4 weeks of eating


I remember reading psychological research from a few years ago, that purported to show that people who photographed their meals enjoyed them less than those who did not. I’m not sure if that is entirely true (or if it’s biassed by groups of dieters guiltily photographing their lunches) but there was a great feeling of being unburdened when I sat down to lunch today and realised that I wasn’t going to record it for posterity. Or perhaps I was jubilant because I was having dessert.

For the last four weeks, I’ve tried to photograph everything I’ve eaten. Partly this was out of curiosity, and partly because it would be an incentive to not eat too much crap. I knew I’d feel quite ashamed if I reviewed 4 weeks of eating only to find I’d had nothing but crisps and Kit-Kats. I posted every photo (privately) to Facebook – simply because that was the easiest place for me to collate photos from several different devices, and I did it privately not out of some sense of shame, but because I assumed my friends would take umbrage if their news feed was forever filled with pictures of my meals. Now, the month done, I’ve opened up the repository of food photographs for all and sundry.

There are a few gaps. After two weeks I went to a friend’s house and got really drunk, ate a lot of (undocumented) cheese and woke up a bit hungover. After that, I never managed to approach the sugar-free heights of my earlier discipline. And occasionally, ravenous, I’d fail to photograph my meal and have to post a picture of an empty bowl with a caption beneath it, but for the most part things went according to the script. (Inlcuding the first, sugar free, week, where all I wanted to do was punch people.)

What, then, did I eat?

Potato wedges and scrambled eggs. A green salad with balls of mozzarella, golden heirloom tomoates and a bit of grated beetroot. A packet of ready salted crisps. A protein shake. A smoothie. Two slices of bread and three tiny hash browns (recorded on a post-it note). More salad, with two kids of curry and some french fries on the side. A cup full of cashews. A bowl of chickpeas, beetroot and yoghurt. An apple. A banadan. Another protein shake. Two pieces of buttered toast. Two soft bread rolls and a triangular hash brown. More salad. A cup of mint tea. Another cup of cashews. A vegetable frittata. A protein smoothie. A bowl of artichoke and lemon pasta. A protein smoothie. Two slices of buttered toast. Yogurt with blueberries stirred into it. Another salad, rich in olives and mushrooms and seeds. A (disgusting) bag of Hummus Chips. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A protein bar. A bowl of lentil curry. An apple. A smoothie. A protein shake. A slice of toast. Four strawbetties, two soft bread rolls, a partially exploded fried egg and a triangular hash brown. An attempt at a panini and a big handful of french fries. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. An entire margarita pizza. A banana. A croissant from Starbucks. An apple. A bowl of yogurt with blueberries. A protein shake. A bowl of lentil curry. A sausage sandwich. A bowl of yogurth. A protein shake. A savoury hot cross bun. A bottle of Hoegaarden. A peranakan meal of fried rice. A gin. An entire box of meat free chicken style nuggets, apparently. Another savoury hot cross bun. A bottle of orange juice. A croissant. A savoury hot cross bun. Two vegetarian sausages. An apple. A small bowl of cheesy puffs. Some pitta, hummus and scrambled egg. A protein shake. Two soft rolls, some scrambled egg and a couple of potato wedges. A pot of Greek style yogurt and a cup of mint tea. Another salad, with a big dollop of rice. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. Some rice, some roasted cauliflower and two bits of Indian bread. A kalesedilla. An apple. A protein shake. A smoothie. Avocado on toast. Two mini croissants. A salad. Curly fries and something unidentifiable that turned out to be a mushroom fricassee. (Always refer to your notes.) A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A cup of mint tea. A savoury hot cross bun. Another bowl of artichoke pasta. A smoothie. A protein shake. Two croissants and a triangular hash brown. A cup of steamed milk in lieu of coffee. A pot of Greek style yogurt. Another salad. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A bowl of artichoke pasta. An apple. An apple. An entire family sized bag of crisps. An apple. A protein shake. Two slices of buttered toast. An entire margarita pizza. A packet of Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps. Two mini croissants and a banana, making a happy face. A homemade hot cross bun. Another homemade hot cross bun. A vegetarian sausage sandwich. Another hot cross bun. A mushroom crepe at a children’s birthday party. An apple. A smoothie. A protein shake. A bowl of elotes at Super loco. Avocado on toast. An apple. A croissant at Starbucks. A protein shake. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A salad. A Greek-style yogurt. An avocado. A kalesedilla. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A hot cross bun. A packet of Tyrrell’s mature cheddar crisps. A protein shake. A banana. Two mini croissants and some miniature hash browns made into a smiley face. A pot of Greek-style yogurt. A salad. A big mound of curry. A second plate of curry. A Krispy Kreme doughnut, just before the Fate of The Furious. A fun size Mars bar that was anything but. A packet of Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps. A sald with extra broccollini. A cup of steamed milk. A homemade hot cross bun. Chickpeas and beetroot and yogurt. A homemade hot cross bun. An apple. A chocolate Easter egg (small, disappointing, Australian). A protein shake. A banana. Two mini croissants and some potato wedges. A fun size Mars bar. A salad. A fun sized Mars bar. A fun sized Mars bar. A home made hot cross bun. A fake chicken slider. Four meat free chicken nuggets, a ladle full of quinoa and lots of peas. An apple. A protein shake. Two slices of buttered toast. An apple. Two slices of buttered toast. Two fun sized Mars bars. My first latte in April. A cheese and salad sandwich. A protin shake. A smoothie. A slice of chocolate torte. Half a slice of very dense lemon cake. A latte (over roasted coffee, if I recall correctly). Avocado on taost, not as good as before. A bowl of fries. Another piece of lemon cake. A coffee. A bowl of artichoke pasta. An apple. A bowl of crisps. A protein shake. A Greek-style yogurt. A black coffee. Some potato wedges, a fried egg and two soft bread rolls. A big salad. Two pieces of vegetarian sushi and a cheese sandwich. Assorted vegetables. Two slices of lamentable pizza for Easter brunch. Eight cakes (all too sweet). An entire maragarita piza. A blue cabbage tortilla and a ladle full of quinoa. A chocolate brownie from Dimbullah. A dreadful ANzac biscuit from Dimbullah. Another chocolate brownie from Dimbullah (the last three items, all disappointing). Two bits of bread and some green vegetables. A protein shake. A cheese sandwich and a handful of potato crisps. A croissant, too big. A bowl of yogurt with blueberries in it. A bag of Barbecue Lay’s crisps. A bowl of soba and vegetables. THree disgusting squares of Krakakoa chocolate. A salad. Two triangular hash browns. A protein shake. A smoothie. Another square of Krakakoa chocolate. A salad, with a side of curry, biryani rice and some more vegetables. A black coffee. A packet of bBrbecue flavour Lay’s crisps. A packet of Barbecue flavour Lay’s crisps. A raspberry fig brownie, revolting. A mini Cornetto. A protein shake. A smoothie. Scrambled eggs, potato wedges and a mini pain au raisin. A piece of lemon cake, not as nice as the one I had before. A packet of Barbecue flavour Lay’s crisps. Some beetroot felafels. A protein shake. An apple. Two fun size MArs bars. A ‘guilt free’ packet of cherries and raisins that was 50% sugar. A salad. A tiny cheese cake. An almond cake with a flower on top. An almond cake witha flower on top. A packet of miniature Quakers oat cookies. A protein shake. An almond cake with a flower on top. Some spicy fries at Jamie’s Italian. A bowl of mushroom risotto. A Brie sandwich. A beer. Half a pizza. An oat slice coated with fake yogurt. A small latte. A vegetarian sausage sandwich. Seven meat free chicken nuggest. An apple. A protein shake. Two lices of buttered toast. An enormous bowl of cheesy puffs. A small bowl of steamed vegetables.

