All posts for the month October, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Published October 30, 2013 by Crystal

Every once in a while, Half Term happily coincides with Halloween.

Normally we go all out.  Big party, friends over, place laid for the spectral guest.

This year it isn’t happening.   At least, not so much.  We have 3 huge pumpkins to carve into masterpieces, the kids will be going trick or treating, and we will have treats in for those who visit us.  But this year I am looking forward to a fairly quiet affair.   I don’t know where my mojo has gone this year.  I just don’t know where my buzz and enthusiasm and desire to make all foods grim is hiding.

So it’s a different, slightly calmer Halloween.

Today we took a wander up to the local country park.   The local council had laid on a lovely day, with wand making, pumpkin carving (bought the pumpkins for 50p each, but have brought home to carve tomorrow), spellhunting, face painting, potion drinking.  It was great and all free, and it made me glad to get outside.  A couple of miles walked before lunchtime, without any “I’m tired, I’m bored, I’m thirsty” whining.  On the way home we past a box of apples free to collect, so we grabbed some of those to make a crumble tomorrow.


I do feel a bit lost though.  Like I’ve forgotten to do something.  And as I sit here typing, I realise I don’t know whether to be happy or disappointed.  2 out of 3 kids are now out with their friends, and child 3 is sitting on the computer.

Yes I think I’ll just enjoy the peace today.  No doubt tomorrow there will be a sugar rush and consequential crush come tomorrow evening!


Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain!





When is a compliment an insult?

Published October 22, 2013 by Crystal

I’m pondering.

In the anti diet movement there is a belief by many that “You’ve lost weight” or “You’re looking slimmer” might be more an insult than a compliment.  And I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

I understand and accept that we are, I am, so much more than the way I look.  I realise that there is so very much, far too much, emphasis put on our appearances.  And the media enforces this every minute of every day.  The diet industry promotes this focus, and uses it to our disadvantage.


Our size shouldn’t matter to anyone.  It shouldn’t be a reason we do or don’t get jobs.   It shouldn’t be what deems us beautiful and ugly.

And maybe I have far to go before I’m freed from the subconscious messages I still believe.

I don’t feel attractive when I’m large.  I don’t feel particularly attractive when I’m slim, but I feel better.  In my mind other people can be whatever size they want.  Big or small, everyone else is gorgeous and wonderful.  But  I feel more comfortable physically, and less tired, when I am carrying less weight.  I feel I can take on the world a little bit more effectively.  For me, being slimmer is the preferable way I want to be.  And so at the moment I am putting effort in to this.  It’s not happening breezily, it isn’t falling off ever so easily, but it is coming off, and I feel confident at the moment.  I’m fitting into some clothes that had become a bit of a squeeze and have noticed small changes.    If someone were to say “You’re looking slimmer”  I wouldn’t personally see it as an insult.  I would think, they’ve noticed my body shape has changed, they’re showing an interest.  In fact, for me, I think I might be a bit upset if people weren’t to notice.  Like when I dye my hair drastically, and someone doesn’t comment, and I think “Do they just not notice me at all?”.

But I can understand how someone might see it as an insult.  A comment made about weight, when we want to be more than our size, can lead us to feel like the only thing we have going for us is our looks, maybe?   Maybe it’s time to start thinking about complimenting others in a different way?  Maybe it’s time to really focus on something other than size?  But where do we stop?  Because compliments are based on appearances an awful lot of the time, on a superficial level, simply because it gives us something to say, to break the ice, or give a confidence boost.  “Oh your hair looks good!”  “I love that lipstick” “Wow you look good in that dress!” all the sort of compliment I’ve heard or used, and I always mean my compliments.

If someone is putting effort into losing weight, it feels almost cruel to me to not comment or acknowledge the efforts.  Weight loss isn’t always easy, sometimes people really suffer, or do it for the wrong reasons, but if they’re trying so hard, how can I not say, “I notice your hard work”.

We are all more than our size.  This is very true, and must be celebrated.  But does it mean we can’t celebrate when someone succeeds in changing their life in a way they want to?

