Tag Archives: craving

Two Things Have Happened…

There’s something distinctly weird happening in my head at the moment. This probably won’t come as a big surprise to those of you who’ve raised an eyebrow here and there over the last 18 months at some of the titter and shit that has tumbled onto this very page…lets be honest, weird stuff happening in my head is not unusual in itself. But when I say weird, I mean different.

I’m used to feeling like I have to dodge bullets on a regular basis. You all know that I regard myself as a food addict, right? Dieting is a challenge for anyone, but if you have a food addiction and you’re trying to lose weight, you are locked into a constant battle. It’s a never-ending negotiation with your own head over what you’re allowed to have, when you’re allowed to have it, and most importantly how much of it is the right amount to have.

And it’s relentless because even after the decision is made I find my asshole voice coming in hard with a rear-guard action trying to re-negotiate. Let’s be honest, what is generally considered amongst normal folk to be the right amount looks to me like it wouldn’t feed a sparrow and the injustice of not having a plate that would feed a small army leaves me seething with resentment. It’s exhausting.

Of late however, it’s felt different. Calmer somehow. And I don’t know that it’s got anything to do with being in the sweet spot, I mean I was fully locked and loaded into the sweet spot when I started this diet eighteen months ago,  for the first few months I didn’t put a foot wrong in terms of eating more than my allocated food budget but the Asshole voice was in constant communication with my willpower and it was tested on an hourly basis. Now, not so much so.

The difference? I’ve more or less excluded sugar from my diet. It’s the only thing I can put my finger on, you know? And before you worry that I’m going to turn into one of these evangelistic preachy teachy kind of bloggers who tells you what to do and how to do it, I’m not, I swear. This blog hasn’t ever been about that, it’s always been more about sharing what’s going on in my head as I try and navigate the path to Skinny Town. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?

I’ve always said that for me, I can stick to my food plan providing I can have the odd treat so I don’t feel deprived. Except my odd treat was way way out of balance with the rest of my diet. I could stick to a daily points allowance, but let’s say I had 35 points to go at, I’d start with the crap and work my way back, you know?

If I count two Mars Bars at 24 points, that means I have 11 points to spend on proper food…fruit for breakfast which is free, salad for lunch which is free and then maybe chicken for supper with a mountain of vegetables which are also free, so I get that stuffed fit to bust feeling but I can still ‘relax’ and eat two Mars Bars because technically I’m not doing anything wrong, right? I stayed within points and look at this innocent face…

Except, having eaten two Mars Bars – or hob-nobs or Daim cake or whatever, it could have been anything – I’d still feel deprived, because two wasn’t three and there were more in the fridge which I wasn’t allowed to have. And having got the taste for them, often the ones in the fridge for another day wouldn’t survive the night because I’d pay forward my food budget then wake up the next day and sulk because I was going to have to live on dust for the rest of the week.

That’s all gone. I’m 61 days food sober, and I haven’t eaten chocolate, or cookies, or crisps, or anything with refined sugar in it except things like maybe low-fat salad cream which has a trace element. Nothing processed that has added sugar, just lots of fresh food. And two things have happened.

The cravings have stopped dead. I’m no longer tortured by the relentless need to eat something sweet. If I haven’t eaten one of something, I don’t crave a second or a third, and I’m no longer even bothered by the thought of it. I mean…this is me we’re talking about. The other thing is I’ve stopped seething with resentment at the fact that I’m on on this journey to begin with.

You can’t help wondering, can you? I started this whole clean eating thing as a bit of an experiment, but actually I have a feeling it’s morphed into a bit of a game changer for me…I’m just going with it, I mean why wouldn’t I? The prospect of not living the rest of my life as a slave to my drug of choice is blowing my mind 🙂

 

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Getting The Upper Hand

battle of wills

I should tell you about what happened on Friday evening…there was a monumental battle of wills between me and the Asshole voice, who was demanding chicken chow mien and prawn toast from the Chinese takeaway.

It’d definitely been a game of two halves on Friday where my eating was concerned – someone brought donuts into the office, and I’m not just talking about regular donuts, I mean these were seriously impressive donuts. I’m not a massive donut fan under normal circumstances but one look in the box and I was a convert…my fat-girl food radar went off the scale. I’d been all over my food choices up to that point, eating fruit mid-morning followed by quite a light lunch, so by the mid-afternoon snack stop there was a fairly respectable amount of food budget left to go after.

