Underneath my yellow skin

Baby steps in health

caffeine injection stat!
Yes, I’d love a–GIMME THE DAMN TEA

It’s been a roughly a week since I started my caffeine cut-down. I’m at roughly 8 oz a day, which is where I want to be. It’s been easy-breezy-peasy!

Fuck the hell it has. It’s been harder than fuck, and you can tell I’m serious because I said fuck twice in two sentences. Three times. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be. The last time I did this, I cut out caffeine completely (6 cans of Diet Pepsi a day), it was horrible for a few days. I barely remember because I was in a haze and my head was pounding like it was a taiko drumming. If I had any doubt that caffeine was an addiction, I didn’t after that.

This time, I decided to be smart about it. I cut down gradually, well, OK, not that gradually. I went from 60 oz to about 25 oz (the first cut is the deepest), and then slowly whittled it down to roughly 10 oz. I’m close to where I want to be, and it’s the worst. I’m so fucking tired all the time. I mentioned last time that it’s a weariness deep in my soul. It’s also mad headaches at time, but it’s mostly feeling unfocused and not able to think. I’m drinking the caffeine when I first wake up, and then I’m going the rest of the day mostly without. By the way, I just had a sip of Mango Diet Coke and instinctively made a face. It was gross. I don’t think I can drink them, though I hate just pouring them out. It’s the Taiwanese in me–we loath to get rid of anything.

I didn’t realize how much I rely on the caffeine to get me through the day. I’m draggy most of the time, and it’s hard for me to concentrate. On the other hand, I am less anxious than I was before, but maybe it’s because I’m just so fucking tired. My affect is flat–flatter than normal, which is pretty flat. I think my body is craving the caffeine, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to physically become not dependent.

I also don’t know if my body will accept anything less than going completely caffeine-free before adjusting. I think I might be keeping it in a state of confusion by pumping it up with caffeine in the morning and coasting on it for the rest of the day. I’ll report back in a week or so how the caffeine experiment is going.

I believe it’ll be better overall, but it’s hellish right now. All I want to do is sleep all the time, and I keep nodding off. It makes me think that at least some of my sleeping issues has been the caffeine. Yes, I know that’s a ‘duh’ thought, but I can’t be brilliant all the time. Could it be as simple as less caffeine equals more sleep? Yeah, no. I’ve been sleeping less actually since giving up caffeine, but maybe that’s just because of the adjustment period. 

ooooh so soft.
Make me beautiful!

Next up, facial care. I have a complicated relationship with makeup and adjacent products. I’m old school feminist in that I don’t see why I should have to spend money on makeup (and time) if dudes don’t. I don’t buy all that bullshit about it being empowering and blah blah blah, and, yeah, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s still an insidious way to make women feel inferior in their own goddamn skin–and, yeah, insidious because it’s marketed as being a confidence thing now. Again, if being empowered and confident was truly something makeup could do for you, dudes would be troweling it on.

I can go with the idea that it’s fun to mess with it in a creative and artistic way, much like women have much more variety in dress than men do, but when it becomes a requirement, that’s when I give it the side-eye. When women say they could never go outside without makeup or that they look tired/dead without their makeup, then I think it’s more compulsory than they think.

In addition, I’m allergic to everything under the sun, and when I used to wear makeup, the reaction I had to it was terrible. I know there are better products now, but it’s still not something I want to mess with. The one thing I liked wearing was lipstick, but then I would worry about it all day long. Had I applied it correctly? Had I eaten the middle part off? Were my lip flakes showing through the lipstick? I never had peace of mind while wearing it, so I gave it up.

I’ve been fortunate with my skin. I’m Asian, so it’s still soft despite my advanced age and me not doing anything to it. I have a hard time doing anything beauty-related because I felt it meant I was either narcissistic or giving in to ‘the man’. In addition, depression made it hard for me to say, “Yes, I want to take care of myself”, so that’s another reason I’ve not done anything other than wash my face with soap.

By the way, I’m heartened that Jonathan from the Queer Eye validated my thought that you don’t need to wash your hair every day. I wash it once a week (or every other week when depression hits), and it’s just fine.

Anyhow, based on Jonathan’s five must haves, one of which was facial mist, I bought both a facial cleanser and a facial mist from my co-op yesterday. Alaffia Facial Cleanser with purifying coconut and Alaffia Facial Mist with toning coconut. Honestly, I bought them because I love the smell of coconut (even though I don’t like the taste except in curry), and they don’t smell at all like rose. I tried a few of the other facial mist samplers, and they were terrible. This one was nice and light. I used the cleanser and then the mist last night, and my face felt softer. That could be the placebo effect, but it really does seem to work.

all. the. chips.
I want ALL the chips!

