Eat less, think more

I have been comfort eating a lot recently. Actually, I’m not sure I’d call it comfort eating, it’s not always that comforting. More Seeking-Extra-Energy-In-Leui-of-Sleep Eating, Distracting-Myself-From-Feeling-Rubbish Eating and Not-Even-Realising-I’m-Doing-It-It’s-Such-A-Reflex-Habit Eating.

Anyway, over the past couple of months or so the habit has slowly grown and so has my waistline. I’m not sure how much by (I’m not into measuring myself) but items of clothing that were loose are now tight.

So, how to tackle this? Well, the obvious answer is exercise more, eat less crap, make sure I have proper meals when I’m alone during the day rather than going without then snacking on rubbish. I know this. The problem is how much of my brainpower to put over to this. Obviously, I’m not dedicating enough processing time to prioritising this at the moment. And I need to decide I want to do something. But it’s what happens next. My default setting is all consuming diet and/or excercise blitz that takes up most of my waking thoughts (leading to neglect in the other areas of my life that need tackling and hence to anxiety) where I quickly don’t live up to my high expectations and fail, so stop and feel worse (and at which point that extra anxiety I’ve built up hits me as a double whammy). Setting B is to decide upon a Gently Gently Approach, I will eat properly in the mornings this week and build do a decent lunch too next week and so on, a sort of slow roll out. This doesn’t grab enough of my attention and I get bored and stop without even realising.

And Setting C? Not sure what that is.

I’ve twice managed to get on top of things in the past. The first time I started running. Well, it was probably technically jogging the speed I go at, but running sounds better in my head. I read a motivational book thingy, started off walking 5k five times a week and built up to running it. Once into it, I felt good, started getting up and doing it in the morning. It made me want to drink more water and eat better. I picked up where I left off after a trip abroad. I signed up for a 10K. I did a 6K and a 7K run as part of my training. Brilliant. And then I got a chest infection thingy that dragged on for a couple of months and somehow I never quite got back into it, despite trying a few times. I have run a few times recently with a friend, but it’s not the same, I haven’t hit my rhythm, and she keeps trying to persuade me to go to an evil circuits class that really, really isn’t for me. The other problem is I want to go in the mornings. Actually I meant I want to want to run in the mornings. It worked so well in so many ways when I got into it before. But at the moment I’ve a bad late night late morning hide under the duvet habit that’s hard to break. And the evenings are tough because the kids are not settling well at the moment (it took until 10pm last night, that’s a seriously late start to our evening).

So that’s option C1 (spot the resting mathematician). Option C2, is the 28 day eating plan thing that I did just before we moved, I guess technically it’s a diet (I don’t do dieting) but I’m pretty sure it’s actually eating properly rather than a fad (50% vegetables for your evening meal etc). But I need the discipline of following it to the letter for a while, so I don’t veer off track (hmm, option C2 is sounding a lot like option A here). And for the first 10 days I will obsess about being hungry all my waking hours as I ween myself off the Habitual-Crap-Eating. And it’s a faff to buy all the stuff and cook it and think of alternatives for the kids. The upside is that hubby is concerned that he’s not eating right too so it would benefit both of us.

Of course the perfectionist in me wants to do both, properly, full on (Option C12 if you like, or maybe option A+). But the procrastinist in me points out that it would need some planning and prep and maybe I should start next week. (Moment of realisation, I don’t have a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other talking to me, I have my Inner Perfectionist and my Inner Procastanist. Great.)

Meanwhile, nothing happens and my bad habits continue. So this article on comfort eating interested me, alhtough it also annoyed me as it’s also basically a giant advert to buy the book. Hmm. But maybe it has the seeds of a plan to nudge my brain into a change of thinking that only takes 5 minutes a day effort but has effects. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

Anyway, today I did go to one of my favourite coffee shops and tried
this technique for savouring my coffee in a mindful way. Which I think may help, and is certainly not a bad thing to try in the meantime.

So, to summarise, I have made this into a Big Problem that requires and All or Nothing Solution, I know an All Solution will be a problem for me to implement (as I’m struggling to keep up with the chaos of my life as it is) so I’m spending time worrying about it, time when I’m neither dealing with this problem nor dealing with any of my other problems nor getting my act together and getting any of the shit done that needs doing (apologies for the increase in profanities, a side effect of the sleep deprivation). So my brain is distracting myself from doing the right thing by agonising about which right thing to do and how. Right, enough typing, I’m off to cook dinner….

3 thoughts on “Eat less, think more

  1. You should know that I’m a complete hypocrite in what I write next, as I sit here with my little pile of dark chocolate chips hidden behind the computer so the kids don’t see.

    I tend to take an all or nothing approach, too. My husband and I joke because we’ll talk about exercising more, and one of us will say, “I’m going to run 5 miles a day for the next 6 months!” when neither one of us has run 5 miles in at least 10 years. Then we both laugh, and move on to another topic.

    My all or nothing approach applies to lots of things in my life, and I’m realizing that I need to work on that. So while I haven’t specifically thought about it with the weight/exercise issue, I’m sure it would apply there. I’m seeing in other contexts that I need to think of, and accept, solutions in the gray area. Not x, and not y, but somewhere in between. I also need to accept that when I make a decision about something, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing in terms of its permanency in my life either. Something can work today, but not tomorrow – and then I can reassess. What?!? It sounds like gibberish, I know, but I’m pretty sure there’s something to it.

    So maybe instead of spending the next 2 weeks obsessing over which approach, and calculating the calories ingested and expended through the various plans A though D sub 2 squared…you can try to make good decisions for today. Good decisions when you go to the pantry for something to snack on. Good decisions for getting a little bit of exercise each day.

    I don’t know – maybe this wouldn’t work without some big overriding goal to keep you motivated. Your discussion above just resonated with me with my struggles over all or nothing.

  2. Well, it kind of worked. I had a whole day of eating sensibly and drinking water and being a bit more aware without going OTT. And the next morning I went for a run! And then the weekend happened and we were busy and out and about and grabbing food on the go and eating out for fathers day and having emergency snack purchases (in part due to the fact that Small Girl actually cycled several miles, wow).

    And then today happened. Which has been less than ideal. But actually, your comment is timely, as it’s my post kids in bed fill up on rubbish time. And I don’t have to do that. At least not on auto pilot. I’m going to have a glass of water or maybe a herb tea and wait a bit before I eat rubbish.

    Thank you.

    Now we have recognised and identified our All or Nothing approaches, we just have to figure out an effective way of retraining our brains. Simples. After you….

  3. Pingback: We Hope To Resume Normal Service At Some Point | A is for Anxiety

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