Evening! I wasn’t planning on writing this post this evening but my mind has been whirring for the last few days, so please humour me.
For a whole host of reasons which I won’t bore you with, in the last year I have sort of accidentally decided to quit teaching, and am now focussing all of my attention on retraining to be a health coach (just in case I hadn’t mentioned it!) As a result of this, instead of teaching, I’m now able to spend my days writing, studying, food shopping and cooking, logging Fitbit steps and getting down and bendy with Jessamyn Stanley. Oh and maybe sneaking in the odd coffee with friends! I really, honestly do appreciate how lucky I am and try really hard to never take it for granted.
But every now and then, the routine has to change, and the last week has been one of those times. To start with, the kids have broken up from school. Now while I love getting the chance to spend extra time with them, it definitely means I have less time to dedicate to my usual pursuits. This has been a particular bummer this week, as it happened to coincide with the grand kick off of my long awaited IIN course. So far I have managed to fit study in after bed time, and at one point I even sat listening to a lecture on my iphone while they had their swimming lesson (Go me!) I’ve managed to complete the first module, buuuuuut I definitely haven’t been able to immerse myself as fully in it as I’d hoped.
Slightly more unsettling has been this weekend’s disruption to my food routine. As it’s been Easter weekend, we left Cornwall to visit my family in Wales and my green eating, meat dodging, reduced sugar menu had to be totally abandoned for a few days. Instead, what I’ve eaten this weekend, has been a pretty standard version of my former, non-diet-plan menu……Cheese and potato pie and sausages, Chinese takeaway and of course, the obligatory chocolate egg (or two). Now, the old me would have had a “slip” like this and it would have sent me over the edge into complete lack of self controls-ville. My fuck it switch would have been well and truly flipped. And while I must admit that my gremlin is still sitting on my shoulder screaming “Hahaha, its all gone to shit!” I know deep down that its all going to be ok.
So what’s changed? Well for starters, I’m not sticking to a plan that the rebellious part of me feels duty bound to buck against, and as a result I’m actually really looking forward to getting back to the food that I know makes me feel good. Because, when I really listen to my body I know that the food I’ve been eating this weekend hasn’t made me feel great. There have been no dramatic tummy issues or skin breakouts, but I’ve definitely been feeling more sluggish, and my positivity and general demeanour has taken a bit of a kicking and I’m utterly convinced that its mainly down to my change in diet.
But the crux of the matter is that for me, its no longer a case of having to cut out the “treats” and get “back on track”. Instead, I have finally come to realise that crap food is absolutely NOT a treat. The treat is the good stuff that I can fill up on and which makes me feel ace. This has been a monumental eye opener and is a huge part of the dramatic shift that’s occurred following a lot of soul searching and self reflection over the last few months.
I honestly believe that if we really want to get to grips with body love, then we desperately need to work on our mental connection to food, rather than just pinning our hopes on the old, outdated restricted calories in/calories out model which aids short term weight loss but has been proven to have a pretty abysmal long term success rate.
I have also come to realise that it’s really important to appreciate that there’s no point beating myself up about a blip in the the road, because ultimately I’m just doing the best I can do at this particular moment in time. We’re so quick to criticise ourselves for not being perfect all of the time. If you’re anything like the old me (ok, and maybe still occasionally, the new me!) the language I use(d) when talking to myself is just hideous. I would never, ever dream of talking to a friend, or God forbid, one of my children the way in which I regularly used to talk to my own reflection. I mean, how can you possibly hope to feel positive, confident and happy when your internal monologue is so downright abusive?? When you really stop and think about it, it’s heart breaking.
It is so, so easy to get stuck in a negative loop of self hate where we attack ourselves for not being “good enough”, but its high time we gave ourselves a break. Sometimes life is bloody hard and doesn’t always go according to plan. And at those times, we muddle on doing the best we can within the given set of circumstances. And they are the times when its even more important to be kind, gentle and loving to ourselves. It’s really not as difficult as you might think. It takes a bit of practice but it’s well worth it, I promise!