Weight for me

I am so so sick of thinking, breathing, writing and talking about WEIGHT.

Being sober is a choice and yay I am glad I did it. I decided 11 months ago that enough was enough. With food you can’t say enough I am done with eating and stop completely. Simply you would die. Obesity and weight isn’t about food anyway. That is the tip of the iceberg and all that you can see. The mind games and the rest is invisible on the surface but oh so very present, day in day out.

Enough!

Instead my solution is to hang a lovely item of clothing that I aim to wear in my eye line.

Ahhh. And a photo too of the lovely item of clothing so even if I am in another room or out and have a decision to make I can look at it and make the right decision. A photo of a swatch of the fabric is all I need. Note that the swatch of fabric isn’t black. We all know which is the right decision anyway. Fu*k it food is off the menu.

(I know this strategy probably won’t work on a low day. The item of clothing will make me laugh. But not in a good way. A sarcastic laugh. Unbecoming. )

It is a positive incentive strategy. There is no NO. There is no limitation on what I can or cannot eat. There is only a choice. With each choice about what I eat, hopefully I will be making more and more better choices. This is for me. A healthier me.

So next time I decide to have a second ice cream for the day I won’t just hesitate. I will politely decline to the child inside of me who is jumping up and down at my side pulling the bottom of my T-shirt and whining, pleeeasseee. Enough. My choice is to say no thank you. That’s it. No whining. No performing. Just no thank you. I can picture my lovely item of clothing.

Yesterday we sat outside and ate dinner. It’s the first time since the bone break that I have sat in the garden, weeded the raised garden beds or eaten outside. Yay for knee scooters! The spring weather is here. There was no wind. I turned on the outside heater so we could be outside in T-shirts and enjoy the moment. My substitute for a candle! Hygge!

One better decision at a time.

Answering phone calls

Phone calls are a connection with the outside world. They can save a life. They can connect you to family and friends. They can be job related. They can be calls from Nigerian princes wanting to fleece you of your hard earned money. They can be congratulating you on winning a competition you entered. They can be good news and bad. They can be reminders of appointments. Although nowadays reminders are texts or emails. Automated to be more efficient.

“No Caller ID” lights up your phone when it rings. Do you answer it?

I do at the moment. I have appointments and deliveries and pick ups to co-ordinate so I pick up. Normally I wouldn’t.

So I was sitting down in a restaurant to eat a cheese burger. My first outing in six weeks. What do I do when the meal arrives. I answer the phone.

What I should have done was this. Answer the phone and ask the caller to call back in half an hour. And if I feel the need to give an explanation I say that I’m just about to eat lunch. Done. Then hang up and eat.

What I did was answer the call, never mentioned the food, being time sensitive, and slowly getting cold in front of my eyes. I replied in all the right places and continued the short call, but I did not concentrate as I was thinking the entire time of the burger in front of me. I hung up at the end of the call. I remembered none of the important information. I can’t say it was multi-tasking I was attempting. It was single tasking poorly. I was distracted. I was considering the other person at the end of the phone over myself. I was attempting to be polite.

In actual fact I was believing I was being polite by staying on the line. I was not respecting myself. I was not respecting the other person either. I wasn’t listening. It was not a conversation. Talking was involved but I was not listening. It was the pretence of interaction. I was not mindful of the conversation. I was not present in the conversation. I was there yet I was not.

I was not respecting the person who made the burger. I was not respecting the person I was with at the table.

DISRESPECT all around.

I can do better.

I know my behaviour is learned behaviour. It is behaviour I want to unlearn. I have observed myself and my actions. I do not like the actions. I know of better actions I can do to replace this automated behaviour. It will take practice. I am willing to change. I can do better.

One good choice at a time.

11 months sober

Yippeee. Here I am today 11 months sober.

What have I learnt so far? A lot and a little.

Yesterday I said no without the need to explain why not. I didn’t apologise. I typed it and then deleted it. I had nothing to apologise for. I made a good decision as well. Who is this person I have become? I barely recognise her. Cue dramatic music. Of course I recognise myself. I am proud of the fact I am sober.

Even when sober you can still fall over and break a bone.

