All posts for the month August, 2014

The post holiday critic.

Published August 27, 2014 by Crystal

It is half a week since we returned from our holiday.  We’ve unpacked, unwound, and uploaded the photos.  I decided at some point the holiday mentality of wine every evening had to stop, and food has become more filling and rewarding the last couple of days.  But I was looking at my photos today and those nasty little voices started to creep in.  “Look at your tummy.  You didn’t get anywhere near that size 14 wetsuit!”

And then I compare the holiday of last year to the holiday of this year;


2013 Durdle Door


2014 Pembrey Sands










Last year I felt huge.  I covered my form with baggy clothes, I refused to get into the water.  My wetsuit wouldn’t get past my thighs.  I spent a lot of time sitting and drinking, and watching the others run around.  When we were in Bude a few weeks later last year it was that lovely time of month, and I used it as an excuse to avoid excessive movement.  I was tired, and that tiredness penetrated through the whole holiday.  It was the same delightful situation this time around, but fortunately I was less tired during the holiday.  I refused to let it stop me getting into the water, or enjoy the walking around, and while I was probably more grumpy and tired than I like to be on a holiday, I got a good hour of body boarding in and it was only the last couple of days that exhaustion limited me more than I liked.  Fortunately once home I could flake, and flake I did!  Flake and moan and grumble.

Anyway, I looked at that photo on the right, and others, where I was boarding with my son, and those little voices highlighted that tummy of mine that was totally relaxed and not sucked in at all, and those little voices didn’t comment on the exercise I was getting, or the invigoration of being in the sea.  Or the time spent with my youngest while he was brave enough to try body boarding for the first time.  Those little voices are vain.  Image and appearance is all that matters to them.  Not the fun, not the memories.

I look at those photos and I know I had a good time in Dorset.  Even with the limitations I felt I had, or that I set myself.  I can look back fondly.  Yes it was a larger me, but there was a pub with the most awesome onion rings I have ever tasted!  Yes it was a larger me, but the afternoon wandering around Weymouth was lovely!  And the time in Bude a few weeks later, sitting in the van near Crooklets Beach and reading Anne Rice while the menfolk hit the waves, I actually enjoyed that peace and quiet.  I felt it restorative. Which reminds me, I still need to get the next book! Lasher, I think…..

The walk down to St Nectan’s Glen, standing in the pool.  It was peaceful, it was calm, it was what I needed at that time.

So I didn’t hit that goal of the size 14 wetsuit this summer.  But it didn’t limit my holidays, or the memories my kids will have of the awesome family holiday.   We walked and explored, we sat and socialised, we braved the windy beach, we sat and watched kids play together in a playground.  There was enough activity and enough rest.

Two photos, two different holidays.  Both with happy memories.  And really, when I look into it, my weight has had the smallest impact in affecting what those happy memories could have been and what they are.  I don’t loathe last years photos, or look at myself in disgust.  And I refuse to do that this year either.







Honour Your Health

Published August 14, 2014 by Crystal

Last week I was stressed, and out of sorts, and stroppier than usual.  It was a combination of things, but the result was 3 bottles of wine  and a fair bit of vodka over the week.  I’m not ashamed.  I didn’t reach for a bloody mary the minute I woke up.  I wasn’t sneaking glugs out of a bottle hidden in the ironing pile. But it was a lot.  And it was more than I need.  And it was more than I drink normally.  It was a conscious decision.  I chose wine over weight loss this week. And the result was a gain on the scales at my Slimming World class.

I felt a bit disgruntled.  I’d kind of hoped for a miracle, a maintain, maybe even a half lost.  But wine hinders my weight loss, not least because my choices around food can become questionable the day after the night before.  But disgruntle dissipated quickly enough as I accepted the result, and looked at the week previous and mused over the week ahead.  I have a fridge full of lovely fruit and veg, meat, fish, cheese and so on.  I have everything I need to make all manner of meals, and this week I have enthusiasm and determination. This week I am choosing to eat more healthsome foods and drink less wine!

I’ve been thinking and looking back on the principles of intuitive eating today.  The final one, which stands out for me at this time is this

10 Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.




I started to muse on how sometimes so much emphasis is placed on legalising all food and saying “NO” to dieting that the whole “Honour Your Health” principle is left as something we’ll do later when we’ve got ourselves sorted with the legalising.  The problem for me is that I embraced the legalisation, and forgot the health bit.  I forgot to notice when foods left me feeling sluggish, or with indigestion.  I wanted to eat and eat all those foods that I had deprived myself of during years of dieting.  To make up for those rotten evenings staring at a salad when what I wanted was sweet and sour chicken.  The fact that I could have had something better than a salad and probably tastier than a chinese take away if I’d made the effort didn’t really enter into my thoughts.  In fact, looking back, a lot of my perceived deprivation was my choice.  A form of martyrdom.  A “look how good I am and how much weight I’m losing by not letting myself have all the things I love!”.  I think it’s a pattern many dieters fall into.  Somehow there’s more merit in being a miserable dieter.

