I was at lunch the other day with people from work. We do this once a week and it’s a good chance to catch up outside the office. Once the food arrived I found myself watching one of the other women (not in a crazy stalker way!) and how she was eating. She’s a really sweet woman but quite overweight. She was obviously hungry and when the food arrived she stopped talking, focused completely on the food and ate everything on her plate really quickly. I think I could have been watching myself. The slimmer women carried on eating, and chatting, and all left food on their plates. They knew when they had eaten enough and they stopped. They ate more slowly and seemed to be tasting the food more. It struck me that was the difference: the speed of eating, the focus, ie they could still socialise whilst eating.
I try really hard to eat less quickly: food for me has so long been tied up with all sorts of emotions that I had to eat as quickly as possible, maybe to get it over with or maybe so I could eat more before I felt full and had to stop. Often I would carry on eating food I wasn’t really enjoying simply because I was “allowed” to eat it. I don’t do that anymore I am pleased to say. I throw food away if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t want to eat stuff if it doesn’t taste right for me at that time. I will take the time to work out what I do want to eat. It’s the same thing as telling someone to eat a salad if they fancy some chips: you’re better off eating what you want than eating what someone else has decided you ought to eat. Isn’t that the only way to get back in touch with your own instincts and needs?
So this week I am going to try hard to eat slowly, putting food down between bites and really registering how the food feels. I have been working towards that but I suppose I stopped thinking about it so much and it’s easy for bad habits to slip back.
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.
I’m having a bad day. I understand what I am trying to do but today I am feeling FAT! Yes I know you can’t feel fat, but I feel out of control. Not I have been sitting around eating bags of crisps, bars of chocolate, fizzy drinks etc but I suppose I feel out of control because I’m not focussing on everything I am eating, working out the calorie/fat content, and worst of all I don’t know how much I weigh!
For years my mood would be dictated by the numbers that appeared on the scales first thing in the morning: a lower than expected number would lighten my mood and a leap upwards would let my inner critic run riot inside my head. After a little while I would consider reasons why my weight might have gone up (eating late for example) and my mood would improve. How much of my life was dictated by a swing of a few pounds one way or another! Now I am trying to take that out of my life but without it I feel rudderless. I think my weight, dieting, my size, has occupied so much of my life for so long that it feels like there is something missing without it. I am eating what my body wants, when it wants it, but I am so used to denying myself, living by dieting rules, that I don’t know how to be in this new state.
I need to persevere but I am really struggling. My clothes feel tight, I don’t feel right, how long will this go on for?
I have found it hard to focus on what I am eating whilst I am eating it. I find it quite easy to think about what I want to eat, do I want savoury or sweet, hot or cold etc but slowing down my eating, thinking about how the food feels, being aware of feelings of fullness I have found much more difficult. I think it’s because food has been so many more things in my life other than simply nutrition, fuel, something to keep my body going.
I know the theory: sit at the table, look at my food, smell my food, chew slowly, consider how it feels whilst I am chewing it, how does it taste, but I find it really hard to do that. I have a habit of reading whilst I am eating so simply being with the food feels alien. I can do things like put down the food between bites, take my time but it still feels like something I am doing without really being engaged with it. I don’t know why I am struggling with this so much: I want to make it better and know this is a step I have to take so I suppose that I am trying to bypass it and go straight to “normal eater” state whilst knowing I can’t do that.
Perhaps this is just another way in which I try to sabotage this process, allow myself to drift back to the yoyo habits that have occupied so much of my life. I need to work harder at this.