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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Event: Atamira dance presents Ngā Wai

Atamira Dance Company is thrilled to be back in the live performance space to premiere a full-length dance work from one of Aotearoa’s...

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Read: What I learned about my relationship with food

A couple of nights ago I had dinner in a local Malaysian restaurant with a wonderful friend of mine. She ordered a chicken curry, while I chose lemon chicken with rice. We also shared two deep-fried spring rolls.

Shock horror! Did the man who has been going on about his weight loss and wellness journey really consume batter, white rice, and a thick and deliciously sugary sauce drizzled over fried chicken?

Yes! Yes he did and he did it with a big smile on his face.

There are three reasons to explain this: 1. It is my favourite dish at that restaurant. 2. I track my calories each day so I knew it would not put me over for the day. 3. I’ve learned that there is a psychological dimension to eating for humans and giving myself permission to do it is an important part of my wellness journey. 

In this post I want to share with you what else I’ve learned and how I hope I can have a new relationship with the stuff I shove down my cake hole!

Learnings

  • If you live above the poverty line, food is not about survival. It’s wrapped up in culture, sharing, creativity, joy, fun, holidays. Our relationships to food are deeply psychological and connected to our identities.  
  • I often eat when I’m not hungry, often because I’m bored, anxious, or because almost every TV programme I watch on TV has people eating junk food and looking skinny. So being reminded about food is constant.
  • The things I consider ‘comfort foods’ are faux friends. The pleasure is momentary, but they often make me feel worse over time. 
  • My brain is not consistently logical and will often be a prick by creating cravings for things that have lots of sugar in them. Bad brain!
  • Food manufacturers know this about my brain and have spent years and billions of dollars researching just the right ratios of sugar, fat, salt and crunch to make my brain demand them.
  • Those same food manufacturers then turn around and say “no one’s forcing you to eat it, it’s all about choice!
  • Sugar is addictive and it wreaks havoc on the body when consumed in large quantities. 
  • Eating well and with smaller portions is actually quite easy and makes me feel good.
  • Doing this for months on end is not always so easy.
  • I cannot function if I eat junk food regularly. Seriously. I feel ill, my concentration vanishes, and I get paranoid. 
  • Being aware of what is in food, how many calories and what ingredients are in food is really valuable and enables me to make smart choices.
  • Staying healthy is easier if you have a buddy doing it as well. 

Moving forward

So, Im at the stage where I am back on my Fast 800 regime. It is working, and I am feeling so much better. As well as losing weight, my stamina and concentration has returned. 

What I hope I can do from now on is maintain a healthy and mindful way of eating for the rest of my life. There are challenges in doing so, and as I’ve outlined in previous posts, once I reach a healthy weight the incentive to stay on the regime is mostly gone.

The new incentive therefore is about reminding myself every day that I have to make choices all the time about what I eat. Reminding myself that something I crave may give me a few minutes of pleasure, but the negative effects may last hours or days. 

A real choice around what food I consume involves being really informed about what is in that food. And if I do decide to eat it, then make compensations around it such as eat a little less that day or the day after.

It’s about reminding myself how good I feel, mentally and physically, when I eat well.  It’s also about sometimes making a conscious decision that at times, I might just have a blow out, not regret it, and then get back to eating healthy again. 

I think it is also about not becoming so obsessed with it that I can’t at times eat things that have sugar in them, but learning to manage that in a healthy way or find satisfying alternatives.

Final thoughts

This is the last instalment of a four-part exploration of my journey with wellness. I will write more things in the future and provide updates, but for now, I feel like I’m in a good place and I’m back in control of my eating. 

My weight is dropping, I’m feeling much better than I have in months, and I feel emotionally stronger. Who’d have thought it was all related to food!

Since I started writing these posts, a few people have messaged me or commented and said I’ve inspired them or that they want to do the diet but are not quite ready yet.

First of all – thank you! Secondly, I really believe in The Fast 800 regime because it works really well for me. It may well work for you too, but it’s important that you find a strategy or a number of strategies that are based on YOUR needs and YOUR circumstances. 

Intrinsically, none of this information was new to me, and probably not to you either. The old cliche says ‘we are what we eat.’ But what we eat is influenced by so many things and we live in an era where high caloric and unhealthy foods are abundant and cheap and they trigger our brains.

Making a change involves making a decision, a decision that is both easy and incredibly hard. Choosing to start The Fast 800 last year and again this year came after many weeks of hesitation. But then something clicked. There was a trigger effect in my head and after that the way forward was easy.

I can’t really explain what that trigger was, it was just a moment of clarity. I’m sure you’ve had those yourself, and when it comes, you too will find it easy. Sticking with it long term is another challenge but let’s talk about that sometime in the future!

Click here to visit The Fast 800 website.

Click here for part one, here for part two, and here for part three of my journey to wellness.

Click here to see one of my go-to recipes.

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