self care

All posts tagged self care

Joy, pure and simple #blackdog #depression

Published June 21, 2015 by Crystal

On Friday, I finally grasped mindfulness.  It’s taken some time.  This week has passed from positive to positive.  And I am embracing it.  My doctor told me on Wednesday how my whole posture was different, how bright I looked, how my demeanour was so uplifted.  The Duloxetine is working and the depression is in the past.  I am not naive, I have been here before, and I know depression has returned, but I feel good.  For a moment I worried I feel too good.  It’s been so long since I have felt joy and happiness and contentment that for a moment I worried I was going into a hyper state, but then the joy, and the peace, and the contentment continued without increasing, and without my feeling the need to go out and be exciting and imaginative, and I realised how simple it was to still my mind, and to be in the moment, and finally, I can understand the power of mindfulness.

Friday saw husband and I taking a trip to Clifton Suspension Bridge.  While he wandered and took pictures I stood on the bridge and watched sunlight dance on the Avon, listened to the traffic of the city below, and watched cars cross bridges below, and travel back and forth alongside the river.DSCF1588 DSCF1574 DSCF1596

Peace is something that has been elusive of late.  But at this moment peace is in my grasp.  Being in the moment, not worrying about what has passed, or what might be to come.  Not concerning myself with what I need to become, or what I feel I should be, say, or do.  Just being.

I am also feeling the power of the Sheros Journey with Rebecca Kane at the moment.  The Energy Clearing Exercises have brought up thoughts and feelings that were buried, and I am allowing myself to watch and let pass visions and memories without judgement.

It really feels like there is nothing to worry about at the moment.  What is, is, and what will be will be.

Depression doesn’t have to be the end.

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“#fatacceptance is ruining the world!” bla bla bla. But what about life before it?

Published June 15, 2015 by Crystal

It dawned on me earlier, as I munched on my luscious salad, and perused twitter to see what bile Mr Miller was spewing today.  It dawned on me how fat acceptance is seen as this big evil, and how “normalising obesity is crippling our NHS” is the biggest pile of poop, because it has only just got legs in the last decade, and this country has been getting bigger for a lot longer than that!

I have been on a diet of some sort for a substantial amount of time each year for about 30 years.  And I am in my mid 30’s.  In primary school I was teased and bullied for my size, in PE lessons aged 6 I specifically remember how different I was to other kids because I couldn’t feel my ribs.  In secondary school I was also teased and bullied for my size, and then as a youth worker I had snide comments from shitty little brats who found it hilarious to comment.  The 80s and 90s were not kind to girls of a larger stature. At Secondary School our Home Economics lady was big.  And the boys in the class felt no shame in loudly mocking and ridiculing, and making her aware of how they felt about her appearance.  Fat acceptance was not a thing.  Thin was acceptable.  Fat was not.   It’s safe to say I grew up with enough self loathing to see me through the rest of my days.  And as a result of believing that thin was good and fat was very, very, very bad, I spent many days, months, years, on ryvitas and cottage cheese, or slimma soups, or dust.  I followed Rosemary Conley’s recipes to the letter, I exercised each evening to Cher.  I tried my damnedest to fit in to the acceptable norm, knowing that big was not acceptable.

And I doubt I’m alone.   In fact I would go so far as to wager that many of the fat acceptance campaigners will have grown up with similar experiences of torment and ridicule, and will have seen others dealing with the same.  I would wager that fat acceptance has come about as a reaction to years and years of fat shaming.  So to be blaming the “obesity crisis/epidemic” (really, that deserves a whole other blog post of its own) on a movement that has really only gained ground in the last few years seems somewhat ridiculous, no?

Think about that for a moment.  These people who are fighting for acceptance have endured years and years of ridicule, and have remained fat.  Often in spite of diet after diet.  So while Mr Miller sits there on his throne of judgement, he is merely continuing a behaviour which is what many of us endured in childhood and teendom.  And fat acceptance CANNOT be blamed for a situation that was taking place for decades before it even existed.

So what is the answer?  Well, for me, it is about kindness and care.  I want to look after my body.  I want to feel healthy.  I want to protect myself from disease if I can, and be around for my kids.  Sometimes I fall back into old coping mechanisms.  Sometimes eating gives me a way of not dealing with feelings I don’t want to face.  But day by day the self acceptance and self care gets easier, and the critical voices of old get quieter and quieter.  It may not be the whoopy doop super fast weight loss that Miller demands of fatties everywhere, but it is maintainable and life changing.

