Friday, July 16, 2010

Back out there again!

Well, blogosphere, I'm writing at the end of my first full week of non-home work. It's been a very interesting time. First up, I'm really happy with my new job so far. I have a lovely crew of workmates, all but one of whom are young enough to be my kids (which is ever so slightly depressing - lol), the work is a lot more interesting than captioning kids' programs, and the routine and extra exercise is doing wonders for my weight loss regime so far. In my last post, I spoke about facing up to the scales after a few weeks in the healthy eating wilderness, and I fully expected a fairly negative result. Well, I'm actually the same weight, and that might not sound like such a fantastic thing, but I know what I've eaten at times during these weeks and believe me, I dodged a bullet. Well, either that, or a part of me was still looking out for my best interests and having me make at least some good choices. And if it's the latter, that's great, because that, to me, is a sign of more functional long-term eating habits forming.

The main reason I'm writing this, though, is to mention an important ephiphany I've had this week since being back "out there" again. You know, working from home, it's easy to exist in some kind of unreal vacuum. It's really hard to explain, but essentially, you feel kind of disconnected from life and from people, and so it's much easier to do things your own way, or to keep doing things even though you know they don't help you. This week, having to commute to work, of all things, has reminded me just how much I want to lose more weight. Do you know, just about every day this week, even when I could have sat down on a train seat, I have CHOSEN to stand because I don't want my size to squash some poor person who sits next to me. I have been tired and I've had sore feet because I'm not used to the extra walking in non-comfy shoes yet, and there have been times I could really have used a seat, but still I chose to stand. It would be SO much easier not to have to worry about that, to take up a normal amount of space! I hate being different in that regard. And yet, being at home, it was hardly ever brought to my attention, so I could forget about it, if that makes sense. Secondly, I have found this week very tiring. My knees feel extra creaky and sore and stiff, too. I know that I'd have found it a lot easier if I didn't have to carry all this lard around with me. Definitely some of my favourite no-calorie food for thought there. But on a more positive note, I am SO glad I've gotten as far as I have. If I still weighed my heaviest weight i.e. 160kg, I would basically have had to catch a taxi to work or something. At least now I'm doing OK, and I know it will only get better. Time to keep my eyes on the prize and look at the bigger picture and - insert your favourite cliche!

Anyway, that's all for now. Peace out. xox

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Distractions aplenty

Hello out there! Just realised it's nearly been a month since I blogged last, so clearly the "love and other yucky stuff" (refer previous entry!) HAS been more of a distraction than I perhaps realised. So, as if the whole boy thing wasn't enough (it is still happening, it's still very nice and it still has no label, and won't have for the foreseeable future), I've spent over two weeks living at a house that isn't my own due to circumstances entirely out of my control, I've just finished up today with the job I've had for over five long years, and Monday is the first day of my new one. Am I worried? Yeah, a bit, cos it will be a huge shock to my system, and yet I know with every fibre of my being just how much I need this!

I won't go into the gory details, but let's just say my stress levels in the last fortnight owing to being away frm home, etc, have been close to unmanageable by my standards, so some eating of "sometimes" and less healthy foods has gone on. But tomorrow is a new start and the best way to get an idea of where my new restart point is? Well, to face the scales, of course. So I'm gonna do that tomorrow. And whatever they say, I don't care. I just want to know what's happened so I can do something about it. I don't think it'll be as bad as I may imagine, but right now I just want to know. And knowing is power and knowing is a step towards being on track again. And I DO so want to be in my good headspace again. But now I know how much more work I need to put into managing my stress levels better, cos when they get out of hand, those unhelpful eating behaviours are never too far away from the surface cos they are so ingrained. But neural pathways are like plasticine till the day we die and they CAN be remoulded. And I am going to remould mine!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Love and other yucky stuff

Hello, blogosphere! Me again with more observations on life, the universe and other stuff. Today, just for a change, I thought I'd blog about dating/boys instead of food issues, because I think it's important to see how all sorts of changes in your life, even good ones, can have a way of throwing you off track if you are not careful.

