Sunday, November 11, 2012

This walk was brought to you by...

So, today I went for a walk around the block. In broad terms, the walk was two stages of about 2.3km each. I walked to the pharmacy at my local shopping centre (which IS definitely only walking distance away, not that I've ever done it since I've been here), and then I stopped for a bit of a rest and then I walked back home. In doing so I have done a big block, essentially. The block going to the pharmacy is mostly downhill with a small bit of uphill right at the start and towards the middle. The walk home is much harder in that the very last part of it is a climb uphill. Wouldn't be anything to a size 8 person weighing 50kg but to me, well, I felt a bit like that poor elephant in the picture! But the point is, it's done.

And why did I decide to do it today of all days? Interestingly enough, it's not because I saw a picture of a superfit athlete or read about the latest diet endorsed by the Kardashian family (which...blah!). No, it was because I read an article in the QWeekend magazine from last weekend. It was about a man who is in his early 30s. I wish I could link to the story but since I can't seem to find it online, I'll sum it up. In his late teens and early 20s this man had, through determination and knocking on doors and putting himself out there, landed an apprenticeship at a top Sydney North Shore restaurant. He was apparently one of the most promising young chefs in the country, on his way to the top. And then one night, he wrapped his car around a pole (no drink, drugs or wet roads involved - just one of those things) and just like that, his life changed forever and was reduced to him lying in bed all day with about the most severe form of quadriplegia that you can have, only really able to move his head from side to side, entirely dependent on carers for every aspect of his life. Not only that, I don't know much about being quadriplegic but apparently even though you can't move, you can still feel quite severe pain.

And you might ask, did this inspire me because this guy is being brave and putting on a face of strength against the enormous odds which confront him? No. Far from it. In fact, he isn't handling what's happened to him well at all. He gets very angry at life and at people and he does ask a lot "why me" and he laments what has been taken away from him. But who of us could honestly say we wouldn't react like that to such a situation? I can just about guarantee I'd be just as bad as he is and I think in a way he has every right to feel that way.

However, what it made me see was that I bet that guy would give anything to be in the sort of pain I am in when I go for a walk. I bet he wishes he could have a sore knee, a sore back, have difficulty doing physical things as I currently do. The thing is, there is nothing he can do about it. But me? I have the power to do anything I want to. I have the choice - he doesn't. I can choose to just get out there and do things to improve my situation (because if nothing changes, nothing changes, of course) or I can just lie around wishing things would change. News flash to self - they won't. Wishing I was fit and wishing I was thinner is not going to bring a genie in a bottle along to cast a spell on me and make it so.

So, in a roundabout way, what I'm trying to say is I've decided I'm going to make more effort and push past the unpleasantness and pain and difficulty which currently is how exercise is for me. The only way to change that is to do it as often as I can manage.

The storm has passed

Well, hello out there in blogland. It is now getting on towards halfway through November and I have just realised it's been a while since my last post. I know why, too. I guess you could say a storm in the form of problems with a work colleague came into my life and with that, the wheels fell off my train of good work with mindful eating and I was derailed. However, I remember when I first started this blog, I did mention this has been the pattern with a few different blogs I have begun over the last couple of years i.e. when things went bad I just stopped blogging and abandoned the whole process, thinking that a lack of perfection meant failure. I was determined this one would not go the same way. And so here I am, a bit battered around but not defeated and determined to make this the kind of journey where being "derailed" does not have to mean everything comes to a stop; where, in fact, being derailed can turn into a valuable life lesson which will really help me going forward.

I don't really want to talk about the issue with the work colleague. Suffice it to say that I've already given it FAR more airtime in my brain than it ever deserved, and all of it happened because of my faulty thought processes, which in turn stem from my bad self-esteem and depression issues. It's amazing how something which was (as confirmed by two witnesses who heard and saw the whole thing) just about entirely the fault of the other person has been allowed (by me) to become something to beat myself up about, something to distract me from good things I was doing in my life, something to reinforce how much I don't like me (sometimes). And as this is a pattern which has repeated since time immemorial, really, it's a classic case of that now rather cliched phrase "If nothing changes, nothing changes". So the first change has been to return to this blog and put this on paper. The next change is going to be to get back to what I have been doing and learning before the "derailment".

And while I'm on that subject, it isn't actually all bad news. I can't honestly say I went back to bingeing my head off as I was doing a lot earlier in the year. It was all quite restrained. In fact, a couple of times I thought that's what I really wanted and needed to do (because it's a go-to strategy for me) and in fact, I ended up not doing it. I've still been eating more slowly. I've still left food on my plate if I really felt too full to finish. So some of this good work has "stuck" and I think that's a huge positive. I'm now going to do something I rarely do - pat myself on the back for it, because I deserve it. :)

Another good thing which has happened in the past week or so, as I've been climbing out of my little hole, was reading this book which was recommended by EK:

Right at this moment, I would say I'm not EVEN a friend to myself, let alone my best friend, so I have some work to do here. But this work doesn't exist in a vacuum. It may seem like I'm trying to take on a lot (and it feels like it sometimes) in trying to change both my negative thought patterns and my dysfunctional eating behaviours all at the same time, but the fact is they are completely and utterly enmeshed for me so any work I do towards one will help the other immensely.

