RSS Feed

Times change and we with time… Ramblings Part 1

Posted on

This post is OT to most things I’ve written and very much AT ( AgzyM-centric topic).

Be warned, it’s soapbox heavy and filled with honest ramblings that may induce severe headaches.

 For some, this may well be THE most boring post I’ve ever written (and that’s saying a lot!).

In other words, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m indulging myself and I will be back with more reader-friendly posts once I get this chain of thought out of my system.

organizational-change

I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently.

Whether it be inspired by news of new RA projects, each more demanding and different from the last, or the natural flow and ebb of the fandom, not to mention the stories of change that my friends within the fandom share with me, and I get emotionally invested in.

I’ve been going through my own bunch of (somewhat) cathartic changes myself, so let me bore you a little on this subject.

I remember my late teens and early to mid- twenties being governed by the need to go, see do.

I felt like my feet were on fire (no, it wasn’t athletes foot…) and as soon as I would come back from one adventure, I’d be planning my next big escape.

The mere thought of holding down a job for a longer period, getting a driver’s license and car, any indication of stability would have me in cold sweats, checking for cheap airline tickets to London or NY.

Fast-forward 10 years later and I was positively stuck.

Not that I knew it, of course.

I had a thoroughly cushy life, with I job that I liked (and still do), financial and emotional stability, a life devoid of too much stress or worry.

Sure, there were things I wanted, but there just came a moment where things were OK as they were, my life was somehow set in stone, the trajectory set, me obviously heading down the road that I thought was destined for me.

The thing about being comfortable, stuck in a nice not demanding life is that you have no impulse to actually stretch yourself, try new things, take a risk on the off-chance that you’ll made an OK life a Great life.

I was convinced 20014 would be a kick ass year, but it started out rocky by kicking my ass instead and things happened that doused me with a big old bucket of icy cold water to snap me out of the rut.

By the time I was processing what was happening, many things I had read and learned in the past 5+ years had kicked in (see, you should never give up on educating yourself…) and gave me the impulse and tools to climb out of my comfort zone and start working on that life I was sure would someday come, but was doing nothing about so someday would be now.

Although this is much too big of a topic to write about in one post, let me skim through the key points and share the smart stuff that helped me on the off-chance someone else may be feeling the same way and is looking for that wake-up call/guidance to jump-start their life again (because, you know, this is it, we only go once on this carousel…).

tumblr_n4ir034Mh41szgw2ro1_500

Today I’ll be tackling a difficult issue: The Body

I’ve probably complained/bitched/worried about my issues with the ol’ carcass on a number of occasions.

Long story short, after countless attempts to get that perfect body, I was none the slimmer, none the wiser and hell bummed.

Diets? I have tried them all.

Who cares you feel faint all the time, at least you’ll pass out in a cute dress, right?

large

I had reached the point where I was actually researching gastric surgery.

Sure, maybe that would be a way out if it wasn’t for the fact that no sane doctor would ever operate on someone whose BMI wasn’t even in the “obese” category (not to worry, I had a cunning plan- I’d just plump myself up on purpose for a few months prior to the consult, play the old “I have a bad back card” and hope for the best).

MjAxMy1iODBmM2JlNDliOTVjYWY3

In other words, I had reached a point where I wasn’t thinking clearly anymore and I had been disappointed, or worse still, had disappointed myself so many times, I lost faith in any ability to change.

I was so hellbent on focusing on my body, I completely stopped to thing about the ol’ noodle (and I don’t mean the noodles in a stir-fry).

If I’m going round in circles, doing the same thing over and over again, how the heck am I expecting different results?

feel crap – crash diet – lose weight – go back to old eating habits – gain weight – feel crap… and so on…

I realised I had spent so much time focusing on the results (and it’s hard not to when they are glaring at your from your mirror reflection), but I had never wondered why.

0cf4afad6d27d086387cee6f13be6974

I must admit I was quite fortunate- reading up on healthy nutrition has been a pastime of mine for a while, but I had never really implemented what I knew and here’s why:

I was a compulsive overeater.

Yup, I found it a head scratcher when Milka introduced a chocolate wrapper that you could seal up again.

Seriously? Who opens a bar of chocolate, eats a few pieces and leaves the rest for another day?

I’d eat little all day, functioning on coffee and cigarets, but once the evening feast began it wouldn’t stop till it was time for bed.

