Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Almost a year since I read "If not dieting, then what?"...

I thought it would be very appropriate and relevant for me right now to look at the changes I've made in the past year since I first read this book.

The reason it's relevant is because, well a year is a nice round amount of time, and also I haven't been very honest with myself lately and it's time to get back on track. I'll start with the good things. I'm a lot more aware of eating behaviours and the real reasons behind why people overeat, which has sifted away a lot of the guilt I felt at being lazy, or having no "willpower". It's made me realise the futility of all the magazines and people and tv programs out there telling you that it's as simple as doing this exercise, and eating these foods. It showed me that non-hungry eating is a huge factor in why people overeat, especially for me. So, I made all those realisations, which made me more motivated to be active in any way I could or enjoyed, and to allow myself to eat what I felt like. As a result, I've kept off about 3kg (just to cite a tangible change). I guess to most people that wouldn't seem like much but to me that's more than I've ever been able to lose in my whole life, and if I hadn't read Dr Rick's book I'm sure I would have put ON 3kg or more and right now be a lot more unhappy.

But, I've noticed that over the past few months I've let old "dieting" thoughts and habits creep back slowly. Chiefly these would be the "all or nothing" attitude and a lot of mindless, guilty eating. Yes, feeling guilty after eating! I felt so guilty and yuck after consuming a LOT of sugar yesterday and so at the end of the day I decided that today I would only eat natural forms of sugar e.g. fruit. But you know what I just realised? That's a dieting mentality! What if I had felt like some chocolate?  - Which I did feel like, and then I ended up going to get some, and afterwards getting the feeling "Oh I've messed it up now, today is ruined." I can't believe I got back to those old feelings.

The good thing is that I realised what was going on in my head and I've stopped that in its tracks. Now I am reminding myself that you should allow yourself to eat what you feel like, so that you don't end up overeating it out of guilt. So, I'm going to start keeping an eating awareness diary again.

A good point from the book is that it is futile to persist with strategies that don't work. Well, conversely, I think you should stick with things that have worked for you in the past. For me, that has been keeping an eating awareness diary, and recording what activity I did that day even if its as simple as housework or walking to the shops.

So, all in all over the past year I have made some great changes for life. The important thing is to not let old habits creep back in - reread favourite excerpts of "if not dieting, then what?" or even just the introduction - and keep reminding yourself of your positive behavioural changes.

P.S. I should add that I have gone through some significant personal changes and events lately - travelling, relationship, and job related. I think it's important to acknowledge that sometimes obstacles can cause you to get sidetracked but what matters is getting back on your feet and trying again afterwards.
P.P.S. Something I have found relating to exercise: you should never force yourself to do anything. That just makes it all the more unappealing and causes you to avoid it as much as possible. When I say to myself "I'll just go for an easy walk" or "I'll just do 2 rounds of this circuit today" I'm so much more likely to do it, and sometimes I'll end up going for longer in the end. I can honestly tell you that the amount of times I have said to myself "Okay! Tomorrow you are getting up at 6am and going for a 40 min jog/walk! No excuses!" and then followed through on a big fat zero! :D