Tuesday, 18 May 2010

So, yesterday I pledged allegiance to yet another country, this time it was to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It was the loveliest of ceremonies and a very warm and gracious welcome into the fold!!! Now I'm as multi-national as those rotten corporations that pilfer the globe ... kinda horrible company to be in, right?

Anyway, yesterday's swearing in left me reflecting on the nature of "home" and national identity. I feel at home in Barbados, Paris, New York and London, yet when I'm in the UK people assume I'm American or Canadian(no one I've ever met here can differentiate between these two accents), in the USA they think I'm British, in France they think I'm continental African and in my birth place Barbados, they ask me where I'm from (even though my family swears my accent hasn't changed one iota).

We are educated and encouraged to put people into all sorts of little boxes which amount to a "us" and "them" kind of world, but in my experience most people don't fit neatly into their little boxes, simply because we are richer, more complexed and fascinating than any little box can ever accommodate. What do you think?

On to another topic ... do you ever feel that it's so unfair that you have to watch what you eat and exercise mucho just to achieve a body size you are happy with?

I used to feel that way all the time, but I've had a huge shift in my attitude (thanks I have to say to the mind work I've been doing). According to Dr. Beck the percentage of people who can eat anything they like and be naturally thin is quite small. Most people who are slender maintain their size because they move more and habitually watch what they eat. This was news to me. I though most thin people had the best of both worlds, meaning I thought they were eating with wild abandon and not really exercising but were remaining thin because of genetics. Then I thought back to all my slim relatives, friends and even my husband and I realised that she was right.

For example, my husband is tall and slender and I'm always telling him how much I envy him because he can eat whatever he likes and not put on weight, but the fact is that without consciously trying to, he doesn't overeat or eat a ton of sweet, fatty stuff on a daily basis. He eats a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner (i.e. carbs, protein, fruit and vegetables) almost never snacks and only has a sweet treat occasionally. So theoretically thought he is not "on a diet" he actually eats as though he is. I can't believe I never noticed this.

Noticing it now made me realise that where I use to think there was genetic unfairness involved in body size differences, it's less to do with that and more to do with learning and maintaining healthy and self-responsible habits of diet and exercise. In other words if my husband ate the way I've been eating for years, he too would be overweight and come to think of it, he sometimes puts on a little weight (usually no more than 2kg/5lbs)when we go on a holiday because we're eating richer food, but drops back to his regular size within a week or two of coming back home because he goes back to his regular eating. In addition, in a normal day he walks far more than I use to. Where I was taking the bus at every opportunity, he would opt to walk instead.

This realisation has done wonders for my attitude to diet and exercise. That lingering sense of resentment of the "naturally thin" has dissipated and has been replaced by a more realistic understand of the reality of things. If I want to have Jennifer Aniston's body then I have to make Jennifer Aniston food and exercise choices ... maybe not a good example, I'm NOT eating baby food for anything ... and if I want to retain my Rubens body then I can go back to my old choices. It's really as simple as that. My choice!!!

Another .5kgs/1lb gone this week.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Apart from the Paul McKenna tape that I'm using to help me sort out my thinking and behaviour around my "food, exercise, body, health issues," I'm also doing a wonderful cognitive therapy program called The Beck Diet Solution. I plan to review both these programs later in the year, but I just wanted to mention right now a great little exercise that I'm doing today which I absolutely love.

Over the past few week I've been working on my Hunger Scale. Which is something I really didn't know about until McKenna and Beck. To get more details on the Hunger Scale download this great pdf from MIT Medical: medweb.mit.edu/pdf/hunger_scale.pdf Anyway, I've been working on eating at 4 and stopping at 6 as opposed to my usual of eating at 1 and stopping at 8 or 9. Now I have an idea of what portions sizes put me at a 6, I'm working on strengthening my ability to stop at 6 when I'm in eating environments that I can't control, i.e. when I eat away from home. To do this I write down what I'm going to eat for the day and at each meal I put twice as much food on my plate as well as add a few other foods that are not on my plan but are tempting. Then with all these choices on my plate I have to select and eat only the food and quantities I've predetermined I'll be eating and leave the others.

The point of the exercise is to build up my "resistance muscle" as Beck calls it = my ability to resist eating foods just because they are offered to me, just because they are on my plate, just because they're available, just because they're free, just because .... I'm to repeat this exercise as often as I need to until I can say no consistently to treating myself like a human garbage. So far so good.