So this is where I am at today, warts and all. I'm going to be blogging again regularly now. Tonight I found a CD of really lovely relaxation music in amongst a box of forgotten stuff that I had at my parents' place until recently and I have to say it makes brilliant background music for what I'm doing. Watch this space - good things will happen again now. :) Peace out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The world of absolutes

As part of my mindful eating exercises, I've been seeing if I can challenge some of those sayings I've said and used for SO long, I've actually come to believe they are the sworn truth. You know, we all have them: "I'm not a morning person", "I can't catch a ball because I'm totally uncoordinated", "I have no willpower", etc. The particular one I'm referring to is, "I can't have 'junk' food in my house because I'll eat it all in one go."

Now, this might seem a harmless enough thought to have and even a sensible one in some ways. After all, I don't believe in making life harder if it can be avoided. And it's true to say that when I lost a lot of weight last time, I did actually follow this mantra and I tried as much as possible to avoid having foods in the house that tempt me. But now, I'm flipping this idea on its head. I managed to have a packet of Arnott's Shapes in my cupboard in a container for over a week. In fact, there are still a few of them left even now. I could absolutely eat the whole packet in one go - I've done it before *blush* - but the idea was to see if I could leave them and only have a couple now and then. And guess what - I could, and I did. I'm as shocked as I could possibly be about this because I would formerly have sworn blind it was absolutely something I could not do. See, that's the problem with absolutes. If we say them enough, we start to believe they are as much a fact as the sun going down and coming up every day. And they are so not that.

When I think back to my last semi-successful weight loss "jurneeee", do I think it helped me focus less on food, removing that temptation from my home? The short answer is no, it didn't! Because unless you are planning to go into a monastery version of the Biggest Loser house, where you can live forever without any access to food that is not "clean" and healthy, there is ALWAYS going to be temptation around. For a start, there IS no "food monastery". And if you decided to go out in public wearing blinkers like a horse so you don't see food that tempts you, or with a peg on your nose so you can't smell food that might lead you astray, well, you'd get some odd looks to say the least. Now, of course, I'm being a little facetious here but it's just to drive home my point that it's impossible in the Western world to avoid tempting foods. So if you can't avoid them, the next best thing is to learn to make peace with them, to find a way to coexist in the universe with them where you are the one in control. So, to this end, right now I have a block of this in my fridge which has been there since last Thursday:

This is a biggest test than the savoury foods as I'm far more a sweet tooth, but until yesterday I'd actually forgotten it was there. Amazing story, but true. I wasn't trying to hide it - I just forgot. Last night after I came home from work I had two squares of it. Now, it's Lindt so it's lovely chocolate, quite a cut above Cadbury chocolate, and it's rich. Two squares was actually plenty. I can't believe I just typed that but it's true. :) So, now let's see how much longer I can leave it there, only having a little of it now and then. I have a good feeling about this. I reckon I can make it to about a week. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Interest vs Commitment

Hello, blogosphere. I've just realised I've been a bit quiet this week, probably because I was in recovery from night shift as per my last post. I am waiting for some rice to cool down so I can incorporate into my healthy recipe I'm about to cook now, to be served along with salad. And it's very hot today and the last thing I actually feel like doing is cooking, so the fact that I'm doing it, well, I take it as a good sign!

What moved me to write a post was this quote which I found shared by a friend on Facebook.

This saying really resonated with me and I'm sure there are others to whom it really applies too. You see, I'd have to say that in my life I've always tended to be a bit of a quitter. When things really get tough I'm able to stand it to an extent, but when it becomes what I feel is unbearable, I must admit the white flag goes up and I surrender and usually get totally overrun by the enemy, which in my case is my eating/food demons. It might not happen straightaway but it has seemed almost inevitable because I just get tired of fighting. I think that's why with everyone doing challenges all around me (there's even one at work I could join) I'm resisting. The path is so familiar to me and in my mind, doing things that way appears to lead to certain failure. And it's no wonder I don't succeed with an attitude like that - I'm well aware how it sounds - but to me it's not a sign I have no willpower or am weak. Quite the opposite, in fact. I actually think I'm a fairly strong person, stubborn, even. This is why I feel I need a unique approach to my weight loss if it's to work. As per Mindwise Bodywise, I'm determined to do this for the sake of health, and this means taking out of the equation things like scales and measurements for now. This means using my clothes as a gauge. This means not listening to the inner voices of negativity which, ironically, have gone into overdrive since I'm not medicating so much with food/eating. The fact they are there, well, I actually take it as a sign I'm succeeding. If I were lulled into a false sense of security by thinking as I've thought every other time I've had success, "Right, that's it - I'm all over this now and I will be slim forever and never have a weight problem!" - well, weren't they famous last words! I don't take it for granted that when I do this, I will never have to worry about it ever again, but I do believe once I've worn new paths through my neural landscape of eating like a normal/healthy person, it will be easier. And that goes back to having faith in the process, and that I do have, in spades. :)

