I have been doing „Intuitive Eating“ for almost 20 days now – time for a short recap: To get started I had decided to keep a slightly different food diary. That means not only writing down what I have eaten in order to keep track concerning the quantities but also to see how I’m feeling during a meal and afterwards, how much hunger I have had before a meal etc. I have also taken more general notes how I’m feeling and if something extraordinary has happened. What describes this whole process best is the sentence “Change is not linear.” because you are not going only straight ahead but from time to time you take a turn or your way makes a bend or you go back to the starting line. But in total I’m feeling so well with myself and my relationship with food as I haven’t in quite some time.
What do I need to work on more?
The scale is still singing its siren song for me, especially after days where I have had the feeling to have “gone over my limits”, even if that is humbug when it comes down to “Intuitive Eating”, because such a thing does not exist anymore. When I have stood on the scales almost daily in the past, I have weighed myself since August 1st three times – which is a huge success for me.
It is hard not to keep eating by habit or „because it’s there“ or because someone else had lots of work with the food or has bought something on purpose. In other areas of my life I’m good at saying “no”, but with respect to food I’m still a beginner.
What is also not easy are situations where you are dependent on others: If you are visiting someone or if plans are changing spontaneously. For example I had a lunch date with my Mum and then it took ages to actually go out. I had not eaten anything besides breakfast because we had a lunch date – to pass away the time until 4 pm (when we finally left) there were only sweets and coffee. I had no urge to eat something sweet and since it was possible that we would leave for food any time I drank huge amounts of coffee. Of course not a perfect situation …
Typical situations where I fall into some kind of „I don’t care“ mode are tiredness and testiness. The more tired or the testier I am, the higher is the chance that I start to eat sweets – sometimes without thinking – even if I’m not hungry or do not even have an appetite.
Interesting observations and what goes well?
I have an increased desire to try out new things food wise – in the last few days I have eaten e.g. chia seeds, muesli based on quinoa, new bar alternatives or chicken. Some of you might remember that I have been a pescatarian for the last years, not due to ethical reasons but because I could live without the taste of poultry, pig or beef. On Saturday I had a very extreme craving for a piece of chicken breast. We were out for dinner and really nothing on the menu which offered sufficient alternatives really spoke to me and I couldn’t think of anything else than this piece of chicken. So I ate it – it felt a bit unusual at first, but it was simply very, very tasty. If I eat chicken again in the near future – I can’t say that yet. If my hunger tells me to eat chicken, then yes, if not, not. So totally in the sense of „eating what I’m craving“.
And it might sound a bit crazy but what has helped me most besides the food diary is simply waiting. If I’m unsure whether I’m truly still hungry, I put my fork and knife to the side and wait for exactly 5 minutes. Do I want to continue eating after those 5 minutes, I’ll continue. In 9 out of 10 cases, however, I don’t feel like continue eating. In the past I used to eat way past this point.
I don’t have the feeling that I have to give up something and in my head food no longer plays the dominant rote that it had until just a short while ago.
Oh, summer where art thou?! It got quite chilly here and rainy and windy but that seemed to be quite beneficial to my runs. I did two this weekend: One on Saturday after a coffee date with my cousin next to the channel in the pic and one today. Saturday was the first time in ages that I managed to run a 5 K in only slightly more than 30 minutes (I haven’t even managed that during my last official 5 K where the “extrinsic” motivation to run faster by the other runners is bigger than during a regular training run). And today was the first time in ages that I did a long run with a sub-7-min pace per km - which surprised me even more because longer runs and me … We were not exactly on friendly terms lately.
Sweaty-stretchy leg selfie after my long run today. I have been neglecting stretching as a post-run activity a bit so I have started to make my runs ~ 5 min shorter so that “I have no time.” is not a valid excuse anymore and I’m sure to get in a short stretching session afterwards.
Nice surprise at work! After having had ice cream the past two weeks we were treated to two fridges filled with ice-cold soft drinks today - yay!
Today at dragonboating practice I felt every single muscle in my upper arms and shoulders since I did some intervals yesterday in the pool. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow and the way my body will feel but it’s rest day and I think there will be some foam rolling in front of the TV after a nice carb-loaded dinner.
Tried out two new California roll variants - raw salmon with cream cheese & leek and tempura prawns with garlic.
Time flies by pretty fast: It is August already and the year is officially two-thirds gone. I know that I have been on here less often than I used to and that I have basically not talked about weight and weight-related goals like I did in the past. I’m not at my lowest weight currently and I’m still comfortably far away from my old days weight wise.
BUT – and that will not come as a surprise – I’m not entirely comfortable with the place I’m currently in. It’s not so much related to the number on the scale (I know that I have gained quite a lot of muscle since starting with dragonboating again last year) but with my general relationship with food. And I’m honest: of course it’s also related to the way some parts of my body look like. I’m not hunting for some fleeting ideal I just want to feel good again.
I have been thinking a lot about what I want and what might work for me for the past few weeks:
Insight 1: I’m done with counting anything – calories, points, carbs, whatever. I simply can’t stand it anymore. Just thinking about this makes me actually physically sick. And since it pretty much hasn’t worked out for me in the long run there is no need to pick up a habit again that causes so much revulsion. And as I already said. Does. Not. Work. For. Me. In. The. Long. Run.
Insight 2: I don’t look the way I currently do because I’m exercising too less – it’s all about the food and the unhealthy relationship I have with it. I’m currently alternating between two states and both are not healthy: overeating and bingeing or undereating and trying to limit the “damage” I did.
Insight 3: I don’t have a goal related to weight. I simply want to have a more healthy relationship with food and stop thinking about food as much as I do. And I want to feel more comfortable with my body again.
So what’s next?
I have read a few books on Intuitive Eating, I have surfed the world wide web for the ultimate how-to and have talked with friends who are struggling with the same things I do … And guess what? There is no ultimate solution, no one-size-fits-all. What I will be doing this month is having a food and exercise diary in a kind of extended way like I have never had one before. Yes, I will briefly write down what I eat but that will not be the focus: I will also note how the food actually makes me FEEL. Yes, feel – as I’m one of those who compensates almost every emotion with food. I think this might be the key to discover why I’m doing what I’m doing. And I want to finally be able to actually make peace with food. I’m fed up with the constant battle that is going on in my head. I want to get to a point where it is not me versus the food but where food is simply another part of my life just like sleeping, working, exercising, having fun with friends etc. is. Right now it’s rather hovering over my head like a big, fat, grey cloud just seconds before a big thunderstorm comes and that is definitely not the way I want it to be for the rest of my life.
My personal mantra for this first step is simply: “Believe in yourself.” I know that somewhere under all those layers of weird eating behaviours, the misconceptions about food and my own backpack of emotions I’m currently not carrying around by myself but rather tugging it along in a wheelbarrow with enough food to feed a family of ten I have everything in me to be able to just see food as what it is … food. Nothing more, nothing less.
Another weekend that felt like a short mini-holiday - it involved cake, a swim, two runs, a movie night out, lying lazily in the sun and an awesome creation of gnocchi, rocket, ratatouille and lots of pecorino.
In preparation of the upcoming sports events for the next year (my second marathon and another relay triathlon - this time as a swimmer) I’m introducing swimming back into my workout routine since it’s a totally different kind of cardio compared to running and gives those parts of my body a break that carry the heaviest burden during running. Plus I can give the muscles I gained from dragonboating a nice extra workout.
Yesterday was a perfect working day - after days of sweating my ass off due to the heat in the office everything has cooled down a bit, I made some nice progress on various projects and we spent our lunch break down at the channel. The cherry on top was a nice dragonboating session in the evening.
Today will be brought to you by a shortened working day and a coffee date with my boyfriend in the city before the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Random pictures of one of the most relaxing weekends I had in quite a while: I went for the first run in my new kicks for shorter, speedier workouts (I had been watching these since my Nike 10K in May but was not willing to spend 160 € for them; now I got them for 80 € - yay, bargain!) and it felt like heaven. Originally I had intended to go to the pool on Saturday but it was so overcrowded that I spontaneously met up with a friend and jumped into the river instead. This will be repeated for sure! Today I will be back to that part of the river but in a boat this time. Oh, and I made a new friend: Mr. Caterpillar.
Some pictures from last weekend … There were a triathlon relay (I did the running part), a birthday party, being a cheer crowd on the second day of the triathlon and the World Cup finale when the cup was finally made ours again after 24 years with a party until 3 am and a work day starting at 8 am the next morning. Thankfully, my agenda is blissfully empty this weekend so I can make the most out of the beautiful weather we shall have and try to get rid of the sleep deficit I have been carrying around for the past few days.