29.04.12

Can I ask you a personal question? Are you on a diet? Or are you currently rebelling against a diet?

Chances are you said yes to one of those questions. A survey done a few years ago showed that the average woman spends 31 years of her life on a diet. And also that the average length of time that we stick to a diet is 5.5 weeks.

Diet, rebel, overeat, regret, diet, rebel, overeat, regret………

Sound familiar?

Since posting last June about my decision to quit dieting, I’ve battled my own little diet/don’t diet cycle. To begin with, I ate what I wanted, and to hell with the consequences.

Which resulted in weight gain. Of course.

So then I panicked, felt guilty, and went on a diet. I know, I said I wouldn’t, but I did. Everything felt so out of control, and if there is one allure that diets hold out for us, it’s the illusion of regaining control.

But it didn’t feel right. And I lost a little weight, but I was obsessed with food. It was all I could think about. And then I started getting ill, my energy went down the tube, I was having to go to bed every afternoon for three hours. Crazy stuff.

I renewed my vow not to diet. But this time, instead of rebelling and eating whatever I wanted, I promised myself that I would find out what foods made me feel good, and what foods made me feel bad, and really start to look after my body.

I can’t tell you how hard that has been. We are not trained to look after our bodies. We are trained to punish them, one way or another. To actually make healthy choices, just for the sake of wellbeing, is challenging. Every day I feel like I’m wobbling on a high wire. No net. But every day it’s getting a bit easier.

I’m learning balance, for the first time. I’m finding out what foods agree with me, and what foods don’t. I’m beginning to trust myself.

Yes, I’ve lost a little weight. I don’t know how much, because I was really struggling with my motivation, feeling very conflicted, slipping back into obsessing about losing pounds, and so I packed my scale away. You’ve no idea how freeing that was. Not to pack it away in a I’m-giving-up kind of way, but to pack it away because my weight is no longer the issue.

My next task is to try to heal my relationship with exercise, and that’s going to be tough. I’m one of those people who loathe exercise, truly loathe it. I grew to love running a few years ago, and Pilates too, but I was solely motivated by a desire to lose weight, and that drove me into over exercising and burning out. Running six times a week, taking Pilates classes three times a week. And still feeling guilty that I wasn’t working hard enough for the body of my dreams. I ruined it for myself, and I’m sad about that, because I know now how hard I will have to work to regain some of that fitness, and it’s a daunting task. Especially daunting when I have to motivate myself with loving, positive reasons, rather than shame and guilt and body hate.

But I’m determined to try. Because if it’s possible to heal my relationship with food, it must be possible to heal my relationship with exercise.

So, here’s my plan. I recently found this cool site called Chains.cc. The premise is that it helps you break bad habits and establish good habits, by creating a chain of daily actions. Momentum is a powerful thing. I’m promising myself that for the month of May, I will commit 30 minutes every single day to some form of exercise. Walking, Pilates, weights, stretching, whatever I feel like on that day. I’m hoping that by the end of the month, I will learn to enjoy exercise for it’s own sake, regardless of how it makes me look or what it does to my weight or my dress size.

Do you want to join me? One month. 31 days. We can do this!!

26.04.12

Here are some tunes to get you on your way today…..

The Staves – Winter Trees
Avalanche City – You And I
Maps & Atlases – Solid Ground
Of Monsters & Men – Mountain Sound
Pickwick – The Doe Bay Sessions
Bombay Bicycle Club – You Already Know
The Narrative – Eyes Closed
Lykke Li – Tonight
William Fitzsimmons – If You Would Come Back Home
Songbird – Phantom
The Lumineers – Morning Song
The Tallest Man On Earth – Love Is All
Of Monsters And Men – Lakehouse
Boy – Skin
Fences – Sadie

Hope you enjoy some of them as much as I did!

25.04.12

So….. how are you doing today? Is it a good day? A bad day? A hanging-in-but-only-just day?

Yeah, me too. It’s been a tips-of-my-fingernails kind of week. You know how life queues up a month’s worth of problems and throws them all at you at once? Even Tony is cracking around the edges. You know life is tough when it gets to him.

Anyway. If things are a little tough for you right now, you’re not alone. We’ll get through this. The longest, darkest day has to end eventually. In the meantime, be gentle. Be patient. It’s all about damage limitation. Don’t try to carry more than you have to right now.

And don’t forget to breathe……

(This abandoned house is on one of our favourite walks, to the cliff tops. The road goes through land used by the nearby army camp, and is regularly closed due to firing practise. The army bought the house, and closed it up. Which is a shame, because this old stone house would make a fine home.)

 

24.04.12

You like me, right? I hope so, because I’m about to tell you something rather shameful.

This is NOT a nice thing to admit about myself. But I find courage to tell you from the fact that I strongly suspect that many of you will be the same way.

I can’t stop comparing myself to others, and measuring up my successes and failures against theirs. I’m competitive. And often-times, envious.

What do I compare? Everything. It’s like we women are in some kind of universal league table. We tally up points for everything: how pretty we are, how much we weigh, how glossy our hair is, how many pairs of shoes we have. How happy we are, how busy our social life is, how many friends we have, how close we are to our family, how beautiful our spouse/children are, how stylish our home is. Our career status, our personal and public achievements, our ambitions, our intellect, our wit. Everything.

The net result of it is, we comparers are always way down the bottom of the league table, looking up at all the beautiful, successful, intelligent, popular women above us.

Now I know that this is wrong. I know it affects the way I relate to other women, and how they relate to me. Worse still, it reduces other women to something far less than the sum of their parts.

I know it’s damaging. I know it makes me unhappy.

What I don’t know, is how to stop doing it. I want to stop comparing, measuring, assessing, competing, but I don’t know how to. Truly.

I was discussing this over on someone else’s blog recently, and someone made a very thought provoking comment that I would like to share with you. She said:

“Just remind yourself that your life, I’m sure, is plentiful, and that no one else’s achievements, body, or life has anything to do with yours, and so should have nothing to do with how you feel about your own life, body and achievements.”

This really resonated with me – I keep revisiting the page to read the words over. To try to get them to sink into my heart, not just my head. Because logically I know this to be true, but still I find myself slipping back into comparisons.

But there’s a really profound truth here. I am me. You are you. We are utterly and completely unique. We are not linked in some kind of bizarre chain reaction of status. If you achieve something, that does not automatically push me down the scale. It does not change my achievements. If I walk into a party, and there are ten women taller than me, and ten women shorter than me, that does not actually change my height! I am, what I am. You are what you are.

I have written and rewritten that paragraph, but any way I word it, sounds crazy. Because it is crazy! But if you are a comparer, you’ll get what I’m saying. And if you’re not, lucky you. But I’m not jealous.

Well, I’m trying not to be, at any rate.

So, tell me, do you compare yourself with others? How do you deal with it?