However, much as I fancied one of those bad boys, I had no way of pointing them and I worried that my best guess might be way under…they were big and sticky and chocolatey, and the only safe way to indulge would’ve been to sacrifice the next three years’ worth of points, you know? I decided they just weren’t worth it.

So instead, I opened a packet of biscuits that someone from the trading team had brought into the office, because they were only six points each. I say only six points, that’s about one sixth of my daily food budget. It’s high, for a biscuit, but I rationalised it to myself in the same way I do when I spot a handbag I can’t afford in the sales, you know? But it’s only this much, really I’m saving on what it would’ve cost me at full price, look it’s a bargain…compared to the donuts, they were a bargain.

The thing is, once I’d got the taste for them I couldn’t leave the damned things alone. I ate four, one after the other in that way where even as I was eating one I was thinking about unwrapping the next. They got me. Which didn’t leave me with a whole lot of options come suppertime.

When I got in from work, I had a poke about in the fridge and decided that my best option for dinner would be a bunch of grapes…right then. Awesome. My own fault, but I’d kind of squared it away with myself, and I was resigned to having an early night to compensate for having too much day left at the end of my points.

I wish I could’ve captured the next couple of hours on a time-lapse video to show you…it sort of went something like this:

Me, around 8pm, peckish because of a mis-spent points day with nothing left in the coffers, and not feeling the grapes at all. Boy walks in with chips and Chinese curry sauce. Smell pervades house. Boy eats up, then goes out. Smell lingers. Forced out of chair by onset of starvation to check discarded wrappers for stray chips. Find none. Need chips. Sit back down in chair, mentally run through Chinese takeaway menu, and fantasise.

Decide on chicken chow mien and prawn toast. Get out of chair and put shoes on, to go order. Take shoes off again and sit back down. Watch TV but see nothing. Prawntoastprawntoastprawntoast. Get back up and walk three times round kitchen, whilst pondering how many times around it would take to earn enough points for chicken chow mien and prawn toast. Remember exercise points are now off limits. Sit back down and sulk for five minutes.

Go back through takeaway menu in my head to find low point alternative. Don’t find one. Chicken chow mien and prawn toast it is then. No, it isn’t. Yes it is… NO! IT’S NOT.

Go back into kitchen and systematically examine contents of every cupboard looking for filling tasty alternative, containing no points. Epic fail, no such thing exists. Bite the corner off a dry Ryvita. Spit it out again. Put shoes back on and grab purse. Dog gets excited and thinks we’re going out. Dog looks confused then pissed off as shoes come off again….rinse, and repeat. 

I went to bed in the end, at about half past nine, still chuntering to myself but without a morsel of chow mien or prawn toast having passing my lips. It was a close-run battle, but you know what…the craving eventually passed as they always do.

In the moment, it feels impossible, but cravings always pass, if I can just bite down and hold the line. I woke up the next day ready to grab my food plan by the balls, and I was in control all day without a peep out of the asshole voice…just goes to show, right?

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Naughty Loves Company

naughty

So I survived yet another new-to-me class yesterday morning in the Kingdom of Pain, called Shape Attack. Walking into the building at 06h30 knowing my shape was going to be under attack for the next hour didn’t exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside but I’m definitely getting used to the scary names. In terms of managing my expectations, they work really well…I can hazard my best guess at what’s coming.

I quite like going to classes I haven’t been to before…it’s possible to go through a whole hour with hope in your heart that the next exercise is going to be a bit easier than the one that’s killing you right now, whereas in the ones I’m more familiar with all hope of that dies before I even walk through the door.

Given that the God of Pain is busy sunning his buns on holiday, a lady I haven’t met before was running the session and I must admit at first look I thought I might need to be a bit scared, I mean this girl had muscles. Not in a looks like a bloke kind of way, far from it in fact. Seriously, she was just body perfect from head to toe.

There wasn’t an inch of her that wasn’t toned or sculpted. Maybe she shot out of the womb doing bicep curls or something, because she’s clearly been at this for years. At one point she reached for the mobile phone which was driving the music, and about ten muscles popped out to have a look around…way to go to make a fat fifty year old feel fat and fifty.

She was actually lovely, in between the bits where she pretty much tried to kill me, and I survived the experience having shuffled and grunted my way through her own particular brand of torture.

So you’d think, that having greeted the day by attacking my shape for a whole hour before even hitting the shower, I’d be nicely set up for an on-track day where my eating was concerned wouldn’t you? I thought that too. I was all over it, I stopped at the supermarket on my way to work and bought prawns to have with a salad at lunchtime, and lots of fruit to get me through the day from a snacking perspective.