I don’t know.  Think I shall continue to ponder!



I am enough. My weight does NOT define me

Published October 16, 2013 by Crystal

I am losing weight.  And I am happy.  But I am not happy simply because I’m losing weight.  I’m happy because I know I am so many more things than a number on the scale.  When I read of people “falling off the wagon” my heart goes out to them.  Because I remember those days.  Those sad days when everything revolved around following a diet plan to the letter, yet craving so much and feeling I was missing out on wonderful foods.  Those feelings that I would always be on a diet and how would I cope?  When would life get better so I could eat what I wanted all the time?

Discovering the powerful message of Intuitive Eating was a godsend to me.  It freed me from those negative beliefs I’d learnt from the various diet stresses I’d experienced, and allowed me to learn about food in a new, positively affirming way.  But I also learnt and heard so much about myself, and finally I can accept these messages wholly.  I am more than a number on a scale.  When that number changes, I am still the same person.  And I am good enough, wherever I am, whatever size I am, whatever my food choices, whatever my activity level.

I have learnt something else about myself recently though.  I need some sort of structure.  I still don’t feel I am capable of making the food choices that satisfy me physically, emotionally and mentally, and with that I need a little help.

But for several reasons it feels easy and I feel content.  While I am employing some sort of structure in my food planning and eating at the moment, I am allowing myself the foods I enjoy.  I am taking the time and effort to cook tasty foods, and this is satisfying my creative and nurturing side.  I’m enjoying the fact that my whole family is sitting down in the evening and eating the same meal.  Some have been hits, some slightly “meh”, but I’ve been cooking for us all. None of this “I need to eat differently because I’m on a diet and can’t have everything you can have”.  I am feeling better physically. I sleep through the night, and feel i have a bit more energy.  And some medical issues are lessening.

I won’t lie.  The thought of dropping a dress size does give me a buzz!  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  But being able to move with more energy and agility, being able to play around with my kids for longer, those things matter more.  Not feeling generally unwell and exhausted a lot of the time, not feeling physically limited….  These are the things I want to see the back of.

If I had never found Intuitive Eating or Beyond Chocolate I don’t think I would be where I am now.  I believe I would be on the constant merry go round of dieting for weight loss, because in my head, weight loss would still solve all my problems.  And it does eliminate some things, as I’ve said.  But it doesn’t change the world, and it doesn’t solve everything.

A little side note

Published October 13, 2013 by Crystal

There may be people frowning at the thought of my moving to some sort of diet structure, and I understand that. There is so much evil out there in diet land! Horrid meal replacements, people literally starving themselves to slim, tablets to assist in some way. 
I have to say that none of that is appealing or happening. I’ve spent far too much time living free from those dehumanising restrictions to even consider them, and thankfully, while I haven’t lost weight, I’ve read enough intuitive eating material to know that what our bodies need to lose weight is honestly quite simple, and doesn’t require agony. My body doesn’t need to be beaten into submission.
So I still read other people’s experiences and worry or lament at what they might be suffering or missing, but their journey is their own, and they’ll only look for something else when they want to. I can only tell you my experience as it happens.  And lets face it, it wasnt so very long ago that I was living a life of diet misery.

Flippety flop.

Published October 12, 2013 by Crystal

So last week I was miserable.  I couldn’t get the thought of weight loss out of my head.  I feel unhealthy, uncomfortable, and had gotten to a point where clothes that were comfortable were no longer wearable.  Something snapped.  Eating intuitively, tuning in to hunger and physical needs doesn’t come easily to me at all at the moment.

So I came to the decision that I wanted a plan of some sort, to monitor myself.  To help me do what I seem unable to do by myself at the moment.  And it smarts in a way because I do hate diets, I rant and rave and write endless blogs about my previous diet experiences.  How can I expect this time to be any different?


I’m not sure.  And I wouldn’t want to tell any of you reading this to follow me down this path.

