Sunday, 21 February 2016

Free-stylin' It

The first week of eating completely on my own, was a bit of a success, if I do say so myself.  I was 2.25lbs down by the end of the week, which puts me back at 13st 8lb.  If I can just break through the 13 and a half barrier then I'll be out of the loop I've been stuck in for a while.

It was also a bit of revelation.  Eating whatever you fancy, without any guilt or self-judgment being attached to it, is surprisingly weird because it goes against everything I've been taught pretty much my whole life.  Even as a child I remember being told that biscuits were "bad" for me.  I've always been told that certain foods are "naughty", or "bad", or a bit of a treat.  But I didn't let that put me off too much this week, I picked what I wanted and tried to listen to what my body was saying so I'd get maximum enjoyment from my food.

The harder bit was waiting until I was genuinely hungry, because it's then that you realise how used you are to eating at certain prompts and how indoctrinated meal times are.  I'm trying though, and I'm not letting small setbacks be an excuse to stop.

It's going to be a real challenge this week, as I'm away skiing (again - I know, I'm a lucky bugger) in Tignes in France, in a big chalet.  Mealtimes are therefore semi-regulated and choices narrower, but I can still apply the principles within that - eat breakfast because you need to get the day started but stop when you're full, eat lunch when ready, eat other snacks as necessary and eat just what I need at dinner.  Enjoy it and don't feel guilty.

The first day on the slopes was absolutely glorious today.  I was playing with my new GoPro and it was great fun - a new way to get photos and not worry too much about breaking it.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Adventures in Emotional Eating

It's a weird and whacky journey I feel like I'm on at the moment.

As I've mentioned, I'm trying to resolve my issues around food - my topsy-turvy, love-hate relationship with food, and as it turns out, myself.

What started out as a simple journalling exercise has sort of spiralled out in all sorts of directions; the more I read, the more I started to see that this is a complex problem with complex answers.  And yet, at the same time it is incredibly simple - I should be eating what I want, when I'm hungry.  When I'm no longer hungry I stop.

One idea I've been working with is that rigid mealtimes - the structure of breakfast, lunch and dinner - isn't a bible I should just adhere to without thinking.  Working on that same principle of eating when I'm hungry, I should be waiting until I'm actually feeling definite hunger and then eating, and if that's not lunchtime or dinner time then that's ... ok.  The book I'm reading currently put it in a lovely analogy - you wouldn't stop to put fuel in your car when it wasn't empty / necessary.  We don't need to do the same to our bodies.  Eating mindlessly at mealtimes, is potentially doing just that.  Of course, most of the time we ARE hungry some time around those periods of the day, because basically speaking you probably get hungry sometime between 3-5 hours after you last ate, but the trick for me is rediscovering that it's ok to wait and eat my lunch at 2, or even 3 or 4pm, if that's when I'm hungry.

Work being work (and me being me, and being susceptible to eating when I'm bored), it's very easy to just pick the same lunch hour every day and eat straight away.  I've been working on shaking up my lunch routine to make me more mindful.  I still take my full lunch hour, but if it's dry I quite often pop out for a walk, or go for a jog with a friend, or do whatever errands need sorting.  If I'm hungry straight away, I'll get something of course, but otherwise I get a sandwich, salad, sushi - something that will hold for a while, and keep it on my desk for when I'm ready.  The only thing I have to work round then is in-person meetings in my diary.

At dinner times I'm trying to do the same - I hold until I'm definitely in need of eating.  Breakfast is the only one I often eat when I'm not quite hungry, because I tend to be hungry sometime whilst I'm getting ready for work or walking in, and my diary is heavy on morning meetings, so I get food when I can at work and eat.  I figure it's good to wake my metabolism up anyway.

It's been a bit strange - on Sunday I ended up not eating any kind of proper meal until 5pm as I just wasn't getting properly hungry.  I probably could have waited longer than that, but I'm not in the habit of starving myself and was starting to think I'd actually gone past my hunger point.

I've also been working on losing the guilt over "bad" foods.  Yes, some foods are nutritionally more sound than others, but I want to move away from the diet-trained habits of considering certain foods bad and worthy of guilt.  I don't want guilt to be any part of my eating regime.  This is where it gets trickier - the idea of eating anything you want.  I have a leaning towards sweet foods, which means if I truly go with what I want, sometimes I want a sweet meal with no savoury, which feels very weird and "bad".  But several of the books I've read have had the same message - that I need to free myself of my attachment to labels for food and learn to trust myself.  The principle here seems to be that if you just let yourself have exactly what you want (whilst sticking to the rule of eat when hungry, stop when not) you will eventually and naturally reach an equilibrium where your body wants the right combos of fruits and vegetables all on it's own.

