Saturday, October 29, 2011

Putting myself on a "diet".

I've been all over Tumblr lately, scanning through the fitblrs that I followed recently. When I started thinking about wanting to fix up my diet and activity levels in alignment with my goals, to be honest I wasn't feeling very enthused. In my mind, I was looking forward to it, but was missing that real KICK in the gut that tells you you're really up for it. Do you know what I'm talking about?

Anyway, looking at other people's progress really did it for me. Also, habitually reading REAL ADVICE FROM REAL EXPERTS(I'm not being paid for any of my links so you know I genuinely was influenced by these people) really got me hyped up about it. Nothing like too-obvious marketing schemes to get me all soft and turned off about fitness. I really didn't like the idea of short, get-results-quick diets, I can never get myself to trust them because of what I know now: Long term results are a result of long term changes. You can't expect to stay fit if you go back to eating junk after a crash diet. What you put inside manifests in your appearance, and that's not magic. It's math. Cause and effect. Burn less than you consume*, and you build a pile of interest in body lard.

*more or less, although that's not all that there is to it! when it comes to long term health, especially

A real expert will also tell you, and I'm saying real expert here as somebody who sees the bigger picture. Some people out there really know what it takes to stay looking fit but they seem kind of obsessed with it, and are thus not really healthy in the fullest sense of the word. A real expert will tell you that what really matters is health, not appearance. Not numbers, but how you feel inside. A real expert will let you focus on balance, and ask you to be good to yourself above anything else.

I thought of something I'd like to call the Feel Good Diet, but I can't because someone apparently called their book that already. But hey, if you promise not to tell anyone,,,,,

This is how it goes:

  1. I'll try to keep a supply of fruits and veggies and tea available for breakfast and lunch, and eat those by default. I will make those more available, because out of sight, out of mind. And honestly, the last thing you wanna be doing on a groggy morning is to toil and stare at food you shouldn't eat (and, after 15 minutes of walking past, end up eating anyway. and then some.). I'll satisfy myself with nutritious food before I even run to a whole bowl of ice cream in desperation caused by deprivation. No rules here, but there's a hierarchy.  For example, at breakfast I'll aim for raw vegan (fruit smoothies, or fruits, tea) and if not (I'm on a student budget and can only eat what's available usually), I can have something that's processed or cooked like oatmeal or cereal or baked sweet tomato or something, but still vegetarian, then eggs, and at the very bottom is eggs and meat. Why? Not because I'm an animal activist, not because I believe everything I've read in Skinny Bitch, but because it doesn't make me feel good, which is kind of the point.
  2. If I honestly actually CRAVE for anything, I'll go eat it. Slowly. And with each bite I'll linger and enjoy all of the different tastes, and after each bite I'll pause and ask myself if I actually want another. I'll stop when the craving has been satiated. I'll stop if I don't crave it anymore. Maybe I'll keep it for later, or maybe I'll give it to someone else. The point is to only eat bad stuff when I enjoy every morsel, instead of aiming to finish a serving. I can eat a serving of healthy food freely because they're good for me. It might seem like too much work to think about EVERY SINGLE BITE (or spoonful, whatever applies. sometimes a spoonful = 2 bites), but I believe that if I keep that up in a long enough time to create a path in my brain (21 days), my brain will pick it up and start doing the rejecting of the next bite that I don't want on its own. I'd get used to refusing what I don't want in the first place, and that's big for a compulsive eater. That's why we even get fat. We hit a slippery slope and go "oh well, I already started eating this cake, might as well finish all the portions" Mind you, this forming-a-habit thing applies to almost everyone. The brain responds to repetitive, rewarded acts (google: dopamine). And your reward will be how good you feel afterwards.
  3. I won't blacklist anythingI can eat ANYTHING if I wanted to. I believe that most of the time, when we snack mindlessly, we don't really enjoy the food. We just enjoy and maintain the feeling of taking and tasting and chewing, even to the point where we can barely even taste what we're eating. So I'll try to keep that distinction and only eat what I enjoy. What I feel will do my body good, or sends my tongue on some magical adventure. If you think about it, when you eat a large serving of fries, for example, the level of enjoyment doesn't really match the actual simplicity of the taste. it's salt and potatoes, but due to conditioning, we feel the need to eat so much of it. What I'm trying to do is to get myself used to the healthy stuff, and fill myself with those, and to enjoy myself more with the more indulgent stuff, which, I think, will ultimately lead me to eating less of it. It will also repair my taste that has been desentisized by food that is too sweet or salty.
  4. This last one I've known for quite a while but still find difficult to do at times because of the condition of life we're in where we're well-oiled gears in some sort of consuming machine. We don't really put our attention to the present moment. This will be a good exercise for me, then. I will engage all of the senses while eating. This leads to me eating slower, with amplified reactions. More enjoyment for less calories over time. More awareness of the Now.
A couple of years ago I went vegetarian for two months and I noticed my tastes radically change. Crap I used to eat really started to taste a bit like crap, and enjoying healthy stuff became natural.

Another thing I have a problem with is the guilt associated with not finishing everything. This was also addressed by Margaret Cho's "Fuck It" Diet, which I REALLY recommend for anyone who's feeling desperate. I'm not even just talking to the overweights. Anorexics, I'm talking to you too. When I read that I eventually reached the point that (honestly I thought I read it there, but reviewing it now, it's not there. It's my own brainabrain's doing) you're not wasting anyone's efforts, like harvesting grains of rice, by not eating everything, because you already paid for what you took. Nobody's gonna take money from them because someone down the line, some end user didn't eat the last spoonful. And the reason why farmers farm is because of money. The big men got paid whatever lump of interest they applied on top of those farmers' grains of rice too, and that's all that matters to them. Don't obesify yourself over it. Or better yet, just STOP HEAPING THE GODDAMNED PLATE

What I took most from that article is how giving yourself freedom and love is the best way to getting over bad relationships with food. It's either you hate yourself for eating, or you feel like you're deprived so you get a lot of it, and quick. I've noticed that when I'm in a healthy relationship with food, I find it easier to hide the second kitkat back into the wrapping paper and save it in my bag for later. And that gives me a reward at the end of the day, when I can actually use the chocolate pick-me-up.

Another person who deserves thanks is JennaMarbles. When she did that video about her diet and exercise, the pressure that I didn't even know was on me about the vegetarian/vegan label was lifted off. I don't need to commit to NEVER EATING MEAT EVER or reach phony status, because I EAT vegetarian/vegan food, and it doesn't have to be a label as in I AM this or that. Don't make it weird. I somehow always felt weird about that anyway. I wanna eat vegan because it gives me, personally, more energy and makes me feel great. And in the end that's what's food is all about before it got blown up to this whole... moral debate. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about animal rights and humane farming conditions, but I mean, if I kill my chicken in a moral way please let me eat it. Animals eat animals too, you know.

Anyway, as usual this post was too long and I totally worship you if you finished it at all. I'm now going to live life and actually try to apply all of what I've written now. That's why I wrote it. To keep myself accountable, cos here this is for anyone to see (my boyfriend especially). Not that it's that hard to do. How hard should it really be to love yourself?

1 comment:

  1. "How hard should it really be to love yourself?" Good question. A lot of people struggle with that because they prefer to listen to external pressures than their own body. And loved ones.

    I have a big appetite growing up and I noticed that I stopped stress eating when I finally learned to love and accept myself. It saddens me to see people deprive themselves then overcompensate after a few days or weeks.

    And, yeah, thanks for the reminder to eat slowly and engage all the senses during meals (let's try that during snack time in class haha!) and well, move forward in my decision to go vegetarian haha. Can't wait for your book's release! Hugs!