So, coming back to the saying about 'commitment', I think it really applies to my life now that I'm a shift-worker. I have to face the fact that I'm probably not going to "feel like" training at the gym a lot of the time, but really, that's too bad. If I'm really committed, that means I go anyway. I've had a new program written yesterday by an exercise physiologist and I've been advised to do it three to four times a week, so that's what I'm going to do. However and wherever I can fit it in around work, I'll do it. If I can find an hour to watch TV, I can find an hour to exercise. My body and my mind BOTH need it in equal quantities. So, just as I'm committed to making my best efforts at eating differently/mindfully from now on, I'm committing to exercise. There will be a way to fit it in and make it work. It's up to me to find what that is.

And that's all she wrote, for now. Ciao!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Working the night shift

Hello, blogosphere. I haven't been able to write an entry for a few days now because I've been working - dun, dun, dunnnn! - the night shift. It is a necessary evil in my line of work and I only have to do it every five weeks or so, but for anyone who's never done it, let me give you an idea of some of its challenges.

First of all, the obvious one is how to manage sleep. While there are people in this world who always stay up all night and sleep all day, for the greater majority this is not how our circadian rhythms work and so being awake at 4am, much less doing a job competently, is quite a challenge. Put it this way - how emergency room doctors/nurses do what they do without harming people accidentally through being so tired, I'll never know and I take my hat off to them. My responsibilities are much less, although they do require a certain amount of alertness for that one call you might get where a person really needs help. And there is a certain point in the night you get to where suddenly it's like you have an out of body experience. You feel as though you are talking in your sleep. You continue to do your job and function but it doesn't feel like it's you who's doing it. It's like there is an automaton who is performing the required job functions in the background while you gaze blearily at your screen and try not to think too hard about your nice bed waiting at home for you. This would be the part I dislike most about night shift. Oh, and the drive home isn't the best, either. You have to make a choice - do you have a mega strong coffee on the way out the door to make sure you stay awake for the drive, meaning you won't sleep once you get home, or do you take your chances, play loud music, splash your face with cold water, etc?

Now, in regards to the new lifestyle choices I am making, I think all things considered I am managing very well, but I am led to the irrevocable conclusion that working the night shift and eating mindfully probably don't really go together. There have been times in the last couple of days when I have been aware I'm eating something and not thinking about it, a couple of times when I've been eating things whilst doing other things (a big no-no if I can avoid it). My appetite has seemed all over the place and I've not been sleeping well because, bizarre as it seems for someone like me, I don't think I've actually been eating enough and my hunger is what's been waking me up. So this morning when I got home I made a point of eating something before going to sleep and that seemed to do the trick. I had the first good sleep I've had in days and I feel semi-refreshed for my last night of night shift tonight (YAY!). My exercise has been sporadic but there has been "some" and considering that I haven't done any for sooo long, I'm pretty happy to have managed to exercise three times in the last six days. I want to be doing some every day but, hey, it's something to build on. I promised myself I wasn't going to cane myself over mistakes this time, so I'm not. I honestly think I've done pretty well this night shift to continue on the path as well as I have. Next time I will do better because I'll have had this experience of night shift/eating mindfully (or trying to!) under my belt.

And with that, I might see if I'm up for a quick 30 minute walk now. Ciao for now!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A conoisseur, I am not!

Now, everybody knows who this is, I'm sure.

In my new phase of mindful eating, one of the things I'm doing is imagining I'm in Matt Preston mode. While I chew my food, I'm taking more notice than I can confidently state I ever have of the taste, texture, flavour, etc of all the food I'm eating. I'm not doing this because I'm some sort of gourmet or hoping to become one. I know there is no way my palate will ever be that sophisticated. :) But taking time to actually assess what I'm eating has led to some interesting outcomes. Today, for example, I was out at my favourite coffee shop, Michel's. I decided to have a coffee and a piece of cake. Now, remember, I'm not "on a diet" so there's nothing wrong with me doing this and it's not an everyday exercise, but I thought I felt like some. Anyway, this piece of cake, I decided to eat it as mindfully as I could and the plan was to leave some on the plate, which I did. Now, I've been making a point of leaving a bit of food on my plate as part of a "fake it till I make it" exercise. It's not because I couldn't finish what's on my plate because there's no doubt I could. It's more to get me used to the idea that it's OK to do this because the conditioning to clean my plate every time is so strong. But today, well, I left some of that cake on the plate because - incredible story - I didn't really find I was enjoying it. Now, for a sweet tooth to say that, it must have been a pretty damn average cake. It really was. I was sitting there, chewing slowly and putting down my spoon between bites. It seemed to me that at times I felt like I was eating a spoonful of actual sugar and I didn't like it. It was just TOO sweet. Not only that, it was pretty stale and that wasn't good. Cake should be fresh. But in a non-mindful state, that wouldn't have stopped me finishing it. Now, I want to see things differently and if I'm going to have something like a piece of cake, I want to be sure I enjoy it, otherwise what's the point? It totally ruins the experience.

