Food, food, glorious food!
I love food. I really love it.
I don’t mean always I’m greedy and forever gorging. No. I just love different tastes and textures and sensations and smells. I love the peace and flow I get from cooking. I ADORE cook books and food magazines.
I’m totally passionate about food.
But, until fairly recently, I’ve not had the healthiest relationship with it.
I’m an emotional eater.
Crap day? I’ll make myself feel better with a treat (something nearly always being loaded with salt or sugar or bad fats or all of the above). Excellent day? Hurrah! Reward myself with more of the same. Wash it all down with lashings of wheat beer whilst I’m at it.
I knew I was doing the exact opposite of rewarding myself or supporting myself to feel better. I knew it was wrong. But the lure of the salt n vinegar Tyrells and the cool taste Erdinger was so great.
I told myself stories to stop any efforts to address the problem. I told myself that I would always be curvy and that I was happy so I should just continue as ‘normal’ with confidence. But I knew it was wrong.
I told myself I deserved those nachos. That life was busy, often chaotic, so a little treat here and there was actually self-care.
I knew, deep down, that I was not really caring for myself at all.
I also told myself… this one is really vulnerable and exposing… that it was my mum that had a problem with my weight and health. Not me. And my saying “feck it” and eating those things my taste buds craved was an extended teenage rebellion that somehow, by the age of 42, I’d still not grown out of. Sorry mum.
I did imagine a day when I’d address my food habits, find a way to enjoy exercise and fit into those trousers. I just lacked the willpower and a cohesive plan to sort it. There was always something in the way. As a single mum running several enterprises, there genuinely was quite a lot in the way… but it’s all about priorities isn’t it?
Then came lockdown.
I started exercising. I did Joe Wicks every day without fail. Why? It was for the kids. When the kids stopped doing it with me… then, in a tiny whisper, I admitted it was now for me. I bought fitness clothes. I call them my PE kit.
But I was still eating all the cake.
So I signed up to the app Noom. Logging everything I ate was tiresome but the accountability worked. I started at the end of May and by July I was over a stone down and actually enjoying it. The coaching articles were hugely useful. I craved more knowledge on hormones, inflammation, my microbiome and cortisol. But the American cheesiness of Noom was starting to wear thin.
This will not be a fad! I told myself. Not in a whisper now, but a roar.
By chance, a coaching colleague was talking about butter as a super food. Say what now?! I then discovered this marvellous woman knew all the stuff I wanted to know.
I offered my time as a guinea pig for her developing wellness coaching practice.
And then I changed.
I still emotionally eat sometimes, but when I reached for a bag of quavers last week in a moment of real wobble, I found myself not liking them. I threw most of the bag away.
I crave veggies… the more the better. I find myself seeking out treats that make me feel good and energised rather than sluggish and guilty. But I’ve not denied myself anything. The weiss beer is still on the menu. Takeaway pizza pops up from time to time. But my time in the kitchen has been transformed.
Alexia has got me excited and adventurous about food in a way I just didn’t think possible back in May. I didn’t realise I needed permission to experiment in the kitchen, until Alexia gave me it. I’m SO loving the adventure.
I’m currently 2 stone 5 pounds lighter but I’m not stopping. The scales help me keep in check but they’re not the end goal. There is no end goal… like much of my work and passions in life, it’s all about the journey.
At some point before or just after Christmas I will reach a weight that is considered, by fans of the BMI scale, to be Normal. I don’t think I’ve been in that green zone for about 25 years. Mid-lockdown I was teetering on the edge of the red zone. Morbidly obese. I’m ashamed I let it get that far.
But things have changed. I’ve changed.
Why has it stuck this time? One word. A word those close to me have heard a lot recently. I’m starting to sound positively evangelical about it.
Working with an actual human who is invested in what I’m doing. Who I am accountable to. It’s absolutely priceless.
If someone said to me a year ago, if you invest X, you will revolutionise your relationship to your body and your health, you will eat better, find joy in exercise and make time to cook interesting things, I would have whapped out the credit card immediately. I had no idea that I had it in me and all it took was a weird pandemic related connection to Joe Wicks and then, more importantly, a supportive wonderful coach.
I write this in celebration of how far I have come. It’s a cliché but I’m sharing it to say, if I can do it, anyone can.
For me, nutrition is all about mindset. I know most of the basics of what I should be doing. The barrier is what I want to do.
If this is ringing a bell for you and you’re ready to put the work in, get in touch. Or for a truly magnificent well being journey, check out Alexia's company, Grounding Health. She’s wonderful.