days – because I am 36 years old.  I am also expanding the definition of unhealthy substances to include all sausage and bacon-related products.  Even chorizo – stick that up your arse Mariano Rajoy.  The main reason behind the lack of bacon is to challenge myself to find healthy, low calorie yet tasty breakfast options for the weekend – such as smoked salmon and eggs, for example.

My health could be improved – I am feeling tired and unhealthy at the moment.  Too much beer, too much shit food, too much caffeine.  The body needs a spell of sobriety and it needs a spell of healthy eating – not just 4 or 5 days a week that I usually manage (albeit not the last week or two), but 7 days a week.

I also need to do more exercise.  I have started exercising more but I struggle to walk to the local shop when I have a hangover.

The mind also needs a rest.  I’m not enjoying going out as much as I normally do.  I actively want to spend my time reading more, watching more movies and yes, I want to get out on my bike more, to make myself less unfit.

I’m also concerned about a recent lack of progress on studying.  I have a lot I want to achieve, I urgently need to focus on my portfolio, not to mention an 85 hour study backlog that I have to tackle now.

Plus I have a whole list of things that I need to do, from buying some shelves, to visiting the doctors and dentist, along with various other administrative activities that I keep putting off and it would be nice if these were banished from my mind.

Finally, I’ve overspent in recent months and want to finish the month out of overdraft for the first time since September.

With a bit of careful control, I might even have enough saved up by the end of the month for one Technic deck.  If we are granted some form of annual bonus which is allegedly due tomorrow, then I might even have enough for two vinyl decks.

So, physically, mentally and financially, I want this detox.  I have been looking forward to it for weeks.  It starts very soon.

Manana.  Maybe.

Detox Complete

It’s all over bar the fat man singing.

31 days ago I drank my last pint of beer at Krakow airport, whilst on some pretty strong painkillers to get me through the flight.  The beer was at 3pm so as far as I am concerned, my detox is over in just a few hours time, meaning that I can have a beer with my Friday night pie.  Maybe even two.

I’m not going to go over the details of why I do a detox – you can read my detox blog post if you are bothered.  Basically to feel better, crush any dependencies (particularly caffeine), save money and lose weight.

Do I feel any better for it?  This was a question asked many times.  Until recently, the answer was no.  But I do feel better.  For example, I am waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual, so enough time to do a little exercise and a little studying.  It all adds up.

I am a little less tired on a Friday.  I have been more productive this month and have done plenty more studying.

I have saved money.  Hard to say how much but around £300, which I have been able to partly invest in my DJ set-up through a sound card, and also a CD printer.

Interestingly I have been less happy.  My average happiness rating during January was 5.9.  My average during my detox month was 5.4.  There are some caveats thought – January included my birthday and a holiday, my detox month started with a few days were I was pretty pissed off due to being ill.  Apart from those 3 days of being ill, I never went below a rating of 5.0 during my detox month – but never above 6.4.  During January my happiness rating varied quite substantially from 4.0 to 8.5.

Yes I do keep statistics on a lot of aspects of my life.  You should know this by now.

Most importantly to me, I lost weight.  I started the detox with a morning weight of 92kg.  I finished at 88kg.  Most days I came well under my calorie limit for losing weight.  It isn’t just the alcohol that stops me from losing weight, but the drunken chicken and the hangover fry-ups, not to mention the Monday survival sausage rolls, and that kind of thing.

It was much easier this year.  I managed to totally resist temptation and even DJ’d without a quibble, I was hardly bothered at all about the degenerate chaos around me.

Without doubt it has been a success and I will keep doing them every year.  I am even considering doing quarterly fortnight-long detoxes.

Roll on pie and beer time.  And then the slightly less fat man singing.

The Detox Is Back

As I write this I have completed 10 days so far.  Consecutive days – unlike one of my colleagues who attempted a January detox, that started on 4th and finished on 25th and only actually managed 6 individual days.  I shall be doing a full 31 days – with the last day being Thursday 5th March.

No alcohol.  No caffeine.  No bleach-snorting, no elephant tranquilizer, no e-by-bum, no vodka eye-shots.  Nothing.  Anything that could be seen as an intoxicant is out.  Fun is banned.

I first heard of detoxes through a hero of mine, Sven Vath.  I was quite astounded many years ago, probably 15 years ago, when I read that he took a month out to cleanse his body and his soul.  But closer to home, a good friend of mine, Gareth, influenced me by his annual January detoxes.  Again, I initially thought it was bizarre, the idea of going without drinking for a month, but I came around to the idea last year.

