I’ve been having a bad time: not with this stuff but with life in general. I’ve had a few knock-backs and am feeling vulnerable, sorry for myself. So what is the best thing I can do? Eat, of course. Now we are not talking about 12 packets of biscuits, 10 loaves of bread etc but it was mindless eating And I’m doing this even though I know it doesn’t work.
I came back from a disappointing meeting and before I knew it I was sitting on the sofa eating crisps. How did that happen? It was all very autopilot: I didn’t make a decision to do it, I just found it had happened. Disappointing, especially on top of the other things in life but when I came back to consciousness about what I was doing I felt pleased that I had put the crisps into a bowl rather than downing a family-sized packet on my own and I was pleased I became aware. I knew what I was doing and I carried on doing it but I think that momentarily pausing, at least in my head if not the journey from bowl to my mouth, is important. It makes me feel things can get better, they can change. My problem is that when I’m feeling down I have an attitude of what does any of this matter? My diet, the size of my body, seem irrelevant and by eating more than I want or need I seem intent on making an another stick to beat myself up with. I suppose I still yearn for slimness, feel my life would be better if my thighs didn’t rub together, and yet I do things to sabotage myself. I might never be any smaller than I am now and maybe I just have to get my head around that. My ongoing fear is that I will end up much bigger than I am now because I am not watching everything I eat, allowing myself to eat what I want, I’m not weighing myself. That side of my life feels out of control and yet I know the control I used to have didn’t make me happier, healthier or slimmer. I have to persevere but I feel like I have jumped out of a plane and I’m not sure my parachute is going to open. It’s all very scary.
I haven’t written for a little while because I’ve been trying not to think about things and, of course, writing about something is the most thinking about a thing you can do. Except it can help me organise my thoughts, re-group, focus my intentions again so today it is right for me to write again.
Things are going ok: I still haven’t weighed myself and I’m getting much better at telling those horrible negative voices in my head to shut up, that I’m fine the way I am, I’m not going to wake up tomorrow the size of a house and not be able to fit into my clothes. I suppose I am going “with the flow” though I don’t really like that expression. Another expression I don’t like is “it is what it is” which seems to mean very little but that’s an aside.
At the moment it all feels manageable, I feel able to push this into the corners of my mind and come out fighting when I need to. I am not dwelling, ruminating on it, observing what I am eating without censure (well not too much). In short I am trying to live a normal life. It feels like another step forward but as I have written before I am hesitant to take anything for granted, to think I am on the right road, as when I have done this before I have found myself back at the beginning or even further back than that.
Today I look good and feel good: a favourite song came on the radio and I sang (very loudly and very badly – I’m just being honest when I say I have a dreadful voice)and danced. Today feels ok, hopefully tomorrow will too.
It almost seems too much to write this down but things seem to be changing. I don’t mean I have reached the end, but I get the idea, a tiny idea, that things might be moving in the right direction. Ok, I still wake up every day thinking about my body, my weight, what I might eat etc but it feels like my perspective has changed, it feels almost like I am watching myself. I have made small changes: leaving a mouthful of food most times when I eat, being aware when I eat when I am bored (my usual reason) without being hard on myself, sort of accepting it as a step along the way.
Of course this all makes me feel nervous: is it real, will it last, can I be getting things right and at the moment I am trying to keep positive, keep working at it, keep making these baby steps. Is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?
I’m sure I’ve said before how frustrating I find this process: understanding what I need to do, trying to do it but having to wait so long for results. I want to change my thinking and I know I have to do that slowly, in baby steps, not rushing anything, but I want to get to the end. I want my thinking to be different, my mind to be different, I suppose I want me to be different and, being really honest (and what has really only occurred to me while sitting writing this) I don’t want to put in all the hard work. That’s a bit strange, as I was always a champion dieter: once I decided on a plan I stuck with it, losing weight faster than most of my friends, following the rules religiously. This feels different: there aren’t any rules, I have to trust myself not follow someone else’s plan. It’s hard for me.
