I’m going back to basics this week and I suppose that with this I need to fess up and ‘out’ myself a little.
I’ve been struggling to stay on plan for several weeks now – and a perfect storm of personal stress and more than a little avoidance about how to deal with it all has meant that (as many may have noticed over the last month) I’ve withdrawn from writing a bit.
This isn’t something I wanted or planned to make a permanent thing but the more my ‘unbloggable’ stress piled up (I won’t write about feelings relating to things like employment because it’s not professional) the more I retreated to food.
Not writing (and therefore not being completely honest) about all this didn’t help and it became all too easy to hide from the fact that (at least by my standards) things had gotten a little out of control.
Emotions have to go somewhere right?
When you’re packing them down continually and there’s no easy way of releasing them that will resolve the underlying issues then that’s where stress, worry, sleeplessness and depression come from.
At times over the last few weeks I’ve felt elements of all of these. With the help of my partner and my friends though I now feel like I’m finally making headway.
This step in the right direction is primarily represented by a food diary.
I haven’t written one of these for a while – but the truth is that without doing so it’s all too easy to just carry on ignoring what I’m putting in my mouth and overeat.
I took steps to reduce my stress over a week ago, and while one particular thing is becoming a distant memory it’s impossible to just flick a switch and say ‘I no longer feel like overeating’ because if you care to look for one there’s always a reason.
The tendency to find yet another excuse to put food into your mouth is all too easy – so on Saturday my partner and I fist bumped and committed to going back to basics, writing everything down and sticking to Slimming World’s plan 100%.
That means if it passes our lips we make a note of it and look up the syns for everything.
At the end of the day we send each other our completed diary and discuss how it went.
This is the perfect time to do such a thing because in two short weeks we start living together.
There’s still a LOT left to do if this is going to happen.
This weekend was spent exclusively sorting things at my partner’s home, helping to pack, stack, organise or recycle her accumulated memories and possessions.
It can be both physically and emotionally draining – and I know from my own efforts to streamline my existence that you occasionally unearth things you’d forgotten about or purposefully buried.
It’s definitely something that’s easier to do together – but since we live quite a distance away from each other that’s not always possible.
As soon as I got home yesterday and stood in the quiet of my hallway a mild panic began to set in.
How on Earth would I make enough space for all of the things that I’d just helped to put in boxes elsewhere?
Where would it all go?
I felt instantly hungry.
Thankfully I also needed to go shopping otherwise this could have been a really tricky moment. My fridge was almost completely empty.
I resolved to go for a swim first and try to relax – which helped when I reached Aldi and by the time I had a trolly in my hands I was in a much better head space.
I didn’t buy any treats because if they’re not in the house then I can’t eat them.
Once I got home (after packing my shopping away) I had a nice healthy lunch that consisted of a baked potato with cottage cheese and piri piri chicken pieces (with salad) and sat down watching the birds in my garden as I ate.
One of the things I can say is my food lately has been nice and colourful.
I’ve been food optimising whenever I can and having epic ratios of speed food.
One thing that I’ve always said to people when I talked as MOTY is that I consider myself to be very lucky.
Unlike many who I’ve met at various Slimming World groups I absolutely love the taste of both fresh and cooked vegetables and I could eat carrots and lettuce until I pop.
Oddly there are a lot of people that don’t feel this way. We live in a world of processed food – and some seem to live almost entirely on carbs – yet have still managed to lose weight.
At times I wonder how they’ve managed to get as far as they have by avoiding vegetables so diligently.
Even when I’m off plan I eat huge quantities of raw vegetables – so if you told me tomorrow that I’d only be able to eat salad and fish until the end of time then I’d be a pretty content man.
I do have failings however.
My weaknesses are mostly healthy free food (and snacks) that I overdo.
Cottage cheese is great but over the last few weeks when I’ve felt at my lowest I’ve occasionally eaten six tubs in one go.
It’s the same with things like hifi or Aldi Benefit bars. They’re great in small quantities but I struggle to contain my appetite as soon as I get anywhere near them.
One bar swiftly turns into one box, and then another and another.
Occasionally I’ve found myself eating ‘healthy seed flapjacks’ from Holland and Barrett. These are delicious, nutritious – but also insanely calorific.
Fruit consumption has also been a little out of control over the last month…
You can’t exercise your way out of eating the wrong things either – and lord knows I’ve tried!
I’m an active person and I’m proud of that.
It’s had an awesome impact on my life and I can see evidence of that in my blood pressure and resting heart rate – which I tested after walking up the hill to my partner’s doctor’s surgery the other day.
My blood pressure used to be 140/77!
I’m not so happy with my overeating though but – on the plus side there are no Dominos Pizzas, no kebabs and no burgers in my life.
I’m also thankful that (after three and a half years on the wagon) there’s no booze either.
It’s been an insane 1266 days since I last had alcohol of any description!
So once I’d eaten my baked potato, watched the birds in my garden, sipped an espresso and written it all down I made a start on my dining room.
Those who have been in my house will know that for a long time this space has been an unofficial walk in wardrobe – and since it’s close to the washing machine has also been where I iron, fold and dry my things.
Its purpose is changing soon though. When my partner arrives its new intended use is a ‘day room’ where we can sit together, admire the garden and indulge in our hobbies.
In order to make this happen not only do I need to re-home my clothes to our bedroom (I have a bit of a shirt addiction and this will be a challenge…) but there needs to be enough space on our moving day elsewhere to prop up flat pack items, pile boxes and dump luggage as well as enough room to unpack and work through it all afterwards.
It’s a challenge to say the least.
Overeating and putting on weight in the meantime will not help.
Making sure I get back to basics and maintaining a healthy lifestyle however will.
This means continually sticking to my objectives, going for walks, going swimming, food optimising, getting on with the job at hand and trying to make sure that regardless of stress I’m still the man I want to be (and that my partner deserves) at the end of it all.
In the meantime I can also take the occasional moment to remember how lovely the world is – and stop to look around me when I’m out and about trying to burn away calories.
It’s got life, colour and joy in it everywhere. All you have to do is stop for a moment and pay attention…