Happy, but nothing to do with Pharrell

Hi!

Health and mood are funny things.

I don’t know what it is, but for the last couple of weeks I have been in an incredibly good mood. I am cheerful all the time (seriously, I am). It’s not that I am not usually happy, I am usually in a good mood. But, I have my ups and downs. And when I’m down I have my binges and etc, I’ve talked about that before so won’t go into it again. And I also have days where I struggle with motivation and procrastination.

I don’t know what’s with me lately but I’m feeling very positive, energetic and happy.

Nothing much has changed. I have had a holiday recently so that could have put pep in my step (sorry that was corny, I don’t usually use the term ‘pep’).

So just to analyse what I have been doing differently over the past few weeks since my holiday:

  • I’ve been trying to get more out of my days, particularly now that it’s winter and the days are shorter (reminder I live in Australia) so I have been starting work earlier so that I can finish earlier. Luckily I have that flexibility. It means that I get some daylight at the end of the day rather than getting home in the dark, usually that gets me down towards the end of winter. I’m doing it mostly for my dog, so I can take him for a walk at the end of the day.
  • Because I’m starting early I’m also trying to make sure I get enough sleep so that I can get up earlier. I’m naturally a night person so on weekends and holidays I stay up later and get up later. But also the older I get the earlier I get up in the morning. How clichéd, haha.
  • I haven’t been stressing so much about diet, weight, blah. I should be. I probably put on a kilo or two over my holiday plus Easter. But I’m just not. I’m eating healthy, most of the time, but I’m also not stressing about eating perfectly. It’s not possible for me, I get too obsessive then I crave things and then the bad binge cycle starts. If I want something, I eat it. Then I make up for it.

Reflecting on this, I guess it’s the combination of being stress-free because of my holiday, feeling well rested and not having anxiety over weight and diet, that has resulted in me feeling good.

I am going to embrace this feeling of wellbeing and happiness! Bring it on, if only every day could be like this!

It’s been awhile, trying to get back into the swing of it

This will just be a short update.

I’ve been away on holidays and although I’ve been back for a while it’s been hard getting back into my routine. In the couple of weeks before I left the slow carb thing was going well. But I couldn’t maintain it while on holiday and on the move. So I put it on hold with the intent of going back to it as soon as I got back. But a few weeks later and I still haven’t.

And Easter. The dreaded Easter. Too much chocolate and no willpower to say no. I eat it straight away!

If I was an alcoholic people wouldn’t buy me bottles of wine! So frustrating! But how do you say no to people that are trying to do something nice. They don’t know what’s going on in my head.

Although I have eaten so much chocolate over the last week or so, it has almost run out thank goodness. So my goal for this weekend is to get back onto the wagon, not worry about the past and just move forward. Return to my routine, stock up the pantry and fridge with good, healthy food (which I really miss).

Celebrating my wins!

Win #1 19 days of eating no added sugar…no chocolates, candies or baddies!

Win #2 I’m 2 kilos down and feeling good

Win #3 The less added sugar I have, the less I seem to want it. Some very minor, “I could go some chocolate about now”, but not too bad in the scheme of things

Win #4 I can’t even remember the last time I binged, or thought about bingeing. It was probably around Christmas when people gave me so much chocolate.

Win #5 My skin is really clear at the moment. I guess it’s the Slow Carb Diet. But for the last five or so days, I’ve eaten no nasties at all. No dairy and no wheat. I usually have a couple of small pimples along my jawline, I’ve read that they are hormonal pimples, and they are totally gone. I wonder if it’s the dairy or the wheat.

Quick update on going Slow

Today is my third day on the Slow Carb D*&^, here’s a quick update on how I’m going:

I weighed myself this morning and I’m a kilo down from 2 days ago. I know I know what the response will be – in 2 days weight can fluctuate in a big way. But, for me, fluctuations only go up. Then they come back down to what I’m always at. That’s it. They never, ever go down and them come up. So a kilo down is a big thing for me.

I’m finding the protein at every meal a bit of a challenge. I’m not used to eating this much meat.

