Sunday, 27 July 2014

Ski, Sun, Swim

It's been a beautiful first day here in Les Deux Alpes - it's glorious bluebird sunshine weather, so we headed straight up to the glacier for a cruise round on skis this morning.  It was so lovely being back on my skis after 3 months away from them, but I think the combination a slight hangover from last night and the extreme change in altitude (I live at sea level, the resorts at 1650m, but the glacier's over 3200m) ganged up on me and left me feeling pretty woozy so after a couple of runs, I crashed out for a nap on a giant bean bag at the bottom of the piste in the sun.

A late, leisurely and tasty lunch in the sun followed and finally a dunk in the outdoor pool and some sunbathing to round off a lush day.

I'm still feeling a little delicate, and I've certainly picked up my fair share of "colour" today (read:  I caught the sun a teeny bit), but life out here is definitely my speed.

Friday, 25 July 2014


The absolute worst thing about holidays - ridiculous start times:

But on the upside, I'm shimmying off to the Alps tomorrow for a summer adventure - whooop!

Pre-holiday (and weekly) weigh in was this morning, and was a surprise 2.5lbs off! Huzzah! Since starting the mindful eating a couple of weeks ago my weight has been a bit up and down, but seems to be showing an overall downward trend which I'm definitely in favour of.

Next week being a holiday week, I'll likely not track but will continue the mindful eating. Social eating is always a bit of a minefield for me, but that's contained to the table. Away from the table between meals my snacking seems far more conscious these days so that's definitely something I'll continue to exercise next week. Not to mention the actual exercise since we'll be doing some combination of summer skiing, mountain biking and walking during the day with free daily access to a pool and tennis courts too.

Happy, happy days!

Have a great week without me! :-)

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Going Minimal

I feel like I'm going through a bit of an evolution at the moment. The concept of minimalism has attached itself to my consciousness and seems to slowly be worming its way into my life.

I have to admit, I didn't know much about minimalism before, but as I mentioned last autumn, I launched a mass declutter of my life as a way of organising myself for my ski season, and as a result of googling tips for decluttering, I started coming across a lot of information about the wider topic of minimalism.

I have always lead a chaotic, cluttered and thoroughly dis-organised life, which is something which I now realise is completely inherent to my personality type (more on that some other time, as that's a whole other topic I've been reading about) and, more often than not, it stresses me out.

A lot of the advice about decluttering touched on the idea of living minimally in a physical sense - the concept of having few possessions, but of good quality and used often - something which I found appealed to me increasingly, and I soon started to realise how minimalist concepts apply to other parts of your life too: to your finances, your social life and social media, and goal-setting for career and long term life goals.

I like the fact that minimalism actually comes in degrees from moderate to extreme (I would be aiming for moderate) and involves divorcing yourself to an extent from the acquisitive and advertising-driven modern day world. This is turn means being able to turn away from the constant comparisons and feelings of inadequacy of the keeping-up-with-the-Jones mentality we're so often afflicted with.

I like that minimalism (to me, at least) encourages you to not feel guilty in acquiring something you really need, but also teaches you to look at whether you do really need it in the first place.

I have even applied this to my eating a little recently - that it's better to have one really good thing to eat and really appreciate it (and eat it mindfully!) than a bunch of diet, fake things you didn't really want.

I'm only a little way down the road so far, but my living space feels more peaceful and my mind feels calmer (and whilst the scales haven't momentously moved downwards they are down a little). I still have a huge amount of belongings to sort through, food habits to break and I'm very interested in the way these habits can be applied to your money (and yes, I still shop when I want to!), but it feels good.

A little transformational almost! :-)

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Feelings: They're Ok.

I was going to write a humorous post today about my mishaps the last couple of days, but I'm not feeling it right now.

Instead, I met a friend for a few drinks tonight, someone who was very significant in my life for a while, and I've come away with the sad feeling that this maybe the last time we meet up.

Our lives have moved in different directions and, maybe, I hadn't quite realised what a big part in my life he played, even if only for a short time.

So tonight I'm allowing myself to feel a bit sad and maybe even a bit lost, because while his life seems to be so sorted now and settled, I feel like I've gone the other way. There's a lot of things I now know that I don't want in my life, but I still don't know where that takes me and what my plan should be, but I do know that it's ok to feel that. Just to feel. That it might be scary and unknown but feeling is ok. Grieving the loss of a friendship / relationship is healthy. And looking into the abyss of the unknown is ... good.

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Summer Fruits

I was feeling like it was just too warm and humid to want to eat anything hot or even savoury for dinner this evening, so my veggie pledge became a fruit overload.

