Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mindful or Mindless

I was reading something this evening, a blog post, and something in it really clicked with me.

I'll be honest, that I've not had the easiest of weeks.  Aside from being pretty distracted with family stuff, a busy social week and work starting to hot up, I've been beating myself up because I couldn't understand why I keep going so off-track with my eating.

I start each new day with best intentions, and then somewhere along the line it usually goes wrong.  Whether it's me indulging pointlessly on my own at home, making bad choices on the run, or getting carried away in a social situation, it's simply not been a very productive week on the food front.  Again.

This weekend has been no different, since I've been down in London visiting a friend, and there just seems to have been a multiplication affect of questionable choices.  On their own, none of them would have been terrible, but together ... well.

I won't lie and pretend I didn't already see a(nother) gain on the scales on Friday morning as well.  I'm pretty much back where I started a couple of weeks ago.

Back to this article then.  It was talking about an eating tool, rather than a diet, in the form of mindful eating.  I've come across aspects of this before, in the form of the whole eat-when-you're-hungry-don't-eat-when-you're-not tactic, i.e. checking you're actually physically hungry before you eat and that it's not emotional hunger.  However, this particular piece of writing was talking about another aspect of it - when you're eating, make sure you're completely concentrated on eating - in other words: focus.

I literally can't tell you how many thoughts whirled through my mind as I read this:  that I'm a horrible multi-tasker and always eat whilst doing at least one other activity (and possibly more than one), that I rush my food - usually readying the next bite whilst still chewing the first, that I quite frequently eat whilst standing, that in a social situation I'm often so busy talking that I talk with my mouth full whilst trying to eat as well and even then I'm usually the last person to finish eating (yeah, don't judge me - that sounds like I'm spluttering food all over the table, and I promise you I'm not).

Looking at what I've written above, I think that it's no wonder I eat too much, as I can be hardly tasting a thing I'm eating and sometimes must barely realise I've consumed a whole meal!

How many of us eat whilst reading or watching tv?

As I sat and thought about it (ironically, whilst eating part of my dinner), I came to a startling conclusion:  I never just eat because it seems like a waste of what little free time I have, hence I rush it or do something else at the same time to distract myself.  Eating is more like an neccessary accompaniment to a lot of my day to day activities (work, reading, watching tv, spending time with friends) than an essential act to maintain life and health in its own right.

I hadn't even realised that I view it that way.  It seems almost impossible now that I stop and think about it, but I view eating in two completely different and opposing ways: 1) something I deserve and a reward / comfort / security blanket, but also 2) a pain in the ass waste of time to be gotten over with as quickly as possible.

No wonder I'm fucking confused and conflicted on it!

I'll tell you right now, that when I realised what I was reading, I stopped eating to concentrate on reading the section I was interested in.  And then I sat and tried to deliberately focus on eating my dessert of a bowl of fruit with a little sweetened marscapone (delish, if you've not tried it), with the laptop switched off and my phone locked.  Good grief - it's actually flaming difficult to do!  I realised how fast I tend to eat, gulping down my food, and how I ready another mouthful whilst chewing the one I'm on.  I also realised how I started noticing that I was feeling full not halfway down the bowl, and how my jaw became tired of chewing .... cues I've been missing whilst I normally distract myself.

I'm in no way saying that I think this revelation is a miracle cure, but I'm certainly intrigued by what I've learned about myself today.  I feel like I've basically just discovered a huge mistake I've been making, and we all know we're only clever if we can learn from our mistakes.  I'm already thinking what, and how, I can learn from this, and how I can try to concentrate more on my actual eating (rather than just tracking my intake) for the rest of the week and see where that takes me.

I have a feeling that it's going to be both not that simple and also eye-opening for me.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Miss You, Grandma

I was going to write today about how I have still been struggling with my food, but feel like I've maybe found a little of my groove these last two days. And also about the amazing yoga practice I did at lunchtime today.

