Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 9 and 10)

To recap:

  • last fortnight – I changed my solid meal a day to lunchtime instead of dinner (with mixed results) and enrolled in a kettlebell class!

This fortnight was intense; my mother had major surgery and I started a new job, so I kept my goals very modest.

New things I tried:

  • New teas to help with cutting back on my coffee intake (Cafe Latte and Mint Slice – yes those really are tea flavours!)
  • Enrolled in a ladies’ golf class (it’s something I’ve always wanted to do!)

Now that I’ve been doing the single solid meal a day for several weeks, I’m starting to see some consistent fat loss results. At roughly 0.5kgs (1.1 pounds) a week, it’s slow progress – but it’s a steady and sustainable rate that doesn’t require too much sacrifice on my part.

This fortnight my coffee intake was a bit too high, as I had loads of meet-and-greet discussions with people in my new job, so I ended going out for coffee rather a lot!

The kettlebell classes are up-and running, and are loads of fun – and very challenging!

Here’s my progress summary this fortnight:
___________________

# WEEKS 9 and 10

Approach:
In building upon my progress so far, this fortnight, I:

  1. Continued to only eat one solid meal per day
  2. Added another activity to my weekly schedule (a weekly golf class)

Results:

  • Mood/energy/sleep quality: AWFUL! The city I live in suffered a bit of a heat-wave, so it’s been very difficult to sleep.
  • Physical ailments: I felt pretty tired this fortnight, though that could well be due to all the bad weather and new job stress
  • Weight loss: 1 kg (2.2 pounds)

[See also: Weeks 7 and 8]

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Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 7 and 8)

To recap:

  • last fortnight – I replaced another meal each day with juicing and tried a few new healthy snack ideas (organic cocoa with xylitol was particularly amazing! Sure beats high-sugar hot chocolate!).

This fortnight  I changed my solid meal a day to lunchtime instead of dinner, with mixed results.

Having made the tough psychological adjustment down to one meal last fortnight, this time around, I focused on really listening to what my body was craving – and found that over all, my meals are getting smaller and healthier – but not without a few bumps-in-the-road…

New things I tried:

  • I got myself organised and went to the local farmers’ markets – what a revolution! The biggest, juiciest, healthiest options available! AMAZING quality all-organic food – and so much cheaper than the supermarkets!
  • Chia seeds! What a find! They’re deliciously crunchy on salads and make a wonderful addition to juices! They expand nicely in the tummy, giving a lovely satiated ‘full’ feeling, which makes them an ideal addition to meal-replacement juices, though you must add them at the last moment just before you drink the juice, otherwise it thickens up too much and becomes gluggy and undrinkable!
  • I also added pro-biotics to aid digestion (no point eating/drinking all this good stuff if my body can’t digest/adsorb it properly, right?); though I shall have to remember to only have them when I’m not having a hot drink! A friend advised me to have them last thing at night to allow plenty of time for them to become established in the gut. Sounds like good advice, so I’m trying to adopt that whenever I remember.

Week 7 was a dream – I wasn’t very hungry at all and was only craving healthy foods. I started to rejoice at my progress! I lost 1.5kg (3.3 pounds)!

But then in Week 8… well, things got a little messy! I got the ‘flu, which meant I was too exhausted to do all the shopping, food-prep and cleaning up for the juicing. When I stopped juicing, the sugar/caffeine cravings came flooding back and I stuffed myself with junk – which made me even more tired (not to mention moody!) and OhMyGoodness – the headaches! Oh, and I put on 1kg (2.2 pounds) in just four days! On the up-side, I didn’t actually enjoy the junk food AT ALL (even while I was eating it!) and I now have a re-newed appreciation for the benefits of the juicing. So, now that I’m well again, I’m straight back to what I know makes me feel great!

Now that my energy levels have returned to that of a normal person, I’m finding that I’m starting to feel a little bit restless! I could not have imagined that I would ever be in a position where I have so much energy that I’d start to crave activity! Let’s just re-visit that idea for a moment – I actually WANT to exercise! AMAZING!

So, I’ve enrolled in a kettlebell class! It’s only once a week, but I’ve committed to attending for a full 12-week term. That should help start to firm up the muscles and shift a little of my stubborn excess bulge!