The other things I'm beginning to realise now just how often I've gone on eating when I'm not enjoying things, even to the point when I feel quite ill, sometimes for hours and hours afterwards. I know this is binge behaviour and I'm not proud of it, but it is true. And I really don't even know why I have always felt the need to eat every single morsel of whatever unhealthy food I thought I wanted. Hell, I live by myself - it's not like anyone's going to take it away from me! If, as I suspect, it's because I feel I can't trust myself with these foods and so it's better if they're not there, this is very specious logic. I might have moved house but I'm a five minute trip from a shop. If I wanted to get this stuff, it's hardly difficult. So another thing I have started to do is, if I buy this stuff, measure out a small amount, eat it mindfully and slowly, and then put the rest of whatever it is away. I've never done this in my life and it's very new to me, but so far I've had a bit of success. I have a few honey mustard soya chips in a container which I think I bought over a week ago. I've found, when eating them slowly/mindfully, that even though I like them they don't really agree with me so I've just left the rest there. My next project with this is going to be something sweet because that's a harder thing for me to refuse. But I feel confident I'm ready to give it a good go. :)

Anyway, enough of my philosophical ravings for one night. I've been for a nice swim today and I think I'll sleep well tonight. Ciao, blogosphere1

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fighting the inner perfectionist

Hello, blogosphere. I think it's about time I posted again to summarise what's happened this week.

It's been a pretty good week, really. I've continued to apply very simple rules to my eating and that's all I'm doing, although it seems that when I next see EK I'm going to be expected to commit to doing more exercise. And I'm ready for that, too - I'm going to swim, I've decided. I suppose in a way it is part of my "reconnecting" idea, too. When I was a kid I absolutely LOVED to swim. I would spend hours swimming underwater at my local pool in Townsville. I loved the peace and quiet under the water - see, antisocial even then. :) And with the joint issues I'm currently having and probably will continue to have until I lose some weight, swimming is really the ideal solution. And if I look shocking in my swimsuit, which I know I do, too bad - it's a necessary evil so I can achieve this goal.

As for my mindful eating/only eating in particular places and ways project, I'd have to say I am very pleasantly surprised by how much it is helping me. Since I'm not expecting tonnes of weight to fall off in a couple of months, I'm very calm and at peace about this. There is a refreshing absence of the usual diet/perfectionist mentality which has always ruled every weight loss attempt I've ever made (and there have been waaaaay too many to mention!). Since as far as I'm concerned, I'm learning to eat all over again, this puts me in the same category as very small babies/children and I'm perfectly okay about that. And this is why, even though I occasionally find it frustrating and I really need to concentrate while I'm eating (because my default setting has been to bolt my food whilst doing something else, not even giving it a second thought), something which is extremely foreign to me, I can see exactly why it's worth putting in the effort because there is no way this habit is going to change without diligent work. And it's work I don't mind putting in because I can see there's a logical reason for it and it makes total sense. Now, to use an example of something which does not make sense to me, it's very different than if I had decided that my way to good health and weight loss was to switch to a radical low carb diet. (Caveat - this is in NO way intended to be a criticism of anyone doing this so please don't take offence, any such readers!). Now, as you know, I'm 46 years of age and for just about all of my adult life, I have never been a great lover of protein as a food. I don't like most meats - I pretty much only like beef. I don't mind chicken but I find it very boring if I have it too much. I don't mind eggs but I always have to remind myself to eat them for my iron as they are not a favourite food of mine. I actually far prefer to eat a mostly vegetarian diet interspersed with occasional servings of meat/chicken/eggs to keep up my iron. And this is why a low carb diet would never, ever work for me. I could probably stand to do it for a couple of months at the most and it would be a huge sacrifice. And the thing is, for me it is not a sacrifice I need to make. I know people who have lost weight successfully eating carbs. I see absolutely no logic in forcing yourself to eat foods you dislike to reach a goal. And so, even knowing how well it may work in the short-term, I'm not even going to go there with a diet such as this because it is utterly unsustainable for someone like me. As far as I'm concerned, you can only retrain your taste buds so much. If you don't like a food, you don't like it and no amount of forcing yourself to eat it will change that. But fostering, practising, cultivating a different way of eating, underpinned by a different way of treating my body, with respect instead of hatred - that's a goal which is worth all the effort in the world because it's so logical. So I can confidently say right now I am never going to diet again. I've been there, done that, bought way too many T-shirts. If I don't realise by now it doesn't work, I need my head examined.

