Food Habits & Associations
In 2014 I was 13 stone 3 pounds with my wedding a year away. I was the heaviest I've ever been. I'd had my 4th child in 2013 and then had to have two lots of foot surgery. Prior to that maternity leave I was teaching fitness classes but was also a newly promoted Curriculum Manager for an FE College after being a lecturer for many years. A couple of colleagues had an issue with my new position so I was also experiencing bad vibes whilst I was on leave & when I returned! Let's just say there was a lot going on.
I had exclusively breast fed, I was sleep deprived & became addicted to chocolate biscuits. They were my reward for everything, for ordering shopping, for putting the washing machine on, for planning classes, for making a new playlist, for having fed everyone a decent meal, for washing my hair, for having all four children in bed at a reasonable time, for generally making it through the day!
I'd taught fitness classes & sports science since 2007, I was educated to know better about looking after myself but I needed those chocolate biscuits. I deserved them, they were just for me. They signified a cup of tea, a sit down, and for no one to talk, call, demand, touch or require anything of me. Don't get me wrong I love my husband and children very much, I am always happy & thankful for my family. I just needed my release and at that time, that came in the form of chocolate.
It didn't take long to realise that continuing that habit alongside not being able to exercise in my normal way, meant the pounds piled on. Being a little rebellious I'm not one for being told I can't or shouldn't have or do something. So despite well intentioned suggestions from my husband, I would not do as I was told. I had to make the choice for myself and I had to be able to control the journey.
Exercise is a given for me, I needed to move again and more. It was slow going due to the surgery but I could Spin and I could do Pilates. At the time This Morning on ITV had a weight loss plan going. I didn't necessarily need the exercise and recipe tips (as I had those already even though I'd conveniently ignored them for the bulk of my maternity leave), but I did need the accountability. I also needed to know that I wasn't the only one doing it. I needed a group to be part of & someone to acknowledge the work I was putting in. Not someone I was emotionally attached to, someone available but not living in my house!!
I've never agreed with diets but I didn't feel confident I could do this on my own. I questioned whether I needed a clear food guide to officially sign up to and follow, that there must be some magic in these Slimming World, Herbal Life, 5:2 etc schemes. Thankfully after a little research it didn't take me long to discount those. Now I'm not rubbishing them and I'm sure they work for lots of people but it didn't seem sustainable or a healthy and natural way that would work for me. My main meals were not the issue, we cook from scratch, we have a good balance, I just ate pretty much a whole packet of chocolate biscuits a day & would get stressed if I realised there were none in the house. I would have to get more immediately. Whilst obsessing over chocolate I unconsciously snacked throughout the day too, crackers, cheese, nachos etc & my main meal portions were off.
Food habits for me were undeniably linked to my emotions & my comfort needs. What I was searching for was to be released from that. Not denied, not shamed, not forced to count points or weigh everything (the later which is all good if you're working to a specific goal such as body building/shredding). I needed re-programming & to have a handle on my food associations. In my next post we'll get into how I did that. It was so much simpler than I could have ever imagined. Notice I didn't say quick, it wasn't an instant fix but I did get married a year later in 2015 at 10 stone 5 pounds. A weight I was completely happy with and still am.
Understand & be honest with yourself & your associations. Do that in a kind, sensitive way, there is no room for guilt or blame here. It's also ok to figure it out but not be ready to act yet. Give yourself time. One Love, Health is Wealth. Mrs Fieldz x