Ok guys, here it is.
The serious post.
I haven’t written for a few weeks and I’ve been waiting for some inspiration to hit me, for some great bright idea to pop into my head and for the camera to be there at just the right time to capture all the important bits. There are heaps of things that I COULD be writing about; weddings, school, tomato plants, good god; even home office transformations. But instead I am sitting in said home office, listening to the rain, with my yoga mat rolled out ready and waiting in the living room. And I am feeling completely unmotivated to write about any of those things (or go and make use of my yoga mat). Instead, I am feeling a deep and powerful urge to purge some things that have been in my head and on my heart for some time now. And you know the crazy thing? I didn’t even realise those thoughts and feelings were there until just recently. Sneaky little suckers.
I have decided to write this post as a kind of self-therapy. You may only turn to this blog when you feel like reading something light-hearted, or vaguely interesting and relatable to your life. If the more serious aspect of me doesn’t interest you, then please, feel welcome to close the tab now and we’ll pretend this never happened. But I feel the need to vent, and this is my favourite medium to express myself in, so here we are.
I recently have been feeling very low…the kind of low where you think you should be happy, you don’t have any problem with the world around you, but you just can’t quite shake the feeling that there’s something more out there that you need. And for the love of everything that is holy, you just can’t quite figure out what it is.
Today I finally realised what it was.
Anyone who knows me well will know that I LOVE food. It’s almost as though I was an Italian in a past life. I have been thinking more and more lately about how I always seem to be more pre-occupied by food than other people around me. I am constantly thinking of when I can eat next, how much I’m going to be allowed to eat (yes, allowed by myself), what I’m going to eat, how recently has it been since I last ate, etc etc etc. The year we got married, I went on a diet to help myself lose some excess cuddliness before the wedding. I lost nearly 6 kilos, but I also remember it was one of the most stressful years I’d had work and life wise, and I was constantly hungry and snappish and had quite a bit of anxiety due to my class at the time. Food seemed to be the one thing I could control. It got to the point where I was weighing myself daily, counting every single calorie, and after going away on a particular holiday where I didn’t quite stick to the meal plan, I told myself I wasn’t allowed coffee until I lost the extra kilo I’d put on while away. Eventually a friend told me to ‘snap out of it’. I’ve since had an obsession with eating and food that I’m finding is taking over my life. I’ve tried it all; low carb, low fat, high carb, high fat, vegetarian, and the list goes on. I feel now that this period of my life was the start of something that I am still struggling with today.
At work we have these weekly ‘morning teas’ where it is two staff members’ job to provide a morning tea for the rest of the staff. It will be my week in a couple of weeks. I always try to provide some healthier options – cut up fruit, mini sandwiches, sushi – once I even made pumpkin soup (and I’m still feeling the guilt for it having sloshed all over the car seat on the way to school.) Inevitably, however, the majority of the spread is junk. That’s the plain and simple term for it – junk. There are cakes, slices, crackers and dip, nachos, sausage rolls and party pies, and sometimes there are even bowls of chips and lollies, like a children’s birthday party. And this is just one weeks worth. It is almost as though there is a competition each week to out-do the week before, and all the staff love it – me included.
It’s no secret that I’m also a great lover of a healthy lifestyle. Active living, nourishing food, a good level of self-esteem and love for the world around us are just some of the passions that drive what I do on a daily basis. I eat (what I consider to be) nutritious, whole foods the majority of the week. On these morning tea days I have come to fear the treats that are being put out. More and more recently I’ve had trouble controlling the amount I eat – and it is especially bad on these days. When I say I have trouble controlling myself, I mean I binge eat as much as I can in one sitting – literally until I feel sick. And this week was the worst – we have had TWO morning teas due to parent teacher interviews being held mid-week. On these days I fall into a vicious cycle of cravings-binging-guilt. I have come to fear the weekly morning tea. And I know that this behaviour is not healthy, for my mind or my body.
It is difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t have the same behaviour as I do, but when I binge eat it is like my mind switches onto auto pilot. It’s as though I feel that I HAVE to have as much of this food as I can, now, before it is all gone – because I know if I don’t, I will have to wait a whole week to get it again. An ideal word to use (and as I’m being brave, and expressing my feelings, I’ll use it) would be ‘frenzy’. I have placed the foods that are presented to me up on a pedestal of ‘treats’ and when I give my body the green light, the floodgates really open! To those on the outside, it may seem as though I am no different to anyone else, but in my mind I am screaming MORE! GIVE ME MORE! and battling with myself internally not to eat slice of cake after slice of cake.
And then, when the food is gone, or I remove myself physically from the situation, it’s as though my mind clears and I can be mindful again about what I should and shouldn’t be putting into my stomach. After these episodes, I feel like I’ve failed. I sit there feeling bloated and angry and sick and I feel like I’m forever destined to keep making the same mistakes over and over again, and that unless I quit and get a job somewhere less friendly, or just call in sick on Morning Tea days and bury myself under a blanket at home, I will eat myself into a fat stupor.
Anyway, sorry for the long rant. I do have a point to all this, and I am getting to it, I promise. I laugh it off, with a comment such as ‘had a bad day today haha’ or ‘was a little bit naughty today!’ but on the inside I am feeling like crap. So I guess, I’m writing this as a bit of a dirty secret expose – I can’t pretend anymore that what I am doing is ok, especially if you all know how it really makes me feel. I am being held accountable and I can’t be in denial anymore about how I’m making myself feel!
After one such episode this afternoon, the realisation of today dawned on me. I am filling myself with this crap, because I don’t realise the beauty in REWARDING my body with good food. The self-deprecating thoughts I have after this activity are really starting to get me down. This self-hate leads to low self-respect. And this low self-respect leads to a repeat in the damaging behaviour I am doing to my body.
From today I am going to start believing in myself. I CAN say no. I don’t need to be mindful about food – because that is the obsession I am trying to break. I need to be mindful about what my body is saying to me, what it needs to be happy and healthy, and food is just fuel to the fire, not the be all and end all.
I am STRONGER than I think. I deserve to feel healthy and happy. I am NOT depriving myself by not eating this food, I am nourishing my body by making better choices and there is ALWAYS a better choice than sugar-filled sweets.
I don’t need to obsess over my weight, and I can kick those negative thoughts to the curb. If I eat healthy and mindfully, and exercise regularly, my body will take care of itself.
I AM WORTH IT.