There comes a point where you realise that the only way you’re going to have the life you want is through listening to your inner guru and finding the answers for yourself. We can read all the help books in the world, ask the same question on a million forums and to a thousand people and each answer will be slightly different.
Weight loss is no different. What works for Amy isn’t going to work for Sue, and you only have to visit an online bookstore to see the many hundreds of diet books available to get a grasp of the fact that the diet industry is huge and depressing.
After turning my back on diets I turned to intuitive eating. And inhaled the words off the pages of many an Intuitive Eating Advice Book. Some would come more in a point format “do this, and do this.” Others would talk of why diets don’t ultimately work (which i still wholeheartedly agree with in a great many ways). And then there were the ones that explained how weight issues are largely a feminine problem, though unfortunately it is now affecting young men too.
Oh yes, I’ve read my fair share of books. My shelves heave under the weight of self help book after self help book, not just for weight issues, but for other issues too. And I’ve come to realise I’m only marginally better off than before I read the books. Because in reading and pondering and discussing, I’ve largely put off the “doing”. It is time to start, in the words of old blue eyes, doing it “My Way”. Deep down inside, somewhere, there is a logical, sensible guru, who has all the answers I need. She knows already that eating when I’m not hungry doesn’t help take away miserable feelings for long. She knows that procrastination is the root of many evils, and a walk into town is beneficial, even in the wind and rain. And she knows that there is a saturation point of self help advice and I’ve reached it. I need to stop asking and start doing.
So here I am day one of not asking and more doing. Time to find out my own advice and listen to it!
My experiment has sort of failed today, but then in a way it hasn’t. I just became aware of different things.
What did I learn? That I don’t deal with change of routine too easily, and have a chink in my brain that says “You must sleep between the mistake and the fresh start!”. We ended up at a Carvery for lunch, following a 6k cycle ride, which absolutely 100% exhausted me. My legs were jelly, every so often I thought I was going to be sick, and I pushed and pushed myself. I went through a weird cycle of berating myself, then chiding myself for berating myself, then remembering to be mindful and live in the moment, back to berating myself. It was exhausting, not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
How could I have let myself get to this point where I have an extra six stone to carry around? How could I have let it all get so out of control?
But then there is no point dwelling, and worrying about the past. The past is gone and all we can do is live now, and think about where we might be going. OK, so I am 6 stone overweight (a guess, I don’t weigh), but I’m doing something about it now. And maybe I’ll have the odd off day when I don’t tune in and maintain awareness. Maybe I’ll choose junk food that hurts over unprocessed food that nourishes, but a day, even out of a week, is only 24 hours out of 168. It’s pretty small when you look at it like that. And really, if you count the hours you actually eat, then it’s what, 3 hours, absolute tops! So, 3 hours out of 168. Now I look at it that way, it’s not really a big deal.
And tomorrow is always always a new day. The proverbial blank canvas with its whole host of opportunities and times to think. So today, I may not have carried out my experiment to the full extent that I’d planned to.
But I have had a fulfilling day.
And, if I need to justify to myself, I’ll just say we brits miss out on Thanksgiving, so I’ll see it as my Thanksgiving, and give thanks for the gorgeous weather we rode through, for the beautiful squirrel that I almost ran over when it ran right in front of my free wheeling wheel zooming downhill, for the lovely meal with husband and son, and for the good news phone call we had today.
Lots to be thankful for, and so little to be mad at myself for. How about you?
I’m three days in to my experiment where I’m eating nutrient dense meals and am addressing but not giving in to the cravings I’m having.
This isn’t some self punishment. I’m genuinely wanting to pay more attention to my cravings and observe when they’re happening.
Today I am noticing I would like some stodge. I was making husband and kids spaghetti bolognaise. It smelled lovely, and the thought of a big bowl of pasta crossed my mind. As I type, the idea of a couple of hunks of bread and butter are appealing and so I’m mulling over what is going on. I’m not hungry. I’ve eaten several times throughout today, and am fully satisfied. But I’m tired. Tired and crotchety. Tired, crotchety and feeling unappreciated. And I won’t go into the details of the whys and wherefores, it’s not your problem, and I know in my current negative state I’m blowing things out of proportion and reading far too much into absolutely everything. “She looked at me funny, she must hate me, what have I done now?”.
So, back to the cravings. I have cravings for stodge. Stuff that will fill me up, and give instant oral gratification, but stuff that will also make me feel really rough about half an hour later. So why do I want it? Am I wanting to ultimately punish myself for failings? I am in a bit of a depressive low at the minute, and the slightest wrong thought is sending my plummeting down. Maybe by eating these things I now know cause my body pain I am actually thinking somewhere deep down that I will suffer as I deserve. Too deep? Maybe. But when a couple of slices of bread really don’t take long to eat, but the bloated, painful feeling lasts for hours, there has to be more to it than “I want a piece of bread and butter!”.
I always remember the Muller yogurt adverts, that went on abo ut the “Pleasure Pain” balance. To me, eating seems to be a lot of that these days.
