The Holiday Ham

What happened when I ate less nutritiously, a case study

Abstract

I had been keeping tabs on myself during the holiday season, because I knew it’d be difficult for me to stay strict with my health. Lo and behold, I noticed some changes.

This is not a preachy post, and I am not judging your personal dietary preferences.

And no, I did not eat ham over the holidays. I am the ham. *teary-eyed emoji*

The following are my data.

Important Dates

  • October 08, 2015: started thinking intensively about nutrition.
  • Thanksgiving-ish to New Years-ish: when I wasn’t thinking about being healthy, oops.
  • January 04, 2016: starting to get back on track…hopefully!

Introduction

This is more of a case study and observation than it is an experiment. I didn’t want to worry about what I ate over the holidays because I knew it would be more difficult to do so than on the average day of the year.

Previously, I would meal prep, make sure I was eating the right amount of calories and macros, and eating healthy. I rarely ate out, and if it was, I wanted it to be Chipotle because it seems like the healthiest option. No sweets, processed foods, and “bad stuff” as best as I could. Of course, I was also off alcohol during this time.

I went to Portland for Thanksgiving, so that was the start of the meal prep ending. There was no time for it while on vacation (especially being on the road for that amount of time).

Materials and Methods

It wasn’t so much a conscious choice, but I did allow myself a lot of candy and sweets. I started drinking again recently. I worked out less. I didn’t do any meal prep. I slept at odd hours. I ate out more.

People were giving me sweets left and right because of the holidays. Who was I to refuse? I was also working less, so I didn’t feel the need to meal prep for the whole day. And thus, laziness was a large factor. I would sleep in and stay up late when I didn’t have to be up for work, and that really messed up my eating schedule. Since a lot of my friends were home for the holidays, there was a lot of going out and eating or going to parties and eating. And eating poorly, at that.

So, pretty much, I just did the opposite of what I normally did.

Observations and Discussion

  1. I didn’t notice much at first.
  2. There was a time when my stomach hurt for a few days every time I ate something. Protein shakes were just destructive and I could barely get through a gym session.
  3. My skin got worse. I noticed previously, my acne had cleared up a lot since eating healthier. But now, it’s back to the way it was before.
  4. Irregular poops! The worst.
  5. My sleep was off, my body felt tired at odd hours. I could spend the day in bed.
  6. My eating habits were off, as in I wasn’t getting hungry because I wasn’t eating at regular intervals, so my body was getting used to three meals a day again. I knew I was cutting my calories, but there just wasn’t enough hours left in the day to eat enough.
  7. I ate a lot of food I stopped eating previously. So I think my body didn’t take that so well.
  8. I just felt (and feel) gross and lethargic. A big part of this was the mental aspect of it. Lower confidence, not feeling 100%, and feeling weak and tired. It takes a toll, certainly.
  9. I spent a lot more money on “food and drinks”, according to my budget app. Eating out is more expensive than buying groceries.
  10. I didn’t miss the meal prep before, but now, thinking about it, I do miss it, and I’m kind of excited about it. Because I like feeling healthy. It makes me happy. Even if I don’t have abs, I just feel better about myself when I do it.

Conclusion

It’s easy to be disappointed in myself, but I see this as an important piece of information. My, how easy it is just not to care, to become complacent about what I put in my body. I didn’t even give it a second thought. I’m hoping it will be easy to get back to work.

I’m not sure if I ever want to do this again, and this should be a good reminder of what can happen when I become too lax. At the same time, I know I don’t need to be so strict with myself. I may not be 100% on top of it all the time, but as long as I try, I can be happy about that.

Acknowledgements

  • Food, all of it. Thank you for keeping me alive, I don’t fault some of you for being less nutritious than others
  • Friends and family who fed me
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~ by Btab on 3 January 2016.

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