Accountability 12.2.2017-25.2.2017

Last night I dreamt that I wrote a children’s book and some woman in Hungary typed it up on the internet and claimed it was hers. I will track that dream bitch down.

So it’s been a productive and very busy couple of weeks, and things have been pretty good overall. The one weird thing I’ve been noticing is that I’ve been really craving a cigarette the last couple of days… not strong cravings and I haven’t been tempted to give in, just random pangs of really missing my old cancer-inducing friends. It’s been almost four months now since I quit and despite slipping up here and there, it hasn’t, overall, been nearly as traumatic as I always feared it would be. From talking to ex-smoking friends and family, the general consensus seems to be that it takes about a year all in all for the cravings to stop completely. I think I can handle that. I just need to not cave – which has happened once or twice after a few drinks… though I never find myself craving or wanting to buy cigs after so hopefully those slip-ups have not done too much damage…

I’m still low to no on the exercise front right now, which is pissing me off to no end. I saw a doctor about my leg/back/hip pain last week and he did some sciatica test on me, which I’ve never actually had done before, I was just told by another doctor that was what it was. This doctor decided that all this time, I’ve not had sciatica at all. It turns out it’s actually a compressed nerve in my hip, an unpronounceable condition (I’m not even going to try and spell it) also known as skinny jeans syndrome. I shit you not… that’s a thing. Apparently you get it from wearing tight clothing, and not even consistently… you only have to wear it once. I bet that shit is widepsread in Shoreditch.

skinnyjeansaccountabilty
Source: seinfeldgifs.tumblr.com

So it’s pretty fucking ouchey by all accounts. Who knew.

As such I have been referred for physio (finally) and been told that I can’t do any exercise apart from yoga and swimming… my two least favourite exercises. I can’t faff around getting to a swimming pool at the moment so yoga is having to do for now. I’ve also been put on some strong ass painkillers that my body is not tolerating very well at all… never known drowsiness like this. I came home from uni yesterday, passed out for five hours, got up for a bit then went back to bed for a full night’s sleep. Whilst this amount of sleep is pretty damn orgasmic, I know that my sleep pattern is very sensitive to fuckery, and sleep pattern fuckery gets me depressed and then I’m just no good at all. So I’m doing some stretching here and there to manage the pain instead unless it gets really bad – it’s worse in the morning, standing on the tube in rush hour is a fucking nightmare – but I’m going to wait for the physio before I go crazy with it… I think the stretches I was doing when I thought it was sciatica probably made it worse, so I’m trying not to really go there right now. So for the twice-daily stretching goal I set for myself on my last accountability post… yeah, that’s not really happened.

On the bright side, I’ve not done too bad with the other two goals – namely continuing with healthy eating and directing my sad energy into good things. I have, overall, managed to eat pretty healthy over the last couple of weeks… I’m very happy to have incorporated carbs back into my diet. God, I missed bananas… how does anyone live without those? And brown pasta. Guh. Eating out, however, is still a problem. I’ve talked in previous post about how food and socialising go hand in hand… I still haven’t mastered the art of just ordering a fucking salad when I grab food with friends. I arrive well intentioned, but as soon as the menu arrives and we begin our respective drooling,  I’m either like ‘fuck it, yep, I will have cheese on those fries, please’ and then spend the rest of the day feeling guilty… or I start to panic. What have I already eaten today? Are they lying about the calorie count on their menu? Why is the superfood section so fucking pricey? Do they have nutritional breakdowns on their website? I took half an hour to pick something off a damn Wetherspoons menu the other day because of these thoughts. I did about three calorie calculations on my phone even though I know now that focusing purely on calories is a recipe for disaster. I’m lucky to have such patient friends.

