Have you ever flown Business Class? Me neither…until today! That’s where I’m writing to you from now, sprawled out in the cavernous seat 5A halfway through my Malaysian Airlines (yeah, I know…) flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur.
Cattle class is ram-jammed back there and I’m sure they are bitterly hating me for my leg-room. I would hate myself too but I’m too busy rolling around in luxury.
This is the first leg of the European half of my round-the-world-travel-ganza, which started in October last year when I set off for SE Asia. The first day of THAT leg was a freaking nightmare (read about it here), so today’s experience couldn’t be more different.
I’m traveling with my boyfriend for the first six weeks all around Eastern Europe, then meeting my Mum in England for a month of hiking and visiting friends. After that – I’m not sure. Spain/Portugal are definitely in the mix.
Arriving at the airport this morning I decided to try asking for an upgrade when we checked in, just to see what happened. We had some leverage having been stuffed around when originally booking (we were supposed to go direct from KL to Frankfurt until the airline cancelled that route and we now have to go via London, adding time and hassle) so I had some leverage for the request. I didn’t really expect it to pay off but to our excitement it did!
It’s just like the movies really. Personalised service from the second we stepped on board – plied with food, drinks and hot towels. More pillows than I could really need, a duvet instead of just a ratty old blanket, and of course the seat reclines out into something kinda resembling a bed. Good enough for me!
Food in Eastern Europe: Carb heavy?
Now on the subject of food, I’ve been a bit anxious in the lead up to this particular trip about how I was going to manage Eastern European food, which I’m expecting to be pretty carb heavy.
I’m anticipating a staple diet of bread and ham, followed by some more bread, sausage and cheese, and then perhaps some goulash thrown in to break it up. I sincerely hope I’m underestimating the Eastern European cuisine but friends who have been there even quite recently have warned me not to get my hopes up.
So in anticipation of this slow death by carbs and the undoing of the ground I had made up in the 12 weeks I had since arriving back in Aus from Asia, I went completely wheat-free and refined-sugar free two weeks ago.
And it has been extraordinary. I’ve ‘quit sugar’ before of course, and generally follow a low carb way of eating, but I thought I was setting myself up for quite a challenge with this complete ban.
To my delight, it’s been easy! And I’m serious about that. I’m not putting this on just to try and motivate you, but I think there’s some magic in cutting both things out at the same time that I want to explore more in my reading, because I have barely struggled with temptation, hypoglycaemic episodes, desire to overeat or a dodgy wheat-belly.
The FREEDOM that comes with walking past a bakery or sweet shop and not feeling that old familiar tug of longing has been such a blessing, particularly in the craziness of the last couple of weeks getting organised to travel again. Friends have been able to eat croissants and the like in front of me and I felt absolutely no desire whatsoever to share in birthday cake over the weekend or order dessert when out to dinner.
Day 1 of travel has been challenging of course because in getting to the airport at the unholy time of 5.15am, the breakfast options were limited (as was our Aussie dollar cash supply), so I ended up going for a ham and cheese croissant, figuring (rightly) that the wheat:fat:protein ratio would be favourable, and it did go down pretty well.
Certainly didn’t rock my world though, and I’m usually a whore for croissants, so that was a pleasant surprise. After boarding the plane we were given more croissants (well ok, if I must…), fresh fruit and yoghurt, then a main course of prawn curry with rice.
I had a little of everything but AGAIN, and I keep stressing this point, it was so refreshing to just enjoy it without feeling either any emotional connection to what I was eating, or the desire for more, OR indeed any significant anxiety about how it was going to impact my body.
Dessert was the real test!
Dessert was the real test. The most spectacular-looking tiramisu cake covered in thick dark chocolate was plonked down in front of me when I’d barely finished swallowing my curry. I had two mouthfuls before passing the rest over.
It was delicious, but it didn’t move me, you know? Then they brought around some fancy little icecreams and ‘no thanks’ was out of my mouth before I could even blink. That was when I turned to my boyfriend and said “Pinch me, I must be dreaming. I’m in Business Class, on the way to Europe and I just said no to icecream”.
Who am I and how did this become my new life?? I hope I don’t sound like I’m gloating. The moral of the story is that I bet most of you have no idea of the extent of your own power to change your lives OR the degree to which something as ‘simple’ as weight loss can effect the most profound change.
My plan now for Europe is to go for the wheat-free and sugar-free options wherever I can, but not get caught up in an anxiety spiral when that’s not possible. If I can just eat little bits of everything and say no thanks to what I don’t need/want, I should get through unscathed.
And if the next time I get home I’m a few kilos heavier again and needing a carb detox, then cool, I can do that. I know now that it’s totally achievable 🙂