Good guts? Week 1

Tuesday, Day 2.

Chocolate rock bun of deliciousness

The problem with a headache is that it stops you from thinking straight. Concentration levels drop as frustration builds, so I head out for some fresh air. Everywhere I look I am taunted: A Costa van on the roundabout, pubs and cafes on every street corner, except where they have been usurped by bakeries. All I can think of is food.

Food, glorious food.
Hot sausage and mustard.
While we are in the mood,
cold jelly and custard.
Pease pudding and saveloys.

You get the idea. It could have been a soul-destroying day. A day that shows exactly why diets, in the sense of restrictive eating patterns, do not work in the long term.

Why am I letting myself suffer like this? Remember I am not decreasing my calorific intake, in fact, it feels like I am eating a lot. The change to usual is that I don’t have the easy calories. I am not having one of Anya’s fishfingers as I cook. No protein granola topping to a bowl of yoghurt. No Grande Latte (even though I usually have espresso). No bottle of wine over the weekend. I should not be feeling hungry. There is more than enough nutritionally dense, tasty and filling food in the plan i wrote up but I am, mentally, starving.

Anya, sweetheart that she is, brought me home a chocolate rock bun. She was so excited as she showed me before her face dropped, remembering rather belatedly “but you can’t eat it, you are on a diet”. My dietary requirements over these three weeks has been carefully planned out. I am not wanting for food. So why did I spend the ENTIRE DAY obsessing over coffee, bread and biscuits? Maybe it was not such a good idea to watch Bake Off and Nadiya Bakes?

Can you see how easily your own head can get in your way, stalling progress, mis-directing you, tell you pretty lies? I came into this fully prepared. I knew I would miss caffeine for a couple of days and that there would almost certainly been a headache. The mental trauma today has been a curve ball. This is why diets don’t work (in the general sense). The focus is always on wieght loss and the foods you are eating, not in the process. It is clear to me that the process is everything. You need to be prepared for hard mental effort to stay on track. Almost as important is the acceptance of cooking, and the time it takes. More than acceptance, think how much easier it is as you develop a love of cooking freshly made meals. The use of flavours and textures to ensure a great experience.

Legs felt great after yesterdays accidental tempo 11km, and I even took part in a section of my interval session. The reason I do not often take part is that I am observing what is going on. In this instance I wanted to time the group on an uphill effort, and to do that i needed to run with them. Had to push hard so i would finish far enough ahead to actual complete the timing. felt good to do sprints like that.

simple and effective lunch

breakfast – almond, apple & avocado smoothie
snack – carrot & Peanut butter
lunch – turkey meatballs, asparagus & courgette
dinner – meatloaf, squash & oven roast veg


I spent another hour in a dementor like fog of distress and self-loathing this morning. When I first decided to take the leap of faith and try the Synergy 21 Day Purify Programme I made that commitment to myself. No matter how hard it gets, I am not giving up. It is only 21 days after all.

There has to be an awareness of the focus and dedication that will be required. If you are trying to lose weight, for example, you don’t really know how long you are going to be on restricted calories. Even if you do hang on for the months that it takes do you really want to feel that you are obsessed with the thought of food every single second of the day? Do you think this is a healthy attitude? What do you think will happen the second you reach you target weight?

Exactly, you will go straight back to the way you were before, perhaps even worse. You need to change your thoughts and habits. It is hard to be honest with yourself. They way through is to ask yourself some really tough questions.

Why are you really doing it?
What is going to be your greatest regret if you don’t change you behaviour?
What is your expectation?
What value do you feel you are going to get?
How disciplined are you willing to be?
What causes you to be impulsive?
How can you build reward to delay that impulse?

