Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 1 and 2)

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I was going to begin the process of kicking my emotional eating/junk food addiction.

It’s been a slow start, but a steady one.

I decided to try juicing.

Why? Well, I figured, I’ve tried every other fad diet in the world, (seriously, all of them. High protein – low carb, high carb – low fat, soup diets, fruit diets, coloured food diets, no sugar diets, fasting, Atkins, the Gabriel Method, Geneen Roth, hypnosis, group therapy, personal training, gym, morning walks.) Everything. Why not juicing?!

The difference this time, is all in my mind-set.

This time, my aim is to nourish my body and change my tastes over time, not to drop weight quickly. This is not some punitive retribution for past sins based-on self-loathing. I’m simply sick-and-tired of feeling sick-and-tired. I am not happy. I want to feel good. I deserve a better quality of life than this.

As a result, my focus isn’t on how much I eat, it’s on making incremental, sustainable change to improve what I WANT to eat – the things I’m craving for.  Not to ‘be good’. Not to ‘control myself’. Not to ‘get thin’. Just to feel better. To slowly, but surely, change the types of foods my body craves, by giving it the nutrition it needs.

So, here’s my progress so far:
___________________

# WEEKS 1 and 2

Approach:

  1. I replaced breakfast with a green juice every morning (green juice ingredients: 2  green apples, 1 piece of fresh ginger, 1/2-1 lemon or lime, 1 whole bunch celery, 1 cucumber, 1 cos lettuce)
  2. I still ate all the same foods and snacks
  3. I still drank coffee and alcohol at will
  4. I tried other juices every couple of days (in addition to my daily ‘green juice’)

Results:
Results were mixed, to say the least!

  • The first few days, I felt EXHAUSTED!
  • I suffered from crippling migraines and felt very fluey.
  • I was CRANKY beyond all belief!
  • I couldn’t believe I felt so bad, when I hadn’t actually STOPPED having anything I would usually consume!
  • All I had done was add a very healthy juice, no different (in terms of ingredients) to eating to massive salad each day.
  • The migraines subsided and I started to feel better after about 10 days.
  • By far the biggest improvement in weeks 1 and 2 was the quality of my sleep. It improved a LOT. After suffering years of chronic insomnia, I’m now sleeping soundly. Initially I slept a lot longer than usual too, but perhaps that was making up for a long period of deprivation. Now that my body knows it has reliable access to high-quality sleep – the hours of sleep seem to have returned to a far more ‘normal’ range for me (I’m sleeping around 6-7 hours a night) but of a much higher quality. Much deeper, more restful, less tossing and turning, and very little waking up during the night.
  • This, in turn, has meant that I feel more calm and focused during the day, for which everyone around me is eternally grateful.
  • The other thing that I’ve noticed is that people are starting to comment on how well I look. Comments like “You look so WELL”, “You’re looking great!” and “WOW! Look at your beautiful skin! You’re glowing!”, are happening a lot. Funny, given that I haven’t lost any weight!
  • Weight loss: Nil. (Unsurprising, given the huge amount of junk food I’ve inhaled!)

[see also: Emotional eating: (A ‘Dear John’ letter)]                            [see also: Weeks 3 and 4]

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Posted in Cooking, Depression, Dieting, Food, Life, taking control of your life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The girl who dated too much

I’m a serial dater. I date a lot. (As a pretty standard thing, I have about two different dates a week.) Usually, I don’t enjoy them all that much, but they invariably give me some fantastic horror stories to regale my friends, and future dates, with.

I have exacting, hard-to-meet standards and, confident in my own value, I’m unrepentant about that. The other benefit of dating a lot is that I go in with low expectations. I don’t care whether they like me, or whether it goes anywhere, because I know there’ll be another one along in a minute…

But here’s the downside – I end up TREATING every date as a disposable, meaningless irritation to be endured and tell my friends about later. Because I expect to dislike them, I actively look for faults, flaws and reasons to reject them…  Now, you’re probably way ahead of me in spotting this, but as it happens, my approach has not been conducive to building intimacy or trust, both of which are critical layers in the foundation of any strong relationship. 

I need to allow myself to simply be present to, and get to know, the person I’m with, without them fearing judgment or recrimination – and without me actively looking for an excuse to jump-ship.

Now that I’ve seen the error of my ways, I’ve decided to only date one person at a time AND to give it 2-3 dates BEFORE I determine it’s not working…

Got some dating advice for me? Drop me a line.
(I could really use the help!)

Posted in Dating | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Emotional eating (a ‘Dear John’ letter)

My taste in food is frequently short-sighted, indulgent and, ultimately, toxic. A tortured, dysfunctional relationship steeped in recrimination and self-loathing; my choices often do me more harm than good.

In the last couple of years, my self-awareness, composure and self-esteem have blossomed in other areas. I have learned how to love fearlessly, without holding back, without expecting a return. (Just as well, seeing as it’s been an altogether disappointing experience thus far!)

It’s been a liberating experience to learn how to embrace, appreciate and become present to all manner of relationships in my life for who, what and how they are, rather than what they could be, should be or any misguided aspirations or expectations one occasionally attaches to them.

