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.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The mentality of "deprivation"

Hello out there from your ever-neglectful blogger! :) I have been having a busy time and I've had lots of stuff on my mind, but nothing has felt blog-worthy or new until now.

I've just begun to do some work in regards to developing a more healthy relationship with food, and part of this has meant I'm currently re-reading this book, and reading it more closely.

The book, as you can see, is by Dr Rick Kausman, who is THE foremost expert in Australia, pretty much, when it comes to the mental/emotional side of eating, and it's called If Not Dieting, Then What? The fitness/diet industry are probably quite horrified that books like this exist, because if people actually followed its principles, nobody would be caught on this awful diet/deprivation/binge/feel guilty cycle that so many of us seem to be on.

It's hard to sum it up in a few words, but basically, what the book theorises is if you are one of these people who, even when they are doing the "right" thing, find they are constantly at war with themselves over it, you need to make peace with food, and that means ALL food, not just healthy/clean food. Doing this covers everything from the actual words you use to describe foods that aren't as healthy as others to changing your eating patterns with these foods to a far more conscious one so that if you do make a rational, reasoned choice to eat a "sometimes food" (see, I'm doing it already!), make sure it is exactly what you want to taste, and also make sure you make like a MasterChef judge and eat slowly, deliberately, and savour it. His theory is that those foods are never, ever going to disappear from the world, so if you have issues with them, you always will have issues with them until you find a way to handle them that is comfortable and easy and not the constant internal "will I? won't I?" which has charactertised a lot of my own eating. And yes, that's happened EVEN when I have been successful in losing weight too.

So I'd say I feel pretty excited about working with this new theory. They always say if you don't change anything, nothing changes, and I've certainly never taken this approach before. And yet, for someone like me, that's probably exactly where I was going wrong. People can talk until they're blue in the face about how if I were to eat low carb/clean, I wouldn't feel hungry and therefore I wouldn't want to eat "sometimes foods", but since the craving is an emotional one, not a physical one, I just know it's not enough to only treat one part of the problem.

I'll post more when I've got the idea straight in my head. Peace out. xx