Since I’ve started here’s what I’ve been eating:

Day 1:

Roast chicken, salad and red kidney beans (I started at dinner)

Day 2:

2 small egg and vegetable muffins with red kidney beans

Roast chicken, salad and red kidney beans

Afternoon snack: Can tuna and beans, handful of snowpeas

Steak, salad and red kidney beans

Evening snack: 1 small egg and vegetable muffin

Day 3:

2 small egg and vegetable muffins, with lentils

(Note: I made a batch of egg and vegetable muffins in advance for breakfasts)

I had the snacks because I was hungry a few hours after my meal, but the eating plan advises to have 4 meals a day (a small lunch late afternoon).

Past the halfway mark!

I’ve just passed two weeks with no added sugar.

I’m feeling so proud of myself because I am a self-proclaimed chocolate addict. And I can’t believe how many things have sugar in them. Some are obvious – condiments and the like, others like canned salmon are not obvious! I’m feeling very positive about the next couple of weeks and I know that I can get through.

As an aside, it’s surprising how many people like to point out obvious things to create a negative spin. I’ve probably done it in the past, but my goodness I am so aware of it now. I have had so many people say “fruit has sugar”, “alcohol has sugar”, “carrots have sugar”. I KNOW! Everything has sugar! But it’s natural sugar. I am cutting out added sugar, which I have said over and over.

Sigh.

Going back to the point of this entry though, I wanted to share that I was a little frustrated that I hadn’t lost more weight.

But I need to remind myself that:

  • I eat lots of nuts, in fact too many I think
  • I wasn’t really “watching” my diet, I just tried to eat normally which is usually healthy

So, I hate to be one of those people (actually I don’t really know who those people are) that try different diets all the time. But I was listening to a podcast the other day and Tim Ferriss was interviewed and talked about his Slow Carb Diet.

Without going on about the interview, I thought it sounded good, healthy and like something I could stick to. Even though I know what is good for me, I feel like I can rationalise anything!

In my head:

  • I can eat nuts, nuts are healthy and contain good fats
  • I can eat this dark chocolate (before the no sugar thing) it has lots of antioxidants
  • I can have a bit of this, because it will prevent a binge later if I have a small amount now

And the list goes on.

So the basics of the Slow Carb Diet are:

  1. Avoid white carbs
  2. Eat the same meals over and over (protein source, legumes and vegetables)
  3. Don’t drink calories
  4. Don’t eat fruit
  5. Take one ‘cheat’ day off per week

1 to 4 are followed for 6 days, and there are no rules for number 5. Although there are some guidelines like eating a healthy breakfast, increasing exercise and only buying enough food for the one day so cheat foods are not around the house for the rest of the week.

It is very early days; I only started last night for dinner and had breakfast this morning following the eating plan (let’s not use that awful D-word). After dinner, I thought there is no way this is going to keep me full, but it did. I would usually have a snack later in the night too, but I didn’t last night and sometimes if I have had a light or early dinner I’ll wake up hungry. But this morning I was fine.

Wish me luck xxx

Has it really been this long?

Wow, it’s been a really really long time since I last posted.

First of all, thank goodness Christmas is done and dusted. I am not a Christmas hater! There are lots of things I love about that time of the year: catching up with family and friends, end of year celebrations, summer sales and all that glorious food.

But there are also things I hate, um all that glorious food! Plus people giving me boxes of chocolate as presents!  Ahhh! I wish I had the courage to give them back! But I don’t, I take them and eat them and regret them. I can never even seem to throw them out. Anyway, I received maybe 2 or 3 boxes of chocolate, luckily not they were not that big.

I can’t believe it’s February already. I started a new job at the start of the year so the time has flown as I’ve been trying to get my head around everything.