Last year I needed a detox.  My body was tired from all the partying – I was partying by habit and physically and mentally fatigued.  It gave me a new look on life and helped me to reprioritise.  More importantly, I felt somewhat repaired afterwards.

This year I don’t need a detox.  But I want a detox.  Time out from drinking and partying – time to spend on other projects of mine, and studying.  Pressing the reset button to get myself off caffeine.  And to save money so I can invest in something that I really want.  And hopefully lose some frigging weight.

Having started the detox with a flu bug, I did allow myself some cold and flu tablets until it had cleared.  There was a moment when I was struggling to shake it off that I dreamt of having a nice strong vodka to try to rid myself of it.  And then last Friday on the way to work, I daydreamed of having a glass of wine upon completion of my day until reality struck.

Then on Saturday I put myself through the pain of being in a bar but only able to drink apple juice and rose lemonade, which is clearly an acquired taste that I haven’t acquired.  The lack of alcohol prohibits attempts to shout at others to make oneself heard.  And then on Sunday I popped to the Oakford – how I would have loved a Fruli.

No, No, No.  I stick to the plan.  If I say I am going to do something, I do it.  I will resist all temptation.

But I do really want a beer.

Goodbye Detox

So did I manage a month of detox?
Yes.  Kind of.  One minor infraction on the home straight but
we aren’t even talking half a unit of alcohol.
Many doubted me but I knew I would be fine.  I am in a determined kind of mood at the
moment, inspired to achieve my goals especially since I now have Margaret
watching over me.
It was difficult to resist temptation at times.  On the first day in a pub in Shoreditch, I
really wanted a drink to go with Sunday lunch. 
When we had our house Christmas dinner there was wine open in front of
me.  I had a real craving for a glass of
wine but I knew it would be game over if I succumbed.  I didn’t even dare go into a nightclub.
So now it is effectively over, what did I notice?
I didn’t really expect a health boost as I am hardly a
raging alcoholic but I do feel a bit more alive.  I was kind of hoping I might feel like an 18
year-old again.  Alas this is not the
case.
I found it much easier to wake up earlier than I needed to, to
do some studying.  Consequently I did
more studying than for some time, including finishing my DJing website.
Social engagements don’t always require alcohol.  Though they are more fun with stimulation.
My bank balance improved. 
By about £450.  Albeit only to
zero.
I didn’t waste any weekend days spending all day in bed
hanging.
I didn’t really get bored at any point, in fact I had a
busier social life.
I lost a little bit of weight.  Though I actually lost more weight in January!
I have probably been slightly happier – no silent Mondays or
comedown Tuesdays – but very few highs.  Just consistently quite happy – no roller-coasters.
Disappointingly, I farted less.
I quite enjoyed it but I bloody well cannot wait for a beer.
I am going to do this every year from now.  Maybe even twice a year as it is clearly a
good way to save up for something I wouldn’t normally be able to afford – like
a holiday for example.
Anyway it is soon time for a drink and I like breaking rules
so I am going to have a drink before March. 
Fuck it.  My detox.  My rules.  I am amazing.  I love being me.
I would be delighted if anyone joined me in getting well and truly intoxicated tonight.  Especially 10pm to 11:30pm when I shall be playing really sobering minimal at a night which has the d-word in it’s title.

The Detox

The aim is for all of February – no intoxicants, not even
caffeine.
Why the fuck am I doing a detox?  I used to be a proper party animal.  Friday to Sunday – Mango, after-party, pub
breakfast, all day session, quick shower, Mango, after-party, Sunday lunch
beers and finally to bed for a 14 hour sleep before work.  Always going out, always clubbing, always
partying.  Granted I am too old and eminently sensible for that
kind of regime now!
I have come to the conclusion that after nearly 20 years of
drinking every weekend, normally heavily (though less so in recent years), my
body and my internal organs may appreciate a rest.
There are other reasons too.
I need to finish paying back my overdraft.
I want to spend more time on web design and studying for it.
More time for catching up with non-clubbing friends.
Can I do it?
I think it will be fairly easy for the first half of the
month but temptation will increasingly irritate me and I reckon the last two
weekends will be difficult.
I have never gone more than 7-10 days without a drink since
about the age of 15 (maybe except the time at college when I had severe
pneumonia, but then I had steroids so that doesn’t really count…oh they were good!).
So it is also a challenge, a change of behavioural patterns.  I am confident that I will achieve my goal.
I am hoping to feel good at the end of it but I am kind of
expecting to ironically end up with severe manful, headaches, leprosy and trench
foot.
Maybe I will love sobriety and never drink again?
Ha ha ha.