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Source: Tenor.co.uk/FOX

My attitude to food is certainly healthier than it used to be, but sometimes I become really aware that I’m just not there yet. I still hear that little voice telling me that if I eat that dish then I’ll have to not eat tomorrow. I still find myself obsessing over what my next meal will be, I’m still tempted to slip back into unhealthy behaviours because of the temporary feel-good they give me. I still know the calorie content of absolutely everything. I still sometimes feel out of control… and I still fucking love to talk about food, about nutrition, about what this carb does and why this is good and this is bad. I’m good at fighting it, of talking myself down. I just wish I didn’t have to. I used to think that everyone felt like this, but since I really started being open about my attitudes I’ve realised that most people don’t. Like any deep seated thought process I guess it will take a while to reverse. The important thing is I’m aware of it and can tackle it, and I’m able to keep myself focused on what my goal is: eat the most nutritious foods I can most of the time and everything else will take care of itself. Sure, I fuck up sometimes, and I do obsess over it – working on it. But on the whole, I eat well, I stay healthy, I feel good. I try to focus on health rather than weight, an attitude which, although it wavers sometimes, has changed my life. I’m now able to keep well and maintain a healthy weight without going to ridiculous extremes, and I know this makes more sense than absolutely anything else out there. But with these thought patterns still lingering in there, it’s really tough sometimes.

I digress. I was feeling crappy when I made my last accountability post, and I’m definitely doing better as of now. Following the above, my other goal was to direct all my sad energy into positive things, and I think I’ve succeeded pretty well on this front. Uni’s been busy as busy does this past week or so, lots of long, intense classes and I’m finding myself more determined to get as much as I can out of it and more able to focus than I have been for a long time. I feel like I’m finally emerging from the Great Funk of 2016 all shiny and new and ready to enjoy my life again. And I think it’s because I’ve learnt how to channel my bad feelings into positive things. I managed to get myself to an open mic this week and read some of my poems inspired by that period, which was extremely cathartic. It’s weird how borderline yelling some angry verse at complete strangers helps so much.

accountabilityslam
Source: Medium.com (original source unknown, please let me know if you recognise this so I don’t get sued thanks)

So I also had a little think about what this blog is actually doing for me, and how it’s helping. It’s a little scary sharing such personal stuff like this, but it really has proved to be cathartic, which is the whole reason I decided to do it. The accountability aspect is really helping me to figure out what’s going well and what’s not in terms of getting and staying healthy; being able to lay it all out rather than trying to pick through a jumble in my head makes it all so much clearer. There’s a lot of crap still festering up there, but there’s a lot of good too, and I can see from laying it out that I’m doing a lot better with everything than I sometimes think I am. It makes identifying the bad stuff easier too. Writing this blog also gives me a nice little project to focus on, another thing to channel bad energy into to create something that’s good for me. Honestly, I wish I’d done it a long time ago.

Finally, I just really want to say thank you to everyone who encouraged me to start this blog, and to everyone who’s been reading and who’s given me feedback. You know who you are – I just want you to know I really appreciate it. xx

Accountability Week 3: January, emotional eating and the kitchen floor reset.

If January was a dessert, it would be the kind no one orders, like a wilted fruit salad with grapefruit in (NIGHTMARE) or a bland sorbet. Go away, January. This is awkward, but nobody actually likes you. We’re skint, we’re cold, it’s ages until summer and even longer until Christmas. And a lot of us are facing you stone cold sober.

January, I loved you in the beginning; on our first meeting on New Year’s day, you made me feel so powerful and special. You and I were full of possibility, and you made me feel all brand new. But as time has worn on, I’ve seen that you are not quite who I thought you were. Things between us are becoming so fraught,  January: youre cold, you continually make demands of me, and you’re downright difficult to live with. This is hard, January, but I’m starting to think we cant continue. Shall you change or shall I? The crazy thing is, you and I were never even about resolutions. You were just a really good month. But you let me down, man. You let me down.

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                                     Source: CollegeTimes.com                                        January, you’ve been manipulating people for years with your fancy ‘look, I’m shiny and new and you can be just like me.’ Piss off.

So basically I fell off the wagon big time last week with this low carb business. The monster of emotional eating has crept up on me big time and I haven’t wanted to fight it. It’s been a rough few days. I broke up with my boyfriend the week before last, and at first I felt great. I was angry, but it was a productive kind of anger, that spurred me on to get a lot of shit done. I suddenly had this incredible confidence. I was in Beyonce mode, spending time with my friends, doing stuff I liked, dyeing my hair really pink because I no longer had to worry about his conservative ass not liking it. I worked out hard, ate well, meditated and felt great.

whatusaybitch
                                                  Source: Giphy.com                                                  I’m actually very very uncool but on the internet I can pretend.

But then, perhaps inevitably, the crash came. I’m definitely on the other side now but it was rough. I came home to my mum’s place for a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday night and I didnt actually leave until Friday afternoon. My friend calls this behaviour the ‘kitchen floor reset’ – you go home to mum’s, have an emotional meltdown, get it out of your system then go home all shiny and new. My place was on the sofa under a blanket rather than the kitchen floor and my family quietly allowed my miserable ass to stay there – they’re awesome –  but I’m back at my flat now, sitting in front of daytime TV like a true student, and feeling calm and energised again. Beyonce is still in there somewhere.

I digress. Emotional eating is my arch nemesis when it comes to staying healthy. I think it has an even bigger hold on me than smoking did.

I think there are a bunch of reasons why it grips me and many others. For a start, food is widely available. Nobody will bat an eyelid if you buy a whole madeira cake at 10 o’clock in the morning like they would if you were getting a bottle of wine to drown your sorrows. You don’t buy Oreos off some sketchy guy on a street corner in Hackney. You also can’t simply abstain from food like you can with any other form of abuse/addiction because you’ll like, die… so whilst you can change your habits, know all there is to know about healthy eating and implement it daily until you’re blue in the face, when sadness creeps up on you… hi, my old friend pizza.

There’s also the social aspect of eating. Alcoholics and drug users manage abstinence by breaking the connections they have with the people they used to drink/use with, but imagine saying ‘yeah, I can’t be friends with Bob anymore, he eats too much pasta.’

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                               Source: The Methods Man                               Bob, your addiction is negatively affecting our lives. So we made you an appointment and we want you to keep it.

Beyond the social aspect, you have the social acceptability. Especially after a break-up, and perhaps even more especially for women,  perhaps the main factor is the pure social acceptability of it. People are generally unnerved by the idea of themselves or others reaching for a bottle of vodka to deal with heartbreak, believing this to be akin to alcoholism and the very accurate belief that this will simply make things worse. But a tub of ice cream, or a whole pack of oreos, devoured with a side of tears and snot in front of a Jennifer Aniston romcom isn’t only considered okay, for women, it’s kind of what you’re supposed to do when a relationship ends.

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Source: CBS

Its no problem if it occurs just the once. Its expected. For example, here is the sitcom version:

  1. Tearful woman squirts a whole cannister of whipped cream into her mouth, or devours a tub of Ben and Jerry’s with a wistful, trance like look on her face.
  2. Woman is later comforted by a usually platonic male friend who utters a few clichés, woman tearfully smiles, there is a hug, the studio audience ‘awws’ and everything is okay.

I’m sure this is not too far from real life for many (apart from the studio audience,  unless you have your own personal one following you around everywhere). But for emotional eaters, there is more ice cream and whipped cream beyond the reassurance from kind friends that your sexy ass deserves better. There is chocolate and pizza and secrecy and shame. (Shame is particularly yummy BTW.)

So ranting aside, my accountability for last week: low carb happened here and there but mostly I ate shit. I kind of went into this with a hopeful heart that due to the lack of restriction on calories, the naturally curbed appetite and the fact that with a little creativity, it’s easy to substitute high-carb food with more fat and protein loaded options, this would kind of be the solution to temptation. Of course it’s not. It has helped the boredom eating; being so full all the time means that my mind genuinely doesn’t wander to ordering a takeaway or watching a film with chocolate on a slow Sunday afternoon. But when I’m sad – nah.

mashlooktasty
                                              Source: Channel 4                                                   Mmm potatoes…

I can say with certainty that it’s nowhere near as bad as it was, probably down to awareness. I’ll do a little advice post on this at some point. But the last week or so has shown me that I’m definitely not there yet and changing the way I eat is probably not going to solve the problem. I am going to stick with the low carb for a while longer as it has helped with the appetite control, weight loss and I’m definitely feeling the benefit of eating more veggies. But it’s certainly not the solution to emotional eating, kids. Though you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.

January, maybe it is me. You still suck though.