Hunger versus Distraction versus Habit

These past weeks I’ve been trying to pay attention to not only what I’m hungry for, but if I am actually hungry. Or am I in the habit of eating now? Or just looking for a distraction. And it is maddening how hard it is to know!

If I think too directly about eating, at any point, no matter how recently I’ve eaten, I swear I feel hungry. But that can’t be. And often times when I want to eat I’m just looking for a distraction. A distraction scrolling though my phone might feed if I weren’t trying to avoid my phone at work. Or a conversation with someone near me might quench the need, but I shouldn’t talk. I should just stay focused, but I can’t, and lunch is a good excuse.

I’ve also found as lunchtime nears, I think about eating. Am I eating my lunch or cheating? No! Not cheating. It’s not cheating to eat what you’re hungry for. So many things to unwind, every single day. And habits are the worst. Whether it’s remembering I’m not eating terribly one last time, or eating some great food because I think I want it because it’s forbidden, or simply eating because it’s lunchtime. Whatever lunchtime is. When people get up from their desks and go to lunch alone, or with friends, or simply to the microwave. They get a break! It’s time!

But mostly, when I am hungry, am I always hungry? Is this real hunger? Now I’ve thought so much I’m over-thinking. I’m encouraging myself to consider the lunch I’ve brought. Do I need to go out? Or just want a break? Does something actually sound good? Or does eating always sound good?

How do I lift all of these heavy, tangled up layers off one at a time? Or All at once and I tangle them? Can I cut them apart? Or do I need to somehow figure out how to get them back the way they once were? Were they ever even piled up correctly to begin with? Or have they always been tangled and they’re not meant to be sorted? And, instead, I’m meant to figure out the trick is to not overthink, to not be perfect, and to not try to determine the answers to all of these questions? But if I don’t answer these questions, where do I go next?


Helplessness, Hopelessness, Disconnected and Weight Loss

First, I’m not suicidal. Just to be very clear. There is a wide space for depression. And I’m in a space where I feel helpless, hopeless and disconnected. And I can’t decide whether my inability to lose weight causes some of these feelings and reinforces it. Or if these feelings are largely there because I feel like a failure.

I’m trying so hard to NOT restrict and to eat intuitively. But my intuition doesn’t seem to be WORKING. And by working I mean I’m not losing and feel like I’m gaining. Or at the very least I’m bloated and lethargic.

I’m having a terrible time with social media lately. First, we all know social media is where we pretend to be who we want to be. I’m a very honest person, so for some reason watching people lie makes me uncomfortable and even bitter. It’s like the truth exists in a separate place than social media spin. But we all pretend the spin is real.

I’d love to find friends who don’t use any social media, and who don’t text. That sounds insane, right? But the disconnection makes me feel detached and it’s easy to stay isolated because alone or with people who are obsessed with a PR spin, or scrolling on their phone, feels the same. At least alone I can do what I want. And I don’t have to put on nice clothes.

I have been doing a workout every single day. And that’s not helping with my melancholy. I’ve started to be more intentional about taking vitamin D, my iron supplement and B vitamins. Today I dug in the bottom of my vitamin cabinet and found St Johns wort, mucuna l-dopa and l-tryptophan. Things I’d taken in the past for these feelings.

I probably should get on antidepressants, but honestly, finding someone to prescribe and starting the long road of finding the right medicine also feels overwhelming. I do feel like if one or two things would go my way, my mood would turn around. I’ve been putting so much into working out and improving my relationship with food, that it’s mostly the one thing that isn’t working. Of course, my job is also endlessly frustrating and that doesn’t help. And my friends and family all have their own lives and families that take their times. So I just mostly exist. I’m also largely unhappy with my state in this political climate, but can’t find a job elsewhere. So I am also stuck.

I don’t want to be fat anymore, but don’t want to starve myself short term and gain back. I don’t want to keep existing with family and friends I’m low on the priority list of, but I’ve found that most people get married and the friendships I had dissolve once that happens. Most people want to be married, so there’s not much point in finding a new group of friends for the fourth time. And my job sucks, but it pays the bills. And all jobs suck.

So I just wish I could figure out weight loss!

How to stop eating when it’s delicious

I don’t binge eat. But when I’m choosing the food that sounds most appetizing, I can sometimes struggle to stop eating. I swear my brain knows when I’m done, because I think about it. Then I don’t stop. Because I want one more bite, or even one last perfect bite. I truly think if I could sort this, I’d start making huge strides.

