You know how you can kinda cruise through life for a bit and people ask how you are, and you just automatically say “I’m good thanks – how are you?” – it’s an automatic response that can cover up a whole load of stuff.Well that’s how I’ve been coasting for the last few weeks. But I had a bit of a wake up and now I kinda feel sorry for the person that asks me how I am. I take it as my cue to unleash a sob story upon them in the queue at Sainsburys… If you know me, it’s probably best not to ask unless you’re prepared for a lengthy answer. But the truth is that the last few weeks have been hard for me. Really hard. Except that I didn’t really realise this until the week just gone when it felt like I finally had a moment to myself and the truth hit me. I have been crazy busy making cakes for parties, working in the garden and sorting out other various bits and bobs; I’ve been time poor which is great for suppressing negative feelings!
But the warning signs of my ‘wobbliness’ have really been there for a little while in my eating. Basically I have not stopped eating for the last 3 weeks. Literally, not stopped scoffing. Whilst most of our meals are wholesome and full of goodness, there’s been a helluva lot of snacks (think Nutella Spoons) and weeknight wine time, and excessive quantities of cheese being grated and consumed for meals that really don’t need cheese. And then there’s the ‘secret eating’ – this is the eating that takes place in the car with petrol station purchases like creme eggs and chocolate buttons, and then there’s the ‘I don’t know what I fancy but if it’s edible and within my grasp, I’m gonna shove it in my mouth’ kind of eating.
This emotional eating has begun to take it’s toll – I feel somewhat puffy (my preferred term for feeling bloated), my digestion is, well, not really working as it should. I’m dreading the scales tomorrow morning and my new jeans which were already snug are now uncomfortably tight enough for me to have invested in some waist band extenders in order to avoid giving myself a UTI. Not to mention that my skin is breaking out, and my hair is looking rather lank and tired, rather quickly. (On a side note – don’t buy Herbal Essence dry shampoo. I tried it and it sucks. It felt like I’d sprayed my scalp with super strength spray and I wanted to itch it all day. Stick with Batiste).
So yuh… not great all in all.
On the positive side, I somehow managed to run my first sub 2 hour half marathon last week and Simon and I have done enormous amounts of heavy lifting, labour intensive work in the garden over over the last few weekends. This has quite literally been back-breaking at times but highly cathartic in releasing pent up energy!
But tomorrow marks the start of half term – 5 glorious days of no timetable to adhere to and no rushing about trying to cram everything into my day. I’ve decided that this is the week that I will use to get a grip and shower myself in self love. And this is how I’m gonna do it:
1) Get Real
In order to really invest in myself, I gotta get real. So this means I need to actually process and work through some of the stuff that’s hurting me at the moment. And whilst some can do this by themselves, I am not one of those people. I need to chew off someones ear – preferably with someone who totally gets my point of view and agrees with me completely – although these conversations can somewhat deteriorate into a gossip session which never really gets me anywhere. So tomorrow I am having lunch with one of my good friends Suzi, who is a wise wise lady!
Super Suzi helps me talk through stuff in a constructive and non-judgemental way. She’s not afraid to call me out on my bull shit and for every tear that I have shed in front of her, there have been a thousand laughs too! Suzi helps me get real and even though I would prefer to hibernate in a warm dark hole* (*read pantry stocked with chocolate and cheese), I know that I need to get my emotional health back in check. This is crucial anyway, but it’s even more crucial if I’m gonna lose those waist band extenders.
Unfortunately, also part of getting real is standing on the scales tomorrow morning. Bummer.
2) Start Again
I’m going to go back to the principles of clean eating; cutting out the junk and the processed rubbish and eating lots of colourful fruit and veg, lots of lovely whole grains, lots of good fats like avocado and nuts and seeds, and I’m gonna drink gallons of water. The more stuff I eat that’s of nutritional value rather empty calories, the more it gives my Tummy Tum Tum a little cuddle and shows it some love. I start feeling better on the inside, and this gradually translates into feeling more in control, more like Amy, and less likely to go on a secret eating mission.
I’m also going to make the most of having time available and head outside for a few runs now that I’ve recovered from my half marathon. My training plan says I should be out there doing 12 miles today, *glugs more wine* sooo….
