Author: Ben

30
Jul
2020

Signs of Progress

Phew – another overdue update. A few things have happened in the past little while, so I figured it might be time to share some stuff.

First – about six weeks or so, I decided to try and lose some weight. My binging hadn’t stopped (although the episodes had become even less frequent and severe) so I’m not fully healed and I know it probably wasn’t the best idea. But honestly… I had let my body fat get a bit out of control, I was struggling with my clothes fitting and didn’t like how I looked in the mirror. Not only that, but I really wasn’t paying enough attention to what I was eating – it’s great to have unconditional permission to eat, but there needs to be some balance and variety and I’d tipped the scales way too far towards sugary treats whenever I wanted them, and it had become a habit that I needed to break.

So six weeks ago I stepped on the scales for the first time in over 3 months. The number I saw didn’t scare me, but it certainly confirmed that I was way past where I felt healthy and happy, so I cut calories pretty aggressively with the aim of dropping a fair bit of fat in 4 weeks or so prior to my birthday. My intention was to then do another fat loss phase a bit closer to summer so I can look decent for the warmer months – who doesn’t want that beach body, huh?

Now I’ve got to say, I spent a lot of time very hungry in those first few weeks, but I was never tempted to binge – I think it was nice to have a goal again, instead of just drifting. The diet has gone pretty well, and I dropped enough weight that I am now reasonably comfortable with my physique (and am a very similar weight to what I was exactly 12 months ago at my last birthday).

What was even more pleasant was how generally stable my moods have stayed, despite dealing with work and kids and all the usual life stresses that come our way. And here I am now, starting to increase calories again, knowing that this is the danger zone for me in that the more I tend to eat, the more I tend to WANT to eat – but so far, things are tracking OK. And this week, there’s been some huge signs of progress:

  • On the weekend, my wife took me out to dinner to one of our favourite restaurants for my birthday. I was still dieting at this point, but was planning on just having a couple of courses and skipping dessert. In the end, I did share a dessert with my wife and not only was it bloody delicious, it was absolutely no big deal. No guilt, no problem, no dramas. Life went on.
  • The vinyl wrap is peeling off our kitchen pantry doors and we’ve had to remove them to get them fixed or replaced. This means our our pantry is open to the world – all the chocolate, biscuits and cereals are staring me in the face. Our kitchen/dining/lounge is open plan, so I can’t really avoid it unless I stay out of the living area, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to be bothering me so far and I haven’t had any major urges to go carb crazy. Maybe I’m well fed enough?
  • I’ve been back on the skim milk since I started the diet, but in my wife’s Monday shopping trip she accidentally bought me a bottle of full cream. I shrugged my shoulders and went with it, where before I may have freaked out a little. The worst thing? In my next trip to the shops I intended to grab another bottle of skim myself, but did exactly the same thing and grabbed the wrong bottle. We had four and a half bottles of full cream milk in the fridge last night, but you know what? I’m drinking it anyway – hell, it tastes better, I was only back on the skim temporarily anyway, but it just forced me to go back to full cream earlier.
  • Probably the biggest one of all was yesterday. As I mentioned, it was my birthday on the weekend, and at my workplace (like many others) we usually bring morning tea for our work colleagues to celebrate the day. I said to a few of my workmates that since I was dieting I’d do my morning tea in a couple of weeks so that I could enjoy it with everyone, but god bless ’em, a few of them banded together and put on a joint morning tea anyway for myself and another colleague who’d also just had a birthday. My first instinct was to be pissed off, but for once I realised that it was a really nice gesture (they even made a ‘healthy’ option with me in mind) and decided that I’d try and be grateful for it. So I did indeed eat some cake and sweet treats and enjoyed the moment, and for the first time in a loooong time I walked away without feeling the urgent desire to go and eat several more helpings of super rich dessert food. I ate my normal lunch and dinner, and didn’t feel guilty, and it felt like a real step in the right direction.

So that’s a little bit of what’s been happening recently. I feel as if maybe, just maybe, all that time I spent eating and getting my body fat up did definitely help to regulate my feelings around food and that I’m getting much better at dealing with negative emotions without heading to the fridge. Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel…..