I've been single for two years now and I've found it to be a challenging, but yet also very rewarding period of time. My relationship worked for me for quite a while on some levels, but it didn't work in certain crucial ones, and one main one where it failed was I never really learnt how to keep my identity while being part of a couple. Now, I recognise that it might not be such an important thing to everyone, but I'm Miss Independent, of course, so to me it is crucial. I honestly felt that in my relationship with T, somewhere along the line I lost Debbie. I never want that to happen again because I finally now feel I've got "me" back. Any relationship I have from now on, I want it to be one that enhances what I have already, not something I feel I "need" to "complete me", as those icky romantic cliches go.

So, that's the theory. Now, the reality is that... major drum roll... I think I might have met someone who I actually am interested in having some kind of a meaningful thing with. Oh, my God, I can't even believe it myself. It's really thrown me a bit because it's so unexpected. Don't get me wrong - I'm kind of interested and excited and walking round grinning like an idiot at times, but the flipside of it is I've been going along really well with my health and fitness plans, being disciplined and focussed, etc. You know this love/lust/whatever stuff? Man, it messes with that! Far from being focussed these last few days, I've been off with the fairies! I haven't eaten "sometimes" foods or wanted to binge or anything, but I'm sort of forgetting to eat and feeling like odd foods, not to mention my sleeping patterns are a bit out of whack too. I'm not at all sure what the impact on my weight will be, but I guess time will tell.

The other slight downside is that because I did go through a very painful breakup, even the thought of maybe "going there" again does seem to push a lot of my anxious overthinking buttons. You know, "what if this happens", "how will I handle x/y/z", blah blah blah. I really recognise I need to see that it's early days and if anything is EVER going to develop, it needs to be given time to feel OK and right and I need to be OK with that. I do recognise that it also could fizzle out and go nowhere, too, and that's OK if it does. I'd be sorry, but because I've managed to built my life back into a better place, I don't "need" this to feel happy with me. And that's a good place!

But just quietly, can you cross your fingers for me? ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

The truth about junk/crap/rubbish/trash/insert expletive

What comes to your mind when you see this picture? Looks good, doesn't it? Looks like it would be really yummy to eat, don't you reckon? Hell, I do! As I'm still a large (if reducing) person, I think there'd be those who would tell me not to think for a minute there's anything nice about a Drumstick, that I should think of it as poison, junk, rubbish, garbage, crap, yada yada yada. In fact, in the past on my failed attempts to reform my eating patterns, I've tried to tell myself all that stuff! Did it work? Of course not! Let's be brutally honest here, folks. Drumsticks and, indeed, a lot of the food the world would have you believe is junk/rubbish/crap/trash/garbage are YUMMY! They are NICE! It is not a sin to think that or to say it because it's the truth. Hell, let's face it - would there be any fat people in the world today if such foods as this weren't actually pleasurable to eat? Of course not.

Of course, there is another side of the coin of my yummy Drumstick. Is it healthy? No, truthfully, it isn't. Nobody would suggest it was. Does it have too much saturated fat? Hell, yes. Is it nutritious? No, not especially (though I guess the milk in the ice-cream has some protein? ;) ). Is it the ideal way to use your daily food intake? Of course not.

The next thing we have to ask ourselves is, will the world ever be free of the less healthy foods? And the answer to that is no, it never will be. They ain't going anywhere. Why would people stop making something that spins such huge profits? So unless we are all planning on going and living on an island somewhere where there is only clean, unprocessed food to eat/catch, we need to find a way to live in harmony with food, ALL food.