So what have I been eating? Mostly rice and beans the last few days, and someone joked I must be watching too much “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!”! It’s simple fair, but it’s providing the energy and nutrients I need, and it’s uncomplicated food while I go through this experiment. I will change it here and there, so I get everything I need from my diet.
So what have I learnt so far? That the cravings come and they go, and actually I won’t drop dead if I don’t give in to them, but also that my body is appreciating my not giving into them. And I’m not feeling deprived. I’m addressing those cravings, just not feeding them! And I’ve also learnt that when you’re tired, no amount of food is going to help, but rest and sleep will. So I’m off!
So I’m back from a good workout. I feel tired, but not in the “Bleurgh I can’t move from the sofa now” type way, more in the “Wow, when I go to bed I’m going to sleep well!”. My body feels relaxed, and calm. It’s tired enough to not have any worries fighting in my little brain, and I feel that I did something beneficial for myself and my body. It was good for body, mind and soul.
“So what the hell are you doing writing here then?” I hear you mutter.
Well I just wanted to say it was worth it. Going out on a cold dark night, and dancing around crazily in a village hall did everything good. AND I didn’t sit in the house thinking hmmm I’m peckish, what can I eat? Because I’m not doing that at the moment. And after the workout, I really don’t want to.
That is all.
On the same day as posting I’m too tired to exercise, I am sitting in trainers and tracky stuff waiting for a lift to zumba!
I’ll be honest, if I wasn’t getting a lift, I’d probably argue I’m too tired to drive safely, but with someone else at the wheel I can get to class and give it my best. Because our best is all we are asked to do, and anything is better than nothing.
So there you go. If this couch potato can drag her sorry ass out to a zumba class and shake it, there is hope for everyone! Give something a go, anything! Don’t let the winter blues drag you down and fool you into thinking hibernating under the duvet is the nicest thing you can do. It might be true on some days, but not every day!
My current predicament is seeing me wake up at regular intervals through the night, and last night it was 2, 3 and the 4:30. I’d made sure I’d completed all my tasks so I wouldn’t wake worrying about them but alas, my cunning brain, and those horrid gremlins found something else to stress about, and well it was a big bundle of mess.
So today I’m really struggling to do anything, let alone move my butt and get some endporhins whizzing round! I am stuck in a catch 22. I know if I actually did something, I’d no doubt sleep far better tonight. But because I’m sleeping so badly at the moment my energy surges are far between and few.
And of course, it’s winter. The winter grumbles start. The weather isn’t inspiring, the house is chilly (except for the odd hot flush), and all in all it’s pretty dismal.
But I need a plan. I need to set about planning some sort of table and start fitting in different forms of exercise, not simply because I must and it’s good for me, but because I know I always feel better after exercise. I always feel like I’ve completed something worth while, and I know my body is happy. And like I’ve said before, it doesn’t have to be hours in a gym on a treadmill, it’s far better to do the things we love. So, maybe it’s time to set up some sort of routine for myself. Time to start fitting in an hour or half hour every day, and make it a variety.
What do you get up to? What do you love to do? What should I try because I might love it?
I was directed towards a very interesting blog the other day, and it has had me mulling thoughts and feelings over the weekend.
The blog post in particular was; http://exmoorjane.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-i-lose-four-stone-without-trying.html
I have been following Intuitive Eating for over 3 years now, and I can be honest in that I’ve made peace with lots of foods. I don’t crave chocolate like I used to. In fact, I actually don’t much like it.
But I still have an issue with portion size, and with my current slide into croneville, I realise my time is running out as far as changing my shape and health and fitness. I want to be able to look back and say I actually got to that point where I am healthy.
So I am experimenting. For as long as it is comfortable, I am going to look at food purely as fuel (might make the odd exception what with Christmas hurtling towards us, mind) and address those cravings for a particular taste or texture with questions as to why I want them. I’m going to look at my meals purely as fuel for the running of this vehicle I live in. Currently I’m a rather curvacious Beetle. I can get places, but I’m not exactly fuel efficient and streamlined. I’d quite like to become slightly more sporty and slender, a bit more like a Karmann Ghia.
I don’t wish to be skinny. I just want to be fit and healthy. But there is no way on this earth I can go back to the diet clubs I used to. They worked for a time, but the weight has always returned. Hypnotherapy, worked while I was having the sessions. Milkshakes made me evil.
But this “experiment” is not a diet. As soon as diety thoughts creep in, I will question those too. Looking at food in a totally different way though is not something I’ve done before. Dieting has always involved substituting something nice, with something not nice but trying to fool myself into thinking it was as nice. I was eating salads and soups purely with the intention of losing weight over the weeks, with weigh ins at regular intervals. This time I want to give my body the chance to take in nutrient dense food and give it the opportunity to run to its best. Good wholesome foods, simple foods. Cutting out the sugars and sweeteners, the stimulants, and letting my body have a chance to get good stuff without my head fighting and giving in to the crispy crunchy fatty sweet cravings.
I shall keep you posted on how this experiment runs. Today’s a good start, cycling for exercise and simple jacket and beans for lunch. And how do I feel? Light and happy!