Along with this mentality of not dieting is going a new attitude to my progress. I know it's okay to stuff up now. I know if I stuff up, it's just something to learn a lesson from and do better next time. This is very different to my usual uber-perfectionist ways, where a less than perfect day of eating was very likely to lead to an attitude of, "Oh, well, I've stuffed up a morning of good eating. I'm just going to go completely nuts for the rest of the day and start again tomorrow." It's not only illogical, it's so unhelpful. I am but a very flawed human being and mistakes are going to continue to happen for the rest of my life. That has to be okay and it's going to be okay. That's what I'm working on.

And meanwhile, I'm going to leave this entry with one of the best quotes I've ever read for this type of "journey". (urgh, I still hate that word!).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


For a change, a post that isn't necessarily to do with weight stuff (although, inevitably, somewhere in the background it is relevant).

I've been having some fun tonight because I've only recently come across some old pics I hadn't seen in yonks. These represent a time in my life when I was actually having a really fun time. I still had not met T. I was single and fancy free, doing a bit of dating and lots of music and theatre and I just loved it all, ham that I am. When I look back at pics like this now, I wonder what happened to this version of me.

I think she is still in there somewhere, but what became of her I cannot say. In fact, looking at the photos has caused very mixed feelings. They make me smile, but at the same time they remind me poignantly of better times and being happier with my life and where it was going. I know we all get older and things change, but surely there must be a way to reconcile that version of me with who I am now. I think the person I am now needs to have more fun. In fact, I think the person I am now has pretty much forgotten how to do it and needs some practice.

I've read where people do an exercise where they write a letter of advise to their 20-year-old selves, their 30-year-old selves, etc. But I think the me in the past needs to advise me now to learn how to loosen up again, to learn how to just do silly things for the hell of it or she's going to end up a grumpy old fart, if she's not there already!

So, here's to having fun and more silliness and less seriousness. I may, in fact, be typing this post with a party hat on. ;) Bye for now!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cos you've gotta have faith...

Hello, blogosphere. That title isn't just a lyric from a favourite 1980s song of mine - it's how I'm treating my behavioural change program. I said this was going to be an honest blog so I'll reiterate that when it comes to the belief that one day I will be a normal, healthy weight, well, I'd say I really don't believe it in my heart of hearts. I will have to cultivate a more positive attitude to this, I can see, but right now everything is too raw and new and I'm flying blind to an extent, but admittedly I do have some good people flying along with me and that means a lot.

So what I'm doing right now is just putting my trust in the process. While my belief in my ultimate success is not strong, to put it mildly, what I DO have is a pretty strong belief that if I keep doing what I'm doing, really important changes are going to happen. Right now things are hard and uncomfortable. Eating at a table, not in front of the TV, not while I'm reading a paper or some catalogues or mucking around on my smartphone - that feels so weird and unnatural. Deliberately leaving some food on my plate when I'm finished eating, as it's been recommended I do - THAT'S hard to do as well. While I'm eating, trying to tune in to my body's signals to see when it tells me I have had enough food - well, I feel like my body and I are communicating with two old tins strung together with fishing line, so unclear are those signals. But yet I HAVE felt that little moment when it seemed very clear to me that I'd filled my stomach and it was just as I've been told - after I'd had a pretty damn small amount of food. A stomach is the size of a fist and even though I have quite a large fist, that's still not much food. When you know this and you realise how often you shovel fistful after fistful of food into it in one go, everything suddenly makes so much more sense. No wonder things have got to this state.

And this may not make any sense to anyone who's currently following any kind of conventional diet or exercise program, but I feel better about doing this than I have felt about any diet I've ever been on, and it has nothing to do with the fact that nobody has put any restrictions on my diet. Well, they didn't need to because following these rules, you naturally eat less. I know I'm not going to see fast results. I could do a 12-week challenge and probably lose 15kg or more, no worries. Hell, I've done it before. But I know deep, deep in my heart that there is no way I'm ever going to commit permanently to a program of food restriction/heavy exercise for the rest of my life. I wish I could but realistically, it's just not going to happen. And my GP and I would far rather I lose 10kg in a year and never again regain it than lose 40kg in a year and end up 50kg heavier in the next year. The madness just has to stop and I'm stopping it. So I'm not doing this because I hate myself - I'm doing it because I don't. And that makes it so different to every other time.

Enough of this philosophy. Peace out, for now. :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Light Bulb #1

I've titled this blog thus because I am pretty sure this won't be the first light bulb moment I'll have on the way to where I'm going, but it needs documenting, I think.