 

 

20
May
2020

Overdue Updates

Has it really been that long since I posted? I’ve been meaning to post an update for anyone in internetland who still reads this. Obviously lots has happened since my last post – I’ll attempt to be succinct.

I started lifting again a couple of weeks after my throat surgery. Sadly, the weeks of nothing but soft food didn’t cure my binging. I lasted about a week before my first episode of manic eating, and a day later I got smashed by some unknown ailment that caused debilitating joint pain for multiple days. Cause still unknown – the doctor thought it may’ve been a virus but nothing showed up in my bloodwork and some strong anti-inflammatories sorted it. So after another week off, I got back into the gym and I’ve been training pretty much continuously ever since.

Not long after that, the pandemic really started to get taken seriously here in Australia. Work got crazy, things got stressful, and I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo ever since – it was really difficult to control my stress with everything going on, and of course I feel back into old habits of using food to cope. Spending more time at home with a cupboard full of food didn’t help either. But at least I still have a job.

Now, it seems like life is normalising a little and although the fallout from this pandemic is gonna be with us for a long time yet I definitely don’t feel as on edge as I was a month or two ago.  Food wise, I’ve had two or three high anxiety moments in the past six weeks where my inner Cookie Monster has taken over, but they’ve been pretty well spread out. And there have certainly been times where I’ve managed to beat the urge in various ways, where before I would’ve just given in.

I still feel pretty fat, but with a shirt on I (apparently) look like I lift. So I got that goin’ for me. I have no idea what I weigh, and haven’t stepped on the scale in a couple of months. I’ve certainly had a nagging desire to start cutting, but it’s just coming into winter here so I figure why not just keep enjoying all the food, and if I still feel like this once the cooler weather ends, I’ll still have time to lean out a bit before summer. IF I feel ready for it.

It does feel rather strange, after all the fasting and black coffees I used to drink, to now. I haven’t skipped a meal in months, I’m putting brown sugar or honey on my porridge at breakfast, and not being scared to eat cake or a biscuit if I want it. We’ve been eating takeaway at least once a week to try and support local restaurants to stay open during this pandemic, and in probably my biggest breakthrough this year, I’ve actually stopped buying skim milk. I realised how bloody unsatisfying it was both in my coffees and on my breakfast – so it’s full cream all the way right now – occasionally I even buy non-homogenised to get that extra creamy goodness.

So yeah… that’s me. I’m still alive (although there have been times I’ve wondered what value I offer). Still fighting the good fight. Let’s hope things continue to improve.

26
Feb
2020

Surgery Recovery

So my last post might’ve sounded like it was all rainbows and butterflies but now it’s 9 days post-surgery and my perspective has changed a bit.

The main challenge (and the one I was expecting) was the direct consequences of the surgery – I’ve been in constant pain, was off my head on opioids for the first week, struggling to get any quality sleep, and as a result of the throat pain I’ve had to modify my diet significantly and eat mainly soft foods. None of this was really unexpected, although I probably underestimated the extent and the duration of impact. It’s been a challenging ten days or so for sure, and it’s not finished yet.

There’s a secondary problem though. Eating/swallowing genuinely hurts – so it’s been a struggle to force meals down. I’ve actually burst into tears a couple of times during dinner (soup!) if that gives any indication. So I have a genuine physiological reason for undereating right now. But while I’m not really having any difficulty eating zooper doopers or custard or ice cream from a mental standpoint, I still am finding myself having fairly small serves and stopping a long way from the point of satisfaction. Sometimes it’s because I am just sick of my throat hurting, but there have definitely been times when it’s from a fear of eating ‘too much’ -because I’m far less active than usual (and not lifting) and secretly hope to drop fat during this period, and also the (maybe legitimate) fear that if I overeat and make myself sick that would probably be disastrous for the stitches in my throat…

But restriction is restriction. I actually felt woozy and weak this afternoon after walking the dog, as if I’d been dieting for weeks. I managed to eat a tiny bit of ice cream and have a nap but still feel like it wasn’t enough.

This really does suck and I can’t wait to be able to eat normally again. It’s just too much for my poor brain to deal with right now.