I remember at the hospital emergency room they asked had I had any alcohol within the last six hours and I could easily answer no. Such a simple question yet it made me feel stronger to be able to answer so quickly without having to calculate. No I had not had any alcohol within the last six hours. Today I have been sober for 11 months. Absolutely worth it. Would not hesitate to do it again. Only wish I had become sober sooner.

Yesterday I got my cast off after 6 weeks. The replacement for the cast is a moon boot. I am allowed tentative weight on my right foot with the aid of crutches. I feel grateful to be out of the cast. Slept all afternoon yesterday and a full night’s sleep and still feel tired. I still have yet to master going up stairs on crutches, still on my bum going backwards.

I realise I have a long recovery to go. My ankle was sore when the doctor prodded and now the foot is exposed to air, bring on the dead skin cells. Sorry for the gross image. That’s the reality of it.

I have been craving a hot bath for six weeks. I am still to take the plunge. I tossed up between sketching or a bath before bed last night. Sketching won over the beloved bath because I have been sketching everyday and didn’t want to break the habit. I think I chose well.

Physiotherapy starts today. And my slow road back to walking. I think I thought that I would miraculously be fixed when the cast came off. Fooled. I no longer have to carry a hard shell on my leg. My left leg toes no longer fear being scraped or kicked. Everything is soft again. One leg is slim! Yay. Sarcasm does not become me. Apologies.

Sleep

Never underestimate the power and value of sleep.

I have always placed importance on sleep. Right throughout my life. I cherish my ability to be able to fall asleep quite readily until I can’t.

In my late teenage years I would lie in bed waiting for sleep to come. It always came later than my bedtime. It infuriated me. At the time I didn’t recognise it as insomnia. I didn’t realise that my time clock was functioning a couple of hours behind. This is normal for teenagers. Again I didn’t know this at the time. I didn’t really think about turning on the light to read in the space between awake and sleep. During those years I had turned my back on reading, I was more interested in drinking and trying to fit in. Luckily I found my way back to books a few years later. And sleep came as easily as it did before.

Now I again treasure books and surround myself with them as if my life depends on them.

The other time I couldn’t sleep was right after giving up alcohol. I would lie awake and wish for sleep to come. Sometimes it never came. I kept saying to myself to be patient. Close your eyes. Sleep will come. But it didn’t. I must have gotten some winks because I woke up exhausted and wreaked. Becoming sober was difficult because I lost so much sleep. I had bad insomnia. I didn’t get dry horrors. I didn’t suffer from hallucinations. I didn’t really crave alcohol too much. I was tired of drinking and I could see an early unnecessary death at my lack of ‘stop’ when drinking. It must have been about 3-4 months before my sleep got back to normal. It was a tug of war between is it worth giving up drinking to feel so wretched with the lack of sleep. I persevered and kept believing in it will get better, sleep will come back. Thank God it did. I do not think light of my ability to sleep well. It is a habit practised everyday. It is something to be looked forward to and enjoyed. Sometimes we get less than we need. We adjust and make time to get to bed earlier. To make sleep a priority.

Sleep. Invest in a comfortable bed. Good sheets and blankets, duvets that you can afford. You will spend a third of your life in bed. So it should be enjoyable. A good night’s sleep gives you the strength to face the next day. It revives. It restores. It allows our body and mind to rest. Although they don’t seem to rest at all. The body is forever mending itself. The brain is dreaming. Most of which we never remember and can’t make head nor tail of it. Regardless sleep is important.

I am thankful I have a roof over my head. A warm bed. There is no war or violence that prevents me from waking up at any sudden sound of danger. I am grateful for the softness of the sheets. The more you wash them the softer they become. The rituals the cats perform before sleeping is as peaceful as can be. The mandatory circling. The mandatory licking and preening. The stretching and the final position chosen. Sleep achieved. They don’t overthink, they no longer worry about their next meal, they feel safe. They are home.

Our rescue kittens have transformed into relaxed cats. Sure they run and hide with the occasional stranger in the house. They growl at cars from the windowsills. They dash in the opposite direction at the sound of an engine when outside. For that I am glad. Protection from cars is instinct.

I watch them sleep. It brings me joy. With the cast on my leg I seem to go to the loo more often at night. And with that, the movement of the duvet, the light turned on, the sound of the knee scooter making its way to the bathroom. One cat has dutifully woken up and accompanied me each and every time. Her care for me just warms my heart. Lately she comes sometimes. I put that down to the fact that she believes she can trust me to be alone on the loo. She believes the bone to be healed. She believes that I am okay.

