zenhabits : breathe

Struggles with My Morning Internet Fast

And a New Month Without Refined Carbs

By Leo Babauta

In my 5th month in the Year of Living Without, I tried going without computers or Internet in the morning.

It was more of a struggle than I’d anticipated.

My thinking with this month was that I’d be able to get more writing and reading done, and maybe more stretching and other physical activity, if I banned myself from the Internet before noon. This is actually true, and when I stuck to the ban I got a lot of good writing and reading done.

My problem was that I needed to do certain tasks on the Internet before noon, for work and also personal tasks like planning a trip with the family in the morning (looking up routes on Google Maps, for example). At first I would just write down the work task to be done later in the afternoon, and that worked fine for the first week or so. But later I made exceptions because I really wanted to get stuff done before I had other things to do in the afternoon.

Another problem was that, if I was out with the family all afternoon (which I often was), and I couldn’t use the Internet in the morning, that meant I couldn’t do a lot of my work until the evening. By then I was tired from a long day, so I didn’t do everything I needed to do. Then the next morning I’d wake up with lots of unfinished work, and no Internet access.

So that wasn’t sustainable. I learned that I should have been more precise with my exceptions, and that a blanket ban isn’t ideal for my work life. I never wanted to use the Internet for social media or news or anything, just legitimate work and life tasks.

Anyway, I made some exceptions then made more, and slid down the slippery slope.

I’ll share my lessons below, then talk about December, a month of no refined carbs for me.

Lessons from My Morning Internet Fast

Some things I learned in the past month:

A Month of No Refined Carbs

For December, I’m going without refined carbs.

The exception will be three days — Dec. 6-8. Why? Because I’m attempting my first 50-mile race on Dec. 7 and want to be able to fuel myself with refined carbs. Anything I want to eat. That includes the night before the race, and some recovery eating on the day after.

Other than those days, I’ll skip the refined carbs in December. Yes, that means no holiday binging.

What are refined carbs as I define them?

So no pizza, white bread or rolls or pasta, French fries, desserts, sushi with white rice.

What is allowable? Whole grains (Ezekiel bread and cereal for example), brown rice, sweet potatoes, fruit, flours made from almonds or spelt or something like that. I’m allowing myself wine, and I’m considering one or two beers during the month. Most of the refined carbs in beer are consumed during the fermentation process, is my rationalization. I’ve gone without beer for the last six months or so, so I’m not worried about it.

I’ll tell you how it goes in a month!

A Month of Letting Go

If you’d like to learn more about the habit of letting go, join us in the Sea Change Program for December.

Read more here.



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