Today has been a really weird day in a lot of ways. First up I did overtime at work for four hours from 8 till 12 (for a day's pay, though - woot!) and then I had an appointment with my GP to get a couple of sun spots/pieces of thickened skin from sun exposure cut off my face. That it itself didn't turn out to be such a pleasant experience because anaesthetic in the face is OUCH and for some unknown reason it triggered off some kind of allergic reaction in me. Not a serious one as in anaphylactic reaction but one where I got tight in the chest, a big urge to sneeze a lot and a bit itchy, like my histamines were going nuts. Long story short, I ended up with three sun spots off my face and then, as a result of the allergic reaction, they gave me a lung test I've probably needed for a while due to a constant irritated throat and dry cough. I ended up leaving with both a bandage on my face and medication/a puffer for mild asthma. Hmm, well, I can't say it's entirely a surprise because my lungs have always been a weak spot but at least I know now. Hopefully the medication is going to help.

Anyway, in an allergic haze and with a headache, I went off to see the person to whom my GP referred me for help with the "mind" stuff. Let's call her 'EK'. I don't want to go too much into the details because some of it is too private even for a blog but suffice it to say I really found the session very helpful, primarily because EK has heard of Sandy and her program and what she has given me for homework dovetails in very well with Mindwise Bodywise. Basically, when I eat, it's to be mindfully. So, whether I am at work or home, if I am by myself (it's different rules for socialising) I am to eat at a table and I'm not to do anything else BUT eat. I can't have the TV on but I can have music on, especially music I enjoy and which soothes me.

Part 2 of this light bulb moment is to do with my dinner tonight. Now, by the time I had this huge day I literally was too busy running around between doctors' appointments to eat so in between 9.45 this morning and about 5.45, all I had was a cup of coffee. I was the hungriest I've been all week since I started tracking for Sandy's program. I had a headache, I was shaky and I felt weak, which would make me about a 1-2 on the Mindwise Bodywise scale. But still, I had to pick what I really felt like for dinner and and I was determined to put EK's ideas into practice immediately. Bizarrely for anyone who knows me well, the thing I felt like was FISH! So I went to the fish shop at Warner Village and got their "one serve of fish with some chips" meal plus a small container of tartare. When I got home, I was still ravenous by my standards but I had a look at what I'd been given and truthfully, it was really two serves. Not that I couldn't have ploughed my way through the whole lot because of course I could, but I was being honest with myself and I knew I didn't need all of it. So I divided the serving of both the fish and chips in half. Then I went to my dining table.

This is the one I made look all purty the other day (and which I barely ever use!!!) and put a candle on it. I went and put on some music I like. I got my plate and put it on the table and I sat down. I wasn't sure if I would be able to make the meal last the suggested 20 minutes that it takes for your body to register you have eaten and give you a signal, but I was going to give it a try. In the end, I think I managed to make it through more than five songs and I reckon that would have been about 15. A very creditable effort, I think!

So, the million dollar question is how do I feel now? What happened to that ravenous hunger I felt? I can honestly say that right now, about an hour after eating that mael, I am not hungry. I'm not stuffed. I'm just comfortable, perhaps leaning slightly towards being hungry because I have eaten so little today. But that's okay. If I need to eat later, I'll eat again but not unless I really feel I need it. So I suppose what I'm wanting to reinforce for myself is that even if I sit down to eat and I feel like I could chew off my own arm with hunger, if I take my time, relax, put down the fork in between bites and concentrate on being in the moment with what I'm eating, it is possible to reduce that ravenous feeling to a satisfied feeling and the best part is it doesn't need to take a huge amount of food to do it. I feel it's going to be important for me to remember this.

And I think that's enough for tonight. That's my first big light bulb for a long time and it's a good one! xx

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why does someone who's 46 need one of these?

So, who remembers this little guy? If anyone under 30 is reading they probably won't, but this is Linus van Pelt from the famous Charlie Brown comic strip that a few of us grew up on. And he is pictured with his security blanket.

This is an image which popped into my head tonight. I'm on my fourth day of Week 1 of Sandy's Mindwise Bodywise program. Against my usual "all or nothing" instincts, I'm determined to do this in a gradual way because that's how it's meant to work. The first week is all about recording food, but in a different way as I mentioned in my last entry. I've been writing down when I eat, what I eat (no calories mentioned), how hungry I was before, during and after it and, if it seems relevant, my mood. In these four days, two things stand out. One, it has truly stunned me how INfrequently I get hungry. I can think of perhaps twice in the last four days when I've felt hunger pangs. Eeesh, that's been a shock to realise! Two, I've started to develop a small awareness of how much I'm prepared to tolerate the discomfort I feel after eating certain foods or, more precisely, eating too much of certain foods. And here's where Linus, our old mate, comes in. It's because food is obviously a security blanket for me. When I feel like I need it, I think I just get whatever food it is that I think will make me feel better and sometimes I'll just keep eating it until, way too late, I realise that I've overdone things. This leads to feelings of physical discomfort like a sore stomach, feeling overfull and uncomfortable for sometimes hours afterwards, burping/indigestion, and so it goes on. I don't think I'm that much of a masochist that I'd put up with this without a very strong compulsion. I think I knew this anyway but it's good to revisit it because it makes me realise just what I am up against and how much work it's going to take to turn this around. And yet I still do believe I can turn it around, so long as I attack it the right way i.e. via the mind.

