Despite my best intentions, this little enterprise of mine is stumbling along erratically – rather like me – it doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. Mostly it’s sitting in a cafe drinking skinny flat whites, waiting for inspiration to hit.
There’s that old adage that creativity is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. If I’m honest, I’ve forgotten the actual proportions of the quote and I can’t be faddled to go and look it up. The point is – apparently you have to work hard to get inspired. That feels like so much popycock to me, however in the spirit of putting myself in the way of inspiration. I have opened a page on my handy dandy ‘bloggitwhileyouaredrinkingcoffee’ app and I am tapping away in a corner of a now blissfully quiet cafe.
This week I have flung off the shackles of dieting – the curse of the middle aged, meanopawsee and I am free flowing with food. It’s thrilling. It feels illicit as wrong as if I was embarking on an affair – for which I will add I have no appetite. If there is one thing perfectly lovely in CHG land it is my utterly sumptuous lovely love – he shall be known as P. So here I am having a love affair with food.
I have become so bored with counting, tracking, weighing, planning, wondering, worrying, gnashing and wailing that I have called a very loud and final STOP! To the lot of it. I am returning to first principles and I have decided to trust my own instincts with food.
People who don’t diet and most chaps will wonder what the big deal is. Anyone who battles daily with the scales will be a bit horrified and a teeny bit turned on by my assertion that I am giving it all up to rediscover what I really like and want out of eating. Madness.
Well yes it is! All the obsession with food is completely bonkers. Masterchef, Come Dine With Me, TV chefs, rock star chefs, Fat the Fight of My Life, programmes that make a competition out of getting thin – diet programmes, fad diets, 5:2, paleo – raw – raw/vegan/paleo la la la la la – I can’t hear you… it’s all going around and around in my head and I have ended up the kind of person that cannot go 30 minutes without thinking about food. Good food, bad food – what to eat, what not to eat. Try this – do that – avoid the other.
Oh bugger off!
I have decided that I am perfectly able to make decisions about food that will work for me if I just stop paying attention to anything other than my own body. Woah there Nelly! Yeah you heard me – no diets, no banned anything – no extra helpings of kale. Just me and my tummy. We got this covered.
Here’s the plan… such as it is:
1) Wait to feel hunger pangs.
Not as easy as you’d think – we so rarely allow ourselves to feel genuine hunger – it can take a few goes to properly interpret the signals. I’m still in the early stages – but I’ve noticed that my belly rumbles a lot and it isn’t always necessary to rush to the nearest food station and shovel comestibles down my neck. Who knew!
2) Drink a glass of water.
You know the drill – we are ridiculously dehydrated and so often our bodies are moaning for water rather than food. I figure if I drink a glass of water when I feel hungry then wait – I may manage the hydration and get a better fix on hunger over time. I’ll let you know – this is an experiment. I’m allowing myself to find shiz out.
3) When hungry and not before – spend some time thinking about what it is I would like to eat.
This has proved to be a bit risky – I need to work on over-riding the ‘GIMME CARBS BITCH!’ shouting that comes from my inner Carbitch – she’s called Carborella! However if I think carbs and go towards protein first – I am finding that this is a fairly good compromise. If I still want carbs after I’ve eaten the protein – then I have some.
The aim here is to let my body be my guide – I’m so used to overriding the natural signals I get while forcing myself to fit into a planned eating schedule or pointed/counted menu, that I need to practice this a bit.
I can tell you that any more than 1 cup of milky coffee – if I’m honest – and I feel sick. I have it because I’m in the cafe and I feel duty bound to have something if I’m hanging out here. So again I am allowing myself to consume based on convention rather than need. Blimey – it’s a minefield!
The idea is to choose food that I am truly hungry for – letting my body be my guide. Going with my intuition and not worrying about any other consideration.
4) Re:learn the ‘satisfied’ signals from my body.
This one is proving to be really hard. I am trained to eat everything on my plate. So it stands to reason for now – I might start by giving myself smaller portions. Going back for more if I need to. So that I can stop when I have had enough – rather than ploughing on until I have finished my plate.
Alternatively if I want more – I find it hard to serve myself a 2nd helping – feeling greedy. This is proving a very difficult habit to break. I still eat food secretly – unobserved. As if I am not really entitled to make my own choices. In fact this behaviour strengthens my inner belief that I can’t be trusted to make good choices – look at me – hiding little extra bites of food. Bad Luli!
So I am on a mission to pay more attention to choosing, eating and finishing eating food.
Instead of wasting endless energy on planning and worrying about food – I hope to spend some focused time on tuning into my body, making good choices and savouring the food I consciously choose to eat. Without guilt or fear and without hiding.
This feels ridiculously subversive. It isn’t. People all over the world from every walk of life at every stage of their life are enjoying a perfectly healthy relationship with food. Somehow I’ve managed to journey so far from that norm that I am having to actively engage with a program of conscious eating to free myself from the tyranny of constantly thinking about food.
I’m thinking about food so I can stop thinking too much about food.
Would you believe me if I told you that right now I am definitely not hungry – and I need a glass of water?