18
Feb
2020

Blessings in disguise

Well, I’ve managed 2 weeks without a skipped meal or a binge, and got into a pretty good routine.

Then yesterday I went to hospital for some surgery. This was the second time I’d been in to have the operation (I mentioned it in this post) and this time it went more to plan. I had a UPPP done, which should help (or hopefully cure) my snoring and mild sleep apnea. It meant an overnight stay in hospital, and I came home this morning with a very sore throat and scripts for strong pain killers and anti-bleeding medication.

I’ll document my recovery on my less private blog, but wanted to post here about how it’s impacting on my relationship with food.

On the negative side, there is a part of my brain that is quietly hopeful I’ll lose a little weight during the recovery process. A combination of extremely painful swallowing and opioids means my appetite is genuinely very low. I’m having to force myself to eat because I know that I need calories to heal – and I’m also scared I’ll lose muscle mass since I can’t lift weights for a week or two either. I don’t want to feel like I’m restricting/dieting because I’m scared of the consequences later but it’s not easy when every swallow is painful.

On the positive side, I’m really limited to soft foods for the next week or so until the pain subsides a bit, so a lot of the foods I normally eat are out of the question. This means I’m forced to step out of my comfort zone and try some stuff I wouldn’t normally eat – so I’ve bought chocolate custard (which was YUM) and rice puddings and soups and some very special looking ice cream and will probably go out hunting for other treats once I get through that lot. And also… it’s a couple of weeks where I can totally switch off from work, catch up on some Netflix and truly relax a bit. I need to avoid lifting weights too, and although I mentioned it in the negative column, a break from the gym is scary but very much overdue. I’ve been training pretty hard for a lot of years without any extended break and the little injury niggles have built up over time, so hopefully I’ll come back a lot fresher and pain free.

So I guess I’ve got mixed feelings right now, I can’t wait to feel better but will enjoy the time out anyway. And hopefully, the end result will improve my quality of life (and prevent a snoring related divorce!) which would be a win for the whole household, really.

Be kind to yourselves!

15
Feb
2020

I am blessed.

So I was thinking about something last night….

I’ve been listening to a lot of Christy Harrison’s podcast lately (and reading her book) and hearing a lot of talk about how families and medical professionals and even eating disorder treatment centres inadvertently feed eating disorders by making fat phobic comments, encouraging people to diet, and just generally being unsupportive or misunderstanding how to deal with someone who’s trying to recover from a restrictive eating disorder, particularly if they’re not showing obvious signs of poor health (ie they’re not the stereotypically emaciated anorexia sufferer).

It got me thinking – there have been times in the last few years when I have lamented (to myself) what I’ve felt was a lack of support from my wife. At no point that I recall has she ever really said that she appreciates my efforts to be healthier and set an example for our daughter, at no point has she ever expressed any feelings one way or the other about the changes to my body, nor has she ever encouraged me in any way that I can think of. At times this has felt like a bit of a kick in the guts, because my wife and daughter are a big part of the reason that I started and continue to go through this process of getting stronger and healthier.

But over the past year or so since I have really started to focus more on dealing with my relationship with food and finding a greater sense of balance between weight training sessions and family life, I’ve begun to realise that actually, she’s probably been more supportive than I think. I mean, there’s the obvious, big financial thing that she allowed us to refinance so I could build my home gym. But in more subtle ways, she’s actually been extremely supportive without actually making a big deal of it.

When I was at my worst, she (almost) never complained about my compulsively weighing and measuring foods, my making ‘special’ low calorie meals for myself, my fasting, my lack of desire to go out and eat at restaurants. The only thing we ever had conflict about was my moods and constant anger, which to be fair, was well deserved.

Conversely, at no point in any of my episodes of extreme hunger has she ever got in my way and attempted to make me stop. She has sat there quietly on the couch watching me eat multiple desserts without so much as a raised eyebrow.

At no point in any of this has she made any comments about my body – positive or negative. It’s clear to me that my body is not the reason she married me – and even after gaining a lot of weight back I’m still not as big as I was back when we first met.

The reason this hit home last night is I suggested we go out for dinner, I’d been keen to go to a cafe that does a special burger night on Friday nights. Now in all honesty, she said that she didn’t feel like a burger, and we did spend an hour or so discussing whether we’d go there or somewhere else, but in the end we couldn’t come up with an option that pleased everyone so I got my way. I’ve expressed in the past that I think it’s really important for me to eat the things I feel like eating and not restrict in any way so perhaps this was her way of humouring me. So despite her wish to eat something else, she took one for the team without complaining. We ate burgers (which were mediocre, but that’s OK!) and then went somewhere else for ice cream afterwards and she let me indulge my wish for some less than ‘clean’ food.

I had some minor voices in the back of my head afterwards encouraging me to go off the deep end and eat a ton more, but honestly, they were pretty easy to ignore because I ate plenty. Some hot chocolate when we got home and I was as full as a goog.

It got me thinking, if that was me and I didn’t feel like a burger, how would I react? I think I’d probably put my foot down and refuse to go unless there was an option I’d eat. At least that would’ve been the case a while ago, I’m not sure now.

Anyway, my point being that she does support me in these ways and I am very lucky to be married to someone who doesn’t have her own issues with food or body image and is willing to let me eat and drink whatever I like (within reason) and let my body be whatever size it needs to be. And I’m grateful for that. And on a related note, I really do need to be more disciplined about incorporating some sort of ‘gratefulness’ practice in my life.

In other news – I’m almost 2 weeks since my last episode of uncontrolled eating – I haven’t skipped a single meal in that time, I’ve enjoyed quite a few treats (even some unplanned, like a couple of work morning teas) and feel like I’ve been as close to fully unrestricted in my eating as I’ve ever been. Long may it continue.

 

 

 

 

 

10
Feb
2020

Who do you want to be?

I might’ve said this elsewhere, but my struggles with disordered eating started after a bit of a mid-life course change in early 2016, where I decided I wanted to stop being obese and get fit and healthy. It wasn’t just for my own benefit (although let’s be honest, what guy doesn’t want to look good with his shirt off?) but also to set an example for my young child and be the best parent I can for as long as I can.

On reflection, over the past couple of years especially, there have been times where I’ve thought that life was so much easier before all this started, where I didn’t particularly care about my size and weight (indeed, I was oblivious) and ate whatever I felt like in a carefree way. Has all the pain and effort been worth it? What would I do differently?

The answer I came up with was that unequivocally, yes, it’s been worth it, even though I still have issues to work through. The only thing I would probably do differently is to take a more moderate approach and not immerse myself so deeply in the fitness and diet culture that I forget the real reason why I started doing this.

Having said that, I still want to change my body and have a decent physique, although I think my expectations are more realistic now than when I started. And unlike many in the HAES/anti-diet movement, I still believe that this is an attainable goal that’s worth striving for, so long as it’s done the right way, with the right attitude.

The trouble is, becoming the best physical version of yourself is no different than becoming the best intellectual and emotional version of yourself – it requires hard work, sacrifice and trade offs, and those trade offs need to be worth the effort. It’s also very easy to forget, as I did, that our physical selves are not a reflection of the person we are inside – and if we want to leave a legacy for our families and friends to remember us by, we’ll do that by the actions we take, not by the way we look.

This caused me to ponder – who DO I want to be? What sort of man, what sort of parent, and how do I want people to remember me? In many ways, it’s the direct opposite of the person I am when I’m restricting.

During periods of restriction I have been:

  • Tired and sore all the darn time
  • Very grumpy and quick to anger – regularly arguing and being short with people
  • Unfocussed at work, and not very productive – not good for my career prospects!
  • Unable to eat out with family without great anxiety
  • Avoidant of any social occasion that might involve food, or even disrupt my meal schedule a little bit
  • Generally not a very nice person to be around, and not a particularly good husband or parent

It’s only over the past six months or so as I’ve become more and more well-fed that I’ve started to realise I’d far prefer to be:

  • Someone who is fit and strong and cares about their health
  • A good provider for my family, who is supportive of our shared goals
  • The strong, silent type – calm in a crisis. Firm, without needing to raise my voice
  • Competent, analytical; not in a rush
  • Empathetic and always capable of showing love, but serious when needed
  • An example for my daughter of how a man should live and treat others

Notice that ‘having visible abs’ isn’t on that list? That doesn’t mean I don’t want it. It just means that I’ve shuffled it down the priority list to where if I can achieve it without turning into a monster then perhaps I’ll try one day. But right now, I’ll settle for just being strong and healthy and a decent guy. Because my family and my own wellness are far more important – and because I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I am enough.

09
Feb
2020

I ate the pizza

It must have been two or three years since I’ve eaten proper takeaway pizza, and at that point I was only able to eat a couple of slices, skipped the garlic bread, ate a heap of green salad with it, and was thoroughly anxious about the amount of calories and fat involved. Ever since then when the family’s had pizza I’ve either made my own low calorie version or dodged it altogether.

But I broke the drought on Friday night, because that’s what I felt like. Ate pizza and sides til I was satisfied (but not stuffed… there were slices left) and didn’t feel guilt.

Did some grocery shopping on Saturday and felt like taking home something sweet, kinda tossing up between a danish or a donut. I think most donuts are overrated, honestly – but I  ended up buying a Black Forest donut because there was a Donut King nearby. I ate it with my post lunch coffee, and once again, it felt like a letdown – it was ok, but it didn’t have me moaning in ecstasy or anything.

In the past, when I’ve eaten really high calorie food like this it’s often triggered the ‘more, more, more!!!!’ urge – especially if the food itself is a bit less of a treat than I’ve built it up to be like the donut was. But I’m taking it as a good sign that this time round, it was fine. Don’t get me wrong – I was tempted to reach for the nearest chocolate bar, but I was able to check in with my body and think about how I actually felt and honestly – I was satisfied. There will be more opportunities to eat.

I’ve stolen so many phrases from others lately. But stuff I’m using a lot is

  • Food is just food
  • Food doesn’t have to be perfect
  • This isn’t your last opportunity to eat!
  • Once it’s in, it’s in
  • Opposite actions

The last one is really powerful. I often struggle with indecision around what to eat, and based on a question on Facebook the other day, I’m not the only one. What I’m trying to do now when I get this way, is to choose the option that is the highest calorie, or that I’m the most scared of. The other day, I was tempted to and could’ve easily chosen a small cinnamon or iced donut to save calories but I said no, get the gourmet filled one because that’s what was most scary. It really wasn’t so bad, and next time it will be even easier.

07
Feb
2020

Update

I forgot to mention in my prior post – the book that I happened to be reading in the park for a bit of self soothing yesterday? It was Christy Harrison’s book – Anti-Diet 

I’m not a long way in – but I am really enjoying it so far. I’m not sure if this is helping to rid myself of the obsession with food! But it’s a good read nonetheless.

07
Feb
2020

Been a long time

I haven’t posted for a while, basically because it’s just been the same old struggles. There’s been a few short runs of what feels like ‘normality’, but mostly it just feels like I’m making the same mistakes over and over again. I get depressed, and I binge. I tell myself I need to just eat normally and get into a routine for a while and not worry about weight loss. Then one of two things happens – I get depressed and I binge again, or I get cocky and start trying to do stupid shit and restrict food because I feel fat, and ultimately I end up giving up and binging anyway. As an example – I decided to do a bit of an aggressive diet leading up to Christmas, and for about 3 weeks I restricted calories heavily and lost a few kilos. The intention was always to eat at maintenance through Christmas, what with family meals and stuff it is not really practical to diet then and besides, those are times for enjoying ourselves, right? And even with the obligatory work BBQ and family lunch on Christmas Day, I seemed to be tracking pretty well until just after Christmas I absolutely lost the plot and had some fairly severe episodes of uncontrolled binging. I think that was about as low as I have ever felt since this whole thing started, and at times I was seriously considering my future in this world – not good.

The other day I went through my training log to try and figure out exactly when these episodes started. It looks like it was as early as July 2018. That means I’ve been going through this crap for 18 months now. When I’m in the middle of an episode that timeframe makes me feel absolutely despondent and hopeless, like there’s no end in sight. Right now, I am on my 5th day binge free and while I’m able to look at the situation objectively I feel pretty positive about the progress I’ve made and the fact that there is a future for me that doesn’t involve obsessions with food. So that’s something.

So anyway, much has happened, but I’d like to talk about my latest episode. I was scheduled to go into hospital for some minor surgery last Friday. This meant fasting from the night before – unambiguously not my choice, but medically necessary before going under general anaesthesia. I was originally supposed to be in hospital at 7am, but they pushed it back to 11 so by the time I got there I’d already been fasting for 14 hours and wasn’t even allowed to drink water from 10am.

Well, they admitted me and (an hour or so later) put me in a hospital bed with a drip in my arm, and kept me there for the rest of the day, constantly telling me my turn for surgery would be coming soon, until at 4pm they pulled the rug out from under me and said sorry – we’ve run out of time to perform your procedure today, you’ll have to go home and wait to be rescheduled for another date.

Although I had always known this was a possibility, I didn’t think it would happen at this late stage and it threw all our plans into disarray. My wife had another commitment so couldn’t take me home, I ended up walking a couple of kilometres to meet her and pickup house keys before I could Uber home and find something to eat. Of course, I felt like I deserved a decent meal after that, so I made some burgers and chips, and that kicked off an epic weekend of eating everything in sight that didn’t end til Sunday night. Sure – I let this happen. This was a lapse in willpower on my part. But that willpower wouldn’t have been required if I hadn’t been forced to go without food for so long, I don’t think – and then the added disappointment of losing the 2 weeks off work to recuperate, which I’d been really, really looking forward to just compounded things. But that’s life.

Anyway – I came back to work this week and have had a reasonable week. I’ve aimed for three meals and three snacks a day, haven’t skipped any meals, have partaken in two work morning teas when they were unexpectedly offered, and been moderate without restricting – I think. So once again, we try to keep the ‘sensible’ eating going and learn how ‘normal’ people eat and think about food.

Some random thoughts and things that have happened in the past few days that seem to me like more progress:

  • I am getting better at recognising thoughts and moods that trigger these destructive behaviours – and remembering the mantra that MegsyRecovery often cites – ‘opposite actions’! Yesterday, there was cake at work for morning tea but I was tempted to just ignore it – I decided that it was there and I wanted some, but only had a couple of small pieces with my coffee and left some for everyone else!
  • Despite that, I was really feeling quite delicate by lunchtime – absolutely jonesing for food, wanting to eat everything in sight, and very stressed – for no good reason, really. I had only packed quite a small lunch (a salad and a wrap with some meat, and some strawberries) and didn’t think it had enough protein. But instead of going ballistic at the bakery or the takeaway, I bought a tub of cottage cheese and added that, plus a couple of leftover sausage rolls from the fridge. That was a decent lunch, and I felt pretty full afterwards but my brain was still going haywire for something else to eat. So I went for a walk, sat in the park and read a book on my phone for 10 minutes. That was pretty effective in terms of self-soothing.
  • Last night was chicken schnitzel night at home. I usually turn my wife’s into a parmagiana but sometimes don’t do mine, and if they’re unequal sizes I’ll often give myself the smaller one even if I’m ravenous. Well last night one was significantly bigger than the other, and my brain was screaming at me to take the small one and eat it plain, especially after cake and sausage rolls during the day! But no… ‘opposite actions’! I parma’d them both and ate the big one. Heck I even ate one of my daughter’s chicken nuggets to try and encourage her to eat her dinner without fuss. No guilt.
  • We’re having pizza for tea tonight. That would have filled me with fear once, and even as recently as a few months ago I would have just made my own low calorie substitute, on a wrap, with limited cheese. But screw that. The women of the house are having frozen pizza singles but honestly, and it’s not just my fear of processed foods talking, they are just not that nice. I’m either going to buy a decent fresh pizza, or make my own (on a proper pizza base, with proper toppings) and make sure I enjoy the freaking thing. No low calorie substitutes – just food that tastes good but hopefully is also somewhat nutritious. I’m worth it.
  • This last thought brings me to something that I battle with every.damn.day – planning my next item of food before even finishing the one I’m eating. Like I’ll be in the middle of a meal, and I’ll be thinking ‘after this I’m gonna have x… and after that maybe even x….’ and just continuing to think about food like that all day. So not only am I thinking about meals in the times I’m not eating, I’m thinking about food in the middle of my meal! It’s just insane. But I am definitely getting better at recognising when this happens, and using CBT (well actually, ACT therapy is where I read about it) techniques to defuse them and move on. Typically my go-to thought here is the ‘thanks, mind’ technique. So during meals I’ll say to myself ‘thanks, mind, for trying to make sure that I’m not going to starve, but there is plenty of food and I can see how I feel after this and decide if I actually do want something else’. Between meals, it’ll be more like ‘thanks, mind, for trying to make sure I don’t go hungry, but there is plenty of food and I can eat whatever I feel like having when the time comes, so there is no need to worry about that right now’. It does seem to be working in terms of letting those thoughts dissipate and not become totally all consuming to the point where they’re distracting me from stuff that does actually require my attention.

So that’s the story of my week. I hope anyone reading this is having a good one and being kind to themselves. You too, are worth it.

03
Dec
2019

Boring life update, but little wins

Well, last week was pretty torrid, to say the least. I let work and family stress get the better of me, didn’t eat enough, and had 4 days of totally out of control gluttony, including the two I mentioned in my most recent post.

On a more positive note, I had a good weekend. Saturday I was on parental duties by myself all day, which is often a major source of stress and triggers, but I managed to hold it together even with our five year old having an absolute meltdown during dinner. Sunday was also a good day, including dinner at the in laws (where I didn’t skip dessert, despite Dmitri’s anxiety over pikelets with Nutella and ice cream). To cap it off, there was an F1 Grand Prix that night at the rather inconvenient start time of 12:10am. Being the last race of the season I wanted to stay up and watch it live but being alone in the lounge room late at night can be a really dangerous place for my appetite to be, so I almost took the weak option and recorded it to watch in the morning. However I decided to stay up and watch it live anyway, on the basis that I can’t avoid being alone in the kitchen for the rest of my life! So that’s what happened… and while I did enjoy my normal pre-bed snack and a couple of decaf coffees, there was no urge to raid the pantry, so that was alright. Shame it was an utterly boring race.

Speaking of decaf, I’ve been off caffeine almost completely for over two weeks now. I say ‘almost’ because I’ve enjoyed the odd kombucha and have just reintroduced Pepsi Max, but I’m still off the caffeinated coffee and energy drinks. Honestly, I don’t think my sleep is any better but it is possible my moods have been a little more stable, though it’s hard to be sure. Anyway, I never intended it to be permanent but I’m not sure when I’ll reintroduce coffee, although I miss it especially at 5am before a lifting session.

I’m trying to celebrate all of the above as little wins.

Now that my boring life update is done, the real thing that prompted me to write this is that my wife has a family photo on her bedside table that we had taken professionally just over 12 months ago. Looking at it now, I’m struck by how slim I was and how drawn my face looks (even though by then I’d gained some weight from my lowest point). I remember the day well – it was a Sunday afternoon, and I’d trained legs that morning, so when I discovered that the venue for the photo shoot involved a bit of a walk out into a piece of quiet bushland I was not well pleased! I was tired and sore and couldn’t wait to get it over with, so the fact that we all look so happy is a credit to the photographer’s skills. We got some nice photos from that day.

This Sunday just gone, we took our annual family Christmas photo – my daughter, wife, dog and me in front of the Christmas tree. I’m a lot bigger now, obviously, and not overly happy with my body composition (again). But I look healthier and the photo looks much more natural and it wasn’t that much of a chore (I guess being taken in our lounge room also helps). Yes, last week was shit, but life is generally easier; I’m more productive at work, I’m eating a much wider variety of foods with less anxiety and indecision (though a lot still exists). Although I’m still often snappish and cranky I think I’m generally easier to be around and a better husband and parent than I was.

So I guess that’s progress, although it’s nowhere near as fast as I’d like it. And it reminds me so clearly that it’s so important to focus on all those other things in life that matter. My self worth is not determined by how my body looks or how perfect my diet is or how much I can lift. It’s far more important that I’m a good parent and husband and provider and employee. When I die, nobody is gonna remember me for how thin or fat I was. They’ll remember me for the way I treated people and the things that I did.