Addictive Behaviours

One of my friends has recently battled alcohol addictions and while successful for a while is currently going through a hard time. It’s made me stop and think about how I cope and my own triggers.
While I’ve known and worked with people with drink and drug addictions (apart from some youthly binge drinking) it’s not been an issue for me. However I deal with my stresses by eating and spending. And I struggle to stop. I’m overweight and in debt.
I have a debt management plan. I’ve taken a budgeting course but I still can’t seem to stop spending and on absolute rubbish. But it links in to my food issues.
On Monday I had a job interview. I saw my manager afterwards who said as I had 2 and a half hours left before I was expected back at work to take myself off for a long lunch and a wander around the shops. I was expecting to buy lunch so that’s fine. I’d budgeted for that but I then spent another £1 on some cookies to go with my sandwich. So as well as money that’s a lot of extra calories because of course I ate them. But then I still had 90 minutes left so I thought I’d go somewhere else for a cup of tea. But instead of the cheap cuppa at McDonalds I went to Costa and spent £1.70 instead of £0.99. I then added a chocolate slice! To pass the time…even though I had my phone and a book to pass the time. I could have got a drink and sat in the sunshine.
So that 2 hours cost me nearly an extra £5 in cash & I daren’t add up the calories. And this situation isn’t a one off. I do it to myself all the time. I do it when I’m stressed and I suppose this situation was a de-stress after the interview. But I need to find alternative ways. But ways that don’t cost money as that’s one of the problems. Sometimes I’ve brought sandwiches to work and then gone out to buy a better one from some where else. If there’s £5 in my purse I find it difficult to ignore – I start thinking of the ways I can spend it which then often results in that something being food. It’s like a compulsion.
I’ve been good today. I’ve brought my sandwiches (& will eat them!) and will be walking the first part of my journey home. I only have enough money in my purse to pay for a drink at book club tonight. (I’ve stopped buying the books and use the library so I have managed some changes and there’s another blog posted today about saving money on TV)
If people can work to beat their drink and drugs issues however many hurdles that journey may bring I can stop spending and learn to binge eat fruit not chocolate. I’m learning to be a hypnotherapist so I am planning to record a few scripts and give myself some therapy – see what difference that makes.
But I’m starting today and that’s the key thing. I need to change, this has been my life for 25 years and I need to make some positive changes and move them forward.
I can do this J

Diet versus Depression

I’m going to be off work for a few weeks with a depression flare up. It’s probably the worst one I’ve had since my last breakdown 4 and a half years ago and the first time I’ve had to be off work since that time. Part of it is my own doing and part can be blamed on others. The last time I was off work for this reason I gained 2 stone and as an emotional eater on a diet I’m very conscious of this as I won’t have the business of work to keep me out of trouble.

I’ve already had 2 lots of binge eating this week alone. However I have noticed one difference that I will take as a positive that hopefully will not result in such a drastic weight gain this time. As one of my stress issues is financial I’ve not been able to join a gym so have, while I diet, tried to get my exercise through walking. Apart from Saturdays (a day off) I do 10,000 steps every day. Sometimes on a quiet day this means walking my estate twice to get the figure where it needs to be.

Even while I’ve been emotionally eating this week there seems to be a good angel on my shoulder fighting with the bad one that wants to disappear in a food mountain of self pity. This good angel makes me keep walking. Today for example, so many things have gone wrong so I decide I was going to the local shopping centre for a cup of tea and some cake. The good angel said I could go wallow in that cake as long as I walked there and back… And I did! Then I found myself looking for the cake with the lowest calories to stuff my face with (see photo). Somehow I managed to pity eat in a positive way. I even asked for skimmed milk!

Then while I was in the mall I decided to buy some family Easter eggs. That was the bad angel talking as with three weeks to go to Easter there would be no way the eggs would stay uneaten in my current frame of mind. I ended up with a box of fruit tea and 3 books. Not good for the finances but at least they won’t make me gain weight.