And it was all going really well, until mid afternoon when my friend uttered the words I fancy some chocolate…and that’s all it took.

On the outside, she got a skinny-girl response. I held up a bunch of bananas and offered her one, you know encouraging her to stick to her diet and satisfy her craving with a suitable alternative. Right on cue, the Asshole voice jumped in with FUCK OFF WITH YOUR BANANAS, I WANT CHOCOLATE TOO!! And then refused to leave me alone for the rest of the afternoon.

Since no chocolate was easily accessible (except the Mars Bar sitting on the desk next-but-one to mine, which was immediately placed under surveillance by its owner) the craving almost passed. I thought I’d dodged the bullet. All until I found myself near reception, where they actually have a box of naughties which you can plunder in exchange for a donation to charity. And my chocolate-fancying friend, who was with me started having a root through the goodies. So of course, I did too. Naughty loves company, right?

And that’s how I ended up with a slab of ‘dark chocolate cherry crunchy cake’ on my desk. Which, in the end didn’t taste of dark chocolate. Or cherries come to think of it. It wasn’t even particularly crunchy if I’m being completely honest. After the first bite I suspected it. After the second bite I was pretty sure, but it was only after I’d polished off all seventeen fucking points’ worth that I knew for certain it wasn’t actually that nice.

It’s safe to say dinner was a little bit lean last night…so much for my clean eating week. Two steps forward, one step back…muppet 🙂

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Autopsy Of A Binge

spring cleaning

When I’m not in the grip of a binge, I find it really hard to get my head around the concept that an Asshole voice inside my head has the ability to take over every thought, and for that brief moment in time completely rule the roost. I mean, I can talk about it, and even report it as fact but the truth is I’m detached when it’s not happening right now. Being in a position where I’m not the one calling the shots seems unlikely, from my current vantage point of control.

On an intellectual level I get it of course – in the same way that I understand that some people feel the need to drink their way into oblivion, and other people are driven to get high…what I can’t do, outside the moment is to call up how it feels as I lose my grip and tumble head first into a binge. I can only feel that in the moment, and I can’t comprehend it when I’m not feeling it.

Last night, it got me. Head on. I’ll tell you about it in a minute but before I do, I want to try and unpick why. I’d had a great sorting out kind of day. In some respects. What I didn’t do, was the walking I’d intended to do, nor did I make the call about joining a gym…I was too busy. I did have a chat with my boy last night as he was cooking dinner, about how I was thinking about not front-loading my blog posts for this weekend and having a couple of days off instead as I kicked back with my girls…he was horrified.

He knows how much this means to me in terms of accountability and support. He also understands that the creative outlet of writing is the anchor which has kept me in the sweet spot over the last nine months, you know? That, and the love that I get from you lot. He was worried that if I didn’t post, I’d go completely off the rails…he’s seen it, and lived through it too many times over the years. Not blogging, obviously, I’ve never done this before but if I’ve ever stepped away just for a second from whatever thing was working for me at the time, I’ve gone under the wheels and it’s pretty much been game over.

To be fair, I worry about that too…when I started this journey I said I would post every single day, and I have. One hundred and eighty thousand words so far, that’s like two whole books’ worth of words in a little less than nine months. I spend at least a couple of hours writing every day, and when I’m time poor that’s a big commitment. If I join a gym and have to find time to fit that in too, something’s going to have to give.

So that scares me anyway and his reaction reinforced my own worries you know? My boy is right…I need this outlet. I also need to join a gym and build up my stamina to honour the commitment I’ve made to do this trek because I’m not getting enough traction on my own. I have to do stuff with my mum, and I have to work a full time job and run a house…I’m a bit freaked out that I’m not going to be able to fit it all in. And after our conversation brought it all to the surface last night I watched the TV and chewed it all over in my mind.

Then I chewed a bunch of other stuff. For fuck’s sake. The extra weekly points that I’d so carefully saved for this coming weekend away…gone. The additional exercise points that I’d built up, also gone. Twenty points that I haven’t even earned yet have gone before they’ve even fucking arrived.

And in that food fug last night, which by the way was entirely sugar-related, the Asshole voice talked me into believing that I couldn’t over-flex my food budget at the weekend anyway since five of my closest friends were going to act like the chuffing diet police so I may as well get all my chocolate in whilst I had the chance, and live on dust until Sunday.

