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Closet Fascination

A blog about a journey, smoking, not smoking, vaping and everything in between

Day 32 (of healthy eating): Keeping on Keeping On

3 months and 8 days nicotine and tobacco free. 

32 days into eating mindfully and working out again.

9 pounds down. I hit 164 pounds today… Apparently, without really reducing what I’m eating, just changing what and eliminating binge eating, I’ve managed to lose about 2 pounds per week. 

Was it hard? Surprisingly, after the first couple of weeks, my cravings for sugary and starchy treats has gone way down. I even made dessert for my husband and ate some but not the whole tray like I might have in the past. I think binge eating and eating too much sugar leads to the highs and crashes and then subsequent cravings not unlike drugs. I think reducing my blood sugar spikes as well as eating frequently and at proper times has also been key. I never get so hungry that I will eat anything in sight. 

Not having these swings due to sugar helps with nicotine cravings (the rare times I have them.) Although my cravings are psychological, they are always in response to very real feelings of anxiety. 

How do I deal with the anxiety? Self-talk, talking myself out of worrying. Deep breathing. Exercise. Distracting myself. 

I honestly thought this might be harder when I first started. Giving up nicotine was worse in some ways because after the first three weeks, once it was completely gone from my system, I felt raw. Like everything felt more intense, especially negative feelings. My natural calm wasn’t there. Giving up unhealthy eating habits started hard, but got easier very quickly. I’m still a little in awe as I’ve always had trouble losing weight and this time it has been so easy.

So I’m going to keep on keeping on because it works.

Learning Moderation

Moderation is hard for me. I’ve blogged about this before, but it is on my mind again as I try to figure out moderation when it comes to food. With nicotine and smoking, in some ways, it was easier. I can say: I can’t control my use therefore I won’t use and never use nicotine again and I won’t die. I don’t need it to survive. Due to how I metabolize nicotine, moderation is never going to be an option and I’m OK with that. 

Drinking was, again, easier. I enjoy drinking more now that I enjoy drinks in moderation. They are a special treat, I have one or two -choosing only the best beer, wine or spirit to embibe and I savor it. Drinking in moderation, you don’t suffer the consequences of binge drinking- the hangover, GI distress and increased anxiety. If moderation didn’t work for me with drinking, I could simply quit entirely. You don’t need alcohol to live. 

Food is harder. I can’t stop eating entirely (nor would I want to) because you need to eat to survive. So far, I’ve been fighting my urge to over-control my eating and find moderation. I’m getting better at balancing macro nutrients in my meals without thinking about it too much. I’m going to keep journalling my eating until this is second nature. But to encourage moderation and an attitude of ‘no food is off-limits’ if I want something that isn’t as good for me, I eat it. Within reason of course. The within reason is what I was having trouble with before. My attitude before was, ‘No food is off-limits and I eat as much as I want.’ 

Today, for example, I packed a half decent healthy lunch, but not enough food. I was starving hungry and my husband really wanted McDonald’s.So I ate McDonald’s and didn’t feel guilty about it.

With both food and exercise, I’m slowly learning to moderate. It is hard because I have to resist my urge to over-control, over-try and the urge I have to push myself to the limit.

What is undeniable is I’m happier when I’m eating better. I’m happier when I’m exercising regularly. My moods are more stable. So those are things I’m going to keep doing. Mindful eating, exercise and meditation. As Oscar Wilde would say: Everything in moderation, including moderation. For me that means moderate, but don’t over control. 

Relax: Nothing is in Control

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Control has always been an issue for me, but I feel like I’m slowly getting a handle on not being in control all the time and it isn’t as scary or horrible as my anxious mind would believe. I’ve said this over and over: letting go of control was an essential part of me exploring nicotine addiction. And if you think I’ve gone back to ‘tight levels of control’ now that I’m abstaining, it takes surprisingly little ‘control’ to stay away from something I largely don’t want to do. I was watching a BBC documentary called Addicted to Pleasure about tobacco and while parts of me wanted to smoke/vape again, the cons lists totally outweighs my pros list.

My healthy eating quest us going well. So far am holding steady at my new weight 168. Not mentioned before, I’ve actually lost two inches off my chest and waist measurement.

While I was reading blogs, I found an article called: How To Eat Intuitively: A Guide To Mindful Eating – http://wp.me/p5lhm9-2v1

I figure it is a nice reminder.Anyhow, until next time!

