I feel like I’m falling into old habits and patterns of thinking around my weight. Instead of being pleased with a body that is feeling stronger and healthier(*), I’m obsessing over an arbitrary number on the scale that’s not decreasing in a manner to my liking.

(*) I say “healthier” but I’ve succumbed to a flu-like virus since Wednesday. I didn’t make it into work on Thursday despite my intentions, and though I turned up in school on Friday I looked so miserable that they sent me back home. Today I’m feeling a little less woozy, but still having episodes where sweat pours out of me like a fountain, and my head and neck feel like they’re in a vice.  However miserable it feels, it is a temporary state of affairs and when it’s passed I expect to be back to my old form. It does make it difficult to get on with the daily tasks of living, however, and there are life and work tasks that both feel like they’re piling up at the moment and the stress of thinking about that is a bit panic-inducing too.

Breathe. I can only do a certain amount and so there’s no point in panicking over what’s not possible to get done. I will only do a certain amount too, and that’s a lesser amount than what I can do because I want, nay need to have a sustainable life that I’m okay with living.

But back to weight and food and all of that. I’ve started thinking about how many calories I’m consuming (not counting per se, just estimating) and while it’s not bad to be informed about that sort of thing, it’s not what I want to have driving the decisions I make about what I choose to eat or not. Here are the principles I’d (intellectually) like to adhere to:

  1. Eat when I’m hungry
  2. Stop when I’m full
  3. Choose food that my body needs and will make me feel good.

The last one is weird because it’s body-need not head-need. I am drawn to sweet things or salty junk food. Emotionally it can “act” as if it makes me feel good. In actuality it makes me feel like crap. It doesn’t make my body feel good. Sure, when I hit a sugar low, sometimes I do need an energy-based thing to eat. But usually an apple or banana is the right choice there. Not a bag of crisps and a handful of fizzy jellies. Ahem. Handful? Maybe bowlful?

Sweets can make me lose my mind a little bit. The part of my brain that’s trying to check in is still there, like one of those really ineffectual parents saying “Come on darling, don’t do that? Oh won’t you please stop stabbing that man in the knee? Oh do stop pumpkin, come on now, be good for Mummy, won’t you?” while a mad-eyed toddler runs wild and doesn’t even hear the slightly whining tones of the parent. That is me around sugar. “Yeah, yeah, totally hear you, going to stop any minute now, just one more … ” until I feel sick in my stomach, head and heart.

It honestly does get worse if I deny myself. The key seems to be reminding myself that it’s allowed, and it will still be there tomorrow. I don’t need to stuff it all into my body in the next half-hour and then swear off sugar forever more. Sugar is not inherently bad, I think. I mean it’s a substance that’s actually part of the nutritional make-up of things like carrots for goodness’ sake! But then again, carrots are not my main source of sugar-intake.

I was happy “more or less” following the principles I outlined above, until I stopped losing weight. It was always a bit “less” around Friday night when my inner toddler was all about rewards and binging on something now that alcohol was gone. I guess I just redirected those emotions onto food and tv rather than really working through them. But I didn’t mind so long as I was still getting those “free” benefits of extra energy, feeling healthy and the oh-so-important number on the scale heading in the socially acceptable direction.

My BMI has gone from 31.2 at the start of April to 27.8, so I’m no longer obese and while I’m still overweight it’s been a lot of change in 7 months, so it’s really reasonable for things to have slowed down. But I’m not happy, because that “more more more” voice is still crying out inside of me. More what? More attention, more success, more weight-loss for sure.

Just stop it self. Just be happy with yourself. Maybe stop weighing in for a few weeks? But I’m scared it might go the other direction without constant vigilance. Well now. That’s not a very healthy attitude, is it?