Instead, I shall write that I'm feeling sadness and guilt and relief all mixed together, because my awesome grandma finally passed away this afternoon. She was 100, and a wonderful, tough, independent and loving lady who lived a long and varied life. She had been getting gradually frailer for a while and it was painful to watch that fierce spirit weighed down under the burden of old age and infirmity. I can't help feeling that what's sad for me was the right thing for her.

Hope you're reunited with Grandpa and Mum tonight, Grandma, and I miss you already. Xxx

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Lucky For Some

Yesterday may have been Friday 13th - a day traditionally associated with bad luck and misfortune - but for me, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

For a start, my weekly weigh in scored me a 0.5lb loss. Not a lot, you might think, but truthfully my eating has not been all that this week, so I was grateful for small mercies. I know it hasn't been perfect because I have persevered and kept tracking, so even when it's gone wrong, at least I know where I'm at. My other point of perseverance this week has been to treat each day as a fresh start; so even if my evenings have gone wrong, I've started afresh each morning rather than give up on the week.

Yesterday was beautiful weather too, showcasing the lovely Bristol looking her best - I do love a sunny walk to work in the morning.

And best of all, my bonus from my ski season came through yesterday and not only did it meet the maximum I'd thought I could get, it exceeded it. You can imagine how very happy that made me! I've already handed almost all of it over to my dad to start paying back the loan he generously gave me to get some wheels on my return from the mountains, but it's more than I'd been expecting to be able to give him at this point.

So, all in all, I was in a grand mood yesterday, I had a relaxed drink with my work colleagues by the harbour at lunch, and enjoyed a fun night out with friends at a Cuban themed Prohibition party last night - a very nice way to spend the day indeed!

I'm currently enjoying my first weekend at home in my new flat, and it's heaven. A well earned lie in, and pottering round doing a bit of tidying this morning - it's such a simple pleasure to have nowhere I NEED to be, so I can simply please myself. I'm feeling gloriously relaxed as a result!

Happy weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Back To Reality

Oh for fuck's sake - I feel like my computer has just nicely made a metaphor of my life.  I wrote a beautifully crafted post about coming home and all my feelings, blah, blah, blah, and the computer ate it. It's like it never existed.

Which feels a bit like my ski season - it was here and amazing, and everything was blue skies with fluffy white clouds of happiness.  And now it's over.

Real life has reasserted itself rudely, and I'm back to the 9 to 5 grind like I never left.  

Except that this winter changed me irrevocably, because it showed me there is another way to do life. Where you have bugger all money, but you're happy.  In all honesty, I'm not sure that's an entirely practical way to live your life, but it certainly leaves you restlessly thinking that there must be MORE.

In the meantime, I'm back at the office, back in the city, back in the UK and the mountains are a million miles away.  Or a million years ago, I'm not sure which.  Back to the gym.  Back to Weightwatchers.  Back to trying not to drown in bullshit.

But some things stay with you, whether you want them to or not.  I take more risks and grab opportunities more than I used to (which goes some way to explaining how I spent the weekend before last camping in a field with 10 rugby lads in Somerset).  I place less value on money and expensive belongings and more on freedom and just being happy (which is evidenced by my continuing extensive declutter of my life .... at least the charity shops are benefitting ... although the retailers of Bristol maybe wondering what happened to one of their best customers).  And I made some amazing friends I won't forget.  Conveniently I think I shall be seeing some of them at the end of July for a summer adventure in the Alps.

And the Weightwatchers?  Well, after a winter of my weight being pretty stable (what can I say?  The outdoors life suited me!), the last few weeks of crappy, slushy snow and leaving parties took their toll, and then I came home and spent a couple of weeks determindely catching up on ALL the food I hadn't had for 6 months, and the final gain came to a stone put back on.  So I've rejoined Weightwatchers to stop the rot.  

It's been a slow couple of weeks, but at least the scales aren't climbing any further.  And the threat of holiday in 6 weeks is feeling like it might be the kick up the butt I need to get to work again.

Regular programming will now recommence.