And this is where my Drumstick comes into it. I ate a Drumstick tonight. Yes, I'm freely admitting this. :) It had 275 calories (I could have a full meal on those calories!) and waaaaay too much saturated fat. Do I feel bad about eating it? Not at all! I enjoyed it! And you know why? Because for possibly the first time in my life, I made a choice to eat a sometimes food, decided what I REALLY wanted, went and got it and ate it slooooooowly, savouring every mouthful. And it was delicious. The idea of this exercise stems from Dr Kausman's book, of course. I've felt for a long time that my binge-eating was extremely unsatisfying on many levels, but the most basic problem with it is that I didn't even enjoy the food. I went out of my way to seek out food I thought I wanted, shovelled waaaay too much of it down my gullet, felt ill for ages afterwards and ended up feeling even worse. I doubt I actually tasted any of it. I'm not proud to say this, but I will admit it - I've been known to polish off half a litre of ice-cream in one sitting. *blush* I doubt I would have enjoyed more than two mouthfuls of that lot because I was eating it...I don't know, almost to punish myself for being so worthless and weak? (and that may not make sense to people who don't binge, but that's really why I have done my worst bingeing). Dr Kausman claims that if you eat mindfully and consciously, you can get a hundred times more enjoyment out of a single Lindt ball than if you'd eaten a whole box of them. And I thought that sounded too good to be true, but guess what? I think my Drumstick experiment has proved it IS true! I've had my "sometimes" food and I enjoyed it, but it was quite a small amount. I don't feel sick. I don't feel guilty. And I don't need to have another for months now - I can just read my blog to remember how it tasted....hehe!

So that's today's new eating awareness revelation. I'm still excited - this book rocks! :) :) :) Ciao all!!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nutrition vs Intuition

Hi again, blogosphere! :) It's me with more ponderings on the writings of Dr Kausman. I've just read a chapter called Nutrition vs Intuition. Basically, what the chapter says is that to achieve a comfortable, healthy weight that is just right for us, we need to get both of these things working in harmony. Now, like most of what he writes, I totally agree with this because I've observed it lately with myself!

Now, at the moment I am eating very well and carefully. I know what's going into my body and I am trying to be mindful of getting the required nutrients, etc, without being ridiculously obsessed by it. This has given me a really good opportunity to really observe and experience the way hunger levels naturally ebb, flow and fluctuate in my body after quite a long period of eating for reasons that mostly had nothing at all to do with actual physical hunger.

I eat roughly the same amount of calories every day, so it's been fascinating for me to realise that there are days when I'm so hungry that I feel I could eat twice as much as I am and that wouldn't even be enough, and days when I'm not hungry at all and only eat stuff like regular scheduled snacks because they're on my "program" to be eaten. And this is where the "nutrition vs intuition" thing comes into play. This is why Dr Kausman believes any structured, strict "food plan" can never work long-term because it basically cuts intuition right out of the equation. It is normal, natural to want to eat more some days and less on other days - I can see that now.

I can see how that is how people with healthier eating habits naturally than I currently have maintain their weight. They eat more some days, less some days, but it's based on how they're feeling. They trust what their bodies are telling them. Me, on the other hand, it's a different story. Me and my body, it's like we're two people who have been feuding for years and have only just come to an agreement to stop fighting and learn to get along with each other. The intentions are there, but there is still quite a lot of mistrust. I don't know what my body "thinks", obviously, but I'm sure if it could talk, it would say, "I don't trust Debbie one inch! Sure, she's eating the right food now, but she's made me suffer for YEARS with indigestion, bloating, gallstone attacks and other horrible things! How do I know she's not gonna start that crap again?!" And me, well, I CAN talk, and I don't trust my body either. Even now, when it tells me it is hungry, I never believe it. My first instinct is always, "I bet I'm not REALLY hungry. I'm probably thirsty. Yeah, that's it - I'll drink water." But then I wake up most mornings and I am just ravenous. Could it be that for once my body and what I'm feeding it are working in harmony and I'm waking up hungry body actually NEEDS food? Wow, what a head-spinning concept!

This is an absolutely fascinating time in my life because I feel like for the first time, I'm truly learning a new way to do things I've never tried before and I am so positive it's the right path for me. I'm excited! Finally, after all these years, I can see a peaceful, harmonious relationship with food in my future! Sure, it's on a very distant horizon and occasionally I think it's a mirage, but it's THERE, baby.

Till next time...ciao!!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Food is morally neutral"

This is in quotes because it's directly taken from If Not Dieting, Then What, but I think it's such an important statement to make, so I thought I'd expand it into a blog.

I don't think a lot of us realise the power of the words we use. I know I don't, but I think I'm starting to. In the course of my re-reading Dr Kausman's book, I've been trying to absorb the book's most important messages, and I feel this is one of THE most important ones for all of us to take on board, especially women.