I have made some plans and promises to myself to avoid falling into the whole diet mentality.  I don’t buy the diet magazines.  I don’t weigh in between weigh days.  I pay attention to how I’m feeling, emotionally and physically.  I refuse to buy diet food crap.  And, so far, things are going well.  A big key has been cooking from scratch, using The Hairy Dieters first book.  We’ve had some family successes and I find it a really nice feeling to be cooking something that the whole family shares in.  Previously I would be cooking one thing for the menfolk, and something ucky for me.  This time I am taking time to prepare foods full of flavour and interest.  I have spent hours cooking this week, and realised that actually, when I put the effort in, it gives me satisfaction.  I am normally so very hungry by the time it comes to eating our evening meal that the enjoyment seems heightened.  So far we’ve tried Spanish style chicken bake, Cod in parma ham, and skinny beef lasagne.  I’ve increased my vegetable intake again, after, for some mad reason, deciding to cut back on veg.  I feel better physically for that.  I am putting effort in to move in some way several times a week, and feel happily tired at the end of the day, and sleep better.  My wine consumption is less, and I’m not thinking; It’s been a crap day, where’s the wine?  I am still occasionally thinking the; It’s been a crap day! part.  I just don’t have the wine to knock back in angry defiance.

At the moment it’s going ok.  I’m being made aware of my hunger signals far more than prior to this new product, and I’m not seeing the hunger as something to create panic, which seemed to be the case in previous times.  It was my son’s birthday this week and we celebrated with a meal out and wine.  I enjoyed it, perhaps a little bit more because I’ve made the commitment to limit my wine intake for health reasons.

Now it may all go wrong.  I might get obsessed and into the crazy diet zone.  I may crash and burn and throw in the towel and out my toys.  Or I may have found a way of “Being My Own Guru” and find a balance between Beyond Chocolate and a diet plan.

But I didn’t want to fall silent and feel I was misleading you.  I stand by the wonder of Intuitive Eating, and would like to be a natural eater one day.

Don’t come to me for advice, I’m a work in progress!

Published October 7, 2013 by Crystal

Am currently myself, fighting many diet demons.  I hate diets.  Loathe and detest the way I have felt when the euphoria has given way to misery.  But right now I feel pretty miserable.  My size has increased, and physically I feel awful.  I don’t want to lose weight for beauty reasons.  I want to feel physically good.  I want to be able to move with ease.  To not feel creaks and pains.

So for now, I am looking into how i can do this without falling prey to the stress and anxiety of throwing myself head first into diet world. Can I find a way of enjoying a plan, without believing all the hype that goes with it?  First step is cooking meals from scratch from some recipe books.

For a while I’ll be quiet as I mull things over and sort out my inner conflicts!

A tiny excerpt from “Diary of a Heretic”

Published October 3, 2013 by Crystal

Having just received my new book, by Mark Townsend I am experiencing a mixture of emotions and feelings.  I spent many years feeling like I wanted to fit, but not quite managing, in the church.  Then, a few years ago I discovered a pagan belief I felt I could relate to.  The belief in a God and a Goddess.  To me I still saw them as two aspects of one God, but embracing the feminine was a big part of what I felt was lacking in the church and my experience.  Mark’s new book “Diary of a Heretic” is speaking to me and encouraging me, and awakening in me that actually maybe all is not lost, and that I reconcile my beliefs in the person of Jesus, and the Christian aspects of God, with my pagan understandings and my love of a more earth centred spirituality.

This little extract has spoken to me particularly, and I feel it is synchronicity, a theme that runs through this book, that I am reading this now at this particular time.

don’t try to understand, don’t try to work it all out, don’t try to harmonize.

This was always what caused you such stress.

Just let it be and use the things that are helpful to you.

Gauge things by your heart and gut, not your mind.

Your mind is often not your ally.

Deep down you know by natural discernment what is right, good, true, useful.  Contradictions don’t matter when the things that contradict each other are both helpful.

So, enjoy church services, go for communion, splash holy water as you enter, cross yourself, enjoy the sacred music, and also enjoy your Druid rituals and Wiccan words.

It all has a place within the Great Mosaic.

Mark Townsend, Diary of a Heretic