Reasons I keep eating:

  1. The meal is better warm. I know I can save it, but it won’t be the same later, even warmed up, so I want to stretch enjoyment now. Why I shouldn’t use this logic: because if I keep eating and feel over-full, I’m not enjoying anything. Over-full isn’t comfortable for me.
  2. It cost a lot, so I also don’t want to toss it when I know I won’t enjoy the leftovers later. Why I shouldn’t use this logic: the money is spent either way. How does over-eating make it more worth it? It doesn’t. See item 1 about being over-full.
  3. I want one more perfect bite. Then one more I perfect bite. This excuse doesn’t even make sense. But I find myself using this void of logic excuse a LOT. Why I shouldn’t use this non-logic: well, it’s not logical at all. But if I want to use it, fine, have one more, thoughtful, final bite. That’s it. Don’t create some sort of checking routine with finishing food.
  4. I might not actually BE full. So, I’ve noticed this week with more thoughtful eating, my brain signals when I should stop eating, even when I don’t actively feel full. Who knew? But for some reason I worry I’m not ACTUALLY full. I should simply stop eating for fifteen or twenty minutes, to see if I am full. Beyond that, I also shouldn’t follow this logic because: part of my form of intuitive eating is being present and trusting my instincts. So I should start!

These are my most commonly used excuses. I’ll keep being aware of them. And try to remind myself of these reasons to stop using these four. I’ll report back.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Everything-Free

After taking a food intolerance test, I cut gluten and wheat/dairy out of my diet. Along with coconut, mushrooms, peanuts, shellfish, and being aware of yeast, peas, pepper and sesame seeds. It’s hard to be perfect. But I feel so much better, it’s worth trying. I’ve found there are good cheese alternatives, and avocados are a good cheese alternative. I’ve found it freeing to no longer avoid rice, bananas and nightshades. I’ve also really started eating more fish, and not avoiding ANY type of meat (beef, pro, chicken, turkey, etc., all on the table). My energy was fantastic, then I got sick, and it has waned a bit, but I’m still working out.

I also found Aldi not only has some great gluten-fee options (though many include eggs, sesame seeds, pea protein or yeast, all foods I try to avoid), they’re good options occasionally. Though, honestly, the gluten free cinnamon raisin bread this past week? That was more than occasional. And so good. I never knew gluten-free could be so good! They also had some vegan cheese shreds that were good with some gluten-free pizza crusts. They also have some gluten free chicken nuggets. I know, I’m not six. But I do like chicken nuggets.

I’ve found a bun-less, cheese-less burger is right up my alley. Add some avocado and some fries? I don’t even feel like I’m limiting. I also love fish, brown rice and any type of veggies. Or roasted potatoes? What a treat! I love bananas and strawberries with a bit of granola. And it’s strangely indulgent to have JUST an orange for a snack. Or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve found fantastic cracker alternatives I can spread some nut-based cheese spread on. And I’m pretty pleased.

Weight hasn’t exactly been falling off, but I’m lifting weights a few times a week (plus cardio!) and I can see my body changing. My measurements at the first of the year showed losses across my body. I feel stronger and my endurance is improving. I wish my energy would go up and be stable. But with being sick, and hormones, that may never be perfect.

I have a doctors appointment this month and am hopeful she will do panels on me to ensure none of my numbers are out of whack. I take iron, B12 and Vitamin D regularly. I also went on a banana and potatoes bender those first few weeks, which makes me think my potassium might have been low. So I’m interested to see how that goes, and feel hopeful for the future.

This Is Not A Diet

I don’t know why the phrase, “This is not a diet” drives me so crazy. ESPECIALLY when it’s a group of people trying to eat the exact same way. Simply, a diet is what you eat. That can be restricted for health, weight loss or other reasons. But even if it’s not, what you eat is your diet. Also, collectively, what a community eats is their diet. So when you’re in a. Group of people eating keto, paleo, or even low-cal, that is still your diet. Diet isn’t a bad word. And saying, “This isn’t a diet, this is a lifestyle” doesn’t change how restrictive many of these ways of eating to lose weight are. And the restrictiveness is often the reason a different way of eating is temporary. It’s not because someone called it a diet.

And the truth of the matter is, most people change what they eat, their diet, because of health or weight reasons. And, often, the dramatic changes many claim you MUST make make it hard for that change to be worth it in the long term. I’m in a Facebook group for a workout plan I bought. I’ve never subscribed to what is, for me,a VERY restrictive diet/lifestyle/list of allowed foods and number of calories. It’s way too restrictive for me to last. So, call it what you want, I know it will be temporary. So I don’t bother. (That said, many people can simply not eat to lose weight. I’m not one of them. And if that works, good for you!)

Today a woman asked if something she was eating was allowed on this diet. Another patronizing member corrected her, told her this isn’t a diet, then proceeded to say, “This isn’t allowed on this way of life.” Sorry, call it what you want, if this whole group is (allegedly)’eating from the same plan, that is our diet. And telling someone they shouldn’t call it a diet because that feels too restrictive, but then tell them they can’t eat what they’re eating? You are lost.

Instead, why don’t we all just tinker around with food, testing, etc., until we find what works for us. Then mind our own business about it? She could have just said, “if you feel good eating that, eat it.” Which in the long run would be more productive.