But, I feel like I’m kind of getting back on track with health stuff. I put on the token and expected 2 kilos over Christmas. I think I’m down almost one. But today is day four of FebFast and I’ve given up sugar for the month. Yep, that crazy white stuff. I had been thinking of doing it for awhile, then a friend started a FF team, so I joined. The guidelines of FF are no refined sugar, but I’m extending it to no artificial sweetener (which I don’t eat anyway) and no sugar replacements like stevia, honey or syrup of any kind. What’s the point in giving up sugar when I can still buy the most amazing vegan chocolate! I know I’ve made it a bit harder for myself, but I feel accountable because I’m doing FF with friends. And I think it’s been good going cold turkey.

I have survived four days without chocolate. I think it was a blessing that it started on the weekend, it seemed to be easier then than Monday at work. When I got to that awful 3pm time, I started thinking about hot chocolate and that jar of chocolates on someone’s desk was calling me! But I didn’t succumb, I survived!

It’s interesting; I think I am actually thinking about food less. I love food, everything about it: buying it, preparing it and especially eating it. But today, for dinner I had a giant green smoothie! It was delish and filling.

A while back my naturopath told me that my thyroid was in the lower end of normal, and having read a lot of Sarah Wilson’s blog, she talks about how her thyroid condition improved when she gave up sugar. It took awhile, and she has hashimoto’s which is more severe than me, but I’m hoping I get good results too. I find it incredibly hard to lose weight so theoretically if my thyroid is working better, I should lose weight more easily.

Been busy, but I’m back

Wow, it’s been ages since my last post.

The time has flown; it’s been a busy few weeks. I can’t believe we’re so close to Christmas.

The last month has been good. I’ve had some really fun events with family and friends. And my work is going really well.

But that’s not really what I wanted to write about.

I wanted to write about health and bingeing and all the other things I always focus on. The bingeing has been okay, not fantastic but certainly not that bad. I’ve started to think about my bingeing habits as low level and high level. I define high level as that totally out of control, will eat anything around teamed with extreme negative thoughts. Even though it is about it being a large amount of food, it’s more about how out of control I feel.

I haven’t had any high level binges in more than a month. That’s a good thing and I’m proud of myself for that.

But my low level bingeing is still there. Maybe some people would say that I’m not bingeing that I’m just overeating. But I know that it’s bingeing. Sometimes it’s like I don’t think about what I’m doing. These binges typically go the same way. I’m usually at the supermarket, I might be walking around with a basket or a trolley and I go down the confectionary or snack aisle and mindlessly through a couple of things in the trolley. I still look at what I throw in. I check out what is on sale. But I never stop and think (like I always say I will). I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I know that I do the thing that I should never do – go shopping when I’m hungry. But that’s not always the reason.

I always tell myself that that will be the last time. But it’s not. I do it a couple of times a week.

So these low level binges then end up with me at home, sometimes wanting the binge food and sometimes not. But I already have it at home so I eat it. Sometimes I will polish off a large packet of chips, or a chocolate block (usually the Lindt ones, so they are big, but actually only a bit bigger than a Cadbury individual chocolate block….man, I sound like I am justifying this).

I don’t usually finish things off in one go. But I always start on the food as soon as I get home, but after thinking why did I even buy this stuff?

I get so frustrated in myself.

I’ve been doing this about once a week, sometimes twice a week.

It’s not enough to have caused me to put on weight. Yet. Because I still eat really healthy food for most of the time. But it has made it impossible to lose weight.

I’ve also been struggling with some negative thoughts – maybe it’s the holiday season.

Where is my mind

The last few days since my last post have been funny kinds of days.

I’ve been pretty busy, and had lots to occupy my mind.

In my last post, 4 days ago, I talked about a binge. I haven’t binged since, but I have been overeating. A bit too much snacking, including getting into the lolly jar at work. Usually I avoid it because it brings back bad habits; I easily slip into the mid-afternoon sugar-craving urge. If I give in and have chocolate or lollies, I will usually crave the same a few hours later. That happened today. It wasn’t a typical binge, but I bought chocolate and ate it all, and it was too much for one sitting.

So I’ve been thinking about what’s been happening over the last few days to cause my motivation to dip. I feel like I’m kind of distracted from my health goals, which is eating healthy and not bingeing.

