6:54

I’m facing up to a few things – I do want a relationship but I’m going about it the wrong way.

I make things difficult for myself too, and I’m not an easy person to be in a relationship with. I don’t compromise enough potentially.

I’m a great person to date 1-4 times, and will meet almost anyone to see if there’s a connection.

I need to start dating people in their 30s.

For a few reasons (including my openness to the people who hit on me), I’ve recently been meeting almost exclusively with guys in their early 20s.

Unfortunately, my experience with Japanese guys in their 20s has been pretty unrewarding other than the obvious benefits of enjoying some good times.

When I’ve met these guys I’ve been trying to do two things at once – to be casual and light, and enjoy what they are offering me without too many expectations. But I can’t help myself, I pretty quickly start wondering if this gup has some relationship potential.

When I like a guy, I try to narrow in and meet him exclusively to see where things go – that’s been a failure basically.

There have been two guys I liked enough recently to put my feelings out there a bit but neither were willing to stop enjoying the wider dating scene.

In any case, what was I thinking? I should be seeking out a relationship with someone who is socially smart, has some life experience and who will stimulate me holistically for a longer than a few months.

8:37

It’s a simple joy, but one worth savouring: waking up without an alarm when your body is refreshed and ready for some sunshine.
I wish every weekend morning could feel like this morning.
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7:40

I’m feeling much better than any other morning in the last seven days – my cold has finally turned a corner. At this rate I should have full strength back by tomorrow and be ready for a long walk around part of lake Hibara. >>>
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2:11 (am)

I went for a very special dinner this evening with a small group of close friends as the guest of a senior guy in a top hotel chain and one of my best friends in Japan  – and although I stuck to my vegan guidelines, I did drink quite a bit of wine.

I’m going to be positive and not beat myself up.

It felt appropriate given the setting (the host was someone I had never met before, who was very generously paying for a lavish dinner with his friends and Richard’s two close friends (myself and one other).

I have to remind myself that this unexpected evening of drinking doesn’t signify any major change in stance, or my ability to refrain from alcohol on other occasions.

18:34

Thinking some more about the extract from John Robbin’s book about Principles of Healthy and Inexpensive Food, which I posted earlier today…. I was happy to notice I’ve been following a lot of these principles already.

  • “Eat low on the food chain”
    I’m on a mostly plant-based diet and have cut out almost all processed food.
  • “Avoid food that travels the globe”
    I could probably do better on this point.
  • “Shop on the outside aisles of your grocery store”
    At the supermarket I’m basically only buying raw fruit, veg, nuts and grains.
  • “Don’t buy foods with too many ingredients”
    Done.
  • “Don’t buy foods that are advertised”
    Because I live in Japan, hate Japanese TV, and can’t read the newspaper – I’ve been living with almost no mainstream advertising in my life for years.
  • “Beware of fake “health” products”
    As a sales person, and a Brit, I’m a paranoid sceptic about most faddy products – including coconut butter, chia seeds etc (until I’ve done enough research to verify the benefits)
  • “Bulk is best”
    Coincidentally I just ordered 2kg of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
  • “Defend yourself from end-of-aisle and checkout displays”
    I didn’t think much about this, but it’s smart advise to be prepared for well-positioned unhealthy products designed to be impulse buys.
  • “Reduce the number of trips you make to the store”
    I think this is good advice, best to plan and be strategic before going shopping.
  • “Shop at farmers markets”
    I’d love to find one, or something similar. I have my favourite local grocery store which is usually stocked with ripe/overripe wholesale fruit and veg.
  • “Prepare more of your meals at home”
    Done, I cook in batches and take bento boxes into the office when I have office lunch days.
  • “Leftovers are great”
    As above.
  • “Spice it up”
    Done, I’m eating a lot of homemade curry.
  • “Plan ahead”
    Got it.
  • “Eat out consciously”
    I’ve been planning where I eat out carefully, choosing where possible places where my friends can eat meat / fish and I can also have some fulfilling options.
  • “Avoid fast food – it costs more than you think”
    Done.
  • “Eat the way gourmets around the world eat” referring to being global, and eating at more international restaurants (as opposed to American restaurants – John Robbin’s is an American after all)
    Yes please!
  • “Watch the booze”
    Done, given it up.
  • “Steer clear of soft drinks”
    Done, I’m going drinking water, herb tea, or juices I’ve made myself mostly with vegetables.
  • “Think outside the bottle” referring to avoiding bottled water
    I bought a water filter and take my own filtered water with me when I go out to work or the gym.
  • “Grow your own”
    Doing my best, I’ve planted daikon, carrots, spinach and lots of herbs. We will see how I get on.

00:10

A quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, shared by my best friend Diane. His views don’t entirely mirror my own by the way, but I enjoyed this extract – it’s certainly thought provoking.

Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption

From a health perspective, alcohol should be limited, if you consume it at all. Heavy drinking increases the risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension; cirrhosis; esophageal, breast and colon cancers; and alcoholism.” Alcoholism also takes a tremendous toll on families, communities and nations. Worldwide, alcohol consumption has been estimated to cause one in twenty-five deaths, and the cost of alcohol to society – an estimated 1 percent of gross domestic product in high- and
middle – includes the cost of both alcohol-fueled chronic diseases and alcohol-related social problems.’ Although moderate drinking can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes,” it can also raise the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.” If you do not drink, there’s no reason to start drinking, since there are many other ways to improve your heart health and lower your risk of diabetes. (Skipping sugary drinks is one way; exercising more is another.)

Scientifically, moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men, and until middle age, the risks outweigh the benefits.” Yet even drinking in moderation can be the beginning of alcoholism for some people. Although you yourself may always be on guard about not becoming addicted to alcohol and can safely drink a glass of wine occasionally without overindulging, this may not be the case for your children, your grandchildren, and other loved ones. Every time you drink in front of them, you may be increasing the likelihood that they will drink in the future, And they may grow up and become dependent on alcohol. By abstaining from alcohol completely, you become a role model for them and may help to protect them from turning to alcohol as a habit or in times of stress and difficulty. Alcohol is an addictive substance.’ Having the first glass may lead to the second and the third. When you see that as a society, we are in great danger because of how we use alcohol, refraining from the first glass of wine is a manifestation of your enlightenment. You do it for all of us.

We must look deeply to see that when we practice mindful consumption not only for ourselves but for others. The way you live your life is for your ancestors, future generations, and your whole society. Even if we completely refrain from all drinking, we can still get killed by a drunk driver, so to help one person stop drinking is to make the world safer for everyone. When we can be free from the shell of our small self and see our interrelatedness to everyone and everything, we understand that our every act is linked with all of humanity, with the whole cosmos. To stay healthy is to be kind to your ancestors, your parents, future generations, and also your society. From the standpoint of mindfulness and compassion, we encourage you to abstain from alcohol. As in the case of meat consumption, reducing alcohol consumption can impact world hunger, as the grains and foods used in alcohol production can be used instead for direct human consumption. If you are unable to completely stop drinking, then at least reduce the amount you drink by one-third, one-half, or two-thirds. No one can practice perfectly, including the Buddha. Even vegetarian dishes are not entirely vegetarian. Boiling vegetables kills the bacteria living in them. Although we cannot be perfect, because of the real danger alcoholism poses to our society, destroying many families and causing much suffering, we should practice to reduce or completely stop our alcohol consumption. We have to live in a way that will avoid the tragedy alcohol abuse can create. This is why even if you can be very healthy while enjoying one glass of wine every week, we still urge you to look deeply into the detrimental effects of alcohol on our society and do the best you can to minimize alcohol consumption. Whenever you drink alcohol, ask yourself: Do I really want to drink this? And if you are going to drink, drink mindfully.