My salad, by the way, was yummy!

My salad, by the way, was yummy!

#juneathon oopses! June 7th and @shineonraw Shero programme

Published June 7, 2015 by Crystal

I have done nothing.  I haven’t gardened, I haven’t walked.  I have donned a bikini and sunbathed until I could no longer bear the heat!

And I don’t feel remotely guilty.  It was a lovely, lovely day.

One thing I did do was sign up for a 28 day holistic programme by the lovely Rebecca Kane (@shineonraw on twitter), called Your Shero’s Journey.  With depression fading into the background, I am still dealing with a crisis of confidence and find myself feeling anxious around life choices and self esteem issues.  This programme popped up on my wall at what seemed the perfect moment, a time when I am looking at my health holistically, and spiritually I have felt unsure of my way.  I came across Rebecca some years ago when I started to look into introducing more raw food into my diet, and she feels very much on my wavelength.  Spiritual Healing is something I find very interesting, and I feel very drawn to the energy clearing and balancing.

Food wise things are great, drink wise, I have drunk my weight in wine, and dry June is most definitely OFF the cards.  But the great thing is I spent a lovely afternoon at a neighbour’s house for the first time in 5 years, chatting about anything and everything, and it was spontaneous!  Memories are made of days like this.  But then so are hangovers, so no more wine for a good few days!

Tomorrow is running club. I look forward to that!

Dry #Juneathon? Who am I kidding? (Day 3)

Published June 3, 2015 by Crystal

Today’s exercise is complete.  It wasn’t running in the end.  For several reasons.  One. I felt particularly self conscious on putting my running gear on today.  My tummy, while no difference in size to 6 weeks ago, felt big.  My tights felt revealing, and I felt conspicuous to every passer by.  So naturally, I donned my bright yellow rain coat, which covers my bum.  It also has helpful pockets for things like wallet and phone, which I needed as my exercise involved walking to Tesco 2.5 miles away to get my prescription (apparently Duloxetine is something they need to order in, albeit super fast, they just don’t stock it.  Now I know for next time).  Anyway, I started out, and I felt a bit meh about it anyway, but also particularly self conscious, so I tried a little running, but decided that walking would be fine.

2 miles in and the blister started.  3 miles in and there was the feeling when the blister has popped.  Home and I have a lovely large empty blister.  I was miffed as yet again my twin skin socks had let me down.  Whilst the likes of lidl trainer socks never have.  I won’t bore you with the photo.  I already did that on twitter.  At least now I have my Duloxetine, and I have 5 miles under my belt.

3 days of exercise, it’s a roll!

Food wise I am loosely following Joel Fuhrman’s GBOMBS plan.  I like the idea of all the nutrient dense foods, and am feeling pretty good.  The smell of the KFC I passed did absolutely nothing for me, and my craving for lunch was avocado on rye bread (which I have just had).

What I am really fancying though, is a nice glass (bottle) of wine.  So I had a think to myself What would Geneen ask me re the wine?  How am I feeling?  Am I anxious or agitated?  Is there something I am trying to avoid?  And I’m thinking Well I am starting a new supply job on Friday, and it’s my first shift, but it’s cleaning, and it’s only 2 hours.  Logically there isn’t really any reason to be anxious.  And when it comes down to it, I think the reason I want wine is because I told myself I can’t have it!

What is it about us humans that want the one thing we’ve told ourselves we shouldn’t?  There’s a rebellious streak in me that really does not want to grow up.  I want to smoke, drink, and spend long lazy days at the pub as I did in my teens, which is nearly 20 bloody years ago!  So it’s that, that feeling of sensibility and responsibility that I seem to be fighting against today and I want wine to prove that I’m not yet a fully responsible 30 something, and that I can still play and have fun.  I don’t know where I am going with this awareness, but I guess awareness is the first step towards something positive!

The great weight debate, and my inner critic and @womenfoodgod

Published May 26, 2015 by Crystal

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I was content to keep weighing myself.  Despite the fact that the scales have not moved much in a year.  I was content to believe that I needed that external monitoring, because I can’t be trusted to rely on myself.  I mean, look at me, overweight, unsuccessful dieter.  Letting go of that external monitor to tell me that at least I’m not gaining weight, it would be a mad idea for this untrustworthy woman.