And tomorrow my doctor has arranged an appointment for me with someone who will be able to assist me further in this regard. I am looking forward to this as I think it will dovetail in very well with what I've started with Mindwise Bodywise. Wish me luck. Ciao for now. xx

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tracking again - but not as we know it

Well, today I started tracking again, but it's not what you think. I'm not tracking calories. What I am tracking is when I'm eating, roughly what I'm eating (no cal counts), where I am when I'm eating and how hungry I was before, during and after. I've only been doing it for one day but already some interesting insights have popped up. Number one would have to be how little I seem to get hungry even when I haven't eaten much in terms of the amount of calories someone my size would need just to exist. It is too early to tell yet whether or not it's because my body is so sick of me ignoring it, it doesn't work properly anymore or whether my body is just able to access vast fat stores to feed itself Who knows? But I've only taken a tiny step in what is going to be quite a long road so I'm not going to draw any conclusions just yet. But I really do feel like I'm onto something here. I really feel like this is what I need to do. So I'm going to keep chip, chip, chipping away and writing things down. More than happy to do this for such a cause and it's easier than counting calories. Even though I must admit counting calories worked for me for a long time, I just simply cannot do it anymore and I have accepted that. And it's okay because I don't think I need to. I feel the last thing I need to be doing is having to think about food more, and that's what calorie counting makes me do, unfortunately.

Anyway, that's all for now. I think it might be time to make a salad for dinner. I haven't yet asked myself if that's what I feel like, though. I'll have to see if there are any other options before I have it. Byeee for now. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Feeling more cheerful

Hello again, blogosphere. Well, even though I haven't quite got it together for a full Mindwise Bodywise restart, I'm finding I feel a bit more cheerful at the moment than I have in a while. I don't really know why. Perhaps it's because I have that tiny little glimmer of hope again which I think we all need to carry on in life. If you feel you have no hope, it's a very depressing thought, isn't it? I can categorically say I've put into practice a couple of things already which will help my cause. The first is giving up my yummy flavoured coffees which I've had almost exclusively for at least a year. I freely admit I am at least somewhat addicted to caffeine but I don't think it's a problem because I only usually have two cups maximum a day. Well, now, one of those cups is just plain old Nescafe Gold with a bit of milk and sugar. I still enjoy it and it does the job of waking me up a bit. It might not seem like a lot but I've heard it said if you only made a few little changes like this and did nothing else different, you would lose at least SOME weight and, hey, that's better than nothing. The second thing I've done is, if I've worked out I really do feel like something which isn't so healthy, I only have a small portion of whatever it is. So, that means maybe a Freddo Frog if I want chocolate, the smallest possible packet of chips, etc. This very much fits in with Sandy's principles for Mindwise Bodywise because in theory, nothing is really "verboten". If you really feel like a food, you can have it but you need to eat it carefully and make sure you savour it. I haven't quite got that bit right yet but I think having smaller amounts is a good start. Above all, I need to remember that above all, I can't fail at this because it's like a baby learning to walk. Until they get it right they are going to fall over. A lot. And there's no other way to do this than with baby steps, is there?

So that's about all I have time to write tonight as I've got work in the morning, quite early for me. Peace out... xx

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Phone chat with Sandy

Hi to all out there in blogland. Well, I certainly have fulfilled my plan of making good use of my three days off this week. In fact, if anything I may have OVERdone things because I am certainly very tired tonight, but it's all good. I got my housework and washing done. I got all my plants re-potted, hopefully without any casualties but we'll see in a few days. :) I went to see my doctor today about my knee and neither the X-ray nor the ultrasound showed up anything beyond a little bit of arthritis, which you would expect at my age. I also had a couple of sun damage spots on my right cheek checked (these are from driving, having that side of your face in the sun) and the decision's been made to having them frozen off. God knows I don't really have any reason to be vain but I don't really like having them there even if they are harmless (and we're not 100 percent sure yet that they are, although they will probably only be BCCs if they are anything).