Watching them sleep, one curled up into a ball, neat and tidy, tail encircling the body, the other one sprawled out, underbelly showing, untidy and relaxed as cat-possible, as I said it brings me joy. They no longer bother to wake if I roll over, or adjust the pillows under my leg. They carry on sleeping. They feel safe. They feel protected. They feel loved. They are content. They have a home. That is all.

Sleep well.

Ch ch change

Change is made when small actions are repeated until it becomes a habit.

Change doesn’t happen over night. Change doesn’t happen when you do a new thing once. Actions must be repeated again and again consistently in order for change to occur.

I am writing this for myself as a reminder that change just doesn’t happen by itself. As obvious as it sounds I keep forgetting this and stumble when change doesn’t materialise immediately.

Change requires patience, consistency and repeated behaviour.

I decided while having a cast on my broken ankle that now would be a good time to lose weight. Not so. To heal a broken bone it requires nutrition and possibly more food than normal. I ignored this fact and installed my “new found knowledge” and had just fruit for breakfast, toast for lunch and you can guess what happened…

Low blood sugar reared its head again. Bananas are food from the Gods. Bananas are my go to food if I need instant energy. So I recovered from my moment slowly.

Throbbing headache, feeling nauseous, shaky, sweaty, chills, thirsty, elevated temperature. Why do I do this to myself? Far from clever.

Sweet tea, banana, water, sleep. Followed by dinner a couple of hours later. Followed by more sleep.

Moral of the story is heal the bone first and then deal with the weight.

It may seem obvious to observers but when you are in the thick of it and with time on your hands stupid ideas can appear sensible and efficient. Well stupid ideas are stupid, before conception, during execution and when they have failed.

Lesson learnt this time.

At no time have I felt like having a drink. Except when I heard good new music and thought that this would go well with a glass of red wine. I then rebuked myself and squashed that thought.

Sober and I know it, clap your hands.

Clarification on the word “Best”

My last post was on the theme of “Best time of day.” What I failed to include was a definition of what I was meaning by the word ‘Best.’

Best could have meant a number of things, from best time to sleep, best time for sex, best time for concentration, best time to nap, best time for meditation, best time to exercise, best time to relieve oneself, best time for relaxing, best time for driving, best time for eating, best time for you name it. I didn’t specify. I was/am trying to figure out my best time for concentration.

There I said it: best time for concentration. When there are prolonged periods of concentration, plus optimum circumstances, we have the chance to reach the state of “flow.” For each person the level of concentration required is different. The key point though is continued effort or ‘trying’ on whatever activity concentration is attached. The optimum circumstances are also elusive and individual for each person. We each have to find our own flow state through continued effort. One day after we achieve flow state, if we repeat the same level of concentration we may not reach the flow state. Much to our own frustration. Flow is not an exact science. It is fluid. It is forever changing. With increased concentration we have a higher chance of finding flow. The length of time we have in the flow state depends on us. More concentration requires more energy and time. A higher chance of flow state but it should never be taken for granted. Once we get cocky and expect to reach flow state, that is when you know that it will be gone. It is a gift,not a given.

What is this flow state? A state where you feel at one with the activity that you are doing. “At one with” means that you are completely consumed by the activity and your complete focus or concentration is on the activity, everything else around you no longer exists in that moment. Time disappears. And to be clear it is a positive state, not something to be dreaded. You might feel wiped out after the flow state is over but it is because of this heightened state of concentration for a certain period of time that causes the exhaustion. Off to find my flow.

Best time for concentration for me: 5-10pm-ish

Today I’m trying from 2pm to see if that’s best for concentration. It really all depends on the weather, the season, your age, your weight, your environment, the amount of sleep had, food eaten, liquid consumed, mood,… Anything can alter concentration. They say if you organise your day around a schedule that is maintained day in day out that your body clock adjusts and improves your sleep hygiene and your mental health. Of course some sort of exercise and eating helps too. We all know what’s best for us but tend to ignore it when it’s inconvenient.

Best Time of Day

I am observing myself closely and I don’t really know when my best time of day is.

Am I a morning person?

Am I a night owl?

Am I something in between?

