Happy New Year. 2015 and I am determined to make this the year of health in body and mind.
2015, day 2. I have 2 more days until I go back to work and 17 days until I move into my flat. We are forever counting and I know numbers is something I, as an accountant, find difficult not to think about.
But, as we entered the new year yesterday I set myself the challenge of stopping obsessively counting calories. Yes, the very thing I have done for the past 8 years I am trying to give up. It may not seem like much that for the past 2 days I have not logged my food intake, calories, fat on paper or on MyFitnessPal, which I have been using religiously for 2 and a half years, but for me this is a massive step.
I admit that in a way calories are engrained into my head so it is not as if I am unaware of what I am eating altogether but just breaking the habit of logging every single unit of energy I eat is liberating and a step towards recovery.
I have set myself a few goals for this year and I accept that there may be times when I struggle but the things I am hoping to achieve are:
1) Eat healthy, nutritious foods that will benefit my mind and body and allow me to be the best person I can be.
2) Stop engaging in bingeing and purging habits when I am feeling stressed/anxious/depressed/lonely etc.
3) Divorce MyFitnessPal for good
4) Stop drinking Pepsi Max (kind of related to goal #1)
I feel I have turned a corner of sorts in the past week. I realise that I no longer want to be scared of food and have it dominate my life. I have spent the past 8 years entangled in this illness and if I am honest, I have quite frankly had enough. I want this to be the year that I break completely free.
Three nights ago I finished reading a book on my Kindle and as I was browsing the Kindle store I stumbled across a book that has, without sounding too cheesy, helped to change my perspective on life and on my body and food. While I accept some people may see this book as potentially triggering and encouraging me to focus too much on healthiness, I have found it so helpful in making me see the importance of giving my body the right, nutritious food and taking healthy exercise.
What is this mystery book? The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. This book may well be the thing that changes my life and I am not being melodramatic.
I have connected with this book and in doing so I have learned so much. A lot of the book I kind of knew and it is not anything I haven’t heard before, but I just found it so digestible and I really took on board the lessons it taught.
It made me realise the simply amazing job that my body (and yours) does every second of every day and the importance of taking care of it. It has began to change my mind away form thinking about food as mere calories and more about the nutritional value of food and how it benefits my body. An example of this is my new attitude to bread. For years I have been using the same shop bought load of bread, with its clearly labelled calories on the wrapper, but since reading Ms Diaz’s book I questioned the nutritional value of this – looking at the label there are some questionable ingredients that I guess are there to preserve it. So what did I do today? I walked to the shops and bought a freshly baked wholemeal roll which I presume will not have as many chemicals added to it. Oh, and another thing, I am totally clueless as to the calories in the roll so this helps me on my ‘no more calorie counting’ goal.
You see, I want to begin nourishing my body with food that is good for it. Food is about more than calories – it is there to provide the protein, carbs and fat that are essential to function. I am beginning to see meals as providing the micro and macro nutrients that my body needs and deserves. So today, when I had my roll and didn’t know the exact calorie content, I told myself that the wholegrains provided fibre, the carbohydrates provided glucose for me to function in my day to day life and tuna filling was a portion of protein to help my cells repair and replenish themselves. This is what food is for – fuelling the amazing capabilities of the body. I did feel slightly anxious and guilty but I also felt a little bit good as I knew I was eating something that was nutritious, balanced and beneficial for my body.
I am trying to approach meals in this way from now on – what nutrients I get from them and how they contribute to my health, not how few calories it contains. I am stepping away from some ‘safer’, processed, low fat, low calorie, labelled foods and turning towards the foods that provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that I need to be the best version of myself that I can be.
This is day 2 of trying to recreate myself and my lifestyle into one that is healthy and wholesome. In doing this I hope to establish a more peaceful and trusting relationship with my body and food and also realise that if, and when, opportunities to eat treats arise I can do that too, because my overall approach to food is healthy and balanced.
Day 2 of 2015 and I have counted the days I have not counted calories using MFP (2), the number of pages left to finish the book on my Kindle (all finished now) and the number of minutes my sweet potato was in the microwave for (6). What I haven’t counted is my calorie intake and it feels good.