The Practice of Mindful Eating Now that we’ve covered the basics of healthy eating, let’s focus on how to eat mindfully so that we truly enjoy our food and eat with compassion and understanding. Mindful eating means simply eating or drinking while being aware of each bite or sip. You can practice it at any meal, whether you are alone in your kitchen or with others in a crowded restaurant. You can even practice mindful drinking when you pause to take a sip of water at your desk.

6:59

***Weight 71.9kg; 18.5% body fat; 12.5% subcutaneous fat; 35.6% skeletal muscle***
Today marks another low in my general weight/fat levels since 16/July.

Post–Post-Cleanse, what’s next?

Exercise

I’m now confidently within my comfort zone with regards to my weight, and want to make my main focus for the coming few weeks muscle growth – through training with free weights and resistance machines at the gym.

Diet

I intend to continue my vegan diet but will be eating “mostly vegan” potentially including a meat or fish meal every week or two.

I will also try to include an evening with light alcohol every couple of weeks, starting with tomorrow evening – an evening of live jazz with a small group of colleagues.

6:18

Post-Cleanse Reflections (2)

I didn’t get around to writing more of my thoughts down yesterday.

The Ease / Difficulty of my own Master Cleanse & Post-Cleanse 30 days

This whole process (cleanse and post-cleanse) has been much easier than I would have guessed before 16/July.

Although the master cleanse itself is somewhat severe as regime it comes with some distinct (and wonderful) second benefits in addition to the primary benefits of any immediate health benefits or weight loss. These include:

  • The master cleanse is an easy to explain pre-existing package or brand which one can point to when explaining your temporary regime (it’s also been around a long time, I used to mention “more than 60 years)
  • It’s finite – although it’s often regarded as extreme it is usually limited to a 10 day period, making your health-reboot less alienating than longer term
  • It provides a very clear sense of “reset” within the person carrying out the cleanse
    • During the cleanse itself the extra time that is freed up by not constantly having to make choices about what to eat or drink allows one to evaluate many aspects of life – there is more time for research or reflection
    • The end of the cleanse is also a wonderful opportunity to ease yourself into a new lifestyle, one of your own designing

Post-cleanse I’ve been living as a vegan who eats eggs and avoids alcohol – this has also been pretty simple despite my hectic Tokyo work and personal life:

  • When eating out, I’ve been able to find easy solutions – sometimes calling ahead to restaurants, other times influencing the choice of restaurant, but many times I just politely request a vegan version of something on the menu be prepared for me
  • Avoiding drinking has not been so hard either – I found that the initial act of sharing my new preference is the toughest part, but once friends or colleagues have understood what I’m trying to do (there are a lot of questions) they simply stop pushing

I’ve found questions from friends and colleagues initially come thick and fast – and I will happily answer as many as possible until one of my answers seems to connect with the person I’m talking with.

I’ve found some people initially lose all identity with me – until you say the magic words which allow you to reconnect. In some cases those magic words have been…

  • “it’s just temporary until I reach by weight loss goal”
    [which is no longer true as I’ve basically achieved this]
  • “I’m doing this to reset my health”
  • “I’m doing this to train for… [a marathon]”
  • “I’m just taking a break for a while as I noticed…
    • …I was drinking too much before
    • …I had to pee to often in the night”
    • …I had gained a lot of weight this year”

…basically most people can empathise with at least one of the above. I often try each one out for size with friends who I’ve not seen in the past 6-7 weeks and who need some kind of explanation of the changes.

Although I can say that overall it has been easy, reactions have been very mixed and sometimes negative.

Lovely people I have considered great friends have occasionally been very sceptical, cold, negative, judgemental, insensitive or resistant to reasoned discussion. In some cases I’ve observed a belligerent belief that it’s ok to push someone around about what they put into their own body.

A few (not so many) friends and colleagues have been overwhelmingly encouraging with regular comments of support or enquiries about how things are going.