For now I am not a morning person and I’m not a night owl. I think my best time is between 5-8pm. But I could be wrong. I will observe myself in the wild and come to some conclusion after a month of closely monitoring myself.

The fact that I am in bed recovering from a broken foot will make the experiment biased for sure. I like to think of myself as a night owl but that just wrecks me the next day. And for now I’m mending bones so I should get rest so the sensible thing is to get an early night.

Try telling that to my body. I want to sleep at 10am after having a full night’s sleep. Sometimes I can’t get to sleep till 3am. I am all over the show. Daylight saving has started already so I would like to get in sync with the sun. But let’s see how I really am rather that what I think I am.

How well do you really know your own body and routines. Are you living your best routine and timing?

I no longer drink so there’s no need to be up till the wee hours, right? Does creativity happen at 2am? Does it really? Or is 5am the. Magic hour? Or 7am? 1pm in the afternoon I am drowsy, or I have been lately. After food a nap seems like the best choice option. I don’t know.

It’s just after 5pm so off I go to draw. I’ve had my daily quota of licorice already today. Should have waited till after my drawing to consume but that didn’t compute today. We’ll tangle that carrot tomorrow.

And does the season change when your best time of day is? And does it depend on what activity you do? There are loads of variables. The weather, your mood, your appetite, your schedule, your life.

When is your best time of day?

Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

If you don’t drink alcohol it’s not the end of the world. You won’t die. You don’t need it. You only crave it or want it because it’s there. It’s a comfort, it’s a habit. It’s a drug.

If you don’t eat, it can be the end of the world. We need to eat and drink to survive. If we don’t we die.

Above I have stated the obvious. Ten months sober and I feel I have a handle on the not drinking part of life. The benefits of being sober outweigh the hangovers and lost moments of drinking life. The abundance of time that being sober opens up is a daunting thing. I am left with myself, my sober self. I cannot take a holiday from me. I cannot take a break from me. I am stuck with me. Before in my drinking days I would have taken a break from myself by getting drunk. Today I don’t need to escape from the isle of me. Have I got my life figured out? Not by a half. However I am learning to deal with myself as I am today. I am far from perfect. I am human after all.

My body deals with sugar poorly. I have known this for most of my life. To have a banana or something sweet in my bag was not uncommon. I used to know this. I forgot. Stopping alcohol gave my eating habits a wobbly unbalance. I compensated by binging on food. A common enough side effect of quitting alcohol. Ten months into this sober pursuit and I think I can now face my relationship with food.

I have hypoglycemia. That’s a fancy word for low blood sugar. When I have low blood sugar I can feel dizzy, lose vision, sweat profusely, be clumsy, feel weak and shaky, fatigue, light-headed, have trouble talking, pale skin, diarrhoea, pass out.

I cannot eat the way I used to drink. I cannot substitute food for the way I drank. I will damage my body. If I binge on sweet foods my body has to adjust and level out. It expects more sugar later but when that doesn’t happen it panics and carries on like in the symptoms above. It used to be scary. Now I don’t panic. But I can stop this from happening altogether. I can eat smaller portions more often. I can carry something to eat with me. I didn’t do this and I was a mess a few weeks ago. Literally.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know what is good for us and what is not. We know this. We have read about it. Most of it is commonsense. Humans are supposed to be a smarter species but I beg to differ. We have two options, the right one and the wrong one. We often choose the wrong one, even with all the information and knowledge that the wrong choice is bad. We still go for the wrong one. Is it plain stupidity? I don’t know. We cannot help ourselves until we go so far wrong that we get to the place of make or break. Humans aren’t logical. We like to think we are but we aren’t. We try to complicate our lives by doing the wrong thing over and over but keeping it simple seems too easy? I really don’t know why we do the things that we do. Stubbornness is a big reason. Why do we rebel against ourselves though?Why must we make life harder for ourselves when we know the difference between right and wrong?

Back to the sugar. I need to regulate my sugar intake. I can no longer guzzle an entire bag of licorice without suffering consequences. Because if I’m honest it isn’t just a bag of licorice. It is the desire to eat what is in reach. It is not healthy eating. It is eating for the sake of eating. It is perhaps emotional eating. It is replacement eating for alcohol that I no longer consume.