Often I feel blown off my course: I can wake up feeling positive and then decide I’m letting myself go (for no other reason than I look at myself differently) and then I seem to go into a decline. I have to keep fighting those voices in my head, those negative irritating voices that tell me how awful I am, how I should be slimmer, basically how my whole existence and its meaning is dependent upon my dress size! Sounds ridiculous when I write it down.
So I am going to keep working, I am going to keep telling those voices to shut up, I am going to keep trusting myself. This is just one more step forward.
I’ve realised how much eating I do because I am bored. I don’t tend to think of eating when I feel sad, lonely or fed-up (no pun intended) but boredom will do it for me every time. I’ve started watching myself doing it, thinking it, and most importantly resisting it. The other evening, for example, I was watching some tv and was aware my mind had started wandering to what was in the kitchen, what I could eat. I stopped myself, asked myself was I actually hungry? The answer was no, but I did eat something. I thought it was a breakthrough for me just being aware and I didn’t beat myself up about it afterwards. The next day I went over the incident in my mind and decided I could do more to resist, I could take a moment, distract myself, but I understood it was part of the learning to eat like a normal person, someone who isn’t obsessed with food all the time, and it felt like an important step forward.
I’ve started to do something else rather than allowing myself to get bored: I write here, I’ve started reading novels again, and I’ve been going walking with my daughter after dinner. It’s lovely to spend time with her, I feel better for walking and it stops me thinking about food and having access to a kitchen full of it. It feels like a huge step in the right direction.
This whole thing that I’m doing at the moment feels strange: I feel edgy and uncertain. I am not dieting, I am not thinking that I might start dieting, I am not weighing myself, I am trying to not think about food (hard) or my weight, I am trying to change. But it all feels so difficult, and today has not been a good day. I am trying to do all the positive things, I am trying to love and accept myself the way I am, not let my weight, my clothes size, influence how I feel about myself. I am trying to believe it when I tell myself I am great the way I am, I am trying to believe it when I say I love myself like this but it’s a struggle.
On the plus side the way I am eating is making my digestive system work a lot better: I’ve had problems for years and they seem to have gone away, it’s all working the way it should. And I feel like I have more energy. I have been trying to increase my exercise, feel fitter and more able to do things and that seems to be working. I still push myself too much, want results too quickly, can’t relax (yet?) where I am now but my life focus isn’t about what I am eating, what I might eat next, how many calories there are in my meals, and how much I weigh. That all feels positive so why can’t I start liking what I see in the mirror? When will I start feeling better, for more than a few seconds?
So I’m getting my head around this idea of eating what I want: taking a moment to really think about whether I am hungry, what am I hungry for and eating it. Sounds simple, but after years of never doing that, eating what someone else told me to eat (and when to eat it even if I wasn’t hungry then) it’s very hard. I feel liberated, I am starting to feel normal and am getting over the idea that I ought to be eating lots of formerly forbidden food as I know I can eat those things for ever and ever.
But still… What obstacle am I throwing in my way? I eat things because they need to be eaten: I eat foods before they go off so they don’t have to be thrown away so basically I am treating myself as human dustbin. I know I shouldn’t be doing this but I still do it. Take this morning as an example: I woke up feeling pretty irritated as it had been a really hot night and I hadn’t slept very well. I felt hungry and my body said it would like my normal favourite at home breakfast – toast with Marmite and peanut butter (on separate pieces of toast of course). So whilst I was still in bed I reminded myself that there was some Greek yogurt that needed to be eaten up plus some bananas that were going brown. So what did I have – what I wanted or was I being good & responsible by eating food that needed to be finished up? Yes I made porridge with Greek yogurt and banana (not brown inside the skin thankfully).
Now I like porridge….sometimes but the point is that I didn’t want it today: I knew what I wanted, what would feel right and yet I ate something else. I was irritated with myself afterwards for eating something I didn’t want for all the wrong reasons but I suppose I learned something. I am not a bin, I should eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat it and if that means spare food ends up in the bin that’s not my problem!