Mind, body, and the back of the fridge, and the wardrobe, and the study… and several other rooms and cupboards. There is something immensely satisfying about decluttering our living space. I see it as a symbolic act of decluttering my head, as I throw out empty bottles of shampoo and body wash from my bathroom drawer. Not entirely sure why they’re in there in the first place but they are. My wardrobe looks more like a Primark apocalypse, and I’m sure there’s at least one pack of onions festering at the back of the cupboards in the kitchen. Our ‘in tray’ in the study basically serves to contain everything else in the house that is homeless or that I can’t be bothered to take to its home… batteries, photos, superglue, sunglasses, gloves…
So part of my time each day is going to be spent decluttering the house and giving it a good old fashioned clean. Not only is this extremely cathartic, but I find it grounds me and gives me focus. When my living space feels looked after and spacious, it becomes a bit of a haven and a space to recover and relax. Also, if I give myself stuff to do, I’m less likely to spend that time eating.
One of my favourite pastimes is to head to Costco Land of Awesome, where I will be stocking up on an urgent need for toilet rolls and Haribo. (The Haribo is for Simon). But I will also buy about a tonne of mince and chicken which I will make into lovely freezer-friendly dinners to see us through the next half a term when I’m feeling either too tired, busy or lazy to cook. Simon’s said he’ll make his famous chilli, which gleans around 12 portions! Result! Meals in the freezer that I know are crammed full of nutrition mean I am less likely to download Just Eat on my phone and order a kebab like I did on Friday when I couldn’t be bothered to cook.
One of my favourite recipes to cook, portion and freeze is this luscious banana and cinnamon bread by Madeline Shaw (see here for recipe). This stuff is gluten free, refined sugar free and it could be dairy free if you swapped the butter for coconut oil. It tastes better than any other banana bread I’ve had. I have to freeze this otherwise I will eat it. I will eat it all.
Nothing says ‘I love me’ like a bit of me time. Taking time out for yourself is so so so important. So this week I’ve booked in a couple of treats!
On Tuesday I’ve got a facial booked. And I cannot wait. When I have a facial, I expect to fall asleep – once I’ve got over the fact that the mud mask is not clogging up my nostrils, and the weirdness of someone who’s not me is washing my face. I feel SO relaxed after a facial and I leave feeling lighter, and my skin looking so much healthier. Facials are not cheap. So I wait until they are on offer (which is almost every other month where I go) and I also load up with samples so that I can administer my own mini home facials every now and then too. Definitely more stressful doing it by yourself – I often end up flooding the bathroom as I wash my face, determined not to open my eyes in case I scratch my pupils with exfoliator balls.
Then on Thursday I’ve got my hair booked in for some highlights and a cut and blow dry. I always make the mistake of leaving it far too late to get my hair cut and it grows into a caveman mess almost overnight. This time, I booked ahead. And it is only just starting to turn…I learnt my lesson a few years ago about holding out too long to get my hair done. I had a class of 7 year olds who asked if my top-knot was ‘fake hair’ as it was a totally different colour to the roots. Bad times.
And in the same vain, top of my list of things to do this week is get the two caterpillars that are crawling closer together on my forehead threaded. No doubt, the lady will tell me off for plucking them to which I’ll protest that I did no such thing (I totally plucked them), and there’s a 50/50 chance that when she’s finished, one will be significantly thinner/longer than the other, but once she’s mopped my brow with cooling gel, I’ll certainly feel like my face looks less Hobbit and more runway. And this is a good thing. And if it’s obviously uneven, I’ll ask the hairdresser to give me a fringe.
Life is hard sometimes and it would be untruthful of me not to acknowledge my circumstance in light of my relationship to food. I know that I am not the only one who ‘eats their feelings’ and that many of you will relate to this. One of the reasons that I started this blog was to share an honest reflection of managing life’s up and downs when you are someone who loves food and enjoys a bit of comfort eating. I hadn’t expected that I would only be 4 posts in before admitting so much eating shame, but, I’m hoping this is part of the process to regaining some control again.
But for tonight, I’m going to enjoy another glass of wine, have a snuggle with my man and savour the tub of Hagen Dazs in the freezer!
Have a fabulous week my lovelies!