It seemed like a very plausible argument, right up until it didn’t. Then I cried, and washed the kitchen floor. I have no idea why, it wasn’t dirty and in any event my cleaning lady was coming today, but I think I just needed to scrub something, because I felt dirty.

On the up-side, talking about it has at least opened the window on why it happened. I’m not reacting well to the pressure I’m putting on myself to do it all. And I still don’t know how I’m going to pull it off if I’m honest, but in the cold light of day as I sit and survey the damage I’m fed up, but a lot less freaked out. I’m back in control. I’m okay. I’ve still got this.

So, I need to be more careful this weekend than I thought, right? We’re planning healthy food anyway, and I’ll have some fizz, but none of the edible goodies I was saving up for can feature in my weekend. And you know what, I’m okay with that…it is what it is. I’m just happy I’ve made it out of the other side and I still have my eye on the prize.

It’s all good, if a little too close for comfort 🙂

By the way, if the posts are a little sporadic over the next couple of days, bear with me…we are staying in a forest and based on past experience there’s next to no phone signal and no wi-fi!

 

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Different, And Yet The Same.

quote

I was doing a bit of mooching about on-line last night, and I think I’ve mentioned before haven’t I, about how I love the website StumbleUpon? For folk like me who are interested in stuff, but who have the attention span of a gnat, it’s perfect. There are literally squillions of soundbites of things that might end up being interesting and which you can explore further if you want to, but similarly you can just keep clicking past the things which don’t grab your attention straight away. It could have been built for me.

One of the pages that I lingered over yesterday was in the section about eating disorders, and it contained quotes from people who are living with Anorexia. In recent years I’ve actively sought to understand eating disorders in the context of my own broken relationship with food, and whilst I’ve never felt like I could relate to people who rejected food, I’ve probably got more of an understanding about this illness than I had in the past.

I’m ashamed to admit that growing up as a fat child, in a very naive way, my lack of real understanding meant I was just desperate to catch it. I mean, I didn’t want to be poorly as such, I just wanted the getting thin bit. I used to think if I could somehow catch it until I could wear a pair of hot pants, and then not have it any more, I’d look like all the hot girls I saw in magazines. I was never in any real danger you understand, because becoming anorexic would have required me to stop eating, and that was never on the cards.

I was even fascinated by some of the hard-to-look-at pictures of people who had it. Not because I wanted to look like that, but I used to look at them and think about how much those painfully thin people would be able to eat without getting called greedy. What I never understood in the days way, way before I acknowledged and separated out the Asshole voice in my head, was that they’d lost control of their perspective in the same way that I lost control of mine years later, but at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Just listen to some of the words though. They really got to me.

The word fat assumed a meaning as deadly as cancer. Getting fat was worse than losing your job, worse than being jilted at the altar, worse than living in a trailer park and growing up without shoes. You need to start watching yourself, my Mom said, before it’s too late.

I mean..wow. That’s some serious conditioning about the perils of having a body shape that doesn’t confirm to the norm. I’m sure this young girl’s mum was doing the best she could, and it sounds like she was maybe trying to correct an unhealthy eating pattern with the right intentions, but the fuck-up fairy definitely had a hand in the way that message landed.

People don’t see me. No one sees me. It’s like being fat. No one takes you seriously. You just don’t exist – you’re so big, you’re not even there.

That’s another very profound observation. I remember mentioning in a really early post that sometimes the bigger you are, the more invisible you feel. I’m quite a gregarious character when I’m in the mood to be and I’ve never been one to fade into the background, but some people just have a way of looking at you like they’re looking through you, you know?

At my heaviest I noticed that, a lot. They know you’re speaking but they obviously make some kind of snap assessment which tells them you have nothing to say that they might be remotely interested in, so whatever you say is just white noise. You’re not heard.

You will be tempted quite frequently, and you will have to choose whether you will enjoy your self hugely in the twenty minutes or so that you will be consuming the excess calories, or whether you will dislike yourself cordially for two or three days, for your lack of willpower.

That’s a bit of a leveller, isn’t it? That’s not just anorexia…anyone who’s ever been driven by an urge to use food for all the wrong reasons would identify with that, me included.

What I find difficult to process, is that some of the broken thinking is the same, and yet. If you’re starving yourself half to death and you’re diagnosed with Anorexia, you’re regarded as sick and there’s help, and protocols, and understanding. It’s an illness.

If you’re overeating to the point where your own body is consuming you bit by bit, the vast majority of folk would just write you off as being really fat. Get over yourself, stop eating all the pies, like it’s that simple.

That feels a bit harsh, to be fair. What do you think?

 

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