But then Geneen Roth, in her kindness and her wisdom, called me into my body, and pointed out who I was listening to when I believed that I can’t be trusted.  She calls it The Voice.  That authoritarian voice that points out all the flaws it perceives, that reminds me of all the things that are wrong with me, that reminds me moment after moment how I am incapable of change and progress and success.

And she showed me how The Voice is not me.  It is a lying critic, born out of childhood memories of chastisement and hurt.

Calling me into my body, with the belly meditation was a first step to calling me home.  I think, in general, we are used to going through our day on auto pilot.  To become aware of internal sensations in silence and for a dedicated time is a powerful thing.  Or it was for me.  To feel my breath, my lungs expand, my tummy rise and fall.  To notice my fingers tingle as I breathed deeply.  To inhabited my body with awareness, after being separated for what feels like the longest time, is an altering thing.  And I admit, I was sceptical.  While I love it, I still scoff with embarrassment at naval gazing activities.  And a belly meditation was no different.  But already, in two days, it feels a valuable tool in coming back and finding myself and finding my calm.

Back to The Voice.  It’s an interesting thing to become aware of.  Because it does sound like me.  And I thought it was me.  And maybe it is easier to distinguish as something else, now that my depression seems to be blurring away.  I can hear that inner critic and know, that like depression, it is a liar.  Today, on going to weigh myself, and discovering that, oh, I’ve gained after a weekend of food and drink, that Voice said loudly to me “You need to keep weighing, because look, you gain so quickly.  You can’t honestly trust yourself to lose weight without it.  And you’ve attempted to lose weight without diets so many times before, why should this time be any different?  Keep weighing.  You know, just in case.”

And I could believe ever word.  Because it all sounds so reasonable.  But then I realised.  It is criticising me, and robbing me of my own strength.  Stealing any self belief.  “You can’t honestly trust yourself…”

I have decided to call bullshit.  And I have decided I am going to trust myself!  I am going to keep coming back to my body.  I am going to keep practising mindfulness, and I am going to keep going to those feelings, and sit with them, and let them happen.

It might not work.  I might be unsuccessful yet again.  But while I continue to listen to The Voice, I’ve lost before I’ve started.  And a year of weighing has made virtually no difference to my weight.  So The Voice is already wrong!

hot fudge sundae

“It’s not about the weight but it’s not not about the weight” @womenfoodgod

Published May 25, 2015 by Crystal

A few years ago, I received a letter from someone who’d included a Weight Watchers ribbon on which was embossed I LOST TEN POUNDS. Underneath the gold writing, the letter writer added, “And I Still Feel Like Crap.”

We think we’re miserable because of what we weigh.  And to the extent that our joints hurt and our knees ache and we can’t walk three blocks without losing our breath, we probably are physically miserable because of extra weight.  But if we’ve spent the last five, twenty, fifty years obsessing about the same ten or twenty pounds, something else is going on.  Something that has nothing to do with weight.

Geneen Roth, Women Food and God

I am in my mid thirties now.  I have been dieting or thinking about dieting, or looking for another way to lose weight for 30 years.  It’s a long time for something still not to have solved my problems.  So when I read this passage in Geneen Roth’s book, it felt like the sky had lit around me.  It’s NOT about the weight, But it’s NOT NOT about the weight.  For me, it is an issue, but it is an issue resulting out of another issue.

It’s easy to blame weight.  It’s physically there, visible for all to see.  It is perceived as a marker as to how successful/in control/owning of willpower you are.  And folk like Katie Hopkins are adamant and vocal in the belief that weight loss is a simple problem to be solved, by eating less and moving more, and perpetuate that belief freely and with little resistance.

But if the weight isn’t falling away simply, in spite of years of attempting to lose pounds and stones,  it is surely logical that something else is going on?  Some resistance to the idea of less food, to a smaller size?

8 years on from my first discovery of intuitive eating, I’m lighter, but not all the way there.  I figure I am an onion, with layers and layers to peel away.  At the moment, reading Geneen Roth is bringing hope and confidence that I am not a problem that needs to be fixed, but rather a human in need of self care and understanding.  Food does not provide the care that I have believed, and mindfulness and awareness are more important than the first grab of a handful of crisps when things are uncomfortable.

Going to keep reading.  It’s a good book.

But for someone like me, it isn’t that simple.  It is a challenge I have been facing for 30 years

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.