This post follows on from part 1
What I have learnt at these times of feast is that they are also times that I don’t feel as healthy as I normally do. You see I am fortunate because I generally enjoy good health. I don’t suffer with regular pain like many others tell me they do. The pain of headaches or stomach problems or whatever. This could be luck but I’ve always felt it’s also down to my lifestyle. What tells me this is that when I live like others do, which is what happens during the holidays and other periods of feast then I start to suffer the ailments that others do.
For example, yesterday I had the usual holiday back pains, I know how to fix them because I know why they occur. Lack of normal activity is, funnily enough the biggest trigger for injury. Strange, but true. So a walk and a few simple moves cure it. I just need to keep my body ticking over until normal activity resumes after christmas. I know this is the solution because it has happened so many times. Lack of activity is always the cause and being active always fixes it.
Handling a food hangover
So you can see why being uncomfortable is now what I associate with eating too much, very much like a hangover comes from drinking too much alcohol. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever eat too much. If the urge takes me I do it. Life is for living and when good food is around I eat it. What I have learnt is how to recover quickly and avoid the problems it brings. This holiday one approach has been mixing days of less food with days of plenty. The maths is quite simple.
If I eat the equivalent of 2 meals in one sitting then I often skip a meal.
I just wait until I am hungry again. I don’t do this for long, weeks or months but a day and particularly a meal here and there makes all the difference.
Fast weight loss
What it means is that I am enjoying the food that I eat more because I want it because I am hungry. Less and less do I just eat because food is there.
I don’t have food laying around, that would be silly, I would just eat it, whether I want it or not.
To prevent this I’ve frozen food or packed it away some how and ensured the dates are long enough. So I have set up my environment to support me and minimise my binge eating but I’ve also set up my mind. I am actually never that far from a lovely meal and I can happily enjoy the pleasure of looking forward to it. This is one of the most powerful influences I have found. I know that eating too much beforehand will literally change the taste of the food and ruin the experience. This gives me the strength to enjoy the process of fasting.
I fast every day, but it’s just a normal fast. For normal people, not food addicts, it’s the space between a meal. I see it differently. For me it’s actually the void where random nibbles used to be. The technical term is snacking which is what I always thought the point of a holiday was. You snack all day, a mince pie here, an orange there, some cream, don’t mind if I do. At least that’s how it used to be. These days I don’t allow myself to go too long without a meal that inspires me. it must be a meal that is an experience that I savour. This is what gives me the strength and desire to avoid food in between. The way I live is that I remember the last heavenly meal I had and spend my time happily in the knowledge that the next is coming soon and it will be just as good, hopefully better.
The challenge for the holidays, Christmas being the hardest next to Easter, is that it is an eating holiday. It is literally what you’re supposed to do. A food addicts nightmare and heaven rolled into one. I’ve just realised that what happens over christmas is that you either willingly, or sometimes against your will, visit a place that you can’t leave until you have eaten and drunk more than you should in a week. To do anything else would offend those who invited you and spoil everyone elses fun. For a food addict it can be a little like a prison. A very well appointed one but something you can’t escape with rules and expectations you must abide by all the same. The message is clear.
You are going to eat a lot and you won’t leave here until you have done so.
You see, since I’m known to eat plenty, people often lay on the types of and amount of food they think I will like. That’s nice though isn’t it. It’s nice that they went to all that effort. Often its home made so they really have gone to a lot of effort. And I don’t like to disappoint. I no longer gorge myself often but this is the season of plenty and I absolutely hate food going to waste. So I find space. I know far too much about how to adjust my metabolism, posture or whatever I need to get food from my plate to my stomach. Even when it won’t fit, I still have more tricks and I’m not talking about bulimia. That would be a waste of food.
I get big because it all goes down and stays there. I still do this because that’s life. What is fun is that I now have a thousand ways of dealing with this challenge. Short fasts or just not snacking so much is one useful solution. I’m not so hungry between meals when they’re so big so I take advantage and the calories even out, or more accurately the calorie surplus is just a lot smaller.
What life has taught me is that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. I have also found plenty of reasons to value foods that are supposed to be banned. Of course moderation is the answer but it sounds dull. So let me tell you about the moderation I just practised. Lunch generally has a dessert with it. At least in my life that’s true and at Christmas the standards are raised. Yet there is food that is getting past its use by date and I have to balance my compulsion not to waste food. It’s the same story we all face this time of year with so much great food around but few seem as bothered about letting food go to waste as I. So they don’t have to learn how to eat this all up along with the food that I planned to eat in the first place without eating too much.
It gives me something to think about. That’s actually the fun part. It becomes a problem to solve. What would you do if you wanted a mince pie but then saw the banana that needs eating up and remembered the last bits of madagascan vanilla custard on its last day. Maybe its obvious. You make the banana the star accessorising with the mince pie and custard as the supporting cast. Of course then you have to top with a little irish cream. It is christmas after all. Mouthwatering. It was for me of course. It may be an obvious solution to you. Either way it’s a reminder that fruit works because, if you know how to use it, then it is all about quality over quantity. Quality of taste and nutrients over quantity of calories. Making it the star and pairing it with something means you can literally have your cake and eat it. Another day I will pair the mince pie with a satsuma. The orange cuts perfectly through the indulgence of the mince pie. It’s perfect with or without cream.
I just wanted to inspire you. I love fruit, using it as part of indulgence is just natural to me. It’s just a benefit that it helps shed the pounds.
The story continues
I sense I am getting into my stride now. All sorts of memories are flooding back to me that I want to share but I expect neither you or I have the time to explore it all right now. This has turned into such a long post I feel it should be broken into parts so it is not so overwhelming and becomes easier to digest. The rest of the story will come out over time. The point has been to explain a little why I feel I know a little about losing weight. That means I have to introduce you to my inner food addict. The fact that I have never got particularly large is not luck it is through prolonged effort. It shows that I must know something. I am just like any one else, I gain weight and lose it for the same reasons.
I used to think I would eventually just get really big because I hadn’t proven I knew how to lose weight, only put it on. I had to put on a stone or two and lose it several times before I could trust that what I was trying would work. Making this manageable and fun has been my lifes quest and taken several years longer. Even now I’m still learning.
With this post I also wanted to build on the idea that happiness should make you thin not the other way around. So being happy should achieve your life goals. That’s a dream but so many amazing things have been achieved simply because people followed their dreams.
This post follows on from part 1
Of course this post is related to so many more that I couldn’t include.
- obesity: what you can do Obesity is the opposite of weight loss. The two are intrinsically linked.
- Could losing weight be made easier by just taking longer to eat and enjoying every mouthful?
- The French Paradox: Having your cake and eating it
- Can we both enjoy our meals more, and become healthier?
- Confessions of a foodaholic