I haven’t been writing for the past few weeks as I am trying not to think about this all the time and unfortunately writing about it brings it back to the front of my mind (well, to be honest, it’s there most of the time but I am trying to ignore it). So what have I achieved so far?
1 I have given up dieting. I am never going to diet again. I have wasted too much of my life trying to lose weight on conventional diets, the latest wisdom, without getting anywhere, well ending up bigger than I started. No more!
2 I am eating better, more natural foods, but not denying myself treats. I am working towards finding a way of being relaxed around food, eating, my body, my weight, myself basically.
So far, so positive but one thing I am really struggling with is understanding when I am moderately hungry. I think for so many years I haven’t been at this stage (either stuffed or starving) that I can’t seem to identify when to eat something to stop myself getting really hungry and then having a binge. The steps seem very simple: eat when you’re moderately hungry, eat until you’re fairly satisfied and stop but what happens when you can’t identify this point? I know when I’m famished (normally when I’ve been busy or engrossed in something and my stomach is rumbling loud enough to hear) but normal, everyday hunger? I’m not sure I know what that is. Something like I could eat a bit but not a whole meal. And the calculation is further complicated by mouth hunger (mainly because I am trying to work out if I am hungry or is it just because I am thinking about food) and my past (dieting, eating at set times etc).
Now that’s a bit difficult: I don’t live alone so I can’t always say I’m not eating now as I’m not that hungry as we have dinner, say, at the same time every night. Does my body now get hungry at that time because it knows it’s dinner time? Once I eat dinner I don’t really want anything else though those chattering voices can suggest I might like a bit of chocolate but if I resist then those feelings go away. It’s something I am working on but when I have spent so many years with my eating being governed by external rules it’s not easy to go back to working it out for myself.
The trouble is with trying not to think about something is that your mind can’t stop thinking about it. After years and years and years of dieting I want to stop thinking about food (and writing about it too – irony!) but I have to think about it to remind myself not to think about it (still with me?). So I tell myself, on a daily, hourly, moment by moment basis, that my days of dieting are over, that I am going to put food back in its place, a box labelled fuel since you ask, and I am going to be normal around food, weight, diet etc etc. So far, so easy, except of course it isn’t.
But (listen to this quietly) I have been really busy over the past few weeks and I realise I have spent time, sometimes even more than an hour, not thinking about food, not judging myself for what I am about to eat or have just eaten, not knowing the calorie content of every meal. Perhaps I have moved on, slightly? I have a cupboard with chocolate in it and I don’t eat some of that chocolate every day. I am still a bit of a crisp fiend, ie someone who likes crisps (chips to you Americans), but even they don’t feel like a “oh dear, there’s some in the house I must eat them all NOW”. Today we went out to lunch and I ate a normal meal, leaving some food on the plate when I had had enough – miracle. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted but there wasn’t a lot of choice so I picked the thing I liked the sound of most. I ate it, it was ok, but it didn’t feel like I had to finish it, I could have the same meal again tomorrow and the next day etc etc if I wanted to. I didn’t feel I was depriving myself, or doing it because I ought to; I did it because I didn’t want to eat any more. All steps in the right direction. Perhaps I just needed to give myself more time? Perhaps I’m getting somewhere. Fingers crossed!
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.