Tonight I was out in Tokyo for a bit, and on the way back my friend wanted to get something quick to eat. I had already "eaten" my egg-white smoothie, but I went along. So we went to an Udon canteen. I was planning on just having water, but I saw that they had small size draft beers. So I ordered a beer, because there's not much lamer than just sitting and watching someone eat. Beer is empty calories that don't help me towards my goal at all, and it was my first alchoholic drink in 3 weeks.
I got the beer for a number of reasons.
1. The first and most important in my mind was the story of Suzuki-roshi going stopping at a diner on a road trip with one of his students, a strict vegetarian. At the table, Suzuki ordered a hamburger, much to his student's shock. The student ordered carrot sticks or something like that. When the food came, Suzuki simply said, "Let's switch" and turned the plates around.
The idea is that the vegetarian was so involved in his vegetarianism that it was turning into an attachment, in this case, an attachment to not doing something. I was finding myself in the same situation. I've put so much energy into this project that I could feel a part of myself saying, "No, even if you want that beer, you can't have it, that's not the kind of thing you do anymore. It's the same part of me that can obsess about getting my calories or repetitions right, and it's the part of me that could make this project no fun.
I said in a ZIS podcast that the PCP is not about privation. It's about gaining something, a high level of fitness and a bunch of healthy habits. Always saying "no" to yourself and feeling guilty when you ultimately say "yes" (and you always will eventually) is not my idea of healthy. More like neurotic.
2. The second reason is that I was curious how my body would react to alcohol, even just a small half glass. It made my stomach feel a little strange and made me sleepy as hell in the train on the way back, and as I type this I feel a headache coming on!
3. Reality Check 1. The beer tasted great, but it also just tasted like beer. We all know that the second you say "You can't have something" that thing becomes infinitely more appealing. It was good to ground myself and remember that beer (or wine, or nachos, or second helpings, etc...) are nice but not all that, and certainly not as valuable as Peak Condition. I don't think I'll be tempted for a long while.
4. Reality Check 2. When you're weighing your food out, you can get into a mindset that every single unnecessary calorie is somehow doing harm to you. It's not. A glass of beer is not going to make any difference to the outcome of this project, and it would have made me kind of a jerk to just sit there drinking water while my friend had noodles. What's the point of being fit if you're constantly worried about losing your fitness if you eat this or drink that?
But, the most interesting thing about tonight is, as you can see above, how much thought and mindfulness went into ordering the beer. Before, I would have gotten a large without a second thought, except for the price maybe. So I think that's the best sign of all, much better than a shrinking waistline or growing muscles.