In other news, the resistance belt on my elliptical machine came off last week. :( My husband put it back on and tightened the thingies that hold it in place, but it came off again when I increased the resistance from level 1 to level 3 :( He's going to try fixing it again but is quite busy at the moment and just doesn't have the time.

In the absence of my elliptical I decided to get creative with my morning exercise and use the steps that lead to my kitchen for my work out. I figured, I'd just step up and down one step for 1/2 hour and swing my arms while holding some light weights. OMG!!! Killer workout!!! BUT left me with a pulled calf muscle :( So I've had to reduced my exercise routine to daily walks until the pain in my calf subsides, which it is just beginning to do.

Good thing though that I'd bought a new pair of running shoes last week before my calf injury. My current pair is about 8 years old and as I have osteoarthritis in my knees, I really wanted shoes designed for high impact will lots of cushioning to protect my knees as much as I can when I'm power walking. Who knew that buying running shoes was such a science? I went to this great little store in Camden Town and they did all sorts of tests on me including putting me on a treadmill and videoing my feet. I was in there for quite a while, but the end result is that I got a pair of great shoes (above) that make me feel like I'm floating on air.

Oh almost forgot. Lost 900grams/2lbs this week, so I'm now 81.2kgs/ 179lbs. Yay!!!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Growing up in my family, I was an overweight kid surrounded by a mother and three older sisters who were thin and in my eyes beautiful. From the time I hit puberty, I began to developed an inferiority complex about my chubby body when I compared it to their slender ones and went to considerable lengths to make sure that they never saw me naked because I was so ashamed of being a fat ugly myopic duckling.

My closest friend in secondary school was about twice my size and she had none of the hang ups about her body that I had about mine. When I visited her she would change her clothes in front of me the way my sisters and mother did and not think twice about it. I was in awe of her complete lack of self-consciousness about the size and shape of her body.

I never grew out of those early feelings of physical inferiority, so when this self-improvement tape that I'm listening to (Paul McKenna's "I can make you Thin") to try to "fix my head", suggested that I do an exercise to make peace with my body as it is, I was all for it.

Just getting to the stage, however where I could look at myself in the mirror completely naked took lots of courage and actually doing the suggested exercise of telling the parts of my body I hate that I love them felt incredibly silly ... but after having been doing this for just a few days, I found myself thinking as I looked in the mirror this morning that I look like a brown Rubens nude. Obviously the though caught me by surprise, but it also made me feel ... beautiful just as I am. Now, this doesn't mean that I'm ready for a playboy spread or anything, but I was filled with such feelings of self-acceptance, that I blurted out to my husband over breakfast that maybe I was thinking that I wanted to start thinking about the idea of maybe walking around the house naked. He was all for the idea to say the least ... but who knows, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and chalk the whole idea up to momentary insanity.

Anyway, weighed in today and lost 1.6kg./3.6lbs. Yay!!!

Monday, 3 May 2010

First, a big thanks to all who left those wonderful comments on my post last week. It's so great to be part of a community of people who get so many of the issues surrounding weight loss.

Speaking of weight loss, I didn't go to my counselor to get weighed in today because it's a bank holiday here today and she's off duty. I thought I'd write my weekly post anyway and then try to write another short one on Wednesday when I get weighed.

I'm really happy to report that my water drinking routine is going spectacularly and as my buddy Sayre promised, I'm no longer spending all day in the toilet. It's a miracle folks, I don't know what my body is doing with the water but it isn't rushing straight from my mouth right through my pee pee hole any more ... which is a good thing because I was really starting to wonder how I could convince my doctor to let me have a catheter ... I mean I've got things to do, I just can't dedicate so much time to peeing.

Another little miracle is that I've been on my elliptical trainer for 30 minutes every morning since I last posted. Up until yesterday, the weather has been so lovely and I've been enjoying it out there. By the way, the photo above is the view from my elliptical . Confession: the reason it lives on the balcony is that our balcony is bigger than our apartment so that's the only place it can fit. Apart from the elliptical, I've also been walking between the tube and our apartment instead of taking the bus. Depending on which tube I take, that's either 3.7kilometers/2.3 miles or 1.7kilometers or 1.1 miles.

I'm so happy with these new habits I'm cultivating that I've created a little column in my sidebar specifically to record and celebrate my lifestyle changes.