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.

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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.

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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

Treats.

I have a sore throat and am munching blueberries like there’s no tomorrow. I forgot how yummy they were. Fried chicken and Sainsburys muffins literally wreck your tastebuds. And your waistline. And your body. And your LIFE. But damn they sure are good. Why can’t they also be nutritious?!

So as the sore throat part might imply, for the past couple of days I have been a big old sack of lurgy. Literally a sack until early this afternoon, all sacked out on the sofa like a big old saggy sack watching David Bowie concerts on YouTube (God rest his soul). I don’t like taking time off work, it makes me feel bad. And what with being a student in one of the world’s most expensive cities, I don’t particularly like missing out on dem coins either (yes I did just say dem coins and I won’t apologise). The latter is a pain in the arse but not the end of the world; the former is also a pain in the arse but something I am working on changing. I’ll do a post about guilt at some point.

But today’s post is more about how when I’m sick, I tend to think I can do whatever the fuck I want. And by do, I mean eat. Starve a fever, feed a cold, has always been my mum’s motto, and it’s one I’ve taken to heart big time. That’s where one of my biggest problems with sticking to a healthy lifestyle long-term comes in: the excuses. I am a master of making excuses for myself. “Well, I’ve quit smoking, I’m not drinking for at least the next 24 days… guess another square of chocolate is okay… when I’m well enough I can HIIT it off… and besides, gotta have some kind of a treat!”

I used food to death when I first quit smoking. I know that’s quite common, largely because your sense of taste starts coming back and food just feels so good that you can’t stop putting it in your mouth. I was probably quite capable of eating a whole cow those first few weeks. I took the attitude that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for eating a huge portion of spaghetti for dinner and then two cupcakes for pudding; I didn’t really seem to be gaining weight. Plus, my lung capacity was increasing, meaning I could exercise for longer (as an aside – quitting smoking makes exercise so much more tolerable, please do it for that reason alone!) and again… can’t smoke, so gotta have a treat!

There it is again: a treat. Sure, a cupcake is a treat. One cupcake, maybe once a week. Two nightly – that is not a treat. Quitting smoking or not.That is not good. I know that when I eat bad, I get depressed. I know that I feel worse physically.

A couple glasses of wine on Friday? Nice, that’s a treat. A couple of glasses on Tuesday, a bottle on Friday and then a night out involving spirits on a Saturday… each fun on occasion, in isolation. But in 2016, most of my weeks looked like this. “I’m a student!” I would say. “Only young once… can’t do this shit when I’m a real adult with a job. Besides, I work hard… gotta have a treat!”

One of my many unhealthy talents is excuses. I’m a student. I work hard. I’ve had a bad day. I did a Fitness Blender 1,000 calorie workout on Tuesday. So abusing my body and mind is totally fine. Gotta have a treat…

My dictionary defines a treat as “An event or item out of the ordinary that gives great pleasure.” Yes, drinking booze and eating crap does give me great pleasure. But it’s increasingly not out of the ordinary. There was a time in my life when these things really were treats. And my life was better. I was healthier, mentally and physically.

A little while ago, I started referring to myself as a hedonist. I think this was my pretentious way of applying the principle of ‘YOLO’. And also excusing the fact that I was indulging in stuff that felt good because I didn’t feel good a lot of the time and I wasn’t ready to start working for healthy, lasting happiness, rather than spending time looking forward to doing things that created short sharp bursts of pleasure… short lived rather than constant. I came across this great quote the other day – I can’t remember where but please leave a comment if you know who I can credit this to – “bad habits are easy to develop but hard to live with; good habits are hard to develop but easy to live with.” That rang so true.

Do I want to stop treating myself? Absolutely not; I’m determined to enjoy my life. But you really can have too much of a good thing. That’s when it gets bad. So, it is my goal to work at keeping unhealthy treats few and far between; to be enjoyed IN MODERATION and in a way that has no adverse effects on my life.

But healthy treats? Why not every day?

I’m trying to change my mindset as to what a treat that can be enjoyed regularly is. So, here is a list of five healthy treats. Feel free to nab them:

  1. Grooming. Putting on a facepack, a hair treatment and doing a good old DIY mani-pedi of an evening is a treat I’ve been indulging in often lately. It’s relaxing and makes me feel better, no matter what mood I’m in. I’ve decided to set aside an evening for this at least once a week this year – regardless of how busy I am. In fact, especially if I’m busy.
  2. An overpriced smoothie. Sadly not a frequent one if you’re a poor student like me, but sometimes swinging by itsu or equivalent and spending five quid on a healthy smoothie I’ll devour in as many minutes is a nice little feel-good boost. They’re yummy, make me feel all bright eyed and bushy tailed and happy that I’ve done something good for my body. One little thing at a time. And if I can spend five quid on a glass of wine, I can spend the same on this.
  3. BAKING! As long as you don’t munch down all of your creations after the fact (note to self after all discussed above), baking is one of life’s simple pleasures. I keep meaning to take a batch of my M&M cupcakes to the ill-tempered neighbours downstairs. Might get on this one soon.
  4. A YouTube session. This one is particularly good when feeling really bored or a bit low. Sit down for an hour or two and just binge on YouTube vids – I recommend Animal Planet’s Too Cute! selection after a particularly rough day. This is also a good distraction if you’re trying to quit a bad habit like smoking or frequent drinking – how can you still want that vodka and coke when you’re distracted by videos of tiny mewing kittens befriending a big snuggly dog?! Oah teh cutez.
  5. Create something for the pure fucking fun of it. Writing is often such a chore for me, because I have things I am seriously working on for serious and if I don’t treat it like work and take it seriously for serious then how do I expect to seriously get anywhere? But sometimes, it’s nice to just write something that I want to… a silly little yarn or a poem or something purely for myself. And when I do, it’s a real treat. Or I do something I don’t take seriously, like one of my video collages or some doodling. It’s a nice distraction… and stops you resenting the serious stuff.

So much better than cupcakes.

Also, I’ve raised £55.00 for Cancer Research so far for the Dryathlon. Not bad! Love to everyone who’s sponsored me.

I’m going to have a Strepsil now and think about a healthy dinner. Eating crap is not going to make my cold go away any quicker. I’ve typed it, now I have to stick to it. Which is what this blog is all about.