Clean Dopamine – Part 4: Results of the Healthy Challenge

It was a hard time and I felt like a junkie, longing for his drug. I had not yet really been aware of the fact that a cold withdrawal from a legal thing can have such an effect. I was constantly talking myself into believing excuses to justify why I may, yet, eat sweets. The defined penalties, however, proved to be a life buoy, which was used frequently.

Every beginning is hard

As usual, I came home after work, made dinner, sat down in front of the flicker box (that´s what I call my TV because I only have a mini PC attached to it, but no TV connection) and ran a video on my favorite video platform. After the meal, I had an incredibly great craving for chocolate and I actually still had some in the fridge.

The day before, when I had collected all the sweets and brought them to the cellar respectively office for my work colleagues, I had actually overlooked the piece in the refrigerator. "Just this one piece won´t be so bad, after all. Besides, I have not eaten anything sweet all day. It's a sign that this one piece is still here," I thought, grabbed it and laid on the couch with my drug.

Looking at the shiny wrapper conjured a smile on my face. I expected that, as always, I could enjoy this piece of chocolate without consequences, and give myself a shot of endorphins with it.

Not even close! All of a sudden, I remembered that I will be punished when I eat the chocolate. I kept looking at the shiny wrapper, fighting with myself. "What was the punishment again? Right, eat 10 carrots and 2 peppers." It took much willpower, but I then carried the chocolate into the cellar to the other sweets and ate cherry tomatoes.

I am a pettifogger

The rules clearly state that I can use the car in the rain. So, if it rains or even already rained that day, I do not have to ride the bike. Actually, it rained for weeks and I only rode my bike to the office once. Even weak or short rainfall made me take the car.

But I also totally exploited the doing sports every second day bit. Per the rules, I was allowed to be lazy on one day and just had to do 10-15 minutes of abs training or something similar the next day. This again was sufficient to not do any sports the next day.

When a friend took on a long distance to visit me, he brought incredibly expensive Swiss chocolate. He knew nothing about my challenge and he had also chips and other treats with him. That day, I gorged myself on a lot of incredibly unhealthy stuff and since I knew I only got the penalty once, I kept gorging myself.

From a purely legal point of view, I have not broken any laws by that. It seems, however, to be human to do only the absolute minimum. And even if you do not break any laws/rules, yet, you have justified your laziness and weak will. To follow the minimum effort principle, however, was not the reason for the loose rules. The idea simply had been to not be too strict with myself, but I took advantage of it just like that. For the next challenge, I must definitely define more detailed rules and tougher penalties. After all, it must be possible to do or not do a certain thing for a short time.

Results of the change in eating habits

It surprised me in a good way how well it worked out to prepare food in the evening and bring it to the office the next morning. It does take a lot of time to find and prepare the right dishes, which you like to eat, but it is very much worth it if you manage to reduce or abandon all the ready-to-eat products. Your body gets detoxified and you automatically lose weight. I did not want to believe it myself, but with only the change of my diet, I also lost weight, and within 3 weeks, to boot. An unexpected side effect which is desirable.

If I really hadn't had any time to prepare my food on one day, I simply ate soup in the office. There I have already a pot, broth and noodles in stock, so I can access them whenever there was no time for meal prepping. Every now and then, eating soup for lunch is even very good. Just make sure to choose the right broth and noodles. I recommend dark organic spelt noodles and organic broth.

Another great side effect is that you can meet entirely different colleagues, even some whom you had never seen before.

More surprises and benefits

  • After you have followed a recipe several times, you memorize it and prepare it very quickly too. Over time, I could switch to autopilot, listen to an audiobook at the same time and concentrate completely on it and suddenly have a healthy meal standing in front of me.
  • The sports routine is comparable to the regular cooking. You simply do the push-ups and abs exercises in the morning. Although I had problems at first to remember which of the two I have to do on the respective morning, because my routines change daily, but Dailies on Habitica show me which training unit is up and if I would keep to my manifesto (Ensure high quality of sleep), then I would not be so drowsy in the morning and could probably remember the exercises myself.
  • After the challenge, I was allowed to eat chocolate again, however, I did not have much want for it. The binges have stopped and I treat myself with chocolate at most as a reward when I have checked off a few difficult to-dos again. But I liked the fact that I lost weight by changing my diet without doing too much sports, so why stop?
  • At the end of the challenge, I only took the chocolate as a reward. The massage - in my opinion – I had not earned because of my taking advantage of legal loopholes. I am sure, though, that I can manage to stay on the ball in the next challenge and properly earn a massage.

The next step will be getting my media attention under control. I would like to forego entertainment media for a longer time, yes, even my smartphone for a short while.

Here is Clean Dopamine – Part 5: Avoiding Entertainment Media