Tag Archives: sugar addiction

Anxiety – learning to love it

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I never thought I was an anxious person. A few years ago when I experienced anxiety and depression together I thought my world was falling apart. The sick feeling, the inability to be still or settled, sleeplessness and constant horrible feeling felt like the worst thing ever. And I remember saying that I’d never know what anxiety was before. Now, of course there is a difference between anxiety in its extreme form which is an illness and day-to-day anxiety which many of us experience. But I realise that I never recognised that day-to-day feeling as anxiety because I never let it permeate through long enough for it to reach my consciousness. Instead I would find ways to numb it, usually with sweet stuff. Other addictive behaviours like shopping or creating some drama also figured fairly high on my ‘coping mechanisms’, I use the phrase lightly.

Over the last few months I have been on a new learning curve. As part of a support group for compulsive eating I been ‘abstinent’ from sugar and other trigger foods for several months. That has taken care of the physical craving for all that stuff. But the hardest part, as everyone knows, is the mental obsession and the feelings that drive us to want to make ourselves feel better in the first place. Not so easy! And one of the first things that came up for me was, you got it, anxiety. At first I have to say I wasn’t too good at recognising it. Sometimes I must have it pointed out to me by my nearest and oh so dearest, “You are anxious” she’ll say, “about x or y”. My usual first response is to deny this  vigorously. I didn’t get where I am today by admitting to having uncomfortable feelings! But I am trying to listen and not always be right ( That’s a Tough One). And 9 times out of 10 it’s true. ( It may be 10/10 but I have  to have room for growth here). And then I am confronted with realising I have a Feeling That I Don’t Know What To Do With. My previous ‘coping mechanism’ hs been consigned to the bin ( food) and I am working on the shopping/drama/distraction ones one day at a time ( Sweet Jesus).

Last night for instance. I was giving a talk at the support group. This was the first time at that group that I had given a talk. I wanted to ‘get it right’. I re-wrote what I was going to say 3 times, I changed it again when I got to the meeting. I was pretty anxious. And this is even with a) planning b) praying c) knowing I was with friends. And I realised that the only thing to do was to say, ‘Yes, I am anxious!”. It didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do,

it was Just A Feeling. It wasn’t going to kill me. And the fear was what? That I wouldn’t get it right? That I’d make a mistake or make a fool of myself or not be helpful to someone else? Well phooey. Isn’t it wonderful how ego gets in the way of just being present and doing the job in front of you?!

So this morning I am sitting here knowing I did my best and that was good enough. That is pretty damn good for me to say. And today I am just going to be grateful to that anxiety when it comes along because it lets me know that all I can do is my best. And that the feeling will pass and today is always a new day.

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fat girl slim and the cavewoman

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Maybe even cavewomen were fat. Nowadays there is the caveman diet “Paleo”, caveman/woman training ( just in case you need to chase away a nasty lion or wrestle a buffalo to the ground). I’m not sure where my sugar-free/weight watchers points healthy lifestyle fat girl slim plan fits in but I guess the nearer we get to unprocessed, naturally grown or sourced foods the better. Home grown veggies and free range meat where possible hopefully eliminates some of the chemicals and all of the hormones that get added to our food. Drinking water has to be a better option than tooth or gut rotting coke. On Saturday I won a bottle of a “sports’ drink on a tombola stall for charity. The label promises extra performance and re-hydration, the contents are water and sugar at an inflated price.

Looking around I see people of all shapes and sizes. And then I watch the Athletics on the TV and what do I see there? Not a uniform group of people all the same shape and size. Athletes come in different sizes too! Watch the women’s tennis at Wimbledon and see the range of body shapes. We have all heard of ectomorphs (curvy) and endomorphs ( beanpole), of apples and pears. Our genes, environments and habits combine to create us. Sometimes it seems like the diet industry would have all women believe that we should be a perfect size 10 or 12, but what would look good on me would look silly on my petite friend. We all know this, it isn’t difficult. And yet I think we all slip into that mythical world where if we do the ‘right’ diet and the perfect exercise plan we will somehow get it right.