Dinner was a massive bowl of all the fruit that needed rescuing from the fridge before it was lost to the heat, with some full fat Greek yoghurt. If there's any yoghurt that's going to get me excited about it, it's this Rachel's Organic Greek yoghurt with ginger ... soooo tasty, and amazingly rich after making do with low fat yoghurts for years!

Summery, a little off-beat for a dinner but so refreshing.

What do you eat when the weather gets too hot?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Weekend Relaxing

So far I'm having a lovely relaxed weekend of resting, reading and some shopping and chores. As promised, I got another healthy big dose of vegetables yesterday, and felt good for it. I also had takeaway last night, and this might sound weird, but sitting and eating it mindfully, I felt weirdly like I've not been tasting things properly for ages - it was amazingly delicious! (And sensibly split, so I have another portion for lunch today.)

My shopping also took me on a foray into new clothing territory: The Midi Skirt.

I'm sure this is what my mum used to wear in the 80's and 90's and yet here they are back in fashion! Although I'm also pretty sure my mum didn't have one so eye-wateringly bright and tropical.

What do we think? Can I carry it off?

(Apologies for the crappy photo!) Also bought on my marathon shop: TWO pairs of sandals (why is it, that after weeks of looking, I find two pairs at the same time???), shorts for holiday next week, cute vest top and new hoodie.

So now I have NO money for the rest of the month!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 18 July 2014

Vegetables: Missing In Action

It has been a looooooooong couple of weeks. Work has been mega hectic (which is not unexpected for this time of year), and last week was a social whirlwind too, so after working last weekend it's been an effort dragging myself through this week.
YAY for it finally being the weekend!!!

First things first: weigh in this week. Ummmm ... yeah. 2 lbs on. If I say it quickly it doesn't seem so bad.

The question is: why? And I think I realised the answer today. Whilst I have continued to eat mindfully, which has 100% cut down on the amount of snacking I do (and the guilt I feel when doing it too), time pressures and general slothfulness have meant my meals have fallen into the "quick and easy" category. Not terrible in their own right, but rather .... processed. To the extent that I suddenly realised today that I can't remember the last time I ate a proper fresh vegetable.

Horrifying, n'est pas??

Of course, I rectified that straight away! I had a healthy dose of proper fresh vegetables with my dinner (tender stem broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato, don't you know?) and I've promised myself to ensure a good further dose of vegetables over the rest of the weekend. Which if we remember, is generally the worst time for eating for me. This weekend? VEGETABLES!!

Since eating mindfully for a couple of weeks, I've definitely not felt bloated in the mornings as a result of over-eating, but I now realise the lack of good veggie intake has left me feeling a bit sluggish in a dietary sense. Sorry, Body - I'm working on it.
So what else has been happening?

I let myself off the leash and allowed myself a little shopping venture last weekend (the bit I wasn't working) and scored big in the John Lewis sale. The green dress is for a wedding at the end of August, the gold top is just delectable, and the dark dress, whilst gorgeous, is going back as I'm not sure I'll wear it enough to justify it ... especially as I want to break away from the office environment (more on that at a later date).

Then today I tried some Heidi braids in my now over-long and rather dry hair. And got an absolute ton of compliments when I got to work! Yay for something which resuscitates day old unwashed hair :-)

Finally, after a long and tedious day at work and a spin class to start the weekend (I must have been out of my mind when I booked that), I settled down to wait for my chicken and vegetables to cook with a well-earned cold cider.

Happy weekend all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Busy Busy

It's nearly the end of another week and it's one of those where I'm not quite sure where the days went.

I've continued with the mindful eating, and have also conscientiously recorded everything in my Weightwatchers tracker. The results are interesting because, while they aren't anything approaching a perfect week and I'm definitely over my points allocation, it's still a lot better than some of my bad weeks and I know it's 100% honest too.

Eating mindfully has made the process of tracking a lot easier because I eat far fewer snacks or bits so it's much easier to remember everything when recording it. Also - big victory - the biscuits and ice-cream are still in their respective parts of the kitchen relatively unscathed!

It's been a pretty busy week socially with dinners with friends and a shitload of work in the office - frankly I'm surprised I'm not further over my points with so many meals out, but the mindful eating genuinely seems to help with that.

Even better, yesterday I took a sandwich to work for lunch which I ended up not eating. I thought I'd have it for dinner instead and then just top up with food later in the evening if I was still hungry. Instead I got stuck into crafting my mask for a charity fancy dress event this evening and didn't even realise until it was bed time that I hadn't felt hungry again. Yet again, proof that I need less food than my eyes tell me!

- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, 7 July 2014

Day 7 Mindful Eating

So, my first week of mindful eating draws to a close, and I can honestly say I've made some interesting discoveries about my eating habits this week.

I had a very relaxed day yesterday, just doing some bits around the house and sorting out my bills and finance records, and meeting a friend in the afternoon for a chat. I ate modestly at my meals, but enjoyed a milkshake with my friend since I've been craving one for weeks. I didn't feel even a tiny bit guilty about it either.

This mindful eating has moved me away from feelings of guilt or oooh-I-shouldn't and towards just enjoying something properly and then moving on. It's curbed my snacking and lessened my feelings of constantly fighting myself, and eased in a slight sense of trusting myself instead.

At the start of the week, I didn't worry too much about tracking my food or making healthy choices, and just followed my instincts. Interestingly, this in turn lead back round to me starting to naturally balance my food and even stopping when I was full. My portions got smaller because, even though I wasn't actively monitoring my hunger levels, concentrating on the actual process of eating ended up making me aware of them - I've started noticing when I'm full and also that I don't want the food so much when that happens.

All in all, it's felt like quite a natural process, although there's still some thought required for how to eat in social situations.

I'm going to carry on with this idea, but won't bombard you with daily updates anymore ... unless I actively feel like I have something interesting to report, of course!

And in practical terms? Well, I've finished the 7 days about 2-3lbs lighter and feeling a little slimmer - can't be bad for a week that included gin, takeaway, a BBQ, ice-cream and milkshakes, eh?

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Day 6 Mindful Eating

I wasn't feeling the most cheerful yesterday morning, but by the time I'd had a decent lie in and mulled things over, I'd come to the conclusion that my Grandma would never tolerate moping over her loss, men will always be annoying and frustrating and that doesn't change who I am or what I'm worth, and my financial situation doesn't benefit from sulking (I was having a small wobbly over that at the weekend too).  All in all, I concluded, wasting a perfectly good sunny day in bed feeling a bit sorry for myself was a rather pointless exercise.

After 6 days of this mindful eating malarkey, I've started feeling rather proud at how I've adjusted to a subtly different mindset.  Yesterday I was able to finish the takeaway leftovers for lunch (well, brunch, I'd missed breakfast and was too hungry to wait for lunch) and attend a bbq in the afternoon without really thinking about it.  It wasn't until I was leaving the bbq that it occurred to me I'd subconsciously applied the mindful eating rules to the whole afternoon - I'd had a sausage in a roll from the bbq, which I'd taken my time over, I'd had a couple of pieces of grilled halloumi and two mini egg bites, and a piece of the cake which I'd totally savoured.  And that was it.  No crisps.  No breadsticks and hummus.  No nibbles.  I felt great!  What's more, I hadn't been consciously been "resisting" eating the other things.

To cap the evening off, I quite fancied some ice-cream, and given how well I've coped with having things like biscuits in the house this week; things that are normally big trigger foods for mindless consumption; I thought I'd get some and enjoy it.  I had some in a bowl with a chopped up banana, and the rest went straight back in the freezer.  I took my time, and in all honesty, I started thinking I'd dished myself up too much rather than wanting more.


It's been nearly a week of consistently following this new logic, and whilst I hesitate to say it's any kind of magic solution, I can honestly say I've found it refreshing because for the first time in a very long time, I don't feel like I'm fighting food, my appetite, my will power or anything else.

That isn't to say it's easy; I've felt like I'm being an anti-social git at times when I eat solo in the kitchen, away from other people, and I've still haven't quite figured out how to deal with social situations - I know I need to eat slower and stop trying to talk and eat at the same time, but that's still a work in progress.

One thing that has really surprised me has been that I've occasionally felt resentful of self-awareness this exercise has given me.  That I'm now aware that I've been using the distraction of the tv or a book as a way of shoving down far more food than I need and I don't really feel I can do that any more.  I felt something similar when I first started seriously doing Weightwatchers in 2009 and for the first time I was really aware of how bad some of the things I'd been eating were - I resented knowing and not just being able to consume them anymore in ignorance - just a vague sense of guilt rather than deliberately ignoring that knowledge.

Hopefully, though I can use this new awareness to try and tune my habits to something more healthy all round.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Day 5 Mindful Eating

Yesterday was a hard day emotionally speaking. It was my grandmother's funeral, and whilst I've coped pretty well up until now with her death, the old pictures on the order of service and the sight of the beautiful wicker coffin she'd requested, absolutely covered in white lilies, reduced me to a sniffing, teary wreck. The funeral itself was short but lovely - thank god, as I would probably been sitting on the floor bawling if it had gone on much longer.