I do not drink fizzy drink or soda. I haven’t for many years. I don’t drink fruit juice either. I have a sweet tooth. I haven’t baked in a long while because I will tend to eat all of the baking within a short space of time. Why? Because it’s there. I have not taken moderation seriously with my food. I love food. I took food holidays. Visiting balsamic vinegar making factories, eating wild boar, pickled sardines, freshly fried sardines, octopus, fresh mozzarella, tiramisu. I ate my way around places. I would cook in apartments with fresh ingredients from the markets. It was a great focus to travel. I did art holidays too. I followed the footsteps of Matisse. I followed the Byzantine. Reading up before I left. It was a great way to travel.

I am forcing myself to moderate my food intake. If I regulate how much sugar I consume then I won’t become hypoglycemic. Simple. No. Not so simple. I am bucking the habits of a lifetime. I am limiting myself to five pieces of licorice a day. I read the back of the package and a single serving is 40g or five pieces. I used to look at the back for fun and then eat the entire bag. I cannot do that anymore without consequences. Wake up me. Time to get real. I have done three days of self regulation of licorice. That for me is a big step. Because with that comes better eating habits all around. Salads and salmon. Toasted muesli. Kiwifruit. Yoghurt. Almonds instead of chocolate. Whole grain toast. Smaller portions. Eating when hungry, not just for the sake of it, eating better.

This evening I will have five pieces of licorice. No more and no less.

Food made with Alcohol

Went out socialising last week surrounded by alcohol for the first time and more than survived. I had sparkling water as my drink for the evening. Dinner was great. I had dessert too. I enjoyed myself. I didn’t miss drinking alcohol. My dessert had alcohol in it but I let that slide. Tiramisu. I’m okay with that being in my life. I noticed that the slice of baked pear on the plate tasted of red wine too. Again, I’m okay with that being on my plate.

I’m not writing this to spark an argument but how do you feel about food with alcohol in it? I haven’t cooked with alcohol. Actually that’s not true. I cook with sake sometimes. Mirin too. It’s ingrained in Japanese cooking. I haven’t cooked with red/white wine. I don’t want to start the cooking with wine, one for the pot, one for me. I’m thinking of Spaghetti allla Vongole (Spaghetti with clams). Thinking aloud here really.

The reason I’m sober is that I cannot be a moderate drinker. I choose not to drink. I like myself better sober. I trust myself to have tiramisu out at an Italian restaurant and not feel like I’m failing myself. Put it this way, I didn’t feel the urge to order a glass of wine or limoncello after having dessert. That being said I don’t wish to buy alcohol filled chocolates. I don’t think that’s healthy for me. But having tiramisu while out occasionally is okay.

I have cooking wine, Chinese and Japanese in the kitchen and I use those for cooking for flavour. I have no desire to finish the bottle because it’s open. It stays in the cupboard. So what I’m asking myself is what is stopping me from using white or red wine? It’s the possible temptation of an open bottle sitting on the bench or under the bench. Nine months on and I think I’m okay with it. Just writing out these niggling ridiculous thoughts.

I just really love Spaghetti allla Vongole. Clams are cooked in the white wine sauce till they open. I didn’t use to make it often but I did have a glass or two of wine with it. More than. Now I think I’m ready to make it again without the glass of wine with the meal. Sparkling water is my go-to drink. Yeah. I think I’m okay with that.

That’s my rambling way of saying I’m okay cooking with alcohol. Tiramisu is not technically cooked so that’s an exception, I get that.

Buon appetito!

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect

BOOK: Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect – By Jonice Webb PhD. with Christine Musello PsyD.

Feelings of something missing or absent but not being able to put your finger on what exactly it is what this book deals with. There is no blaming of parenting, there is naming of the void or neglect, there is dealing with it and moving on and giving the tools to become an emotionally mature adult. Most of us are doing the best that we can with what we have at the time. When we become aware of better ways of doing things we can implement them. If we lack the knowledge we cannot change or progress. It all takes time and can only happens when we are ready for it. Nothing forced can become a lasting habit, it must be adopted openly. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right.

This has been such a great book. A great stepping stone book for those early sober and wanting to deal with all this new character assessment and searching deep within ourselves. Much of what I read I had already begun to face and it gave me a great sense of being on the right track to finding myself.

Recovering from the flu so my brain has been a little fuzzy this past week. If it doesn’t make sense that’s why.