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Well come on girls lets back away from the edge of sanity here. I know what I want and I’m pretty sure you want something similar. I want to be the best me I can be. I’m not sure I quite know what that looks like yet but I bet you could tell me. Just like I could tell you when you look your fabulous best. Sometimes it takes a loving outside eye to see us in our true glory. A friend of mine gave me this idea recently, I think our friends see us for who we really are and who we were meant to be all rolled into one. True friends can see the ultimate limitless possibilities for us where we get stuck in everyday. So lets support each other in this critical, diet obsessed, one size fits all world.

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Take a look at this wonderful gallery of people and the range of BMI ( Body Mass Index) they cover. And then decide if the numbers matter that much? Or is it how we look and feel and live? BMI and what is \”Normal\’?

Fat Girl Slim and the sneaky chocolate biscuit syndrome

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Note to self: 10 chocolate biscuits and a dinner of fish and chips are not the best way to stick to a sugar-free life or to a weight watchers points plan.

Ahem. The last couple of days have been a little stressful and something of an emotional roller-coaster. Mum has been ill, to the point that all the advice I was being given indicated she might not be with us much longer. Today she is back with us. Of course at 87 and with several existing health issues and some new ones cropping up it appears that she may be on some borrowed time but for now things are easier again.

Last night I sat with her as she drifted in and out of sleep / consciousness. I talked, sometimes she answered. I read the TV Times magazine. I watched a programme about having a million pounds budget to move to South Devon ( just ordinary people like us LOL) and I mindlessly ate 10 M and S Belgian chocolate biscuits until I came to my senses and put them away. Too tired and with my head in the shed it was not the day to go home and cook so a quick fish and chip supper at the local pub went down without touching the sides.

But as I’ve been good with my activity and stuck to my plan otherwise this week I should be ok I hope for my weigh in tomorrow. This is my own personal naked on the scales in the privacy of the bedroom moment you understand. No group weighing in for me. And today I’ve eaten well, stayed away from the sugar and had fruit with my meals to get me over that sugar withdrawal moment when things look appealing. I so need to work on this emotional eating thing. It is the time i am most likely to fall at the fence, whether it be sugar, fat or most likely both. I know all about the pleasure endorphins that come from a sugar/fat ‘high’. I know that to avoid that crash keeping up a good supply of gentle positive day by day moments is key. But its the crises that get me. Suddenly everything goes down in a great big ‘Whoosh’. The adrenaline kick from the shock of the crisis evaporates leaving me tired, fuzzy headed and needing a boost and suddenly my hand is in that biscuit tin.

Of course at home I try to make sure the biscuit tin is empty so there isn’t that temptation. But out and about and with it right there in front of me somehow yesterday I slipped up. Todays another day.

Mum is sitting up and once again eating chocolate and ice cream as opposed to fish, mashed potato and parsley sauce. I wonder where I get it from?

Taking care of Mum – another step on the journey

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Mum had a small stroke today. Another TIA. Amazing how proficient we become at terminology, TIA’s, UTI’s, pressure sores, not mobilising, difficulty transferring. The language of nurses of care of old age and medicalisation. But I am very grateful for the care she has. Today it has meant than rather than have to go into hospital where, undoubtably on grim past experiences, she would become dehydrated overnight swiftly followed by infection and psychosis, she has stayed at home in her own room.

I was at work when I got the call to tell me that the paramedics had been out to see her. At first I was calm, logically there was nothing I could do right then. She was well cared for and sleepy/ half conscious. I would finish my afternoon at work then go to see her. 45 minutes later my head was in the shed and I had a little fall apart. That’s pretty good for me. Sometimes my delayed reaction response spans a day or two, even longer. So my fabulous colleagues packed me up and sent me off to deal with the important stuff in my life whilst they dealt with the important stuff in the lives of people I couldn’t deal with today. As the missus said tonight, ‘That’s why we work in teams!”