The fact is that with every diet we choose to partake in, we have a choice.  We choose how much we do or don’t commit.  We choose how much effort we will put in to cooking and following recipes.  We choose to deviate from the diet plan, or we choose to stick.  Last week, I chose to deviate.  I did it with awareness and accepted there would be consequences.  But I chose to deviate.

The same could be said for Intuitive Eating principles, I feel.  I can choose to observe them all, and follow them to the letter. I could choose to not eat my feelings away, or I could ignore that principle for the evening and follow my own choices.  I already know that eating too mindfully bores me to tears.  But I am aware that I don’t need as much food as I used to and so will plate up less and go back for seconds if I want it.  And as time goes on, I realise more and more that a really important Principle is the one of Honouring Health.  There’s no getting around it.  All the mindful eating, legalisation, exercising, will only do so much if I’m still filling my body with less nutritious foods more often than not.  And here is where a slimming club supports me in the healthier choices.  This is where having syns, or points, and making the more filling and nutritious food decisions is made a little bit easier because a great big diet club has done all the hard work for me.  OK, Weight Watchers may be obsessed with touting their foods and calculators and scales.  And Slimming World may promote their sweetener laden HiFi bars.  But I make the choice of whether I want to buy them or not.  I make the choice of how much money I put into buying the slimming club merchandise.

Of course The first Principle is to ditch the diet mentality, and I would urge every woman and man in the world to learn to love themselves, to accept they are great people as they are, and to know the scales merely tell them their weight, not their self worth.  But for many folk, there is support and friendship at clubs, and for many, their lives are improved through learning about better food choices, and being able to move more freely as weight is lost.

Diet clubs are not the devil.  The lies spread by the media are what is evil.  The perverse messages that physical beauty is everything, and physical beauty includes thinness.  The arrogant messages that obesity is the root of every illness, and that fat people are lazy and just need to eat less and move more and their lives will improve.   These are what hit us in the heart, and lead us to feel inadequate and failing.   And there are times when we are vulnerable, and those messages will puncture deeper than usual.  They will rob our self esteem and devalue our life if we let ourselves believe them.  But it isn’t the diet clubs.

So, Honour Your Health.  My current mantra.


Nanu nanu, we say goodbye to Robin Williams

Published August 12, 2014 by Crystal

It is the 12th of August 2014. The world has woken up to the sad news that Robin Williams has died. As I type it is suspected he took his own life, and the statement given by his publicist is that he was suffering severe depression.
I have shed some tears since waking up. For Robin, for his family. For the apparent endless battle against this joy stealing illness. Against this illness that really doesn’t care who you are, how much money and success, how much love and family, you are surrounded by. It shows no prejudice. I have shed some tears for Robin, suffering and feeling there is no way out other than death. I have shed some tears for every sufferer who wakes each day with a vast cloud. Who wakes in a heavy smog, unable to see the colours of the world, and the laughter of friends. For the sufferer who starts to see only one way of escape.
Depression is a shit. And we are still so far off from people accepting and understanding. And I get it. It is hard for friends and family to understand the thought process or state of mind when someone close is in the throes of a depressive episode. It can honestly be bewildering, and I guess, maybe, “But what have you got to be depressed about?” is a valid question to ask. But depression gives no rhyme or reason. A victim of depression could be on the holiday of a lifetime. It won’t “snap them out of it”.
Because depression is NOT A CHOICE. Let me write that again;


I never woke in the morning with a conscious decision to be miserable. To miss the happiness. To feel so exhausted and alone and isolated that I started to wonder what the point was.

And so here we are, waking this morning to sad news, about a man who brought so much laughter into so many homes. A man who could shake the blues and mean mondays from so many front rooms, but who couldn’t lift himself away from an immense helplessness this time. From the void that depression puts a sufferer into.

I hope that this tragedy opens up the dialogue a little bit more. To narrow the void between sufferers and those who can’t comprehend it. I hope that from all this sadness, a positive step can be made forward, and that those suffering in silence find the strength to seek help. That people suffering reach out to friends and family and find some energy to say “I need some support right now”. Because we need to talk. We need the opportunity to help each other, but we can’t know if silence over this subject continues to reign.

Rest in Peace Robin Williams, thank you for so much laughter.  I’m so sorry you could not share in absolutely all of the joy you brought to the world.





From fasting to fat club, intuitively

Published August 5, 2014 by Crystal

Last Wednesday I woke up, after a month of on off fasting and thought, I am bored of fasting.  And if I’m honest, the foods I was eating on the feed days were not the best choices in the main.  I think, if I’m honest, it was a lazy easy way of having all the cake and eating it too.  There may be lots of health benefits to fasting, but filling my body with junk is going to negate some of them I’m pretty sure.  Plus not eating for one day and eating the next was a novelty wearing off.  If I drank alcohol on the eat days, I found the fast days really really hard, but I had a fair few social engagements in that month.

So I was fasting on that Wednesday, having mixed some days around, and met up with a friend who is doing Slimming World. She’s done well, and I did well in the past.  I needed a change, and this seemed as good as any.  So I found a class and joined.  By now, you will see, if nothing else, I am impulsive, and if my mind is set, i want to do it.

So it’s nearing the end of the first week, and I am feeling good.  I have accepted I want to lose weight.  All the body acceptance in the world won’t stop that desire.  But the reasons are, in the main, better ones.  For health, for longevity, for appreciation of my body.  Sure, vanity is in there.  I’m not going to lie.  I have some gorgeous clothes in the loft that would love a second outing.  But there is not the urgency there can be at times.

When my depression hit and my ED returned, and I stopped Weight Watchers and moved back towards Intuitive Eating it was exactly what I needed to bring back that kindness to myself.  When in the throes of dieting we can allow ourselves to become so consumed and full of self loathing.  For me it is a negative spiral that then takes me lower and lower.  I forget all the good things about myself and my body.  I start only to see the flaws.  The flaws magnify.  Like the “fact” I can’t reach goals because I have no willpower.  The “fact” I can’t control myself and make good food choices.  That I’m lazy, that I will always be fat and ugly.  And so on.  And so forth. Etc. Etc.

Intuitive Eating turns the diet thoughts on their heads. It twists around what I think about myself and my body.  It gives me help to discover myself again.  To appreciate and love the things my body can do, has done.  And it helps me remember that I am my biggest and best advisor when I tune in to myself.

For me though, mindful eating is a great big pain in the bum.  Concentrating on every mouthful.  Stopping and leaving food on the plate.  If I’m honest it is exhausting, and I Can’t, Be, Bothered.  It doesn’t enhance my life.  It doesn’t make the food experience all the better.  It pisses me off.

So fasting was worth a try, for the tentative depression links, but also to take away the thoughts around food.  And it did for a time, and it does for lots of people.  But my realisation is I love food too much to miss every other day.  And so if I’m going to eat every day, I need to be making healthy choices more often than not.

And that is where the return to diet clubs comes in.

Bored to the back teeth with counting points, Slimming World was a positive option for me at this time.  I can look back at the previous times, with an understanding of where it all went wrong.  And hell, this might only suit me for a month, or two.  But I may make it 6 months happy as larry.   What I do know is that 10 months on from first joining WW, and 35lbs down, having pretty much maintained the last 2 months, I am ready to continue the weight loss.  I am certainly not ready to throw in the towel, complain it’s not working and put all that weight back on.  But what that means is actually I will always have to watch what I eat.  And acknowledging and accepting and not hoping for the magic of intuitive eating to click in all together, brings a sense of peace.  A peace where I CAN diet and be kind.

Projections. We can only be ourselves

Published August 1, 2014 by Crystal

I was just thinking about how I must spark and irritate or even anger some people. It’s not intentional. I don’t wake in the morning and make my plan of the day to insight anger. I am who I am. And that’s ok. But unfortunately, some of my traits are going to trigger a negative response in another person, and maybe I will remind them of another, or my attitude to a situation might spark a memory, and in turn a negative reaction. And I guess it can be hard to work out when it is that we are projecting different people and situations onto someone totally unrelated, or whether that person just ticks us off, and rubs us up the wrong way!
I feel it would be unrealistic to expect us all to live in harmony, but knowing that my perspective of others can be skewed by my past experiences can help bring a calm to me when worry and paranoia sneak in because of how another has treated me. I’m not an innocent. I’ve done some stupid, ignorant, hurtful things, for a multitude of reasons. But I would like to think I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I will make many more, no doubt, but I learn. I believe communication is a big key to dispelling misunderstanding, I believe honesty about my thoughts and feelings and projections can help bring some clarity to a situation. To ask questions of myself when I am reacting to someone in a negative way. But just like it is not that person’s problem when I am projecting onto them, and it would be unfair of me to lay emotions on them that are from earlier memories, it works the other way too. I don’t have to accept those projections placed on me. It is not for me to have to justify every little action so as to bring another person peace. Though in knowing how easy it is to do I guess it brings me some peace in being able to not take it more personally. Of course, I will piss some people off just by my very existence, and I guess I am just better off out of their lives altogether! 😉

Apologies for the slightly rambling stream of thought, I think I need coffee!