So far, and this is probably the first week I'm really consciously doing this exercise (i.e. not tracking food, waiting for signs of hunger, eating whatever takes my fancy, no judgment), it's going ok.  Surprisingly so.  In fact, the scales are down at this point in the week, and just below where they've been stuck for a while.  Whether they'll still be there come Friday will be interesting, but I actually feel pretty good.

More to the point, I don't feel in the slightest bit deprived of anything, because I'm not.  I had crumble for lunch on Friday - no savoury, just crumble with some custard.  I'm not judging myself.  In fact, thinking about it, this week sounds ridiculous to have generated a loss - I've crumble, fish and chips, pizza, ice-cream and a pulled pork bap with chips.  I've also gnocchi, boiled eggs, fresh fruit, risotto and stew so I guess I'm hitting a balance in there somewhere.  And I don't eat until I'm so stuffed I can't move, I stop when I'm done, and if that means leaving something on the plate then I'm getting to grips with that too.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Well, Hey February!

Time flies when you're having fun, eh?

It's been a jam-packed couple of weeks of social and well ... illness and accidents - yay.

Nothing too serious, I have to say, but I continued my three month streak of one accident a month in January by falling over literally just after I wrote the last post.  I dragged my sorry ass out for a run in the wet, cold and dark and due to wearing glasses for my ulcerated cornea, I steamed up and tripped over a drain cover.  I kid you not.  You literally couldn't make that shit up could you?

So yeah - there was me, running along feeling quite comfortable and smug to be running on a cold, wet Sunday evening .... BAM.  Face first into the floor with literally no warning.  I caught my toe on a pokey-uppy bit of a drain cover and went down at about 100mph.  So fast that I barely had time to get my hands out and actually bruised my stomach hitting the deck - can't say I've done that before.  Given the state of my hands just bouncing off the floor, it's a good job I didn't get them out properly to break my fall.  I limped home dripping some blood and attempting to control my wobbly lip.

And then I gave up running until I a) didn't have such a disastrously bruised and grazed knee, and b) could put my lenses back in so I could avoid a repeat.  I still feel oddly paranoid about tripping again for some reason but have managed a 5k run since with no problem.  Of course, I then dutifully got one of the colds doing the rounds so spent a week feeling breathless and trying not to cough or sneeze so hard my ribs cracked, so that put another halt on the running.

But I did enter a triathlon in May for shits and giggles.

Oh god - why did that seem like a good idea at the time????  It's a bit different to the usual format because it's a 3km stand up paddle board, 15km mountain bike ride and 5km trail run.  Gulp.  I've sort of already resigned myself to finishing last and just taking my time doing it.

Weight-wise I'm still reading, journalling and trying to figure out how to unravel years worth of pants eating behaviours.  I've been tracking less and less, and I've noticed that there are definitely some behaviours that I've addressed - situations where I would have previously eaten (boredom, loneliness, frustration, feeling cold or tired), where I'm now much better at identifying them and doing something else instead to remedy them.  Throughout this my weight has stayed very stable - exactly where I was 3 weeks ago - but with far fewer fluctuations than I would normally expect to see for the amount of socialising I've been doing.  I've spent two weekends away - one weekend with the girls in Leeds, which would ordinarily be heavy-drinking and indulgent, and last weekend at the Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall - 2 nights of fine dining and drinking, but I've barely seen any bloat after either weekend, which is great, and I've felt more relaxed.

Now I need to figure out how to shift my excess weight a little bit at a time whilst maintaining that same relaxed approach.  At the moment, I'm just starting to experiment with trusting myself to eat exactly what I want with no judgment of good or bad foods, but within the parameters of only eating when I'm hungry and stopping when I'm full.  A bit of a terrifying proposition because I naturally (well, I thought it was natural, but all my recent reading is turning things on their head, so maybe it's not so natural) have a very sweet tooth.  I'm also very used to eating at mealtimes, and it feels very odd to just wait until I'm hungry to eat.

I'll let you know how that works out!

So that's me - still around, still working on showing myself some love (I've actually bought myself some chocolates and flowers for Valentines Day because I deserve them) and heading off skiing again a week tomorrow.