I should disclaim at the outset that when I use the term Messiah complex, I use it in a personal context which has nothing to do with the mental disorder, as noted on Wikipedia:
A messiah complex (also known as the Christ complex or savior complex) is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief they are, or are destined to become, a savior. The messiah complex does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
No. For me – what I have over the years termed my ‘Messiah complex’ could perhaps more accurately be called ‘food restrictive monasticism’. You see, I flit rather rapidly between both ends of the spectrum and it has always been thus. Those ‘ends’ are gluttony and temperance. Like in so many areas of my life – the ‘middle ground’ is an area I rarely tread.
The ‘going without’ has, for me, a kind of ‘self flagellatory’ element to it. Not ‘punishment’ as such, but it’s all very much part of the ‘no pain, no gain’ mantra; and that works for me.
So far this year my alcohol intake has been cut by 80%+. Sure, we’re only 4 weeks in – but even so. I don’t buy alcohol any more. I’ve lost between 8-10 lbs in 4 weeks and I have two key milestones to go, neither of which will be reached overnight.
I feel better in myself. Cutting out the booze has made me much more clear-headed. Gone are the ‘night terrors’ (you know the sort, waking up at 4-5am thinking that your life is a failure!). Instead, I sleep all through the night and wake up feeling refreshed. When I was drinking a lot – like last year – I was getting dehydrated a lot, and this leads to constant hunger – and I was constantly wanting to eat. That, too, has subsided.
The ‘penny drop’ moment came when I signed on at the local doctor’s, had gone through ‘alcohol screening’ (mandatory for all new patients), and been told that I was consuming “8,000-10,000 calories a month in alcohol”. It was kind of like “duh, and you wonder why you can’t keep the weight off!”.
Diet? I hate dieting more than anything; I loathe it. I just like food too much. But I’ve been good, and it’s not been as hard as it could have been. I can go without most of my favourite foods – so long as I don’t feel hungry. Hunger is just one thing I cannot do.
Breakfast is either a bowl of cereal or a bowl of porridge. Regardless of which, a large tablespoon of bran is added to the breakfast. It doesn’t have too much taste, thankfully. Raw bran expands in your stomach, keeps ‘everything moving’ and makes you much feel full up; it’s that simple.
Lunch is equally small. It may be a packet of noodles. If I’m feeling generous, a ham sandwich. Always a packet of crisps – as I love crisps. And probably a piece of fruit. The other key lunch alternative I have is a homemade mixed juice. This is a combination of vegetables and fruit. I’ll do it in my old, bottom-of-the-range juicer, then transfer it to the liquidizer and add a banana and another large tablespoon of bran. The result is a thick, somewhat nondescript smoothie/juice. It doesn’t have a lot of taste – but it fills you up, and has hardly any calories. My standard recipe? A combination of the following:
1 large carrot
1 stalk of celery
1/4 whole cucumber
1 piece of ginger
1 large tbsp of bran
Come evening I will eat something fairly normal, but again, it won’t be huge. Dinner starts with 2 tsps of Regucol, mixed with a glass of water – followed by another glass of water (it’s a high-fibre + probiotic supplement). I’ll perhaps have homemade soup (I make big batches which I keep in the freezer) – perhaps with a couple of slices of granary or sourdough toast. Or I might have homemade vegetarian curry (no dairy, sauce thickened with lentils) – probably served with a portion of basmati rice. Another piece of fruit. Maybe a handful of sultanas to satiate the need for something sweet. I hardly eat meat these days.
And that’s about it. I find this eating habit is just enough to keep me from feeling hungry. Of course, I have given up a lot of favourites: cheese, fresh bread, cake, chocolates, peanuts, etc. But come the weekend I allow myself to get ‘off the wagon’ and eat somewhat normally – with less restriction. I couldn’t tell you what my calorie intake is, but I’m guessing it’s maybe 1.2k or so, during the week.
Instead of alcohol, I’m drinking herbal teas. I’m also drinking a lot more water. This too, I find, reduces hunger pangs.
So far so good. Seeing the change on the digital scales – and feeling/seeing the difference in myself – is what makes it doable.