When you wake up and you are still digesting food, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

 1344343028768_8338350

Everything I ate was processed, came in a plastic wrapper, box or can and the living daylights processed out of it, not to mention a ton of crap added.

Overweight and malnourished/starved because you’re filling yourself up on empty crap is an interesting mix.

You eat when you’re happy and celebrating, eat when you’re sad, depressed, worried, stressed, eat to fill that empty hole and chase it with more food to clog up the hole being overweight has created.

Then you actually use your dissatisfaction with your body to actually not do stuff (added bonus- you have more time to eat…).

As I type out the eating sins of the past (and the list is by no means exhaustive!) I’m sure that at least a handful of you are nodding in acknowledgement of this painful truth.

I knew if I was to make any changes in my life, I’d have to start with my relationship with my body and with food (spoiler alert- the ripples of the change have affected many many aspects of my life…).

Here’s how it all went down.

I started to confront my eating problems and this is what has worked for me:

I acknowledged that diets don’t work.

Nope, not one bit.

vegancartoon

I have had countless arguments with people who swear by the ………………. (insert diet name) diet, they lost weight last year, so they will do the same this year.

If diets worked we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune, year after year, trying new low-this, high-that diets.

If you need to come back to a diet a year later, it actually means it did not work i  any meaningful way.

Chances are a year or so on, you’ve not only gained it all back, but I’m guessing that boomerang weight actually brought along a few additional kilogram buddies (hey the more the merrier, right?).

1346340459390_5980057

What works is a complete permanent shift in your eating habits.

All of the slim people I spoke to gave similar answers to me bugging them about *insert whiny voice* whyyyyyy are you skinny and I’m not :

they eat breakfast

they eat when they are hungry

they stop when they are full

(btw, most didn’t even realise that what they were eating was considered a healthy clean balanced diet- they just saw it as food that fills the belly)

None of those points had ever occurred to me.

I started with tackling the problem of breakfast, which I have never eaten before, apart from those buffets in fancy hotels which I would hit with a vengeance…

I started out by taking vegetable juices to work with me and sipping them throughout my classes.

Belly full, vitamin/mineral intake- check!, problem of no time to sit and eat- solved!

I’ve learned that hen to eat is important, but what to eat is key.

9781400069804_custom-dbb16a744f720dce63f086565a9fe6417893bad2-s6-c30

If you’re reliant on processed food, let me just urge you to read the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.

I’ll be writing more about this book in a post for my April 52 Books in 52 Weeks post, but I am obligating everyone to pick it up.

This book made me furious, both at the audacity of food manufacturers, but also at my own stupidity.

Although I had already switched to a diet of 80% veggies and fruit by the time I read this, it helped me eliminate any cravings for things like Diet Coke.

See, we are hooked, we are processed food junkies and about 90% of the stuff in the supermarket was carefully designed that way.

No strong will, no inner strength? Bummed you let yourself down again?

Wrong and WRONG!

“Food” on offer is created to make you want more, keep crawling back (and loathe yourself in the process).

Until you wean yourself off the crap food corporations have addicted you too (hello sugar, salt and fat, my old friends), you are powerless to ever experience a healthy relationship with food and your body.

    veg-15

Nowadays when I go shopping I have a clear list of what meals I’m shopping for, I start with the tea aisle and stock up on herbal ones, then I go to the nut/seed aisle, a quick stop at the diary and fish section and then the bulk in the fruit and vegetable part (OK, I usually stop off at the clothes section, my excuse- I’m not going to work in baggy jeans!).

You won’t see me in any other food aisle because those big wig food manufacturers are not going to rope me in.

I’ve identified my food triggers and have worked around them.

I’ve eliminated rice, pasta and grains as they trigger overeating, I buy fish/salad mixes that are a perfect serving for 2 so I don’t make the portions too big, when eating I stop every couple of mouthfuls to let my brain assess whether I’m full, I eat meals at specific times and I try not to skip any.

It really is so easy that I’m kicking myself for not getting my head straight years ago (but also feel fortunate I didn’t learn all of this 10 years from now).

toon207

I make sure to eat a balanced meal- fish, an avocado, nuts/seeds, eggs at least once a week.

I experiment with veggies and fruit that I would never have tried before, stay clear of anything processed, avoid situations which can trigger me.

For those who suffer from cravings, I came across a very good method to free you from them, but make sure you do the following exercise a number of times:

Close your eyes and imagine your guilty pleasure, say chocolate.

How it feels, melts in your mouth, coats the tongue.