Healthy Eating Update: Day 12

So it has been 12 days since I started paying attention to what I eat. I wouldn’t call it ‘a diet’ because I’ve even gone out to eat, although less than I might have previously (three times in 12 days). Paying attention is the correct term. You might even call it mindful eating.What I’m paying attention to is my macro nutrients: carbs, fats and protein and making sure I’m getting enough of each especially timed appropriately with exercise.

The first few days, I was really hungry because I was following the meal plans from the book, which are based on a 135 pound woman. Not enough food, unless I was trying to starve myself. So I went back to the book, looked up the recommended protein/carb/fat ratios and calculated what I should be eating. Much better. Then I simply tried to eat within those ratios, stopping when I was full, something I’m getting better at, but still struggle with. Also, I cut out artificial sugar and tried to limit added sugar. I stick to this for the most part, but I like a touch of sweetness in my tea and coffee in the morning, so I let myself have that. I am more mindful of how much, and I noticed since reducing the amount of refined sugar I’m eating, I don’t need as much.

The results so far: 

  1. I’ve lost weight. The day before I started this my starting weight was 172.5 lbs. Today, 12 days later, I’m down to 168.4. that is a total loss of 4.1 pounds in about two weeks. My goal was a pound a week, but I’ll take it. I also don’t want to lose too quickly, but I suspect my natural set point or one that my body liked for years is 160 lbs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost quickly until then. To be honest, that is my goal weight. Actually, my goal is to have my pants not be tight anymore and I’m probably about 2 lbs away from that.
  2. Even though my pants aren’t looser yet, I feel better. No more guilt after over eating. No more gross over full feeling. 
  3. It has forced me to use other methods to deal with my anxiety. I’ve sewed a lot this past week (sewing is like a total mindfulness activity for me, it requires full attention and focus), exercised (30 minutes most days, starting to run again and making sure I recover),  and meditated. I’ve also channeled the nervous energy into meal planning. 

I couldn’t be happier that this is working out. Until next time! 

Blogging Vacation: What is next?

So after posting every day for a month, I guess I just needed a blogging vacation. I’m on actual vacation now and in the process of making changes with how I eat which was really the next place to go for me and my unhealthy coping skills.

Food has been my ‘drug’ since I was young. I think my unhealthy relationship with food stemmed from or was passed on to me from my mother. I learned it from her. From a young age, I remember my mom was never happy with her body. Continuous crash diets over the years have resulted in her being rather obese. Which makes sense since these diets typically have low caloric intake and your metabolism slows when it feels like it is starving. My mom is also not very active, something that is different from me. Nevertheless, I think part of my staying active has been out of fear of becoming obese like my mom. In not wanting to be obsessed with food like my mom was, I chose to focus on exercise and eat whatever and as much as I wanted. But you  can’t out train a bad diet… and I think my lack of proper fueling has held me back in some respects with my exercise. That and I developed the exact same pattern with exercise that my mom had with food. Exercise, be awesome for a while and see some positive effects. (In this part of the cycle, my mom would be eating really well, and lose some weight). Plateau and or get injured. (Plateau on weight loss). Quit or reduce exercising (Binge eat). Gain weight and lose fitness gains. (Gain weight). Become depressed at the backslide. Repeat cycle (Both her and I).

But CF all you’ve talked about is exercise. How is food your drug? Well I told you before that when I exercise, I don’t really change my eating. This is pretty much true. I also have my periods of time where I try to eat healthy and then binge but mostly my pattern is one of overeating all the time. I think it is one of the ways I use to battle anxiety. Because anxiety physically feels like hunger to me. Exercise helps mitigate this a little, but if I’m in the Fuck exercise part of the cycle, I gain weight. Unfortunately, I gain weight pretty easily. I’m currently at my peak adult weight of 172 lbs. I carry it well despite my short 5’6” frame. I’ve never been a tiny person, so anything less than about 140, I start looking a bit skeletal. My set point (which I’d like to get back to) for a long time was around 160, plus or minus 5 pounds. But how to do it?

  1. Change my relationship with food and exercise.
  2. Stick with the changes that I make long term.

I’ve lost a lot of weight before. The last time I got to this weight, I lost 22 pounds in a year using Jenny Craig. I would say it was a rather unhealthy way to lose weight and because of the caloric deficiency I never had enough energy to exercise. It is really the only ‘diet’ I’ve ever been on. Plus, once you stop eating their food which nicely regulates things for you, you have to figure out how to eat healthy yourself and I found that to be very difficult.