Added to that, I already felt a bit low because I had a fabulous date with a guy on Wednesday then .... nothing. A text replying to mine saying he'd had a great evening too, then complete radio silence. Sigh.

My point is though, that I let myself wallow in all that, but ate like it was a normal day. There were even small victories:

1) NO snacking - I conquered the kitchen gauntlet, and even though I did look thoughtfully in the biscuit tin at one point, I closed it and walked away empty handed.

2) We had takeaway last night, the first since I've been trying mindful eating, and it went well. I didn't order too much (for a change) and Dad and I had a sensible sized plate each, and the rest was packed straight away into the fridge. I sat and tasted it properly, savoured it (and it was delicious!) and I didn't feel more than comfortably full when I'd finished.

Yesterday was also my weekly weigh in and it was 1.25 lbs off. I'm particularly pleased with that since I didn't start the mindful eating until Sunday night and the weekend wasn't at all good!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 4 July 2014

Day 4 Mindful Eating

Yesterday proved a couple of things to me:

1) A single sandwich is enough for lunch. Is doesn't have to always be soup and a sandwich or crisps and a sandwich. Some days I may want or need more than that, but yesterday it was fine - I think I've been automatically adding unnecessary calories just because my eyes tell me a sandwich alone (or something similarly sized) can't possibly be enough.

2) I had a sweet treat yesterday afternoon, after my lunchtime spin class, of a snack pack of Oreos. Normally, that it probably take me 5 - 10 mins to devour the 6 smallish biscuits. Yesterday it took me 3 hours, and I did actually debate just taking the last one home with me, or even binning it. Yikes - who AM I???

3) Eating slowly and with focus allows me to make an objective choice on whether I'm really enjoying something or not. Breakfast yesterday? It was ok, but I probably won't bother with quite that combo again.

Today will be a new challenge because I'm back at Dad's for my grandma's funeral. Dad's house has become somewhat of a food war ground for me over the last couple of years because he keeps snacks lying around everywhere! There are Wispa bites lying open on the side, next to the biscuit tin which lives in plain sight. There's always chocolate or sweet nibbles in at least two of the cupboards. I don't usually manage to pass through the kitchen without chomping on something whilst standing up. Plus there's the fact that the dining table is so covered in his art stuff that all meals are taken in front of the tv.

Oh boy - this will be a challenge!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Day 3 Mindful Eating

Whilst I've been concentrating on eating mindfully, I've not been worrying too much about what I've been eating. I've just gone with the flow, and picked out whatever I've really been feeling. Interestingly though, I've noticed that I've started to self-regulate - if I have a heavier lunch, I pick a lighter dinner.

What really surprised me yesterday though, was that I happily stopped before the plate was clear at lunch and chucked what I didn't need away. You must understand that I am, ordinarily, an obsessive plate-cleaner so leaving something behind without an extraordinary psychological wrestle with myself is ... well ... virtually unheard of.

As I sat eating my tea yesterday (just a bowl of soup without any bread or toast - also unusually because I normally have more than one component to a meal) I pondered whether the difference comes from actually looking at my food. Not just putting it on the plate and then averting my gaze to the TV or a book, but properly watching my food as I eat it and seeing what I've had.

A strange thought indeed!

- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Day 2 Mindful Eating

Today's discoveries:

1) I didn't need to snack at all today as my meals actually kept me full until the next one - was this because my body actually took on board that I'd eaten and how much?

2) Food tastes GOOD! I mean that it tastes really good when you stop and pay attention! I couldn't believe how satisfying a soup and sandwich could be for lunch yesterday because I was paying attention for a change.

3) It's entirely possible to take out a pack of chocolate chip Hobnobs whilst you're preparing dinner and only (mindfully) eat one because you're too busy cooking or catching up on the day's internet to sit and eat. That one biscuit will taste amazing.

4) I still haven't figured out how to deal with the cinema. I generally have something at the cinema, but by definition I can't focus on it because, well, there's a film. Does this mean no snacks at the cinema ever again?? I may have had pic'n'mix - something to work on.

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Day 1 Mindful Eating

Things I discovered yesterday:

1) Eating takes up a REALLY long time.

2) I often shove things in my mouth at my desk without even thinking about it - I kept catching myself doing it and either had to put the food down or stop and focus on it.

3) I take mouthfuls that are too big - no wonder my jaw aches and I end up gulping down half-swallowed food. Smaller bites required.

4) It's hard focusing on your food when people are talking to you, but not impossible. Just have to take my time, listen more and remember to swallow before starting talking again!

I still ate more than I strictly should have done yesterday but I was very conscious of everything I ate and enjoyed it all. It's definitely hard work trying to shift your habits though!

- Posted from my iPhone