Tag Archives: Nutrition

Challenging my rules

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I’ve been working through Intuitive Eating for the last 6 months or so and it is making a huge difference in how I think about myself and food. Therapy is also helping a great deal as I am actually talking about what I really think and not being distracted by other people’s opinions. I am finding I am beginning to listen to myself first. I am starting to ignore the media and supposedly well-intentioned people who just want to help. I am doing the research and listening to what my gut, heart and head are telling me. It’s hard work, but I feel so much freedom at the same time.

I have been working hard on noticing and trying to ditch the diet mentality. It still rears it’s ugly head with automatic thoughts, but I don’t let it control me. I’ve also been working on honouring my hunger, which again is a work in progress as I have used food as a coping mechanism for so long that it won’t change overnight, so each step is important. The next two principles about Making peace with Food and Challenging the Food Police is where I have been concentrating lately.

Through therapy I have begun to notice, understand and challenge the rules I live by that are not my own. They have been embedded within in throughout my life and no longer serve a purpose and actually cause me more harm then good. Many of my rules are from my parents and this isn’t about blaming them, it is about understanding that those were their rules, but they do not have to be mine. They grew up in a different time and are not going to change, but I don’t have to live by them anymore, I can find my own or throw them all out the window.

In my work I have found a couple of things that have really had an impact on my binge eating behaviour and my lack of trust in myself around food – the idea of waste and the rule of not having it in the house. Both of these enable binge eating behaviour and eat into my self-esteem by encouraging negative thinking about food and myself, both diet and behaviours. I have completely lost the ability to trust myself around food as I have lived by rules that have reinforced that I cannot be trusted around food. At the same time I have been living by rules that mean I cannot waste food and so I have been eating it all in order not to waste it or have it in the house. So confusing!

 

So I have been challenging these rules, but buying things in large amount and keeping them in the house. This has been my list so far:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Fresh bread
  • Full fat yogurt and milk
  • Biscuits
  • Alcohol

I have binged, but the majority of time I forget they are there until I fancy something. I have given myself permission to break those rules and prove to myself I can trust myself. I taken them off the banned list and therefore reduced their appeal. It’s been liberating!

Ignoring people is the harder part for me and in the past comments about food or weight have knocked my self-esteem out the park. But now I am trying to give less of shit about other people. I listen to myself and make my own choices, then bat other people’s opinions away. I’m keeping it simple and having a few prepared lines to respond to people with such as ‘and I’m really looking forward to eating it’ in a sweetly innocent tone or being a bit stronger and challenging them by asking ‘why does it matter to you what I eat?’. It’s an interesting process at the moment and does depend on how I feel about myself at the time. Sometimes though I am just choosing not to acknowledge the matter at all – such as my rant on twitter about the random old man in the supermarket who tried to encourage me to ignore the chocolate aisle – and for me that is re-enforcing within myself that I do not have to conform or agree with societal standard or stereotypes, and instead I can say fuck off!

It’s a long journey, but I feel in a really good place with it all. It will take time and I am so glad I have taken the focus off weight loss and just focusing on being the best me I can be and loving myself exactly as I am so much so that I threw the scales out! I’ve also been buying clothes that fit and throwing out the ones that don’t. I want to feel good and that is what I am going to do and anyone who doesn’t want me to feel good can go on their way and stay out of my life. Simple.

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!

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.

Becoming a Mindful Chef

One of the main things I want to do this year is cook more. This goes back to looking after myself in better ways as part of my desires for this year. I started by making time to cook things, rather than buy pre-made meals, but I am not a good cook. I need recipes to follow and it requires a good deal of organisation to have everything I need in the house. I tried to build up a good store cupboard stock, but didn’t want to buy things if I didn’t know whether I would like them or not. So I kept coming back to food boxes. I’ve done the veg box before, but as I need recipes this was not the way I wanted to go this time. I looked at the big names in this area, but after a cold call door stop visit from one company I never want to use them. Then I found Mindful Chef.