Here’s my progress summary this fortnight:
___________________

# WEEKS 7 and 8

Approach:
In building upon my progress so far, this fortnight, I:

  1. Ate my one solid meal at lunchtime where-ever feasible (if I didn’t have dinner plans)
  2. Added chia seeds and pro-biotics to my daily in-take
  3. Added a little regular exercise (a single intense 1-hour session of weight resistance training per week) 

Results:

  • Mood/energy/sleep quality: Variable. Great the first week, when I ate really well – and very moody the second week when I ate junk food.
  • Physical ailments: Had the ‘flu this fortnight, which sent me into a spiral of bad habits
  • Weight loss: 0.5 kg (1.1 pounds)

[See also: Weeks 5 and 6]

[See also: Weeks 9 and 10]

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Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 5 and 6)

To recap:

  • Weeks 1 and 2 – I replaced breakfast with a green juice every morning (green juice ingredients: 2  apples, 1 lemon or lime, 1 whole bunch celery, 1 whole cucumber, 1 whole cos lettuce + anything suitable that I happened to have on-hand – parsley, kale, spinach, ginger).
  • Weeks 3 and 4 – I replaced junk snacks with better options, (boiled eggs, fruit, raw almonds, dark chocolate covered goji berries), cut-out alcohol during the week and reduced my coffee intake to a maximum of 2 per day

I’m not gonna lie – the first week of this fortnight was tough! At first, cutting back to eating one solid meal a day (even though I could have as much of anything I wanted for that one meal) was a difficult adjustment psychologically. I stuffed myself silly on quite a few poor choices!

But, by the time the second week came around, I found I really wasn’t hungry enough to warrant eating two big meals a day. I started to enjoy my food much more than I have previously. I wasn’t stuffing it in and fantasising about what I would be eating next. I took my time in planning and preparing my meal, and thoroughly enjoyed eating it.

I didn’t feel over-full or lethargic throughout the day, and my meal choices, the sorts of things I was craving, gradually started to change. One night I couldn’t WAIT to tuck into a big plate of steamed veggies and salmon. The next night, I skipped dinner altogether because I just wasn’t hungry. Say, WHAT? How is this possible?!

The idea behind only having one solid meal a day was to give my digestion a decent rest in between meals, which also gave my body an opportunity to detox. This wasn’t about starving myself – I was still having plenty of nutrients (and calories!) via my juicing. This was a way to try and uncover my emotional drive to eat, without going cold-turkey on eating. I didn’t want to be one of those freaky people who turn up to dinner with their mates with a big flask of scary-looking juice and refuse all solid food! The one-meal-a-day approach saved me from feeling like a social outcast and from feeling emotionally ‘deprived’. This is particularly important because I want to shed the diet mentality of ‘controlling myself’, or ‘being good’ which I suspect leads to change-fatigue, undermining the chances of sustaining healthy life-style changes.

Week 5 was a very busy social week – I had lunch or dinner plans each day for the whole week (usually a dieting disaster!), but I lost weight (and felt great!) despite eating out all week! Amazing!

Week 6 was more structured, so I skipped lunch, but ate dinner every night. Interestingly, I lost a heap of weight the first week, but not much at all the second week. I wonder if this is because I was eating the big meal later in the day? I shall have to experiment next fortnight to see…

My coffee in-take is slowly reducing itself! I never thought I’d say it, but I am regularly  (voluntarily!) only having one coffee a day (I even went a whole day without coffee – unheard of in decades!). Meanwhile, my fondness for having a cup of delicious herbal tea on-hand is growing unabated (the T2 varieties such as ‘strawberries and cream’ and ‘raspberry rush’ ones taste particularity decadent). It’s such a perfect treat – tastes delicious with no toxins and negligible calories!

My impulse to snack is reducing rapidly, and my snacking choices have completely changed over. I no longer crave high sugar/fat/salt snacks.

I’ve also had wonderful support at home this fortnight – my oldest son (currently aged 14) is also having the morning juice with me. He often asks about some of the other ones I make up during the week, and if I press him to, he’ll sometimes try them. There is a also pre-made store-bought one that he likes (not ideal, but it’s pretty low in sugar, and is an ok back-up option – it sure beats the soft-drink he would normally drink!). The morning green juice has more nutrition than he would normally have consumed in a month packed into every morning, so I’m very pleased that he’s started to have it. I might look at adding in an evening one for him soon too!

It felt fantastic to finally lose a bit of weight! If you’ve been following my progress, you’ll know that for the first four weeks, despite seeing some wonderful health benefits, I didn’t lose any weight. It was nice to finally see a little movement on that front, especially as I was able to do it without depriving myself!

Here’s my progress this fortnight:
___________________

# WEEKS 5 and 6

Approach:
In building upon my progress so far, this fortnight, I:

  1. Replaced one meal a day with juice
  2. Still ate whatever I wanted for the other meal (in whatever quantities I wanted!)

