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.
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…).
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?).
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.
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.
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).
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?).
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!
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.
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.
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
The Weight of the Nation
There’s another rambling coming along soon, so run, hide, save yourselves!!!