I think this change is down to not wanting to go back to how I used to be. I’ve lost half of the 2 stone I gained and with all the walking I can run for a bus, walk up the stairs to my office at work and run up and down the stairs to my house without being out of breath. Not to mention being almost a dress size smaller. Up until the negative mood swing I was feeling very confident of my slightly smaller size and if I give in to these feelings I also think I will be undoing so much of the good work I have achieved this year.

What I am struggling with is ways in which to feel sorry for myself that don’t involve self harm. I refuse to give into the constant urge in my brain to  spend a week eating nothing but pizza and cake in my PJs but its hard going and the mental battle leaves me exhausted. I rarely drink now and have never been one for drugs (being constantly inside my own head is a freaky place without adding mind altering substances plus I witnessed an overdose at 17 that scared me away from drugs of any kind for life).

So I need to find a way to wallow but also at the same time not give in to too much wallowing that I spoil the good work already done. I need to be outside if I can- let the sun and Mother Nature start the healing process. Hopefully it will be a shorter road to recovery this time.

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I would walk 10,000 steps

You know you’re going to be singing the original now all day don’t you?? 🙂

I was determined this week to do well on my diet so for the first time in a good few years I decided to exercise. I’m completely skint at the minute so that means looking for free activities and what is freer than your own two feet.

So I decided to set myself a target for the week of 10,000 steps a day each day for 6 days. The week before I’d had my pedometer on thinking that as a community worker that gets the bus all over I’d have easily managed 10k steps each day. Slightly naive thinking there. To be fair on a Tuesday it’s easy but the rest of the week my day rarely got above 5000.

So I was going to do this somehow. First day I did this was Sunday. Sundays are usually lazy days. I get up, iron, either study, read or catch up on TV and then go back to bed so this was a huge culture change for me. I managed to rack up 3000 steps with the ironing. I turned on Spotify and decided to dance my way through the job. Lots of knee bending, bum wiggling and arm waving. It all adds up.

As the estate that I live on is a little self contained thing with a main road cutting it off from everywhere else I went for a walk round it to count the steps (approx 3500 – a lot less than expected). Walking through the graveyard next to my house on the homeward stretch I forgot where I was. Music blaring out loud I’d been thinking of ways you could make walking more fun including pretending to be on a cat walk and the John Travolta walk from Saturday Night Fever. Passing someone else it was then I realised I had been blissfully acting out my thoughts and giving it my best strut as I went along! Ooops

Monday I needed 2500 to make up my day so I counted the other side of my estate – exciting scenery of B&Q, Aldi, the graveyard and a hill. I still needed a few extra steps so decided to zigzag walk up the hill to get the count up. I really should check for others before I do these things. The man out with his dog now thinks I’m bonkers.

Tuesday & Wednesday were easily filled at work. My busiest days full of pottering around Leeds to various venues.

Thursday I got stuck working from home. By now the idea of getting my steps in was entrenched and the idea of not being able to achieve it was for the first time in my life unthinkable. Who was this person and what happened to my lazy old self??? I ended up wandering the graveyard again (twice). People are really going to start wondering about me soon….

Friday and my final day. Time for a big finish so as I don’t work I went up to the next district and walked home. A whopping 6500 steps in one go. I’ve even bought myself some trainers and am working out a plan for how to move forward and try eeek running

To be fair some of it I think has been to take my mind off of the death of a good friend last week. Ever since I heard the news I’ve been restless so it was also a good way of burning off that nervous energy. Normal procedure whenever I’m sad is to eat. I’m an emotional eater and can find an excuse anytime to stuff my face so choosing to go out walking rather than eat cake is a huge deal.

I really feel like I’m turning a corner. So next week I’ll try and do the steps but want to at least try and run and I’ve also found one of those shaker torture instruments at the back of the cupboard that apparently work on the arms so I’m going to play about. The important thing is to keep going. It brought great results this week and I want more!

Weight loss incentives and Pretty jar update Week 2

So 2lbs lost this week and 4 pieces of pasta for the pounds lost jar. Still can’t get the lid of the ‘pounds remaining’ jar but it’s flat now and hopwfully won’t be too long until I can fasten the lid on properly.