I haven’t been weighing myself. Previously, I’ve said that I shouldn’t weigh myself but since I’ve stopped I’ve binged and haven’t been eating my usual healthy foods. Not sure if there is a correlation there. On the one hand, maybe weighing myself keeps me accountable and is a daily reminder of my weight loss goals. But on the other hand it wasn’t great for my confidence.

Also, feeling so distracted has resulted in me eating mindlessly. I just eat without thinking, and before I know it I’m going back for seconds. The same with when I go food shopping, I just throw things in the basket. Today, I just wanted chocolate and just threw it in, it wasn’t a conscious thought. I didn’t give myself the time to process if that’s what I really wanted, and if there was a healthier alternative that I would be happy with.

Well, today’s lesson is clear, slow down and be mindful. Reflect and think about what I’m doing before I actually do it.

Here’s a very fitting song for how I’m feeling by the wonderful Pixies.

Major stuff up today

The day started off okay. I went out for lunch with friends, had a couple of glasses of wine. Then I stopped at the shops on my way home. I should have just gone straight home, there was nothing I needed to get that couldn’t wait.

I don’t know what came over me. I kept on putting item after item in my shopping basket. Food that I didn’t need: chips, popcorn, chocolate and biscuits.

When I got home I picked at everything, but I didn’t finish anything.

Initially I had this weird excitement, and then when I started eating I just didn’t want it and felt awful. But I kept on picking at it.

It didn’t go as long as some binges. I started with one item. Then would stop. Then I’d start again with the next item.

Even after the first couple of bites I realised I didn’t want it. But I didn’t stop straight away.

I still have the food sitting on my kitchen table. I’ve put it into a plastic bag. I know if I keep it in the house I risk eating it later tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to throw it in the rubbish bin outside.

I feel sick and awful.

Motivation!

Motivation is an interesting thing. My motivation is cyclical. It doesn’t matter what I am motivated about, it comes in waves: starting strong, keeping steady, and then eventually dropping off. When it’s work related I get through the slumps and make up for them when my motivation starts to peak. Sometimes I wish I could be more consistent, but usually there are external factors that spark up my motivation such as deadlines or events.

My motivation in relation to my health and struggle against binge eating is the same.

I just did some reading about the cyclical nature of motivation.

Motivation = driving state > behaviour aroused > behaviour directed towards goal.

This is an interesting theory: homeostasis, which explains the “stability of inner environment”. So when our “internal state” is not right, it motivates us to do something to fix it, once it is fixed we return to homeostasis.

I guess if I were to apply this thinking to how I have approached dieting or trying to lose weight in the past it would be:

Driving state:

I am not happy with my weight  (internal environment unstable)

Behaviour:

Dieting and exercise  (internal environment becoming stable)

Behaviour towards goal:

Dieting and exercise to lose weight (internal environment becoming even more stable)

So, even if I haven’t reached my weight loss goal my internal environment becomes more stable because I feel like I am doing something to reach my goal. Therefore I lose motivation because I am in “homeostasis”.

What is the solution?  Is there one?

Maybe the goal is too far away and my efforts need to be so long term that I eventually lose sight of the goal.

So, lesson here, make the goal:

  1. Not about weight loss because like I’ve shared previously that’s tough for me
  2. More about health and wellness and something I can control

This is easier said than done because even though when I write this blog I always say my current focus is on being healthy and getting past binge eating (which I am, I’ve been doing pretty well with it) I still weigh myself everyday and am disappointed!

I totally need to stop weighing myself, at least on a daily basis!

In my motivation research, here are some good tips for staying motivated:

1. Shift your vibe

Get rid of the negative self-talk by recognising it and squashing it! Replace it with something positive.

2. Stick with it

Recongise that motivation is cyclical and come back to it. Don’t give up!

3. Immerse yourself

Eat, sleep and breathe your goal.

4. Start small

Keep goals small and achievable.

PS – if you are reading this because your motivation is lacking, stick with it! You’ll get there!

References:

http://www.preservearticles.com/201104195558/facts-about-motivation.html

http://www.vibeshifting.com/surviving-the-slump-how-to-stay-motivated/