Have you ever been at a barbecue and observed what happens when men and women are around food? This might be a gross generalisation, but humour me for a sec! I'm particularly talking about when the desserts are brought out here. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it usually goes down something like this. The men, it's quite a simple process with them. Whether they're a normal weight or overweight or whatever, they will either eat some, or they won't. I don't know that I've ever seen them discuss the matter in any detail whatsoever. The women - oh, boy, that's another story. We seem to go into an orgy, almost, of self-punishment, excuse-making, guilt-tripping, the whole nine yards. And the words bandied about the most will be "good" and "bad". For example, "I'm going to have some cheesecake. I'm being so BAD!" Or, "No, I won't have any. I'm on a diet and I'm trying to be GOOD!" Then, the ones who are being "good" will probably be praised by others for their "willpower", while the ones who are being "bad" will most likely, underneath it all, be feeling quite guilty that they have succumbed and are so "weak".

So this is where the "food is morally neutral" bit comes in. As far as Dr Kausman is concerned, and I agree with him, food is meant to be enjoyed within reason and in moderation. There is nothing inherently MORALLY bad about chocolate, cake, chips, whatever. Of course there are foods which nourish our bodies better. Of course there are foods which are much less calorie-dense and therefore more satisfying in the longer term. But if we make a sensible, reasoned, rational choice to have a small piece of cake at a party, for instance, we need to let go of this idea that we are being BAD. We're not. We're enjoying a "sometimes food". How on earth can anyone feel good about themselves if their whole life is a constant I'm being good/I'm being bad struggle over something as natural as eating?

Now, let's go back to our barbecue, to the so-called virtuous types who have held firm and refused all desserts because they are being "good". How are they feeling? I think some really do feel strong, maybe a little holier-than-thou or superior because of their display of willpower and control. But I think far more likely, some of them would love to have tried a little piece of dessert. I know - I've BEEN one of these people! They have such an all or nothing mentality that their eating tends to be either 100% healthy or near enough to 100% unhealthy. And sometimes the reason they are being so "good" is to achieve a short-term weight loss goal such as being a size 10 for their wedding, or looking good at a school reunion. The unfortunate part of those types of goals is that they have nothing to do with long-term sustainability or health. I've seen it happen so many times. The reunion/wedding is over and the person promptly piles on the kilos because finally they don't have to be "good". I submit to you that if during their journey they'd occasionally decided to have a tiny bit of cake now and then, it would have made little difference to their ultimate goal weight but, more importantly, it wouldn't have led to the post-diet binge/gain cycle.

I'm not sure if I'm explained this well, but the bottom line is I feel so strongly we need to lose this punitive attitude to eating and food. I know with me, it's so strongly tied in with my emotional eating issues and I'm tired of it. I want it to stop. And I know I'm not the only one.

So I have a challenge for anyone who reads this - think about whether you want food to be a horrible, scary enemy always out to get you by tempting you with its "badness", or whether you want it to be something that both nourishes your body AND the inner child who still might occasionally want to have their cake and eat it too.

Peace out. xoxo :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Still "in the game"

When I went out for my attempted 10,000 step walk yesterday (FYI, made it to about 6,500 in OVER AN HOUR and realised that to get that many steps a day in my job is going to require some lateral thinking!), I chose a route along the foreshore at Scarborough. It was chilly, overcast, quite bleak, and I wasn't really "feeling it" much for the first 25 minutes or so. It was the sort of day when I would have thought if you had a choice, you'd stay in bed! But what did I see while I was out?

That's right - quite a lot of elderly folks. Some rode bikes, some walked slowly, but steadily. I even saw one walking with a walking stick, and another who was wheeling a walker along. But the point I'm making is...they were still out there, and on a day when they probably had every right not to be. And seeing the ones with the walking sticks/walkers made me feel pretty silly for thinking I was hard done by because Dickie Knee and my new orthotics are combining to make me walk quite a bit slower than I'm used to because now my leg is "tracking" properly, it's taking time to get used to. So after I'd passed them, I walked with an extra spring in my step and enjoyed it much more.

What did I learn? One, that sometimes all it takes is an attitude adjustment. And two, walking is a very underrated exercise, yet it is the most natural, normal thing that we were literally born and made to do. I certainly plan to do a lot more of it, now that jogging isn't really inadvisable for a bit.