I collected son 2 for some emotional support for me and we went to see Mum/Nana. She has been pretty sleep all afternoon but opened her eyes wide when I said ‘J” is here and looked up ( and up as he is 6ft 7ins and smiled. She has gone off her food the last couple of days, its like she forgets to eat or how to do it and she isn’t drinking enough either. And she has the beginnings of some pressure sores because she has just gone off her feet completely. So we have a new care plan. She has a new pressure mattress, staff will help her to feed and drink and they will treat her sore places. The district Nurse is on the case, the Dr has given us antibiotics for a urine infection and we will see how we get on.

I helped to sit her up so she could have a drink, she was burning up despite a fan blowing and the window open to let any air in. Whilst I went to get her prescription from the pharmacy mum had a cooling bed bath, a cool silky nightie on and decided that although she couldn’t manage a sandwich she could swallow a couple of mouthfuls of ice cream. I sort of know how she feels. I sat waiting for the medicine drinking an iced latte and eating dates ( 9 ww points, noy a great sugar-free choice and a completely emotional eating decision. Oy!)

On a positive note Mum knew who we were as always, responded when I talked to her and said she felt “perfect” when I asked if she was feeling alright. I am so glad she is where she is, I know she is with people who will provide good care, who have got to know her well over the last year and to know us as a family too. She has all her nice pictures and photos on the walls and she smiled at a new bunch of pink and white flowers when I held them under her nose.  I sat for a while after J had gone. I drank tea as she slept. She felt cool to the tough but in a good way and her colour was better. Sometimes her breathing was so quiet I couldn’t hear it. It reminded me of when the children were newborns and you wait for the next breath. One day, maybe sooner than we think, it will not come. When she was sound asleep I said goodbye and I love you and see you soon.

It is just another stage isn’t it? Lifes’ journey has one destination. Tonight I went for a walk with the dog by myself. We walked across the fields as the sun was getting low and the sky was turning pink at the edges. It was a perfect summers evening with a slight cooling breeze. I looked up at the sky and felt comforted by the vastness and beauty of it, so peaceful.   

Fat Girl Swim

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Ha! I crack myself up sometimes. No, seriously I love swimming. I know I’ve mentioned this before here but I’m  having a little resurgence of enthusiasm so bear with me. The last couple of weeks has seen us ( me and Mrs) heading to the pool at least a couple of times a week in the evening. The pool we go to is part of a Holiday Inn so its quiet except for the school holidays when a lane or two is given over to families for splashing and fun stuff. We meanwhile just potter up and down the lanes. I do 20 mins or half an hour. So for instance, tonight the Mrs came home from a long day at work and I’d been busy clearing out our back room to make it habitable again. We were both tired and hot as summer is here for this week. So we had our dinner outside and a half hours TV then off we went. It’s that getting off the sofa in the first place that’s the problem. If I didn’t have the Mrs to kick my butt I would probably have stayed put and watched Holby City and if she didn’t have me she would have carried on nodding off and pretending to be awake.

Every month the gym/pool staff put together a newsletter with diet and exercise tips, tricks and words of wisdom. This month it looks at myths of diet and exercise. One or teo made me smile or nod in agreement so I thought I’d share them here adapted a little by moi:

Water based exercises are for old people or those with injuries. hey we know this isn’t true don’t we? Even top athletes integrate water based exercises into their fitness programs

Fat people don’t benefit from exercise. LOLOL as they say.In fact, and get this, obese people who participate in regular exercise have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight! That one really ROCKS.

and finally re exercise is this one : Crunches will make my abs visible – Well, hellooooooooo. First we have to find them. That means removing the fat with good food and some movement so those lovely muscles can shine through

Now for the food myths.

