Tag Archives: Lifestyle

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!

Restlessness

I’m restless right now.

I love a lot of my life right now, but at the same time I know I want more. I love my house with my cats and the freedom I have in my new job and the future travels I have planned. But, I’m having a severe case of small-town syndrome, which started late last year and hasn’t disappeared.

Part of me wonders if it’s another symptom of everything not being quite right with how I am thinking about things. I wonder if it stems from wanting to jump into something new to distract from the things causing me discomfort right now. I need a bit more time to work through things in therapy before I make any life changing decisions, but at the same time I can try to calm my restlessness by looking at options.

I’m currently on a contract with work so there may be an opportunity next year to move form my small town to a city. I want to live in a city just once. It might not end up being right for me, but I want to try it out. I also want to try out living by the coast and up in the mountains at some point in my life. I’ve come to realise I don’t want to stay living where I am forever and I’m okay with that. I like a base, but after a few years I need to move onto something new and that is exciting.

It is about being brave and stepping out into the unknown every so often. I need to take myself out of my comfort zone to make sure I am living my life to the full and not becoming complacent. 

My heart has not yet found it’s permanent place and it may never find it. I’m not a nomad, but I want to move around and experience different things. I thought I would be living abroad this time 10 years ago, but I didn’t go after it. My dreams have changed and that is okay, but I won’t ignore them any more or let the everyday distract me from what I really want to live my life for.

I am curious about what life can hold. I’ve made decisions about my life already that mean I need to find my fulfillment away from the norm. I don’t want to conform with a traditional way of life. This might be my way of rebelling against the life part of me thinks I should want. I really want adventure and exploration! My versions of these are probably very different from other people’s and again that is okay with me. In the end as long as I am living the life I want to live what else is there to be concerned with?

VITL

This month I have found a few things where I was able to sign up for things for delivery only and the first up is a monthly vitamin box from VITL. Bluebird Tea sent an email to their customers advertising a box for £2.95 delivery and I jumped at the chance. Usual cost is £35.95 for 28 day supply.

Vitamins and supplements have always gone over my head. I have taken zinc for years as it helped with a foot problem I had through my teenage years. Other than that I have tried fish oils, multivitamins and other supplements without knowing why I was doing it if I’m totally honest. Most of the time I heard it on a podcast or read it in a fitness book and thought I would give it a go.

This box is supposed to contain everything we need to help keep you healthy on top of a good diet and exercise routine. It contains four tablets for each day to:

  • Fortify – multivitamin
  • Focus – Krill oil
  • Protect – COQ10
  • Replenish – supergreens

There is enough for 28 days in each box. The packaging is great and discrete. It is also convenient as you pull of the strip for the day you need and it keeps all the other fresh and organised.

I am a sucker for knowing if things are more or less expensive than doing it yourself so I looked into buying all separately at several well know shops I tend to shop in. ,Overall I found they are more expensive and not as convenient.

  • Holland & Barrett £3.50 + £17 + £19 + £7 = £46.50
  • Boots £2 + £13 + £16 + £18 = £49
  • Predator Nutrition – £4 + £15 + £10 + £8 = £37

I found this really interesting. Even buying in bulk dividing out did not work out economically. Now I know I may not have chosen the same quality and so could be looking at completely different things, but I went for the cheapest I could find at each shop with the same dosage. It was an interesting desktop experiment.

I’ve taken almost a week’s worth now and haven’t noticed a difference yet, but I am hopeful I will see something as things replenish in my system. I leave the box in the kitchen to make sure I have them with my breakfast for ease. I haven’t decided if I am going to continue beyond the trial box yet as will have to think about the finances and what differences I see, but so far I love it and the idea of it!

 

Predator Nutrition Follow Up

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After an unintended blog break for the last couple of weeks I’ve finally gotten round to putting my thoughts together on the greatly received pack from Predator Nutrition.

Just to note I received these products for free, but my opinions are and will always be my own and honest.

First up were the Pre-Workout Gold Standard drinks in Fruit Punch flavour. I have to admit I didn’t really like this one. I found it very sweet and often grainy as it required a lot of shaking to get the powder to dissolve fully. However I did notice that it gave me an energy boost! I wasn’t great with drinking it consistently and ended up only using it when I was tired and not wanting to go out to Body Combat or swimming, so I still have a few packets left to use. I have noticed there is also a watermelon flavour and I wonder if that is nicer than the fruit punch. Each packet contains two servings, which was a little annoying as I ended up weighing out each time, rather than it be a convenient thing to grab and go. At £2.99 for a packet I don’t think it’s a bad price and probably cheaper than other energy drinks around. I have overall mixed feelings about this one – I didn’t like the flavour, but did not the energy uplift – so I am still debating whether to get some more.

Secondly were a mixed bunch of Quest Bars, which I absolutely loved. They were tasty and convenient to grab and eat after a workout, which held me over until I could get home and cook a proper dinner. I didn’t notice any difference in how my body felt from the increased protein, but overall I felt better as I was eating better, rather than going for whatever is quickest. AT £2.79 each to 12 bars for £24.99 they feel expensive. I was consistent with these and ate one after every workout until they had gone. For me this this seems an expensive luxury right now when I am trying to stick to a tight budget so I can go on some big trips. I wonder what I could use instead as something protein based and easy to reach – something for me to think about!

I would like to thank the team over at Predator Nutrition for being kind enough to send this pack over to me for review. It definitely helped get me back into routine, although it has wavered in the last week with my big Solent Swim coming up on the 19th September! I have a few things to think about for getting back into routine after that and keeping it going through the winter. These products showed me that sometimes it can be very useful to add things to your diet to get specific benefits.

Balance and Accountability

Life is all about balance I believe.

I seem to have lost my balance in the last few years. Okay, so maybe not my whole balance, but rather an overall balance in life. I’ve had to focus on my mental health significantly and that has thrown other aspects off kilter, but in a way that is because before that I didn’t focus on it at all!

At the same time it is important to not try and do absolutely everything!

I suppose it is really about priorities and finding the right balance at the right time for all your own priorities.

I think this is why I have found changing my lifestyle for the better hard, as I have not prioritised to balance. Instead I have prioritised to the extreme with an all-or-nothing approach. This is not a sustainable way to live and I flip from one side to the other repeatedly.  I don’t feel very accountable at the moment, not even to myself. I know I have spoken about this before and stayed away from the subject as felt I was failing, by not making progress, when that is not true. Every day we make progress in our lives. It is not about the destination, but rather the journey we need to be enjoying.  My cats are a huge part of my life now and that has changed how much I want to be away from the house during the day and they play a big role in keeping me mentally healthy.

What then, are my current priorities?

  • Healthy eating
  • Being active
  • Career progression
  • Balancing my time being social and being alone

Other things I need to keep an eye on:

  • My mental health
  • My swimming goals
  • My finances
  • My blog and social media

So I am taking inspiration from Ashley over at Healthy Happier Bear and am going to post my weekly swEATS! This will include everything I’ve done that is active and everything I have eaten. I really want to be aware of my snacking as I think this is my downfall. I also want to be able to take a good look back at what I have eaten so I can see what does and doesn’t work and what adaptations I could make to improve things. Activity wise I want to get back to doing something active everyday as I have lost this habit and it is so hard to get back.

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