My arch-nemesis, the gluten free pancake

breakfast – gluten free pancakes (I still can’t get my head around how awful these are to make)
lunch – meatloaf, squash & oven roast veg
snack – apple and almond butter
dinner – salmon, brocolli & ragu


Day was a bit messed up, as I had my hearing test over in Thame at midday, so lunch ended up being at 3. By the evening I felt I needed to eat something more substantial than soup. As luck would have it a recipe appeared out of nowhere (meaning I have zero recollection where I found it, probably google) for gluten free crackers. Wow! These have been a revelation. Easy to bake, crunchy, with slightly peanutty taste from the baked almond. really tasty. You can make your own by following the recipe I posted. I definitely felt hungrier and less satisfied today, but found this to neither good or bad, it was just an awareness. I suspect the lack of snacks combined with crazily late lunch threw things out.

breakfast – courgette omelette
snack – half a banana and 30g almonds
lunch – salmon with ragu sauce
dinner – Chilli lime chicken soup with gluten free crackers


“poop is a bit gassier again, but more solid. definite improvement in focus. waking up before alarm needing to pee which is annoying”
So say my notes, my only notes, on Friday. I have very little recollection of what happened Friday, which goes to prove that it isn’t alcohol that makes me forgetful. I do remember my back was aching from being sat at the desk too long, and that throwing the kettlebells around for 30 minutes before my lunchtime clients sorted that out a treat. Lounging on the sofa in the evening as we all enjoyed the wonderful ‘Onward’ helped too.

ultimate gluten free crackers

breakfast. scrambled eggs
snack – hummus & gluten free crackers
lunch – Chilli lime chicken soup with gluten free crackers
snack 45g mixed nuts & 30g sultanas
dinner – salmon, squash and oven roast veg


In my head I thought I would probably be up about 7 and would head out for a run. As it was i didn’t wake until gone 8, but was up and out for 8:35 with only one sit down before I left the house. It was raining, and I did find my balance felt a bit off as I was wearing my glasses. Usually i will put my contacts in, especially if it is a wet day. I did push a little and found that my legs were slugglish and heavy. Breathing was not right, feeling a bit short. Instead of fighting i concentrated on relaxing my breathing and just running

The rest of the day was quite relaxed. great call with my parkrun team, as we have done every Saturday morning since lockdown began, then more tidying up in the office. It has taken me 6 months to realise that there is not enough shelf storage space. I still want to turn the room into a library. Need a lot more shelves for that. that will be a great project. build my own…
It is only as I write this on Monday that i note it never even crossed my mind to crack open a nice bottle of Sangiovese as we watched a grown-ups film for a change – The Gentlemen.

flavoursome chicken & lentils

breakfast – Egg, tomato and chicken sausages
lunch – big bowl of salad with hummus, sausage & cashews
dinner – Chicken & lentils


What has been very evident over the weekend is my ability to go out for a run and not have to sit on the loo at least three time beforehand. To me, this has been the best result so far. overall, there has been a drop in the feeling of bloatedness too, but not so much today. I suspect the lentils may be the culprit. I forgot to soak them before chucking in the chicken dish last night. Tasted delish, at the cost of gassing the house out. I gained a last minute entry to Run The Claydons, and was gutted when I sat down for a quick breakfast (just a banana, but even that is more than I would usually dare before a race. i’m just conscious of the empty feeling in my legs yesterday) to read it was cancelled due to flooding. I pondered going out for a run but decided to watch the London Marathon instead, only to get a message from a friend I was meeting at the race, so ended up going for a run of almost 9 miles. no energy issues, no stomach issues, no drowning issues. Pelvis felt a bit fragile in the afternoon, which would probably down to my altered gait. My feet slipped in my waterproof socks, so my toes kept getting scrunched up. A sensation I am totally unused to after years of Fivefingers and Luna Sandals.

I have noticed that as the week progressed there was less obsession over what I couldn’t eat, and more exploration of alternatives. The crackers lasted until today, which is pretty good going. Mentally it feels great to have that crunch. Funnily enough the internet has just provided another solution to my dilemma of how to eat enough calories – Socca. Thank you Pocket Recommends.

What a wonderful feeling

pre run – half a banana
breakfast – coconut yoghurt layers
lunch – chicken chasseur with cauliflower mash, peas & leeks
dinner chicken & lentils

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