Last week we had to set a goal we wanted to achieve by 4 weeks time. Some had simply put to lose some weight however small that loss may be. Some wanted to be at a certain target. I put that I wanted to lose 3lbs in the 4 weeks to achieve my first half a stone loss. My weight loss this week means that I only have a pound to go in 3 weeks to meet that target. I did think about setting something else just for myself but as I have an issue with self-sabotage I decided to leave things as they are.

This week I’ve been tackling an issue with impulse chocolate buying. A few months ago I gave up chocolate for about 8 weeks. This is before I joined WW. Despite the huge amounts of chocolate I can consume it didn’t have any effect on my weight mostly becaus ei swapped the chocolate with cake! Not the best thing to do.

I have a terrible problem of whatever is going on and I pass a shop it’s ‘Oh I’ll buy some chocolate’. So I’m in a bad mood; passa shop buy chocolate. It’s raining;pass a shop buy chocolate. I’m happy; pass a shop buy chocolate. So I’m trying to make a concious effort to not buy any when I’ve passed a shop. Especially because I don’t really want it. I bought it because there was a shop nearby.

On Wednesday I had to go itno the supermarket. We’d been talking about the Cadbury’s creme egg scandal (very important!) and I saw them in the shop. Did I really want them – no but the old me would have bought one anyway. I came out with a gossip magazine. Still not great but at least it won’t make me gain weight!

Thursday though I had an urge for sugar. I tried the magazine swap which didn’t work so I tried a bottle of diet cola. That didn’t work. About 8.30pm I gave in and bought a Mars Bar. So I’m not denying myself anything just thinking before I do anything. Sounds so simple doesn’t it??? But it isn’t always easy to do these things when you have a negative relationship with food.

But I’m learning. It’s about reeducation. It’s about learning to love yourself and also just asking what’s more important. At this minute I feel better & more positive than ever and I think it’s showing 🙂

Weight loss incentives & Pretty jar update Week 1

So through the week I posted a picture of my pretty weight loss jars full of pasta pieces as a fun way of keeping track of pounds lost. I am happy to say that in the first weigh in of the weightwatchers year I got to move 3 pieces (1.5lb equivilent) into the pounds lost forever jar.

Not sure if I could do a diet blog every week. I’m sure there are gonna be some weeks when nothing remarkable happens but I’ll see how things go and blog when I can. It’s been an interesting first week of the year. Last week I bought a diet journal and as well as tracking your food intake it asks you to set a couple of goals & for some diet priorities. I said I would track all my foods (I did until Thursday then forgot), not eat any chocolate (success), Stay out of coffee shops when in the middle of town between appointments (partial success. I went in the shops but stuck to a cup of tea – no cake!) so not too bad.

I know I need to exercise but as one of my 2015 targets is to finally sort out my finances this year meaning I can’t spend on anything essential (WW classes are essential as I need the support. I’ve spent 20 years failing to do it on my own). This means that money on exercise classes are out of the equation.

So I need to start and find some willpower and do something from home. I need to look at free or cheap options. Obviously wlaking is one of them which if I get off my backside and do it should lead to running. As one of my other goals is to talk to more people online – responding to posts etc – I joined in a discussion on a spirituality post which was about yoga. One lady kindly told me about some DVDs that she would recommend. Having a look each one is £15 which is a bit pricey but is actually the same price as only 3 exercise classes so might be worth it.

The other positive thing I did this week was to try something new. Reading a crime novel where one of the main characters was obsessed with cooking vegan food. In need of some comfort food on Thursday & thinking of the book I ended up in a lovely vegan cafe in town and had the most lovely leek & potato soup I’ve probably ever had.

So that’s this week. I’m not the perfect dieter as you can see. There are weeks when I’ll do well and weeks when I don’t but hopefully this time I will persevere and finally end up so much more healthier as a result

Weight loss incentives & pretty jars (and a spot of Maths)

The picture below is inspired by my weightloss leader. While most people start (and end) diets in January I decided to start mine at the end of November. I’m not very good at diets even though I need to lose a lot of weight. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs using food for emotional purposes linked to mental health, boredom and to punish myself. I really need to break these habits and get better.