Lastly, I’m giving up potato chips. Again. My eating is pretty shite and has been for some time. I don’t cook because it’s too much work for one person. Sorry, Antoni, I disagree that it’s worth it to cook for myself. Yes, I know I can cook in batches and freeze some for later. Not going to happen. I hate cooking. I can do it, but it’s boring and tedious to me. All that chopping and measuring and watching just to have something that’s gone in five minutes. Then, the clean-up. No, thank you.

It’s not that I can’t cook. I can. I used to cook and bake on the regular. Granted, I made the same things every time, but I *can* do it. Can I do it well? No. Again, it’s not something I’m interested in nor really want to do. However. I’m growing increasingly conscious of how unhealthily I eat and how fat I am.

I hate the way I look. I think I’ve mentioned this a time or ten. I hate almost everything about it, but mostly how fat I am. Not only am I fat, I’m solid. I have thick thighs, calves, and middle. I have broad shoulders and a big neck. Everything about me is sturdy. Even when I was anorexic, I couldn’t get rid of my frame.

I’ve spent years deliberately not doing anything diet-y. I don’t mention the word diet, and I don’t encourage it at all. I think dieting is a trap and it’s harmful, especially for me. It’s a slippery slope, and I do not want to be anorexic again. But, I will say, god I wish I were that skinny again. I know I shouldn’t want it, but I do. Yeah, yeah, accept your body as is, which I can do intellectually because I can do more things now than I ever could before (thanks, taiji!), but I still cringe when I look in the mirror. Actually, I don’t want to be as skinny as I was when I was anorexic because I don’t like that look, but then again, I never thought I was skinny when I was that way.

That’s the rub. I’m attracted to women who are plumper and curvier (as well as dudes who are thicker), and I’m honestly repelled by uber-skinny people, but I still want to be the latter rather than the former. It’s messed up, I know, but I’m not doing any good by denying it. That’s why I don’t diet. I know how easily I can fall into the rabbit hole, and one thing I have going for me is my willpower. If I decide to do something (usually a negative thing, sadly), I will do it all the way. It takes me forever to get to that point, but when I finally do, I throw myself into it. So, when I diet, I veer straight into eating disorder.

Do you know why I don’t count calories? Because the first time I ‘dieted’, that’s all I did. I had the caloric values of what I ate memorized, and I could probably have told you how many calories were in each bite. I certainly knew how many calories I was burning with each minute of exercise I did. This is not healthy behavior for a person with OCD tendencies. which is me.

So, what’s a gal to do when she hates her weight, but can’t do the more conventional thing of dieting (which you shouldn’t do, anyway, but that’s another post)? Well, first, I cut out gluten and dairy. That was a health thing, though. By the way, I don’t think my mom believes that this isn’t a phase. She keeps ‘forgetting’ that I don’t eat either, and it comes out in weird ways. I explained why I cut them out, and she said, “Have you tried to see if it’s different now?” Why would I do that? She gave me some oatmeal, and when I tasted it, I immediately asked if it had milk in it. She said, “Oh, just a little bit.” Well, that little bit gave me an upset stomach that was not pleasant. So, yeah, no. I’m not going to go back any time soon. I’m a little less strict with gluten (soy sauce has gluten), but not much.

Anyway, I’m really thinking about starting to cook, but I dread it. So, instead, I’m working the edges. I gave up chips before, and I stayed away from them for a year, I think. I don’t know why I started buying them again–probably a salt craving, but it’s been a constant. I finished my last bag yesterday, and I’m not buying any more. Prepare for me to be a salty bitch. See what I did there?

It’s not enough, though. I get some of my food from the co-op deli, which is much better for me than the regular deli, but it’s not cheap. It would be much better for my pocketbook if I just cooked for myself, but I’ve been balking for quite some time. I should just do it and document my forays into cooking. I’m sure they would be amusing and at times harrowing. I have several burns on my hands from the toaster oven, for example. I’ve cut my hand while slicing a bagel. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t cut a bagel in my hand. Don’t @me.

I still haven’t figured out how to eat more healthily without slipping into an eating disorder. One of the reasons I’m good at cutting things out of my life is because I follow the rule once I establish it. I used to have a being I called The Dictator in my head who told me what I could and couldn’t do. He seemed as real as me, and realer in some ways. He’s mostly gone, but his spirit remains. It’s good when I want to do something positive like write a certain amount of words a day, but when it comes to losing weight, it’s detrimental.

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