States of Change

29 Jun

Thank you for all your wonderful responses to my last post. It was hard to write and hard to publish, but all those little voices from across the world that whispered encouragement and said “me too” have helped me so much.

I don’t know where to begin with what to say next. I suppose I should start with an observation. It struck me this weekend as I was socialising that many people eat more than I do in an absent minded state. I’m actually pretty moderate with food most of the time, even what I would consider a “binge” many people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at. And here comes the parallel with drinking: it’s not about what or how much, it’s about how it makes you feel. And how I feel about my relationship with sugar, to put it delicately, makes me feel like shit.

I think I wrote last year somewhere on this blog that I felt that my issues with food were such that unless I addressed them, and quit my enemies (namely sugar) that I would continue endlessly in the circle of doom. Just as I once likened my alcohol issue to the myth of Sisyphus, endlessly pushing a rock up a hill only  for it to tumble down to the bottom, I suspected it may be the same with food. Almost a year on, I now know this to be the case. But how to make a change?

I was thinking this morning of the ‘Stages of Change’ model, and trying to work out which stage I’m at: the phases go: Pre-Contempaltion, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance and relapse can happen at any stage in this process. I think I’m somewhere between Preparation and Action, dancing the line between those two phases, with a healthy dose of ‘Relapse’ for good measure.

I think I’m partly feeling stuck because I don’t know what success would look like. With alcohol, it was quite simply a case of putting down the drink. The emotional implications of doing so were of course more complex, but once I’d mastered the not drinking bit, the rest fell into place. With food, the honest reality is that 75% of my intake is very good. I love healthy food. I love exercise. And yet in that 25% portion where I don’t comply to my idea of ‘good eating’, I go wild.

Now here’s an interesting thing. Most notions of healthy eating operate using the 80:20 rule, which is a pleasant and balanced way to exist. I’ve tried to aim for this. I’ve done a whole year of trying to do that. But it is increasingly becoming apparent that ‘moderation’ does not appear to work. But the alternative, 100% compliance with a healthy eating plan scares me because I perceive it as restrictive. What if I were to perceive it as a gift to myself? Would that help? Can I manage that? That shift of perception? I want to work on doing so.

I could write for hours on this subject but I must go to work. So for now, I’ll continue to try and bash my way through this knotty problem- any thoughts and experience on the matter are very welcome.

FFF x

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27 Responses to “States of Change”

  1. primrose June 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    dear FFF, thank you for this post and for talking about this thorny topic! and in my comment on your last post did not say anything very specific on the topic itself partly I think because this can be a horror movie for me too and I don’t want to go down into the cellar 😉

    and I completely get where you’re coming from on the feeling reluctance towards the 100%, and questioning whether that in itself is too restrictive. I remember being as horrified to learn about orthorexia being a condition in itself, as when I discovered that being a perfectionist is NOT a good thing!

    a couple of thoughts for you – firstly if you haven’t already listened to it I heartily recommend the Bubble Hour podcast on Sister Addictions – Food and Alcohol – here: http://www.thebubblehour.com/2014/07/re-broadcast-sister-addictions-food.html

    there’s some really good examination of our underlying assumptions about food and weight in there which I am finding so useful.

    and another thing I’ve found really helpful is a deceptively simple phrase I’ve adopted -when a negative thought arises about my body, I counteract it with this, which gives me some mental space and a new perspective:

    ‘My body is: brilliant and I am so grateful for everything it can do.” from here:

    http://womenagainstnegativetalk.com/2015/05/woman-against-negative-talk-gigi-yogini-on-self-respect-dress-size-and-being-unstoppable/

    have a great day and look forward to more of these thought provoking posts of yours xxx

    • FitFatFood July 1, 2015 at 7:52 am #

      DONT GO INTO THE CELLAR!

      I haven’t listened to that podcast in a while but will. And thanks so much for that link. Although I must say that mindset of “be grateful for what your body can do” I get and logically understand how it can make you feel better but I don’t FEEL it feel it ya know?!

      Always more work to be done…

  2. clairerich2015 June 29, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    OMG I’ve just blogged pretty much the same thing!!! I feel your pain xx

  3. Sarah June 29, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    have you tried OA? i don’t remember reading that you have. i am not suggesting that you have an OA level problem – but more so you might get some tips & tool from it and find a few like minded people to talk to about it. my AA sponsor did some OA too – she no longer does it on a permanent and ongoing basis like she does AA but i think it gave her some tools. if i find my sugar / eating issue continue with my ongoing sobriety, I’m open to trying it.

    certainly sounds like from above and other post replies – you are not alone, and everything you write very much resonates with others. seems there is a lot of women trying find a healthy approach to food & comfort.

    I have read a lot of no-sugar / eating clean books in the past few months – and i am running around your stages of action wheel like a hamster on a hamster wheel! 🙂

  4. Amy June 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    I was a binge eater from age 13 to age 27, the worst of it taking place in my early twenties. From age 27 until now–many years later–I seem to have replaced excess food with excess alcohol, but that’s another story.

    I have a pretty good hold on my eating and I think that it can be attributed to my flipping the switch from “weight” to “health.” I strive to eat only nutrient dense, mainly organic, food. I try to make *any* food healthier – for instance, adding spinach and broccoli to the greasy/cheesy goodness of pizza. Vitamins + fiber + fat + carbs = relatively healthy balance (right?)! And, most importantly, I read food ingredient labels…once I start seeing all of those long words that sound like chemicals, I get turned off. Some more tips: Rather than weigh myself every day (or hour!) I maybe weigh myself once a month, if that. When my clothes feel tight, I cut back on snacks until I “feel” within normal range. I don’t want a number to dictate my happiness as it did for so many years. I also try to attend 2-3 power yoga classes a week, which help me immensely both physically and mentally.

    It was a long process, but I think once I started eating real, wholesome food, the artificial junk simply no longer tasted good. But as I mentioned, I kind of swapped one problem with another problem. Sometimes I think that I need SOME problem to worry about, otherwise what would I do with my life (as if my husband, son, and large extended family aren’t enough?) – ha ha.

    I think you and I started the 100 day challenge around the same time and while I stupidly attempted moderation at day 101, I’ve loved following you on your inspiring journey and I hope to live like you–alcohol free- one day 🙂

    • FitFatFood July 1, 2015 at 7:50 am #

      Ahh so glad you commented 🙂 if it’s not one thing it’s the other eh?! Thanks so much for your insight x

  5. ainsobriety June 30, 2015 at 3:44 am #

    Yeah. No easy answers. In the end, it’s finding that acceptance of whatever it is you choose to eat, regardless of what it is. Food can should sometimes be purely for enjoyment.

    • FitFatFood July 1, 2015 at 7:49 am #

      It’s true… Today I feel fine, the pendulum continues to swing…

    • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      Amazing! This whole site is great. And your site is fab- I can’t work out how to follow it though! Doh!

      • clairerich2015 July 2, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

        Ha!! What are you like?! 🙂 if you’re on a computer isn’t there a ‘follow’ button at the top of the screen? If on mobile app my user name should be clickable and you can follow it that way. Doesn’t matter, I’m just pleased you approve! I’ve followed you (as in your blog, not, like, stalking you personally or anything. That would be weird) since January and read everything from start to finish. Love it!! 😀 x

      • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

        Hahaha *takes out restraining order*

      • clairerich2015 July 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

        Lol!

      • clairerich2015 July 2, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

        Maybe my blog has a restraining order against you……??? 😉

      • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

        Haha, damn! The stalkee becomes the stalker! Where are you based by the way? Geographically? (Bad question off the back of the stalking question)

      • clairerich2015 July 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

        Indeed! I’m in Leeds though, how about you?

      • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm #

        What’s your email address? We should take this to the private sphere

      • clairerich2015 July 2, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

        Is it safe to post that kinda thing in public? Don’t fancy more spammy emails I’ll only end up deleting :-/

      • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

        Fair enough, mine is fitfatfoodblog@gmail.com I think 🙂

      • clairerich2015 July 2, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

        Thanks 🙂 ill email you later this eve, popping over friend’s house for couple of hours (I don’t have email address that’s blog related hence my hesitation) x

      • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

        Totes get it 🙂

      • FitFatFood July 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

        And the follow button definitely isn’t there! I promise! Anyway I’ll just check in anyway periodically 🙂

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  1. zooming out from a false focus | taking a new path - July 6, 2015

    […] parallel to this, FFF’s recent great posts have been, if not opening my food can of worms, then at least waking the worms up and setting the […]

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