How I currently view food:

  • Coping mechanism:I eat my feelingsgiphy
  • Best thing in the world
  • Delicious
  • Once I start, I can’t stop

How I would like to view food:

  • A  delicious way to fuel my body
  • Not how I deal with my feelings
  • I’d like to be able to eat like other people

How I view exercise:

  • A means to change my body so that I am happy with it
  • A healthy form of anxiety relief
  • Something I like doing despite it not changing my body

How I want to view exercise:

  • A means to change my body so that I am happy with it
  • A healthy form of anxiety relief
  • Something I like doing despite it not changing my body

I just recently finished a book called ROAR: How to Match Your Food and Fitness to Your Unique Female Physiology for Optimum Performance, Great Health, and a Strong, Lean Body for Life. Long title but great book. It teaches you how to work with your menstrual cycle rather than against and explains a lot about how female physiology is different from men. The food part is interesting because it has you eat for your body type and is all about timing foods to when you will need the nutrients. That is probably the hardest part about the eating plans. My goal is to follow it for a month and see how I feel. It is supposed to help with mood regulation and basically just looks like ‘clean eating’ so no processed foods or artificial sugars. Beyond that, it isn’t really restrictive. There is no calorie counting and it is more about what and when you eat than how much. Day 1 went well. It is Day 2 today and I am feeling a bit hungrier than yesterday. My snack time is coming soon though.

I don’t think I will be posting every day, but I’ll update now and again.

I have had a few cravings to smoke recently, but they pass quickly. My current mantra that helps me resist these cravings is, “I may feel like I need or want to smoke, but the fact is I don’t need to.Feelings aren’t facts.” Inspired by none other than John Oliver’s newest video:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNdkrtfZP8I&w=854&h=480

 

Day 30: A day in the life of me

Well, 30 days has flown by. I like blogging everyday, but sometimes it felt forced. Today was a fake friday as tomorrow is Canada Day. Today was a pretty good snapshot of a typical day for me.

4:50 am- Dog wakes me up to get fed. (I know I need to work on this, but it is only this early during the summer, once the sun starts rising later she will be back to getting up later.Damn circadian rhythms!)

5:00 am- Go back to bed.

5:30 am- Dog needs to go outside to go pee. Get up to let her out.

5:35 am- Back to bed. Dog comes with.

6:10 am- Alarm goes off- I decide to sleep 20 more minutes (Which feels like 5)

6:30 am- Get up and put kettle on for tea.

6:30-6:45 am- Eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth.

6:45 am- Make tea for husband and I

6:50 am- Pour tea.

6:50-7:00am- Get ready to leave, get dog in car.

7:00-7:20 am- Drive Husband to train station

7:20-7:45 am- Drive Dog to daycare

8:00 am Arrive at work.

8:00 – 8:50 am- Mark student work, get ready for class.

8:50- Morning Meeting (later than usual which means I missed going to the bathroom before my class started.

9:00 am- 10:50 am- Teach my class (This week I was teaching intro to computers)

11:00 am- 12:30- Lunch with co-workers (Sushi- to die for as usual)

12:30-1 pm Prep for class.

1-1:15 pm- Class arrives. My class was good this week so they got to watch a movie this afternoon.

1:15- 3:10- Class. I marked, they finished assignment/watched a movie. It was awesome.

3:15-3:30- Coffee Break (For them, I worked through it)

3:30-4:00 pm- Gave students their marks in the course, watched some funny Kevin Hart clips.

4:03 pm- Arrive at my vehicle.

4:15 pm- Pick up my dog.

4:40 pm- Pick up my husband.

5:02 pm- Get the mail. I had a package and the post office was closed.šŸ˜¦

5:08 pm- Arrive home.

5:15 pm- Decide what to eat for supper.

6:20 pm- Actually start making supper.

7:00 pm- Eat supper. Salmon chowder. My husband and I are trying to eat at home as much as possible and not just go out or to the grocery store every time we need supper.

7:30 pm-9:30- Google hangouts with friends to play an RPG. Tonight we were building our characters.

9:30-10:20- Worked on my character alone for a bit. Then realized I should write this post.

10:40- Finish writing this post.

10:45-11:05- Meditate

11:30 pm- Go to bed.

When you write it out like this is it pretty mundane, but honestly I had a great day today.I’m not sure I’ll post every day next month but I certainly want to keep up with blogging.

Meditation:Ā Street Relief

Challenge Day 29: If I had a million dollarsĀ 

If I had a million dollars:

  1. I’d pay off my debt. All of it. 
  2. Invest some. 
  3. Travel
  4. Take care of my parents
  5. Look into buying an acreage.
  6. Donate some

I wouldn’t quit my job. I love my job and a million isn’t that much. With not having a mortgage or any other payments, my pay cheque is more than comfortable to live off of.

I’ve heard winning the lottery ruins people. I think it is because people buy lottery tickets thinking it will change their lives for the better when really you are the same person with the same problems just more money to waste on them. 

Meditation:Peaceful Sleep Meditation


Ironically, the peaceful sleep meditation says to have the room at the right temperature for you. It is do hot here. Impossible.

Challenge Day 28: Favourite Movie and Quote

Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

The above quotes is from my favorite movie of all time. The Dead Poet’s Society. I rented this movie on a whim when I was in grade 9 and loved it from the first time I watched it.

I’ve always loved this movie. The message about seizing the day, going after your dream, living life to its fullest has always resonated with me.

I think a large part of it is because I really identify with the character Todd Anderson. I didn’t always know why but today I figured it out. Both Todd and I suffer from anxiety.

I actually have only been putting this together recently. I can’t believe I never connected the dots with this before now, but I think I’ve been anxious my whole life. It certainly explains a lot. It explains my overeating, my compulsive use of nicotine and why I was drawn/liked smoking to begin with. As well as various other coping mechanisms developed along the way.

Like Todd, I suffer from social anxiety. How I cope: normally if the social situation has food, I eat the whole time I am at the event. I think this could be why I feel drained at the end of a drain- less so now that I work with adults and don’t like I have to ‘put on a show’ for them as much. If you were to ask me which vape or smoke I miss the most it would be the one right after work. Probably because I feel totally anxious right as my work day ends. Today, I used deep breathing in the car to calm myself down.

I used to think that I was getting really hungry at the end of the day but it turns out it is anxiety.

My next ongoing challenge: figure out the healthiest ways to deal with my anxiety. Meditation works, so keeping up with that will be key. Exercise works. The smoking/vaping thing didn’t work out so well. Eating isn’t working so hot either. So learning how t change that will be my next challenge.

Meditation:Peaceful Sleep Meditation

 

 

Challenge Day 27: Sliding Door Moments

Day 27: Sliding door moments: pick one or two moments from your life that could have drastically changed the course of your life.

I’ve been looking forward to this prompt for a while but when I sat down to write tonight, it was actually really hard to pick just one or two moments. I’ve often thought about this question in relation to my smoking. But the thing is: all the time I could have started smoking regularly, I always picked to not start. And when I imagined my life and how it would be different, ultimately I think would have ended up exactly where I am now only with more exposure to carcinogens. The only difference possibly being I might still be vaping nicotine as perhaps I’d be used to being in withdrawal when I can’t smoke/use nicotine and wouldn’t remember things being different. So that sliding door moment, it turns out is actually pretty mundane despite the amount of the thought I gave it.

Another moment: My friends really wanted me to go to the same university as them, but I chose to go off on my own to another city. Basically, my life would be completely different. I’d have different friends, I wouldn’t have met my husband or some of my best friends. It is hard to even imagine. I think I might have still become a teacher at some point though.

Another moment: Not moving into the city when I was a teen, staying with the friends that I had known since elementary school. First, I would have remained a part of drama productions, something that I stopped doing when I moved to the city because I didn’t get any parts. I would have never played rugby and who know what I would have picked to go to school for after high school. A large part of why I chose to go into science was because of my biology teacher in High School.

I’d go on, but the more I think about it, while aspects of my life would have been drastically different, there are something things that appear to be really consistent about who I am that would have probably resulted in very similar things happening in different ways.

Like the smoking thing: it eventually happened in the city, I would have eventually tried it in the town I left. I guess a totally different sliding door that I have trouble actually imagining is: what if I had never tried smoking. So never taken that first puff at 16, never hung around with the smokers in the smoking car, attempting to inhale, never trying again and succeeding at the age of 17, never buying my own cigarettes at the age of 18. I think I can’t imagine it because I think it was going to happen eventually.

I feel the same about teaching. I fought becoming a teacher for so long but everything I loved doing involved teaching. So eventually my path brought me to teaching. Same with my interest in psychology. I’m not a counsellor, but now I do a job that combines my love of psychology with my love of teaching.

But then again, perhaps each change, changes parts of us resulting in completely different realities. My mind hurts just trying to think about it…

Meditation:Ā Guided Awareness-for Obsessive Thoughts

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