17 March 2011

At the cut

Yoko, talented at many things, is also talented at tailoring. I have about five shirts I got at Uniqlo over Christmas that I really like (with buttons and ties on the sleeves to aid in rolling them up), but were wide around the waist and I had a hankering to have them tailored up a bit. Yoko did this for me on Tuesday and now, they fit like a dream. One of the nice things about losing weight and slimming up is having a much better, uh, line to your body. 'Line'? Is that the right word? Anyway, if you wear a shirt that is all baggy around the waist and the lower back, it makes the whole thing a moot point. Tailoring brings the back and waist in for a much cleaner, more orderly look and having a 'classic' cut shirt tailored is better, I think, than buying a slim cut shirt because you have the benefit of the wider chest and arms. Plus, the classic shirts are generally cheaper. I think I will stick with this cut in the future and employ the skill of the wife to do the magic.

Why am I talking about the cut of shirts and not, you know, working on my thesis? Well, yesterday, I had an incredibly successful day at a 'writer's retreat'. I was initially quite sceptical, I'll admit: a bunch of academics sitting around in a room doing writing exercises? I couldn't think of anything more wasteful. Well, it turned out to be exactly the opposite. We did only one five minute exercise at the beginning (writing to the prompt: what writing do you need to get done today and what concrete goal do you have for the next hour and the rest of the day?) and then we wrote. No Internet, just your laptop and 30-40 other academics sitting around, typing away. When it first started, I thought the sound of typing would drive me mad, but suddenly, after about 5 minutes of focusing, things started to flow. And before I knew it, the hour was up. There were four one hour slots, some discussion, and a good lunch (not sandwiches, but actually meat, vegetables, and fruit!). When it was done, I had finished a 1,000 word book review and done about 1,000-1,500 words of very heavy lifting writing on my analysis chapter (heavy lifting writing being very content heavy writing with lots of citations). It was a very successful day. I have to go back to it now and do some cleaning up, but all-in-all, it was great.

Also, and perhaps as importantly, I was able to avoid the constant flow of biscuits and cookies which were readily available (although I probably had too much fruit) and for lunch, which was also all you could eat, I stuck to a big salad with balsamic vinegar dressing and Tabasco, a slice of ham and peas, two small bits of roast beef, a small whole grain roll, and some fruit. Avoiding the refined sugar, although difficult, was also a real boost to my energy level and avoiding the empty carbs in white bread, pastries, cookies, etc. in general has been doing wonders for my outlook on life. I feel so much lighter yet fuller at the same time. It's hard to explain. Perhaps it is because I have been eating porridge in the morning, securing the energy I need for the day, and having high powered rice and beans for lunch. I'm starting to look at the huge piece of cake and think, actually I don't think I want that. Not, I need to avoid that, but I don't want it. How weird is that. I wonder if you can really get to a point where your body tells you want it needs to eat...

But there is still work to be done.