And that, without a single copy and paste, was most of what I ate.

What can we conclude?

    1. I had a protein shake almost every day. This really did keep the hunger pangs away much more than other breakfast choices have. I don’t know if it’s made me a better person or a champion body builder or not yet.
    1. I saw a big difference from reducing my sugar intake. My head was a lot clearer after the first week (both mentally and that a persistent issue with spots on my scalp has almost completely cleared up, after being revolting for about a year).
    1. I really missed cake, not just because I have a sweet tooth, but because cutting out sugar removes you from so many social situations.
    1. I think I may have lost a bit of weight, but going into this that wasn’t the main objective; weight is a number, not something that makes you happier or sadder.
    1. I don’t know whether this has imbued me with a greater wilpower than before, or much more awareness of what I’ve eaten, or even if I’ve broken some of my worse habits. All those fun size Mars bars later on point to the negative conclusion. But still, it feels fairly empowering to have done this, at least, and when I get round to making a graph of it all, I’ll be even prouder.
    1. Oh, and there are an awful lot of different ways to photograph a protein shake. So now you know.

3 thoughts on “4 weeks of eating

  1. Looks like a traditional Oriental diet you’ve been attuning yourself to over there James .. I also eat Tyrells now and then, but can’t remember the last time I ate an actual apple. I couldn’t tell if there’s any meat in this diet, are you a veggie?

    1. Yup, officially no meat for me since 1 January 1997. Apart from a few drunken moments of weakness involving fish and chips and an accidental sandwich here and there…

      1. Me too, although for not so long. Gave up red meat a couple of years ago, and then poultry when I hit 40. So far so good, but sometimes those burgers look sooooo tasstyyy omg, it’s hard. Can’t see myself doing a marathon anytime soon though …

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