 Results:

  • Sleep quality: AMAZING. I’m sleeping longer, more deeply and waking up refreshed. I had two nights where I struggled to get to sleep, but once I had managed to doze off, I had a good-quality rest.
  • Energy level: Mixed. I felt great throughout the day, but quickly became exhausted almost immediately upon eating at night.
  • Mood: Consistent throughout the day, though I had a couple of very emotional evenings where I missed my ex unbearably.
  • Physical ailments: Some aching in joints.
  • New things I tried: Organic cocoa with xylotol or stevia with lactose-free milk; almond milk; plain coconut water (YUM! But – it’s very expensive and I’m not a nutritionist, but a lot of the calories appear to come from the natural sugars in it and it appears to be quite high in sodium)
  • Weight loss: 2 kg (4.4 pounds)

[See also: Weeks 3 and 4]

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Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 3 and 4)

To recap, last fortnight, I replaced breakfast with a green juice every morning (green juice ingredients: 2  green apples, 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, 1 lemon or lime, 1 whole bunch celery, 1 whole cucumber, 1 whole cos lettuce).

This fortnight was a little more challenging, as I was confronted by how often I automatically grab for food, regardless of my actual level of physical hunger! I was surprised by how habitually I reached for food when bored, procrastinating, thinking and, of course, whenever I’m having a bad day. YIKES! Towards the end of the fortnight though, I had acclimated to the changes, and my automatic reflex to reach for food had started to settle somewhat.

At first, I felt a little change-fatigued this fortnight, I had just gotten used to planning my grocery shopping to include the multitude of juicing ingredients, (and my daily schedule used to juicing and cleaning up!), and now I had to remember to add the snacks and allow time for making my espressos ready for the day too. It all sounds rather petty, but we are creatures of habit, and change is hard to embed (which is precisely why I’m doing it incrementally!).

A couple of days ago I found myself standing at the fridge door, eyes scanning the fridge for the object of my need, deep in the grips of an overwhelming late-night craving (an altogether all-to-familiar feeling, right?)… for celery. Say what now?! CELERY! HAD to have it. Desperately yearned for it’s crunchy goodness. Let me assure you, this has never, EVER happened to me before. In. My. LIFETIME. So, even though I’m not seeing any weight-loss results yet,  SOMETHING must be changing – and that has to be a very good thing.

Cutting back on my coffee intake was harder than I had expected. I have always joked about being ‘addicted’ to coffee, (I’ve been drinking it since I was nine!), but given the frequency and intensity of my headaches/cravings, I am now in no doubt about just how hooked I really am!

My meal choices and portion sizes were a bite hit-and-miss! On a few occasions, especially early in the fortnight, I was clearly compensating for not having access to my junky sugar-laden snacks.

The trick to changing habits permanently is to getting the balance right. We must make enough of a change that results are noticeable and build momentum, but not so much change that it’s too exhausting to maintain…(and, therefore, all-too-easy to give up in frustration!)

It’s not all bad though – I’m starting to feel really great! My skin is glowing, my focus and concentration is improving, my moods have stablised – and I’m starting to crave healthy foods!

Small changes, over time. Every week a little bit closer…

Here’s my progress this fortnight:
___________________

# WEEKS 3 and 4

Approach:
In building upon my progress in weeks 1 and 2, this fortnight, I:

  1. Replaced junk snacks with protein (boiled eggs, raw almonds) or fruit and kept additional juice on hand (trying out new recipes in addition to my daily ‘green juice’)
  2. Cut out alcohol during the week (but still had it on weekends). Actually, the first week, I had drinks on Thurs, then skipped drinking on the weekend altogether.
  3. Reduced coffee to a maximum of 2 per day (+unlimited herbal tea)
  4. Still ate whatever I wanted for lunch and dinner (in whatever quantities I wanted!)

Results:

  • Sleep quality: Very good. I awoke feeling refreshed almost every morning (the one exception correlating to a very bad day and an evening of alcoholic over-indulgence!) It’s AMAZING how great it feels to feel this rejuvenated! I’m still waking up occasionally during the night, but it’s nowhere near as often, and the quality of my sleep is MUCH better.
  • Energy level: Marked improvement in my energy levels this fortnight.
  • Mood: My moods have stablised significantly. Even though my life is quite challenging right now, I’m starting to feel more ‘on top of things’. I’m also starting to slowly work my way through an ugly backlog of tasks that built up while I was severely depressed (doing my taxes, organising my home office, updating my voting enrollment details, registering as an organ donor). I’m still getting loads of comments from people about how well I look and how happy I seem!
  • Physical ailments: A few coffee-withdrawal-induced headaches (they dissipated as soon as I had coffee!), increased urination (consistent with increased hydration!) and itchy skin. Apparently the itchy skin is a sign of detoxing, so I’m hoping it clears up quickly!
  • Weight loss: NIL

[See also: Weeks 1 and 2]

[See also: Weeks 5 and 6]

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