Over the past year or so, I’ve been exploring a different approach to healthy eating. Learning to kill cravings and smash the poor eating cycle. And that involves exploring the drivers behind my poor eating habits. After years of yoyo dieting and deprivation, it’s quite clear, diets don’t work for someone like me.
It’s hard to explain how deeply talking about food, weight and image effects me. The triggers to send me into panic and depression are subtle. Someone only needs to say, “you’ve lost weight haven’t you?” and my thoughts push into overtime, clouding my judgement and derailing my choices. Constant talking about food and health (even writing this post) starts the cycle of guilt and failure. So diet clubs and most food programmes are short-term solutions for me. The only way I could understand my drivers is through counselling and coaching.
Finding the right resources
This isn’t a quick fix. I have consulted a number of people along the way. I have had to unlearn everything I know about food. My eyes were truly opened when I spent time with a very talented, local eating psychology coach, Sue Bradley. Not only does she employ techniques to help you understand what drives poor eating habits but she is passionate about food health and is like a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge. She helped me navigate food labelling and unpick fad eating phases before I got seduced into quick weight loss.
This isn’t a one post advertisement for Sue. What I’m trying to say, for someone like me, working with someone I trusted but also demonstrates a continued commitment to expanding their own knowledge about food and our bodies, is crucial. If you choose to spend money on deeper therapies, check their working style and credentials.
What I know
I made two big discoveries while working with Sue. Firstly that I was addicted to sugar. All it took was one viewing of the documentary Fed Up. Watch it. Even if you think you don’t have a ‘sweet tooth’, you may be surprised. A year ago, I committed to 10 days sugar-free, which was hard but turned into 21 days before I knew it. It rebooted my sugar sense and to this day, I can now taste added sugar where it doesn’t need to be added.
Secondly, I understood stress as probably my biggest motivator. I made the choice over this past year, to address the sources of stress. Now to be clear, I deal with stressful situations quite well, I thrive on being reactive (probably addicted to the adrenalin those situations produce). The stress which had been impacting my eating habits was more like overwhelm. I made the same mistake many self-employed people do of saying ‘yes’ to a whole bunch of projects and fought a 12-hour daily battle to juggle them with the family.
A holistic plan for life
It was time to take back control but this has taken time to graciously bow out of projects which weren’t taking my career where it needed to be. I made a big and scary decision to wave goodbye to overwhelm but hello to the good stress. I put my eggs into one big basket and found a business partner. I feel less alone with what I want to achieve in my career and already less panicked. Last week, I completed the last big piece of work and now set on a new road.
Which makes this the perfect time for another phase of self-medication through food and fitness. I gave myself a free pass to control my overwhelm by whatever means necessary but it’s come at a price. My body feels awful.
Whilst my sugar addiction is by no means as bad as it was over a year ago, another sugar-free stint is a great way to kills a few bad habits. I’ve paired that with alcohol-free during the week. Downing half a bottle of wine on a Monday had become a ritual but was destroying my energy levels. I also switched to decaf coffee at the home office, which most certainly has stopped the headaches.
As well as making time for daily exercise (light at first because of my back pain). I have one last little friend helping me along. CBD. Dr Axel explains the benefits better than I can. As someone is staunchly anti-drug (I lost a good friend to them) you can imagine my surprise discovering the anti-psychotic and immune benefits CBD demonstrates. There is strict regulation on these claims in the U.K. but countless press articles where people have claimed to reap the benefits for a number of conditions. For me, it’s helping to lift by back pain which in turn reduces the risk of comforting myself with food or wine for the pain.
The most important thing I’ve learned throughout my years of dieting and battling my food demons? It’s a never-ending journey, so you must be happy along the way. There’s more to learn about myself, my body as I enter each decade. And I will never get complacent.
As part of my continued learning, I’ll be at the following events this week:
Your Best Summer Ever 8pm 14th July. The amazing ladies at Supercharged offer a chance for some quality counselling via a webinar at an affordable price – only £7.50. Come away with strategies for a positive and nourishing summer.
The Alchemy Detox 10am 13th July. I’ll be trying to understand how to boost my energy levels and by a whole new mumma!