Since I’ve been “being good”, people have asked me on a regular basis whether I enjoy my new regime. The best way I can describe it is that it is like moving overseas to live in a new country… it is new and exciting but there are aspects of my old life that I miss. This can take various forms but often revolves around food and drink; the passing smell of some fine, forbidden food, the craving for something salty, an indulgent dessert, a hit of caffeine, the crispy surface and fluffy centre of a well-cooked chip, or an ice cold beer on a hot sunny day.
The physical environment obviously has a major influence on my cravings, as do associations with the “old life”. Ice cold beer has tended to be a major feature of most of my foreign holidays; a pool-side treat to help pass the day, a pre-dinner tipple to start the evening off, or a refreshing late night pick-me-up. In fact, ice cold beer seems to feature quite highly in many of my holiday memories! Not this one!
I have now gone 122 days without alcohol passing my lips (not that I’m counting!). I suspect I had enough in the preceding 122 days for my average still to be on the high side of the healthy limit. My abstinence has definitely helped me to lose weight and get fit. While I appreciate there is medical evidence that supports the fact that drinking some alcohol is better for you than drinking none, I still don’t feel like I’m quite ready for moderation… yet. I’m still an “all or nothing” kind of guy, even in my new life.
I’ve been cycling regularly since we’ve been in Rhodes. There is a small group that gathers every morning for an organised Mountain Bike ride. The typical ride tends to head into the mountains to visit places of “interest”. We ride on a combination of road (tarmac) and off-road (dirt / rocks), and the terrain is generally flat with the occasional steep incline (tough on the way up, treacherous on the way down). It’s a bit different to the road biking back home!
Depending on the difficulty and duration of the route, the main group may splinter, creating a break-away group as we look for some more continuous cycling. Given it’s my main source of exercise each day, I’m keen to make the most of it so a longer, steady ride is just the ticket for me. There have been a couple of really good sessions that have been physically challenging (mostly within the limits my Heart Monitor allows!) and enjoyable.
Refreshment is a key feature of these break-aways. Identifying a target destination with an appropriate watering hole is an essential part of each ride. For most of the party an ice cold beer is the beverage of choice. For me, I’ve been adventurous enough to have a Fanta Limon. I have to admit, the beers do look incredibly tempting.
I know there’s nothing really stopping me from having one (other than the distinct possibility that I wouldn’t be able to cycle any further!), but I really am trying to be good. Yes, I may be being too hard on myself, but I’m determined to stick to the regime.
I will however set myself a goal… when I cross the line having completed my London – Amsterdam – Brussels cycle next May I will have a beer. I will make sure it is ice cold, served in a glass straight from the freezer, and I will enjoy it. A lot!