This has been especially true in learning when to step away from friendships that no longer nourish me, and I’ve made exercise a regular – and enjoyable! – habit. (Funny, when we approach it from that perspective, it’s all been rather productive!)

Now it’s time to break up with junk food. I’m leaving the sugar highs (and subsequent crashes!) behind in search of a more nourishing, balanced relationship with food. The role of food will be relegated to physical nourishment, not emotional partner.

__________

ImageDear Junk Food,

It’s not you, it’s me. I’m addicted to you.

When you call me late at night, when I feel anxious, overwhelmed or depressed – when my self-respect or confidence falters – I turn to you.

I know that you are bad for me, and I always hate myself the morning after, but I get so caught up in the moment that I can’t resist you.

While I’m certainly attracted to you (who wouldn’t be? You’re delicious!), ultimately, I find our relationship unfulfilling. We want different things. It’s time for me to respect myself, and your hold over me, enough to know that I can’t change you (and I shouldn’t try to) so I need to draw-the-line and walk away.

I need to free myself from my unhealthy attachment to you – and the mood-swings! – and move towards a relationship with food that nourishes me.

I know that in time, when we see each other out at restaurants or parties, we’ll be able to interact in a much more balanced way, but we can never be to each other what we once were.

Goodbye, and thanks (very bloody much!) for the love handles,

– Lyn

__________

[see also: Kicking the habit:
emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 1 and 2)]

Posted in Dieting, Life | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Top 5: Tips for beating bullies (how to make them stop)

This post goes out to my dear friend Jac, who asked me to write a piece on the matter…

Bullying  is a tough issue. It’s a primal behaviour that stems from our need to dominate and belong, and is endemic in all levels of society and walks of life. From playgroundsbb to offices to the international world stage, we all use politics and personal power to influence the behaviour of others. At it’s best, we call this ‘diplomacy’, ‘leadership’, ‘relationship building’; when it turns ugly we call it ‘intimidation’, ‘peer pressure’ and ‘bullying’.

There are always various points-of-view on conflict, and we can all argue the various human rights and tragedies on either side. Often it’s a case of the abused-turning-abuser – with the bully having been the victim of bullying themselves. They are just as tortured as the victims.

The bottom-line is that no-one wins when these destructive behaviours play out – regardless of the complex and multifarious wrap-around startegies to address the root causes around building self-esteem and/or social skills.

As always, what follows is only my opinion, I have no specialist training on neuro-psychology or behavioural science, and as is often the case with my point-of-view, some of what I say will probably seem counter-intuitive and/or controversial.

That’s just how I roll.

So, here’s my advice on beating bullies:

Top 5: TIPS FOR BEATING BULLIES 

1. DON’T: Call them a “bully”
Calling them a “bully” to their face is tantamount to admitting defeat.  It reinforces the power-dynamic, and let’s them know that they’re getting to you. Nothing says “you scare me” more than calling someone a “bully”.

2. DON’T: Hide from them
There’s safety in numbers  – make it work for you, rather than against you. If you hide from them, they can isolate you and pick on you away from the safety of authority figures.

3. DON’T: Ignore them
Forget that old, well-meaning advice to ignore behaviour you don’t approve of. The only message ignoring behaviour sends is “try harder”… When you’re dealing with dysfuctional people with limited social skills who are in the midst of a primal ‘fight or flight’ response, you don’t want them to fight harder (ie, escalate their destructive behaviours until they get a response from you) – you want their brain to flick over into ‘flight’ response and tell them to leave you alone…

4. DO: Call them on their behaviour
Don’t call them a bully – just call their behaviour pathetic. Or some other insult with loser-ish connotations. (“Try-hard” also works well.) Ask them, in a very direct, confronting way, why they do it:

“Why do you feel the need to act like such a douche? What are you trying to achieve? Do you not get enough attention at home? Parents don’t love you? Does it make you feel like a man? Think it makes you look tough? It doesn’t. It makes you look desperate. And insecure. Are you as pathetic as this looks? Is this the only way you feel strong and in control? Need attention? Pretty sad really. You should really get some help with that. I’m sure there are counsellors…”

When you’re calling them on their behaviour, get right up in their face. If there’s more than one of them, aim your comments at the leader, but make sure you make eye contact with a couple of their friends. This will make them feel nervous and they’ll often drop-back, or leave at this point. If this happens, point it out:

“See how much your friends like your dumb-arse behaviour? They don’t wanna be seen with you. Do you smell or something? Maybe you smell as desperate as you behave…” 

This works because it exposes the root-cause of their needy, insecure, validation-seeking behaviours. That’s a very private matter and a raw nerve that they don’t want exposed. It hurts them just as much as their bullying hurts you.

5. DO: Be consistent
Even if standing up to them didn’t go well, (it may take a couple of times to send the message that you’re not intimidated), next time you see them, preferably in front of others, call out confidently or even just as you’re walking past them (striding confidently, making eye contact):

“Hey, douche – picked on anybody today? Feeling desperate?”

Be sure to make direct eye contact, smile insincerely, and say it with mock joviality. This sends a clear message that you are onto them, and that you’re not intimated. They’ll soon learn to steer clear of you.

Posted in Life, Parenting | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments