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All posts for the month February, 2011

Turn around? Or a different route to the same destination?

Published February 19, 2011 by Crystal

An awful lot has gone through my little head over the last few weeks. A few realisations, that while on the surface may seem contradictory to many of my previous though, are leading me to take a different route along the food and diet path.
For 3 years I have been learning and following the ideas of intuitive eating. For me it came out of needing to deal with bulemia and to heal the issues I had with my body, and with food, and generally how these affected my relationships with other people.
Intuitive Eating has given me alot in terms of strength of character, self believe, knowing that foods are NOT good or bad, they just are. We label them to suit our psyche. BUT as time has gone on I have learned that food choices affect my body. Heavy, stodgy puddings will leave me tired and drained, fruit salad leaves me light, cream laden foods sit in my stomach for a long time, stir fries don’t!
It’s all pretty much common sense, and in my experience the foods that are naturally lower in fat are the foods to leave my body singing. But, and here is the big but, it has taken me 3 years and several stone to get to this realisation, and I’m at a point where emotionally and psychologically the biggest issue bothering me is my weight. It tires me, leaves me uncomfortable. It’s like being heavily pregnant, day in, day out, with no chance of losing a stone overnight. I want to be able to slip on some clothes and feel comfortable all over, I want to be able to walk into any shop and not have to head over to the plus side section for the tent like items that designers seem to assume we’ll want to wear! I want to Zumba my heart out for hours and hours, feeling like a bird and not like a sack of ungainly spuds (I may never be a gainly bird, but atleast a bird can fly!).
There were many times in the last 3 years where I heard the discussions starting with the words “Diets don’t work!”, and how they set us up to fail, because they’re impossible to stick to, they leave us feeling the failure because we don’t fit into the mould that must be a “diet dummy (I mean mannequin)”. And yes, there is an awful lot of truth. How many of us diet, only to regain the pounds or stones? How many of us feel restricted, and cheated during our endless days on diets?
But now I’m starting to feel a very conflicting message as I travel down the intuitive eating path. I’m starting to feel that it is I who is failing because I can’t follow intuitive eating in the way that makes it work. My eating is far more in tune, I exercise in a way I enjoy, I don’t comfort eat to any major degree anymore, but I’m not losing weight and I feel it’s my fault.
So now I’ve decided to head to what I call “the dark side” and join Slimming World. If I’m going to overeat, atleast I’ll be eating on lower fat foods! And actually it’s had a positive effect this last week because I feel I’m doing something for myself, I don’t feel like the failure I was feeling not dieting, and actually for now I don’t really feel like it’s dieting. OK, I am keeping within syns, but it helped me realise how much I actually drink some nights!
And now I am coming to it ignoring the good food bad food messages that go with diets, and I am not in a majorly depressed state where I believe my whole life will be perfect if only I lose weight. I don’t put life on hold like I did before I started my intuitive eating journey. But I do know my quality of life in terms of health and vitality will improve. And I am looking forward to a slimmer summer!

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“Fat” days, and the illogical way we see ourselves.

Published February 8, 2011 by Crystal

I had a “fat” weekend. There’s no sense to it. Everything felt tighter, I felt a failure, I felt completely out of sync with myself.
Now, if I’d been kind to myself, I would have asked me what the underlying reasons were. Because “fat” isn’t a feeling. It never is. When I say I feel fat, I’m often using my body as an excape from other thoughts and feelings I’d rather avoid. When I feel low, anxious, upset, and don’t want to address the underlying cause, it’s easy to blame my body for all those feelings. Because my body is there. It’s physical. I can look at myself and pick on all the little (or big) things I don’t like, and blame them for the things going wrong.
But actually, it’s not my body’s fault. And firing hateful comments at it doesn’t solve, or even soothe the underlying issues. I have several books that talk about body acceptance, changing the language we use with our bodies. Instead of talking about our “fat thighs”, we should celebrate their strong structure, the way they carry and support us. Instead of pouring hate over our “wobbly, flabby bellies” we should look at what our extra weight has done for us, protect us from unwanted attention, maybe? Or simply celebrate the children we have and the babies our tummies have nurtured and developed?
But it was hard to find the underlying causes of my mood over the weekend, at the time atleast. I was very conscious to say nice things to myself when I noticed the negative words coming out, but it was a bit of a “fake it til you make it” exercise.
The bizarre thing, and this is what shows how illogical “fat” days are, is that yesterday morning I woke up in a totally different frame of mind. Nothing had changed in terms of weight over the course of 24 hours, but I felt lighter, and less critical. My jeans weren’t any different, the muffin top was still there, but I didn’t feel angered or upset by it.
What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours!

Today I am going to zumba, get some endorphins flowing, celebrate the way my body can move, and enjoy it. Today I am going to take the feelings for what they are, and not direct them at my body. I’m going to live in the now, and not wait for my body to catch up with my ill perceived idea of perfection!
Have a good day!

Meal planning.

Published February 3, 2011 by Crystal

Last week I bought the ingredients to follow the delightful Audrey’s DIY meal plan from http://www.kitchenfairy.co.uk/ .  The tarragon Roast Chicken was divinity itself, and the noodle stir fry was wonderful, but then things went wrong. The shop hadn’t delivered a couple of key ingredients, and frankly I didn’t fancy the other things on the right evenings.  But that said, it did inspire me to get back into meal planning.  And it does save money.  I’m convinced of that.  Taking the leftovers of one meal and incorporating them into the next is something we’ve rarely done, mostly because there’s rarely leftovers to pass on, but also because I haven’t felt inspired to turn a chunk of beef into anything other than sandwich content.

But today I sat down, went through 2 of my favourite cookbooks, noted up a few recipes that I’ve either tried or wanted to try, and wrote my shopping list accordingly.  I’ve planned 6 evening meals, alot of chicken, because a roast chicken followed by a stir fry seems a nice, easy and sensible way to do things in these early stages of planning.

The thing is, when I started my journey of intuitive eating, a big part of it was legalising all food, and eating what I wanted, when I wanted.  Meal planning couldn’t feature in this stage as I would see it as restrictive and diety.  But now, having legalised and made peace with food, I can look at meal planning as not only an economical advantage, but also an efficient way of keeping on top of atleast one aspect of being Mum!  But I’ve also made allowances for the nights when what’s on the plan, isn’t actually what I want, or what anyone else wants.  For this to work, there has to be flexibility.

But if you’re one of the most disorganised mothers around (like me), and finances are tight (as they are for nearly all these days), and if you’ve never sat down and gone through your cookbooks for inspiration and ideas, and you’re bored with the staple spag bol, pizza and fish fingers and chips, then I heartily recommend giving meal planning a go.  Have a look through and write down recipes that catch your eye.  Then look at what meals you can put side by side, incorporating part of one meal into another (like my roast chicken one evening followed by a stir fry the next).

I don’t promise to suddenly become supermum, it’s been 8 years and I’ve still not managed that one.