They are a new small business only set up last year and are based in Devon. They provide a weekly box of food for one or two people for up to four meals a week. You can choose a classic (meat and fish) or a vegan box to be delivered every Monday. The courier company they use are instructed to leave the box in a safe place (that you provide to the team) and it’s packed in a box and packaging that allows food to keep cool for up to 36 hours. I’ve been home for one delivery and the other two have been left in my safe place as specified for when I came home from work.

Each recipe is packaged up in paper bags, with heavier tins or vegetables in the box seperately. The spices, sauces, and herbs are all measured out as required for your selection. All I have to do is chop the food up and cook it as instructed.

You are given the recipe cards for the ones you selected and with the classic box a list of the upcoming recipes to choose from. I went with the vegan box for the first two weeks as I wanted to see what it was like and try out some non-meat variations of protein to see what I liked. I also thought I could add fish or chicken I already had in the freezer if I wanted to.

Inside each recipe bag, everything is divided up with heavier stuff at the bottom and lighter stuff at the top. It makes it really easy to be organised.

They are generous with the ingredients when it comes the vegetables even with the box for one person. Many of the recipes only require half a pepper or squash, but they give you a whole one. I’ve then used this as snacks or to supplement other meals by roasting up everything at the end of the week.

Here is everything I’ve cooked so far, some of which I’ve loved and some of which I haven’t, but overall I have really enjoyed trying this out and have now switched to the classic box as I need a bit more choice when it comes to things that include coconut milk.

The first recipe was this one and it was great. I went wrong by not cooking the butternut squash enough, which meant I also slightly over cooked the beans so they went a bit mushy, but this was overall a good one.

This was my favourite of my first box. I like tofu, but have never cooked it at home as didn’t know how. This recipe added lots of flavour and texture which made it very enjoyable. I would definitely cooke this one again on my own.

This was the one I didn’t like of the first week.I think it was the pepper as that was the main vegetable and I’m not a huge fan when that happens. This one just didn’t work for me, but it did introduce me to using quinoa and lentils together.

The second week’s box had my new favourite recipe ever! This was basically a burrito without the meat or bread and it was amazing! I plan to make this whenever I have visitors as it was super easy and super tasty.

This was the one that didn’t work for me from the second box. Something about the cabbage and sauce did not work for my tastebuds. I wanted to like this for the tofu, but for me it just was not my flavour.

This one surprised me in the end. I was expecting not to like it because it contains coconut milk, but I really enjoyed it. It helped the sauce reduced down a lot and properly because contains a lot of fresh garlic and ginger. It was super tasty and the quinoa balanced it out by being plain.

This week’s box contains meat and I’ll update you on that one once I’ve had a couple of weeks of the classic box. I’m looking forward to it and get excited when I get to chose the recipes each week too! This means I now only need to pop to the shop to pick up fruit and essentials. I’ve been saving a third of each recipe to take to work and that has been working really well.

And of course Merry and Pippin get a band new box every week! The bonus is it will smell slightly different each time depending on the recipes I’ve chosen.

Simply Cook

I told you this month I found a few things on offer to try out. This one is a box of spices for four different meals a month from Simply Cook. I managed to get the first box for £3 by using a code from Nic’s Nutrition. All future boxes will be £8.99 per month. I have purchased this of my own accord as I wanted a way to cook different meals and re-ignite my enjoyment of cooking and food.

In my first box I have recipes for:

  • Beef Redndang
  • Chinese Spiced Duck Salad
  • Bibimbap
  • Ca Kho To

I’m going to make one a week and make enough for 4 meals. This will give me four night where I don’t have to cook, but I also won’t have to repeat the same recipe again ever if I don’t want to. I’m hoping this will also help me be more economical as I will only by food for what I need, rather than try and guess what I want and end up wasting stuff. I hate it when I find forgotten things in the fridge and end up having throw out the lot. I’ll keep you updated on how I get on.

If you would like to try Simply Cook you can use my 50% off link here:  https://www.simplycook.com/?KW_REF=319650 please note this does give me a free box for each person who signs up – just want to be open and honest with you all!

 

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