I’ve just finished reading the Intuitive Eating book and am already feeling like it’s going to change my life for the better. I know that probably sounds hyperbolic or whatever, but I’m not sure I can even describe the feelings I’ve had reading and realising just how damaged that I and my relationship with food and with my body, had become.
I thought that because I wasn’t ‘dieting’ but rather ‘eating healthy’ that I was above all the body issues but I realised that it was just another term to cover up really trying to do the exact same thing.
Throughout childhood, messages from everywhere, but especially from home, were that skinny was good and that anything else was bad. Food intake, both quantity and type was watched closely, but mostly any sign of fat was commented on. That kind of thing is hard to let go of.
It looks like I definitely hadn’t and vegan groups had just made it all that much harder. There is so much focus on ‘health’ in the vegan movement that is often thinly (or not even) disguised fat shaming. It is often said that if you’re not super fit, healthy and attractive, then you are a bad vegan and not a good representative for veganism. This is bullshit!
Most recently, I had read Dr McDougall’s book ‘The Starch Solution’. I had thought that I was in a really good headspace and would be able to take in the health message and learn about all the ‘right’ foods to eat but just not take in the constant fat shaming talk that is throughout the book.
I was wrong. I didn’t realise how far I was getting back down that hole until I was really struggling. I was feeling mentally and emotionally crap and really struggling to force myself to get out and exercise and not enjoying it at all. I used to enjoy exercise so this was a big problem.
I know that to get to the point of true Intuitive Eating will take some time and I am sure that there will be stumbles along the way, but some of the basic tenets of the concept have already helped me enormously. To change the mindset from ‘bad’ and ‘good’ foods to, if you don’t love it, don’t eat it and if you love it, savour it. No food is off limits and all food will always be available (yes I’m vegan, and no I don’t consider products of animal harm to be food, so this still applies in full).
The other basic concept, which is one I’ve followed in the past but had somehow lost, is that exercise is to make you feel good, nothing more, nothing less. It is not to lose weight. So I came up with a plan that fits in with my busy schedule but is also in line with what I love to do. I work out best in the mornings and I really only have half an hour (getting up at 4:40 is quite early enough!)
So now I am running 3 x per week. I’ve been doing the C25K again and have just finished week 5. I skip the 5 minute cool down as I walk my dog immediately after I run anyway.
3 x per week I do a 30 minute strength workout. Because I’m not a big fan of squats, lunges or push ups, but I don’t mind doing a little bit and I appreciate the benefits, I do 8 squats, 8 lunges and 10 push ups each time. Then I do a couple of sets of weights alternating between arms, chest & back, and shoulders. Then I finish with either a set of crunches or a 60 second plank. Enjoyable, quick and pretty well rounded I think.
I’ve been doing this for around 3 weeks now and I’ve been looking forward to my workouts again for the first time in ages. Saturday is generally my rest day as I’m flat out taking my kid to all the sporting activities.
I will blog about my ups and downs on this journey because I like writing and I think it will help me to keep all my thoughts together. I also like the idea of it maybe helping someone else in the same way that I often find comfort and assistance in others’ words.
If you do decide to follow my journey, I hope you enjoy it. And just remember, all bodies are good bodies.