My diet consists of whatever I want to eat that makes me feel good. Right now, I’m experimenting with no wheat, dairy, mushrooms, coconut and pineapple because a test I took suggested my body may not like them. In six months I might find something works better. But the days of blanket restricting foods, food groups or other dramatic sweeping changes with no specific reason other than it worked for someone else are gone. But, that said, what I eat is my diet. And some days my diet works better for my health and energy than others.

Society’s Reinforcement vs Happiness

A week or so ago, I saw an article posted on social media about a couple who spent a few years really buckled down to paid off their home and traveled in their RV. They used that home and three other rental properties as income streams to finance the traveling. It was hardly revolutionary. I clicked on the comments thinking I’d see others who had similarly focused for several years and now were reaping the rewards of freedom from a corporate job, or some sort of middle,ground. My personal goal is to get to a point where I can work part time, but a part time job that still offers health insurance.

Instead, almost all I found in the comments were bitter people proclaiming, “No kids. Of course. Rich get richer.” It was interesting because last I checked, people aren’t require to have children (or get married). Although as a child, I assumed I’d get married and have children, I NEVER felt like either were a requirement as I got older and, quite frankly, realized I didn’t want children. I would maybe be drawn to help a teenager in foster care get started as an independent adult. But I’ve never wanted a bunch of babies, toddlers, preteens, etc., filling up my house. It never sounded like my perfect scenario. In fact, the older I got, even marriage sounded like a compromise I wasn’t willing to make. So many men I met wanted a wife who is submissive, does all of the housework (basically his maid and housekeeper). I know not all men are that way, but even if that’s off the table, my life has always been happier with more freedom. I have never once considered settling for any guy just to get married.

So, the question is, are these people being victims, but happy with where they are. Or bitter because they didn’t go for the life they really want?

We only get one go around at this life. We should be doing the things that we are passionate about, with ultimate goals that make us happy. Not that conform, please others, or get us things we don’t really want or need.

New Year, New Inspiration

I love New Years, months, even Mondays. OK, I don’t like Mondays. I have a soul. But as far as motivation goes, there’s something about staring fresh on the first day of the week, month and especially year. And for anyone out there looking to do more of something, less of something, start something, quit something, or anything else, good luck? I hope the new year is the push you need to make the change!

One of my pet peeves are negativity spreaders around the first of the year. All year long, these same people judge others for not having motivation to make changes. Then this day comes around, and they shit all over the shared inspiration. If you’re this hater, stop. Please. Everyone is on a path of self-improvement. We all have ways we could be better. Better to ourself, better to one another, better to the earth. Mostly, we could all be better to ourself. And when we are better to ourself, we are generally better to those around us.

This year, I have been lucky enough to make some changes and be inspired prior to the start of the year, so I don’t have a lit to change tomorrow. However, I do have a lot to keep up. Everything I’ve changed in the past several weeks still needs time to set into a habit. And I want to see physical progress. So, what are my goals?

  • Workout 250 times. This is about five times a week. And admittedly a stretch. When this past year, there were weeks and weeks in a row I had no energy to workout at all. What I did learn this past year: when I can’t workout hard, a walk is a good, respectable workout.
  • Meditate 250 times. Same pace, and also a stretch. These meditations can be 10 minutes. The goal is to keep my mental wellbeing at the top of my list, next to physical. What I’ve learned over the past year: the more I meditate, the better I deal with everyday stress.
  • Stick to eliminated diet through March. From there, I can consider adding back foods as a test, or if I’m not feeling well, maybe try eliminating some of the lower ranked items. For now, I’ve eliminated a decent amount of foods and feel leaps better. I know compliance with this restrictive diet won’t be 100%. It is almost impossible to join someone at their house for dinner without being high maintenance, or enjoy a dinner party even I throw, without having some deviance. But I am hopeful over time, I’ll feel less and less inclined to “cheat” on special occasions. For now, my goal is to stick to the diet 100% of the time when I can control it. Which is at least 80% of the time, if not more.
  • Get in a size 12. This is my vanity goal, and lowest priority. Though I know the three above will improve my health, I’d love to lose inches while I get healthier. To track this goal, I’m going to keep measurements.

That’s it! It seems like a lot, but all it comes down to is tracking workouts, meditations and measurements. I’m already used to tracking workouts so I’ll add a red star on days I meditate. I’m also tinkering around with the Habit app. And being honest with myself and organized enough to not take the easy route on eating. I’m not quitting carbs or eating paleo or giving up all eating out or anything else extreme like I’ve done in the past. And unlike all of those diets, I actually feel better eating this way. For the first time. I hope the years of fatigue will make eating better easier. I actually like working out, and see results fro, meditating. So this s like the past six years of experimentation are coming together!

I am truly excited for 2018, and hope anyone else, even if you’re like me and have tried and not quite succeeded in the recent past, will join me in harnessing the new year motivation and inspiration! May as well start now, because then we will be started!

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