I lost 5.5lbs but gained weight over Christmas leaving me with an overall weight loss of 2.5 lbs. However that still makes me 2.5lbs lighter at the beginning of the new year when normally I would have gained 4 or 5lbs. So I start the year in a good place.

My clubs’ leader put up a Facebook post of 2 pretty jars with marbles in. One marble for each pound she still needs to lose. I wanted to do something similar. I like the idea of one jar going down to match my weight loss and the pounds lost jar going up. But as I need to lose quite a bit of wieght rather than spend a fortune on marbles I’ve opted for using dried pasta pieces.

I need to lose a minimum of 4 stone. The last time I was less than that was before my son was born and he’s now 21. It would still leave me a little bit over the healthy weight limit but I really can’t imagine myself that slim so this target seemd like a good one and should (when!) I succeed I can look at how I feel then and any future targets.

So 4 stone equals 52 pasta pieces – 112 when you look at it in half pounds. As Weightwatchers counts those half pounds I counted out my 112 pieces. As I am 2.5lbs smaller than before that meant i could put 5 pasta peices in my jar straight away which was a nice feeling. WW has weight targets which I will work for but there are so many pieces in the jar to start with I can’t get the lid on. So my first jar target is to lose enough pounds to get that lid where it should be not teetering on the top of my pasta mountain.

I need to put some pretty labels on I think though so I don’t get the two confused

It’s a bit of fun to help the goal on it’s way. So even if I have a slow week and only lose half a pound I can still add that one piece of pasta to the ‘lost’ jar. I think it’s a great visual aid to help me as I go along

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On the diet trail and setting positive goals

So today I went to Weughtwatchers for my weekly weigh in and had gained a pound. It’s fair to say I haven’t really put much effort into this week. My schedule has been a little off from the way it was planned, my son graduated with lots of celebration and my mum turned 60. I also let the tracking of what I ate slack. I knew what I was eating was fattening and not healthy but I did it anyway.

This is actually quite normal for me with any diet. I do really well for the first two weeks then go off the rails completely. However this time things feel a bit different. For a start I didn’t miss group. In the past I would go off the rails and then not go to a group or weigh in as ‘there was no point’. I almost did the same again today but in the end I went for several reasons.

1-a text from my group leader mentioning free gifts.(I’m so easily bribeable)

2-Go to 4 meetings in a row, get your card stamp and you’re entered into a prize draw. My OCD side really hated the idea of not getting the final stamp regardless of any prize.

3- I do want to make some changes however slow I might be at it.

Option 3 is the one I use with my customers. Out of work for a long time, often homeless and lacking in forward mobility we look at setting small goals to eventually achieve a bigger goal. This is something I need to learn to do myself. The bigger goal is to be a slinky, mid-40’s lady. Numbers are great but I’m thinking a comfy size 10-12 rather than 16-18. I want to be able to wear 40’s tea dresses and 50’s style dresses without needing double the material. I want to be able to be healthy.

To do that I need smaller goals. So this weeks events and the 2 Xmas parties I have next week, the goal is simply to get through them. Then I have a week to get back on track with no distractions before we hit Xmas week itself. I have an advantage with that week in that I hate mince pies, fruit cake, stuffing and lots of things people go crazy buying at this time of the year. So if I keep it simple I could do ok. Our leader talked about wanting to give out some 1/2 stone awards in the first Saturday of the new year. That gives me 4 weeks to lose 3lbs. So that’s my next small goal. I’ll set the next small goal after that.

There’s another positive to mention. Up to Thursday I’d lost 5lb when I attended my son’s graduation. I dug out a little black dress from the wardrobe to go that had been tight. It still is tight but slightly less so and I could wear it respectably without feeling uncomfortable. Hopefully by the end of January it will be loose. I feel good this time, I’ve already proved I could give up chocolate managing 60 days earlier this year and diet fizzy drinks (I don’t drink the full fat ones) for 3 weeks last month so I’ve shown to myself I can make the changes this time around. I’m looking forward to whatever other changes I can make going forward

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