The other important thing I did today was to have a phone chat with Sandy from Mindwise Bodywise, who is just lovely. It was good to be able to be honest about how I've been feeling re my weight loss efforts lately and how I've come to the conclusion that since every conventional thing I've tried has (eventually) failed, if I am EVER going to do this it will require some serious lateral thinking and a whole new approach to eating. This is why I believe she can help me. We've agreed that I need to begin the eight week course from scratch because I got so badly derailed by my misadventures at what I now call Bulls*** Court (Bishop Court). Some of what I learnt so far has been useful but I need to put it all together better. Sandy said I need to get out of my perfectionist mentality where I feel if I don't do something perfectly or "properly", I just don't do it at all. What I'm trying to do is something at which I really can't fail because it's all a learning experience. I'm sure I'll fail at times and get it wrong, but I need to be gentle with myself about it because I've certainly spent a hell of a long time doing the opposite of what I probably needed to be doing with food. What I'm trying to do is best expressed from a line in my favourite poem/piece of philosophy i.e. 'Desiderata'

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself."

"Wholesome discipline" is exactly what I'm aiming for because it suggests doing something for yourself out of love, not out of hate. I don't think I've ever begun any weight loss plan without feeling disgust with myself, hating myself and wanting to beat myself to a pulp because I was such a terrible person, not being able to control myself with food. Jeez, no wonder I've never managed to do it permanently. How could I when I've never done the internal work to go with the external work. You don't go to so much trouble for a person you hate and loathe, do you? It sounds so easy when I say it but, as I've admitted, the insight I seem to have into the whole weight loss/weight gain cycle never seems to do me much good. *wry smile*

Anyway, that's me done for the day. I will blog again tomorrow night. I'm going to see how I go on my Mindwise Bodywise restart. Wish me luck! x

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Minor plans

Well, this is my second blog post in a day but I felt like I wanted to say something, so here I am.

I finished my shift at 11.00 and I now have three days off. My goal for those three days is basically not to waste them. I have housework which needs doing. I have some plants that need to be put into pots. I have to organise to go and see an X-ray place to get scans done on my left knee as ordered by my GP (although I wouldn't be surprised at all if most of what is wrong with my knee has to do with my weight). So even though I'm going to get my rest that I need in a job like mine which, though I sit on my bum the whole time (story of my working life!) can be mentally pretty draining, I can still be productive and get done what I want to do.

I also want to make a new start on this program which I started in July before the huge blow-up at my old place happened:

I happen to think there is a lot of sense in what is taught in this program and it fits my idea of the true way of managing permanent long-term weight loss i.e. over time, totally reprogramming the "fat person" way of thinking into something more resembling the way a normal eater thinks and sees food.

That's all, folks. Bed calls!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I've just logged into Blogger for the first time in about two years and the process of doing so was a little depressing, I have to say. The blogosphere is rather an unforgiving analysis of where your life is going, I am starting to find out. I seem to have been in this holding pattern over the last three years where I start a blog all full of enthusiasm and hope about once and for all changing my life. This enthusiasm and hope lasts about two months maximum and then I stop blogging because I have nothing hopeful or enthusiastic to write about. And so has gone the last few years of my life. I mean, yes, good things have happened and I feel blessed that they have. I'm now in a career that I enjoy and which pays me enough to live on comfortably. I have a new place to live where my neighbours are nice and don't seem to go out of their way to hassle/upset me like my last horrors (I have drawn a veil over that experience, though). But the real problem still remains. I'm still huge. I've undone all my good work from 2006 to 2009. I'm back to where I was. And it does not feel good, at all.

And then there's reading the old blogs. Boy, that's an eye-opener. :( I continue to be amazed at how much insight I appear to have into my issues, how much I understand my eating problems and why I do what I do. But do I fix it? NO! So what is the use of this insight and understanding? I think the lesson to take out of all this is to do less talking and thinking and planning and more just bloody well doing. Life is slipping by me at an alarming rate, it seems. I just turned 46 years of age and I will be 50 before I know it. 50! Do I really want to still be in this place when I'm 50? I know the answer is no, but the only person who can change it is the person typing this blog entry.

I've called this blog "Last Chance Saloon". I know this seems a negative title and I know in my heart that you can change at any age, etc, blah blah. But facing facts, as far as my health goes, it kind of IS a "last chance saloon" situation. I'm hanging onto my health with whitened fingernails but it won't last. I'm lucky to be as healthy as I am and the only reason I think I am is because eating rubbishy food and being lazy (one sort of leads to the other, I guess) are my only bad habits since I don't smoke and have never been a drinker. But I'm on borrowed time and I know that my quality of life is going to be seriously impacted if I keep going at this rate. There is no sugar-coating (no pun intended - well, maybe it was) this. It has to be stopped.

So this blog is going to be different. I'm going to write in it as often as I can, the good AND the bad. I'm not going to set out to make it "inspiring". I just want it to be a useful tool for getting stuff out of my head. And so this first entry is very honest because right now I don't feel hopeful. I have no reason to believe I'm ever going to be able to conquer this mountain. But I have to start taking small steps at least, or it will be goodbye to my independence and that is probably the thing I prize most in my world at the moment. Being an invalid trapped by my fat is not a picture that sits well with me.

As people like to abbreviate these days, Deb, JFDI.