Category Archives: It’s My Life

Hitting diet bottom

I hit diet rock bottom a while ago. It came on gradually. Each new attempt to diet started with one last supper, which got bigger each time. The cycle of diet and binge escalated to a point I was not happy with at all. I found myself slipping into a new depressive low and hated every minute of it. I found  excuse after excuse – busy at work, not feeling well, not training for anything – basically anything where I could blame my own willpower.

However I have since realised it was not my willpower that wasn’t working, but rather the diets themselves. Each diet was harming my body, biology and self-worth. So I needed to find something different and though a number of blogs found Intuitive Eating.

This book has been an eye opener so far and I’m not all the way through. I have found something that resonates with me on a deep level. Everything the diet industry is telling us is designed to impact our self-worth and self-esteem. We keep being told that failing a diet is our fault, not the diets. Even my doctor has told me this. I no longer believe it. I believe that the diets I have tried have all been about deprivation and that does not suit me. Now I am not suggesting I am going about to eat everything and gain as much weight as possible, but rather I need a lifestyle diet where my relationship with food is not based on what is considered good or bad. I don’t want this any more and I refuse to adhere to the societal norm that is:

“Good behaviour, in our society, means starting a new diet, or having good intentions to diet”

This has led to a no-win situation in my life where I no longer feel in control or trust myself around food and this is no way to live:

“Every diet violation, every eating situation that feels out of control lays the foundation for the diet mentality”

So I am breaking up with diets…

I am going on a journey with this book and I’m not going to say it’s easy. It’s bloody hard to change from an ingrained sense of self and rules that come from family and society. But I am going to keep working on this. I am taking the shift off losing weight and focusing on how my body and mind connect. Already I feel less stressed about food and am becoming more self-aware that I ever thought would be possible.

First up I’ve been Ditching the Diet Mentality“dieting has been a way to cope with life” – I’ve been doing this through widening my reading to be aware of the damage diets cause to the body and mind. This has been fascinating and scary, but worthwhile. I’ve also been starting the journey of self-awareness by tuning into my thinking habits and behaviours traits that support the diet mentality. This has been interesting to observe, but not easy to change as these have been ingrained into my way of life over years they have become automatic. I’ve also gotten rid of all the diet tools in my home. I’ve cleared out my twitter, instagram and blog feeds of weight loss inspiration and instead focused on positive people who share things that really matter or that are fun and inspire me to enjoy life.

Secondly I’ve been trying to Honour My Hunger. This has simply been about listening to my body, thoughts and feelings when I’m around food. I’ve been trying to eat when I feel hungry, rather than give into the to the rules I’ve made around timing of meals or snacks. I am asking myself two simple questions – “am I hungry? and what do I fancy to eat?” – these have been easy (ish) to implement and are really about checking in myself and noticing the times when I want to eat when I am not hungry, but I am still working on why that is. One step at a time.

The third aspect I’ve been introducing is all about Making Peace with Food “the forbidden object is elevated to an overvalued level of specialness” – This is an area that is very important for me as I have so many rules around specific food and so much guilt and shame associated with meals and people who make food very negative. The main aspect of this is to give yourself permission to eat and that is exactly what I am trying to do. I’ve bought chocolate and snacks that I used to think of as bad and keep as much as possible in the fridge so that I do not run out. I’ve challenged food I think of as bad and added them into my meals to see if I really like them. I’ve found I don’t need as much of things as I know I can have more of them if I want. This is something that I never thought would happen. I still over eat on chocolate, but it’s definitely emotional eating.

“When you know the food will be there and allowed, day after day, it doesn’t become so important to have. Food loses its power.”

“This is not about knowledge of food, but rather rebuilding experiences with eating”

I feel these three principles are really important building blocks to create the relationship with food that I want. It takes time and I am going to allow myself all the time I need to work through these aspects of the book. Building trust takes times and care. I am not only rebuilding my relationship with food but also my relationship with myself.

I’ve just moving onto the fourth area which is all about Challenging the Food Police. This is all about continuing to build self-awareness. It suggest an intuitive eating journal. I struggle with this concept as it feels too close to tracking that diets ask for. However this is very similar to what I am trying to do with therapy so I am going to focus on emotions and noticing them and combine this with my therapy work using an emotion wheel and emotion wave that I plan to use to help understand and articulate what I feel.

Taking the pressure off needing to lose weight has been hard, but pivotal to this approach. So ingrained are these habits that I always automatically jump to needing to lose weight so go on a diet every day for some random reason – clothes, food, fitness, chairs, lifts, – pretty much anything can make me jump to this. However I am stopped reacting and just begun noticing. I haven’t quite gotten to the no judgement part, but I am working on it. This feels the right approach for me and combined with therapy it is the journey I need to go on. There are still a few more principles in the book I need to work through and I will keep re-reading the ones I am working on above as I need them to become normal for me in my new world.

It feels good right now!

Happiness Planner

Before I decided to go back to therapy I bought the Happiness Planner after seeing it on Twitter and my friend Sheli getting one and posting her initial thoughts. Once someone I knew had given a review I was totally on board so I ordered the lavender 100 day version with the inspirational pencils.

I want to add more gratitude to my life and this seemed like a way to focus my effort to build some good habits around this over an 100 day period. They also do a yearly version, but I wasn’t ready to commit to that. The planner starts with some reflection questions to take a look at what makes you tick. There are lots of quotes and prompts in the planner to make you think.

So far I am love the planner and the pencils. Each time I go to write in it I pick a pencil that resonates or where I think I need a reminder for the day. This is also making me work on my hand writing as I have always wanted to have neater handwriting so I am slowing down when I fill it in and that makes a difference for me. I’m only a little bit in so I will update across the 100 days to let you know how I am getting on.

Taking a look back to move forward

It’s been an interesting few months in my world. I’ve got back on the blogging train and have been posting consistently for the last couple of months, which has felt great. Although I don’t think I’ve been blogging about my journey and adventures in life really. I’ve been showing the happy, fun-filled side, but not the harder, darker side that is there behind the scenes. Dark is probably the wrong word, but that is often how depression is described. Maybe grey would be better, as then can turn to silver (a favourite of mine) and so also shows that you can come out the other side. But as with grey clouds you can slip behind them every so often. That is nothing to be ashamed of I’ve come to learn. We all have off days, but the key for anyone with depression is to not let them become a low period. I’m happy with how I’ve been doing mentally these last few months as I could have let myself slip a long way into the grey, but I didn’t. However I have gone back to some habits and coping mechanisms that are not beneficial to me. It’s because they are easy and known that bring comfort at those lower periods. I want to work on this and so I’m heading back to therapy.

I need some help and this feels the right time to focus on myself. Later this year I have a trip of a lifetime and several friends are getting married and I want to celebrate with them to the full. So I am dipping into my savings to treat to myself well. This blog is one of my outlets and I will continue to share my experiences through this time in my life as I have through the past 5 years with my journey through depression. It’s one part of my life and impacts on other aspects so I am not going to ignore it or shy away from the subject. If I can help in any way to combat the stigma about mental health illnesses and show that it’s important to get the help you need without guilt or shame I will be happy.

My focus this time is around my weight and behaviours when it comes to food. I want to work with my new therapist to discover what caused this and work to find other coping mechanisms that will be much more helpful. It is not focused on losing weight, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am hoping it’s a side effect of working through the issues. My weight is a symptom of the issues, so I need to treat the real cause as I’ve done the symptom approach before and pretty much gained all the weight back as of last week. So it’s time to take a different approach.

I’m also doing my own work at looking at body image and body posivitity and am currently listening to a range of new podcasts that I’ll share another time. I have also extended my reading list to include a vast amount of books by women I admire and have shared their stories. I’ll be working my way through using audiobooks and reading. I feel hopeful right now. I think this is about my approach and my way of thinking and relieved about moving away from dieting and focusing on my own wellness and what really makes me feel good. It’s a journey and learning curve and I won’t get it ‘right’ straight away, but I’m going to find what works for me and part of that will be being able to adapt to life’s changes as they come along. That feels exciting!

A case of impostor syndrome

impostor syndrome

Source

These last couple of months I have been having a serious case of impostor syndrome. It refers to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud” (source).  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling, although I don’t necessarily put myself in the same boat as the people I consider to be ‘high-achieving’, but rather as someone who is driven to do the best I can in any situation.

Since moving jobs within my organisation it’s been a great step up in work and responsibility. At the same time I keep having this sense that I could be doing more or better and that some day someone is going to call me out on this. I have no evidence for this though. I’ve been getting great feedback on all the work I’m doing from those people I now work with and my old team who see me around.

It is a weird sensation to feel this way. I keep looking for evidence to prove it correct, rather than believe the evidence that says it is false. This is something I know stems from depression ways of thinking. I talked about this when I was doing CBT therapy. I even did an experiment to look at this way of thinking. It all comes back to the simple thought of ‘Im not good enough’ . It’s made me realise I need to take time to tackle this and not ignore it because I’m busy. These are very destructive thoughts and unhelpful to life I want to live.

I’ve been reading up on the subject and taking inspiration from famous women who have spoken out on the topic, such as Emma Watson. It’s important to speak out on the subject as others can take heart they are not alone. This has led me to look more at the topics of feminism and body positivity. It’s opening a whole new world to me and inspiring me to think differently about myself and how I let other people treat me and make me feel. It’s quite freeing. I’m going to continue to look at these topics and find inspiration in new areas, rather than focus on diet and fitness.

Becoming a Mindful Chef part 2

Following on from a couple of weeks ago when I went through the vegan box form Mindful Chef, I decided to switch to the classic box, which comes with meat and fish options. I’ve stuck to three meals a week as this feels reasonable and means I can have some super fast and simple meals as well (scrambled eggs I love you).

First up was the above steak dish that I would definitely make again. The topping on the steak was tasty and worked well with the sweet potato and pepper/tomato combo. I need to learn how long it takes to cook steak though as I thought I had kept to the time, but it was under done for me so I have to put it back in the pan for longer. I think I should just butterfly meat if I’m supposed to keep it in one piece.

The next one was this chicken dish. I enjoyed this, but wish it had had more of kick. I would add more harissa I think in the future. Also the squash could have been more done for my tastes, but that is me working on the timing. All the meals take around 30 minutes, but my oven seems to take ages to warm up so I need to allow for that when roasting vegetables.

The pork dish was a surprise hit for me. I was not sure what to expect, but it was super tasty. The rice was also really good. I stopped cooking rice at home as I found it boring, so it’s been great to add it back into my diet in interesting ways. The egg just added to the dish in a really simple way. It was a light, but filling meal.

The fourth week of getting the box I think I was a bit braver and tried some different things.

I went for this chicken dish, even though I am really not a fan of coconut. This used creamed coconut and I didn’t really notice it. It was there, but didn’t overpower the dish, which was great. I think I ended up with this dish being a bit dry (sauce wise), but it worked for me as I am not a huge sauce fan, I just think the spinach probably would have wilted more if I hadn’t been afraid it was going to burn. The wild rice was new to me and was an interesting texture. I liked this dish, but wouldn’t make again unless it comes in the box.

This was another surprise hit. I went for the vegan option this week as didn’t fancy the pork or beef options. This was really tasty and I am definitely a fan of black beans. This was surprisingly spicy, but the millet cooled the dish down. Also it had avocado in and i am always a fan!

The last dish of the week nearly didn’t happen as the bag of ingredients was missing from the box when it arrived. The salmon and coconut milk were there, but not the bag of smaller ingredients. I phoned up the team and they were fab. Although they couldn’t send me a new bag as everything is made up fresh to order, they credited my account for a meal the following week. They also reminded me that they had included the recipe card so I popped out and got the ingredients to make up the dish. I’m glad I did as it was interesting. I wonder if it would have been better with the organic, fresh ingredients that are normally there rather than the supermarket ones I had to get done.

I also won a competition on Instagram in my third week, which meant I won a free box and got some fancy new containers to help with leftovers. I never win raffles, but occasionally I win online competitions, so worth entering when you have time.

I am really impressed with Mindful Chef. They have provided great meals for a very lazy cook. Also when things did go wrong they provided fantastic customer service. I was able to talk to someone on the phone straight away and then follow up with email. I have huge respect for the team and will continue to use this service and recommend it to others for a long time I think.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...