Skipping meals helps you lose weight skipping meals is just not something I do, in the past maybe but now, nohow, no way. I know that skipping meals is a sure-fire way to a blood sugar crash which leaves me feeling shaky and starving and far more likely to eat too much next meal or even next day. It also can slow down your metabolism which means you burn fat even more slowly and store more fat because the body goes into starvation mode.

All fat is the same – oh no it isn’t ( cue Panto Dame). Stick with oily fish, olive , sunflower and flax oil, unsaturated fats which are good for your body and your brain. Ditch the saturated stuff which heightens cholesterol and can increase risk of heart disease.

Healthy Foods are more expensive – I know this can be a thorny one. Eating all organic un processed food can seem to cost more. Growing some veggies helps. Farmers markets are great. Making food from scratch really doesn’t take more time than cooking a microwave instant meal and it tastes way better and you get much more!   

Well that’s enough from me, see where swimming took me?

Children with anorexia – Fat Girl Slim fights back

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Dail Mail Today

Headlines in some of the todays British tabloids concern the shocking statistics of over 100 under fives admitted to NHS hospitals in the last year suffering from anorexia.
Where the ins and outs of those headlines are not so clear, nevertheless we all know of the worrying trend for young girls in particular, but also some boys to become caught up in the devastation of eating disorders.
Being on the weight loss journey makes me even more conscious than usual about the politics of food and diets. I don’t have girl children so I don’t think I as exposed as some Mothers are to the impact of the diet police on young minds. Boys in my experience tend to deal with being fit in a more pragmatic way and one based around exercise as a way of controlling weight. Of course that too can get out of hand.
It seems that little girls are hardly out of playgroup before the group pressure and competitive edge kicks in. All those super cute clothes in baby girl sizes can so easily cross over into little sexy misses trying to be teens before their time.
Now I was a chubby child. I didn’t like it and I was conscious of it. But when I look back on photos of my 11 plus self I see a healthy pre and then teen girl. I had a healthy diet like many of us growing up. Not much processed food, fresh veg and fruit. Drinks as a child were water or milk. That’s not to say I didn’t have treats, butterscotch angel delight still holds fond memories as do sherbet dips and fruit salad sweets. My sugar addiction was alive and kicking by the time I was 7 or so but lots if outdoor activities and healthy meals kept me steady until late teenage when I had more control over what I ate.
The tragedy of eating disorders at a younger and younger she seems not just the loss of childhood and the family trauma but also the desperate searching for control in an alien and chaotic world, that the ED seems to signify.


So what can you or I do? I have no special magic wand or fancy answers. I wish I did.
But it makes me wonder if we can try to keep food simple, keep mealtimes a place for families to share more than just food and as a society do our damnedest to ensure that we don’t let either fat fascism or the diet police take over our own heads.
We live what we believe after all. Let us believe in our children’s right to have a happy and healthy childhood and to know they are beautiful and healthy whatever size they wear.

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Fat Girl Slim gets the Point.

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It’s a whole new language isn’t it? Points. Not as in, ‘what is the..” but as in the divine weightwatchers system. Of course being a big girl I have done diets before and weightwatchers too in various incarnations. But I decided to sign up to their online system last week. I get a discount for joining from the NHS where I work so it seemed like a good enough sign to take the plunge and leap in.

I like having something to record what I’m eating and how much and cleverly the online programme works out your points and adds them up for you. here’s what they say about their philosophy, I kind of like it :

Our approach is built on four pillars that have the greatest impact on success. Our philosophy is that a person should:

▪ Learn to eat more healthfully
▪ Increase physical activity
▪ Learn to create and live in a supportive environment conducive to achieving a healthy weight
▪ Manage the challenges involved in changing behaviors weightwatchers on facebook

As those of you who’ve been around me a while know I’m pretty keen on what I’ve learnt and know from my own experience about sugar addiction and I have integrated the seven steps from Kathleen DesMaisons work into my life over the last few years. I see those as the cornerstone of my health and recovery. But I want to add in other things to help me on my journey to weight loss. There is so much wonderful information available to us and I love reading and researching about health and diets and nutrition as well as about addiction. It is a good way to employ my addictive personality from time to time into doing research!