Then press your thumb and little finger as you….

 imagine that the chocolate had melted and strands of hair had melted in it.

Seriously, there’s hair in the chocolate stuck in the chocolate and with each mouthful of chocolate you keep putting hair, nice long strands of blonde hair, into your mouth.

(I’m gagging as I type…)

The next time you get a craving for chocolate, just press your thumb and finger and you should automatically recollect this nasty sensation (it works, I’m programmed for hair-filled crisps, redhead and onion flavored, anyone?).

toon-1728

OK, enough with the nasty…

Some of you will be wanting to know the bottom line, the numbers, statistics, feasible results (and I’m much too vain not to mention them).

Before I do I just want to underline again that this is not a so-called “diet”, this is a complete permanent overhaul, so weight loss has been a side-effect to the journey I’m on which consisted of ridding myself of food addiction, of nourishing my poor starved body, boosting my energy so I go out, do more, experience a fuller life.

Since I eliminated processed food I’ve dropped 13 kg but just like you can never watch a kettle boil, this has very much happened in the process of other things.

I have about 4 kg to go to the weight I would ordinarily boomerang from (and, conveniently, the size where all my skinny clothes fit).

The plan is this: I shall still monitor my weight to reach that benchmark, once I do I will let my body decide which weight is the healthiest for me (for a change).

If it wants to go lower- great, if not I will be more than content!

bbdd23b0ba512c33f9b4b61aa0cda2e9

Getting into those jeans isn’t the only benefit of eating a non-processed diet.

I also have energy to spare (yes, for those who know me in RL, I can chitchat for hours more now without even breaking a sweat…).

I’ve felt so good about myself that I’ve actually done something I never thought possible.

See, AgzyM doesn’t run.

She’s freakishly strong and I’ve always known there’s an athlete in me even if it was somewhat weighed down, but running? You must be joking!

Well, the jokes on me as I’ve engaged on a 5k training to get me in even better shape.

zombiesrun

Yes, I have allowed the madness of Zombies, Run to wash over me and I am helping the settlement of Abel out while they try to survive the zombie invasion in the post-apocalyptic world.

Hell, I AM Runner 5!

This 5k app is the absolute bee’s (running) knees and it’s perfect for anyone who has never run before.

Seriously, you can’t run for 15 seconds (week one)? Have you ever tried?

It’s gotten MagzyM and I so motivated that we get up at 5.30 am to do the run three times a week.

On Friday I felt like Wonder Woman as I strolled in to work- on top of the standard training I ran 10 minutes non stop.

(disclaimer for those who run marathons, I know it’s not a big deal, but for me this was huuuuuuge!).

And let me tell you, this is just the tip of the AgzyM iceberg!

Changing the way I eat was just the first habit that I changed, but one that allowed me to wake up,  get back control, to gain the strength and courage to do other things, to start dreaming again.

diet140

OK, I think I have bored you enough, but for those who are on their own journey and would be interested in watching/reading more, here’s a tiny list of things that may help you make changes:

Food Matters by Mark Bittman

The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel (requires a bit of an open mind)

Watch Forks Over Knives HERE

Food Inc

The Weight of the Nation

There’s another rambling coming along soon, so run, hide, save yourselves!!!

 

About AgzyM

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons". A fangirl through and through, anglophile, and admirer of beauty whereever I can find it. I love books and art, and spend too much time admiring Richard Armitage and other amazing British actors.

23 responses »

  1. In moments like this I wish my English was better and could express myself properly. Well, facing the impossibility of it, I will just congratulate you on succeding in changing habits you knew weren’t good for you and, of course, in creating new ones and also a new philosophy of life!!!!!!😉
    Regarding diets, believe me, I also tried many of them, I concluded that they are extremely personal as our food habits are and changing habits is extremely difficult. So finding a diet that works for you is the first step. Then, you have to learn how to deal with your compulsion. Generally, you have to learn to deal with your problems (a huge number of them) in a different way instead of “eating” them!! I did some therapy that helped me a lot. Exercising certainly helps a lot. I also tried many ones and today I run three times a week and practice Pilates twice. I’m very happy with myself as well.

    Reply
    • Very true, what you eat should be catered to what your body needs. What is more important, it needs to all start with your head. Reaching to root of your bad food habits isn’t easy, it may not be fun, but until you tackle what prompts you, a few months after you lose the weight, it’ll all come back as you slip into your new habits.
      And a huge yes to exercise, although specialists now believe that what you eat is responsible in the most part for your weight. Even if you exercise each day, it can all be undone by a quick visit to a fast food restaurant.

      Reply
  2. Excellent! Good for you! Sometimes you have to really think things through. Quick fixes never solve the real problem. I discovered for myself that I didn’t want to spend too much energy, stress, or thought on the ‘right’ way to eat. (You’d go crazy trying. There are so many theories and plans out there professing to be “The Way” – it’s like a religion!) Eat in moderation and try to eat mostly healthy is what I do and I’ve stayed the same size for 20 years. Ok, I’ve gotten a little skinnier. My wedding dress is probably a little too big now. Yes, I eat breakfast. No, it’s not at the coffee shop.
    More recently, I’ve become more interested in significantly reducing my purchases of meat, and, to a lesser extent, of not consuming too much dairy.
    I’ve read Food Matters and have heard of Forks over Knives. But I’ve stumbled across another book that really opened my eyes to the damage caused to the planet by the typical American meat and dairy diet. Did you know that the number one thing you can do to be ‘green’ is to stop eating meat? It’s more important than your daily commute footprint.
    The book I’m reading is called “Meatonomics”: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meatonomics-Economics-Consume-Much–Smarter-ebook/dp/B00CUUEY7I/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398526400&sr=1-1-spell&keywords=meatanomics

    Reply
    • As I haven’t eaten meat for over 5 years, I try not to push meat-eaters too hard. I do eat fish and dairy as cutting those out resulted in hair loss and brittle nails, not to mention I was starving living on plants only.
      The thing is Pole are meat-eaters in a way I can’t even begin to explain. Whenever I tell someone that I don’t, they either look at me with shock, horror or get very upset for some reason. I usually dish out the “meat production is one of the most damaging things we can do for the environment” but then people are so removed from the process as they purchase a steak in the supermarket, they don’t want to think about where it’s from and how it was created. I like the idea of “weekday vegetarians” where you eat meat only at the weekends as a treat and you restrain from adding it to your diet on weekdays.
      Here’s a TED Talk clip on the topic:

      Reply
      • LOL, the central European “meat” thing. So many times I’d say, I don’t eat pork, is there pork in this, and then I’d get it and there would clearly be pork in it, but somehow in the minds of Germans pork broth with miniscule strands of meat is not actual pork. ??

        Reply
  3. Good for you for making the changes you want to make. To me that’s what’s key. I agree there are plenty of things in the modern diet that are harmful, but really, it all starts from knowing what you want and putting yourself in a place where you are good to pursue your goals. I’m impressed!

    Reply
    • Thanks🙂 Yes, mapping out where you want to be, plan for the journey and actually take the first step out the door. That’s been my guiding thought and it’s guided me out the door at 5.30 am to go running on a number of occasions.

      Reply
  4. ” they stop when they are full”….what does it mean actually?😉

    Reply
    • I know? Who ever thought of such a thing? NOT the Polish way! You eat till it’s all gone (“przecież się nie zmarnuje…”) and you NEVER say no to seconds… or thirds… you wouldn’t want to offend your host!😉

      Reply
  5. Great post, Agzy. I think the Long-Suffering Husband and I were saved from what you have gone through because we became vegetarians more than 20 years ago. The side effects were that we stopped going to fast food places, started cooking our own food, and investigated lots of new techniques and ingredients. We do eat some processed foods and plenty of carbs, but we stick to that outer rim of the grocery store as much as possible: fresh, whole foods. You are 100% right that diets are a useless trap. It has to be permanent changes in habits. Good luck with your new way of life! I think you’ll find that it makes you happier and healthier and more beautiful than any diet ever could.

    Reply
    • You got it in one- the moment you stop eating meat there really is no point eating fast food. Fries without a burger seems wrong, so you skip it and go for something else.
      Here’s to permanent changes for the better, with food and anything else in our lives that could use a bit of tinkering with!🙂

      Reply
      • Indeed. And I want to put in a good word for breakfast too. A day without OJ is a day without sunshine! I’m probably quoting (ugh) Anita Bryant there, but I was raised in Florida…

        Reply
  6. Allalbavincero

    Hats off to you! I think these are insights you simply can’t learn from hearing or reading about them; you have to experience them, and it’s great that you’ve reached that point! Two months ago, I got to know a very different side of myself. And for maybe the first time in my life, I really enjoyed cooking for myself. Chopping vegetables, putting something together, experimenting with herbs, … So I am on a different, yet somewhat related journey, but still at the beginning of it.

    Reply
    • I think rediscovering the joy of cooking is a beautiful journey to be on. It’s so easy to forget what it’s like to look and taste real food once your taste buds are used to the processed stuff. My grandmother used to make her own past (out of necessity, communism sure brought out the creativity in folks) and pretty much everything from scratch. I regret never learning from her and those recepies are most probably lost, but I hope that my new eating habits will start new traditions🙂

      Reply
      • Allalbavincero

        It’s two and a half months later, and I’m running. Thanks to you. I still can’t quite believe it. I’ve NEVER run in my life. There were many people who tried to get me to run, with many different approaches, but no-one succeeded. I hated running.
        And then you mentioned Zombies, Run.
        I don’t know what I was thinking or if I was thinking anything at all when I bought the app. I immediately liked it. And to my utter surprise, it did work. My body began to change, to adapt itself to the challenges. I didn’t even know I was able to run for three minutes, and now I’m running for 12 minutes straight and there are only two trainings left until the 5K run. I’m still not entirely convinced I can do that, but so far I could trust Dr. Myers and Sam not to demand too much of me, so I try to be relaxed about it.😉
        There’s so much I suddenly like about running, about being outside, about challenging myself physically, and all this combined with this fabulous game. To misquote Gandalf: “You have changed, and entirely for the better, Allalbavincero.”
        Thank you so much for mentioning Zombies, Run!

        Reply
  7. Good for you Agzy, and well done for a great post as well (some of the cartoons are just fabulous). I’ve sort of made the same journey as you (i.e. stopped trying to diet and instead changed the way that I eat), kicked into it after I was diagnosed with diabetes. That meant I have to give up carbs, basically. Which also means giving up almost anything processed because it’s stuffed full of sugar. Starting to read food labels was a real shock, I can tell you.

    And it works, and I found that I stopped craving the sugary stuff (I always had a real sweet tooth), and I lost lots of weight, and everything was lovely.

    And then I gave up smoking. Something in my head has broken as a result and although in general I’m still eating healthily, I’m also hitting the chocolate. OK, at least it’s not JUST chocolate, there’s lots of protein & veg too, but I have put weight back on, something I swore I wasn’t going to do again. I’m actually thinking about seeing a hypnotist to get my head back in the right place again!

    Anyway thanks again for a great, thought provoking read (I really might try the chocolate and hair exercise!) and hope it all keeps going really well for you!🙂

    Reply
    • I can understand how giving up smoking could trigger a need for chocolate- I guess we feel like there’s a limited amount of stuff we can juggle at once and I guess we just drop a ball every now and again. You are doing great and, let’s be honest, you’d have to really hit the chocolate for it to be as damaging as a sneaky ciggy.
      BTW, I’ve been listening to types of meditation and mini hypnosis as I fall asleep. I don’t know if it works, but it makes me feel better and it certainly doesn’t do harm. Maybe you could try Paul McKenna’s Craving Buster.

      Reply
  8. Hmm, some hypnosis as I fall asleep sounds like quite a good idea. I did have a Paul McKenna CD from some years bad k but I gave it away😦

    Reply
  9. First of all – congratulations on managing to change your way of eating – and living. You sound really certain that it’s a permanent change, and of that I am a little bit envious.
    I think it’s a great idea to first prove yourself that you can reach your target weight and then just let it be.

    Oh, I wish this post didn’t sound sound so familiar to me, but it does:/
    Eating/dieting/exercising is probably the most triggering topic for me, even though I’m in therapy for over a year now – mainly due to my ED (mixed type, really) – with which I’ve been dealing for over 10 years now.
    I’ve had better and worse times; i’ve done starving, binging&purging, healthy diets, healthy lifestyles, fitness phases and so on – only to fall into another ‘dark time’ and gain weight again. I’m really glad that I finally decided to reach for proffesional help, because it, quite obviously, turned out that the eating/weight issues are just a manifestation of something entirely different. Thankfully, dealing with those underlying problems helped also with my abnormal eating habits, but I am unfortunately sure that I am still rather far away from having a healthy way of thinking about food. Anyway, I am fighting and I hope that some day I’ll manage to eat healthy, and stop thinking about it so much.
    I’m planning to check out the resources you’ve linked here🙂

    Keep up the good work🙂

    Reply

Have Your Say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: