Life Transformation: Baby Steps

I've never really covered this topic of my life, despite making other intimate details of my life public online. But here it is, the fi...

I've never really covered this topic of my life, despite making other intimate details of my life public online. But here it is, the first baby step to getting back on track with my health.

This won't be a typical post that praises working out, going the gym and eating paleo or vegan or clean as heck. Because I'm a "normal" person and find these things very difficult. I'll admit that realistic, I'll probably never get to that stage where I have a perfect body or become athletic. To me, these things are a constant uphill battle. But I've come to realise that although I can never get into VS model shape, my health does concern me and that I do need to take active steps to move towards a better life. So, I'm taking baby steps to make sure that I can stay in this good vibe for the long term.

My Food Addiction
The past few years have been difficult. I've slipped up and succumbed to bad habits. I've gained a lot of weight, mostly due to lack of exercise and eating unhealthy.  My life has changed so much, and so have my eating habits. 

I'm an emotional eater. I started to acknowledge that I do have a serious addiction to food. One of the key issues that fuel obesity is that a food addiction is seen as a bad habit and not a psychological/behavioural problem, which it is. It is extremely difficult to overcome. People who do not have an emotional relationship with food will never understand and that is where comments like "why do you eat so much" and "why can't you just eat less?" come from. 

The simple answer is that technically, we do eat too much. And we all can eat less. But it is, as mentioned, always an uphill struggle. Imagine someone who is a chain smoker and telling them to stop. Or an alcoholic who tries to stop will go into shock as their body responds to withdrawal. Several studies have shown that sugar and other unhealthy foods have addicting qualities similar to drugs and alcohol.  

I'm no exception. I'm very, very, addicted to food. I crave the feeling that food gives me and the happiness I can feel from it. I have used and abused food as a means of feeling satisfied and happy and it gets worse when I fall into depression. 

And I've been feeling depressed. This year has been one of the most challenging for me to date. I realised I no longer felt any source of happiness in my life. I hadn't felt this way for a while. 

This week, I had to really evaluate the source of my unhappiness. I wasn't happy with my life and I wasn't happy with myself. I thought I was happy because I could eat and do what I want, but in the long term, it only made my confidence plummet and my self esteem dissipated when things in my life took a turn for the worst. It doesn't help that my unhealthy overeating enabled my low self esteem.

So I decided to really come to terms with my food addiction. If I couldn't change anything else about my situation, I needed to regain control of one facet of my life. I do have triggers. I've decided to eliminate them from my life. As long as I'm tempted by these triggers, I will never be able to overcome my emotional attachment to them. Imagine an alcoholic who is sober having another sip. They will be more and more likely to succumb to their vices.

The Plan
As the title states, it's all in baby steps. I've gone through super healthy phases. I've gone through exercising phases. I've gone through losing weight and achieving results by starving. And in the end I've determined it's all extremely unhealthy and not helpful to me. 

Health is a state of mind and doesn't start with changing your eating or lifestyle habits. That is how I feel. I think in the past I would think that if I ate less, ate healthy or did more exercise, I'd be happy. But the truth is that if you don't change the way you think, nothing will really change. It will just be a phase you go through.

Being healthy needs to be my life. It's so scary to me. I still haven't really embraced this and I'm not sure if I can/will. But that's where I'm starting. I want to feel happy. But I know there will be a lot of sacrifice, determination and pain needed and that it will be for the rest of my life, not only until I reach x amounts of kilos. 

I will be trying to eat healthier, eat less, eat at home, try to exercise, but instead of just doing these things, I constantly need to think of the end goal, which is a greater picture irrelevant of my looks. I'm afraid because I don't want to be 60 and my joints have been so worn out from being overweight that I can't walk. I don't want to take medication every day for my health issues because I was careless and didn't love or take care of my body when I was supposed to. I want to see my great grandchildren and see them go through all the beautiful moments in life.

My resolves are as follows:
  1. Have as little regrets as possible
  2. Change my state of health (to no problems!)
  3. Be able to move the way everyone else does, and to-
  4. Have a gusto to life, a bounce to my step and live with an inner happiness that radiates inside and out.

I wish to be happy. And I think it starts from trying to change my outlook. To increase my motivation, determination and positivity. I've been in a rut and I have already been feeling better this week by making small changes.

So Far So Good
So I begin my day with a filling and satisfying breakfast. The easiest thing for my to make is a muesli mix. I used to make them every single day when I was in my health phase, and it was really quite fun to get creative with what I would mix in. But at times I would get bored of having a semi sweet cold style of breakfast. This time I have told myself I'm okay with having something different if I'm not feeling it.

 On Friday I had a mix of Monster muesli, blueberries, greek yoghurt and cacao nibs. The cacao nibs were terribly bitter. I must be less heavy-handed with them next time!

I was kind of bored of having a sweet breakfast. So I went with a mushroom and cheese packet omelette with salads. Not the best fat fighting machine but a healthier alternative than in the past!

I've been good with breakfasts. Because I can wake up and plan it, enjoy it before I leave. Lunch and Dinner are certainly more difficult. Lunch is something I try to pre-plan. Eating out constantly was one of my worst habits, which stemmed from laziness. It enabled my cravings and wasting of money.

I try to plan simple things that can stay relatively fresh, such as sandwiches. For dinner I usually have something that is already organised. But I have cheated today. I decided today was my cheat. And that it's fair.

So far my meals have been going good. I can't believe the significant difference eating healthier has made in one week. I have felt so much lighter and fuelled by so much more energy, and fuller for longer. It's amazing and also really encouraging.

Meal planning is the most difficult. I'm really busy, and on a budget which makes it difficult to go grocery shopping and plan what I'll have for the rest of the week. But week one has been successful which is also encouraging.

I really want to focus on changing my eating habits. Tonight I also "exercised" properly for the first time in years. By this I mean dedicated myself to doing something physically active. I almost died. My body is so not used to it, and in so much pain from such a low intensity activity such as brisk walking. I'm terrible. I realise how unfit I am and it seriously worries me. But I must be determined and take baby steps. It will be a long time before I can move like most other people. I must remind myself that I can get there and that starting is the best thing!

The Future
I aim to phase out the bad things in my life slowly, to the point where I don't even realise I haven't been missing them. That way I don't relapse or crave or feel constantly unhappy because I'm restricting myself. I don't want to have cheat days. They will be gone soon too. I love writing out my thoughts so I think I will continue if I can. It really helps me evaluate my progress throughout the week and physically see what I've been up to. Thanks so much for reading this, if you've had enough interest in this topic to do so. Good luck to everyone out there who is also on this journey!

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