So this is week one of WW online. I am getting my head round the points thing. With their new system all vegetables and most fruits are points free which is great. I am focusing on really increasing my veg anyway but I am trying to keep the fruit to meals and the lower sugar versions like berries as they suit my sugar sensitive biochemistry the best.

Activity points are another thing to ‘collect’. Apparently you can swap these for food. I am not sure my mind needs to get its head round do this then eat more! But I know movement and activity are Good Things and I love ticking boxes so that is helping me to move more too. Last night me and the Missus went back to the gym and had a swim at 8pm for half and hour. We came out feeling  refreshed and both slept well too. Very therapeutic.

So I am looking at this as the next step for me for now in my journey. I don’t see it as a competition between diets or programmes just a way of following a path towards health. I realise I am in this for the long haul. I have had my blips and fits and starts since January but the direction of travel has been the same. I am going to do this and do it well. One day this blog will say Fat Girl IS Slim.

New start, new day, same journey.

Fat Girl Slim cleans it up

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Day 1 where today is always a new start. A week of over indulgence is a sure-fire way to end up feeling sick as a dog, fed up with myself  and with a fuzzy head and leaky emotions. Obviously not the best way to live my radiant healthy Fat Girl gets Slim life.

But round here we’re not going to do beating ourselves up, looking back or carrying on with heads in the sand. Oh no. This is Day One of the new me all over again. In good ol’ twelve step style I am singing along to ‘One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus..” and logging onto weight watchers online.

I made breakfast pancakes with oats and egg and milk with a handful of strawberries and blueberries and a topping of low-fat greek yogurt. They are an old favourite which actually tick all the boxes including feeling like a treat and the looking after myself one. I finished a great book by Phil Rickman and had a nap. I made lentil soup for lunch and now I am going to take the dog for a walk. 

I think today is a self-care day. Mend some bridges from my emotional leakage and settle back into just living life in the moment in the best way possible.

image from givecourage.net

Fat Girl Slim has another go

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Had a pretty rubbish week. Too much sugar and not enough (any) movement. Did I mention my all or nothing tendencies?
Sugar fog means feeling exhausted, scattered thinking and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Much like depression and ‘I need a holiday syndrome’ which I have recently been diagnosed with by a proper professional (me).

I am feeling on a short fuse and in a vicious circle of feel crap eat sugar feel crap. My skin is bad, my stomach off and I need to sleep. So I thought writing it down and sharing the pain might help, if at least give me a kick up the bum.

So picture 1 is me as I am this week. Picture 2 is the what not to eat and number 3 is a plan of how I like it and what makes a difference, good veggies and plenty of them. It’s not like I don’t know what to do, right?
I reckon my first plan is to ‘fess up and make myself accountable. Next is to write down what I’m eating and deal with it.

Then I need to clean it up. One day at a time..

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Fat Girl Slim and Nanas Birthday Cake

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It found its way into my mouth. I had no intention of eating any. In fact I protested with horror when son 3 suggested I might succumb. I declared myself a sugar free zone (which I was). And at the party I stuck to my plan, no problem.
But the combination of stress and managing everyone else (could this be my inner  momma control freak showing her colours?) took its toll. And so did some unhealthy weekend choices.
And the cake went down without touching the sides.
So add that to words with nearest and not so dearest, a bad nights sleep and my inner sugar monster has been on the rampage today. The sad thing is a days worth of sugar can undermine self esteem and strip away confidence ad if I’d put on 4 stone overnight. Bleah.
So what’s to do? Been here and worn the t shirt? Start again tomorrow, one day at a time. I wonder if I’ll ever get off this roller coaster.

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