Treat meal. Two of the sweetest words ever uttered. You’ve probably all gathered by now my love of pizza and pasta and all things
Two of the sweetest words ever uttered.
You’ve probably all gathered by now my love of pizza and pasta and all things cheese related. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to know that changing my diet was/is one of the most mentally challenging parts of doing this challenge. Not only is it changing the way I physically experience food, but it’s also a case of learning how to deal with cravings and breaking the habits and rituals that are so ingrained in everyday life. I can only speak from my own experience but I’m finding that a huge part of this is all in my mind. So much of this revolves around how I rely on food for comfort when I’m having a bad day or feeling down (or happy, or angry, or bemused or any other emotion for that matter). I’m having to retrain my brain that food is there to fuel my body, and shouldn’t be relied upon to make me happy or bring me comfort. Only a small percentage of what we eat should be for purely enjoyment (because we’re not robots!).
Back to the treat meal. The way it works is that I follow a nutrition plan that Shereen has tailored for me. I have between 4-6 small meals a day that are designed to provide me with my nutritional needs and fuel my body for the training that I am doing. The great thing about this is that it’s not a diet where I’m starving myself, it’s just good nutrition. Although I have cravings for chocolate and pizza and pasta, I never find myself feeling hungry because I’m constantly refuelling. It is hard at times… when I’m craving something sweet but I’m trying to eat a piece of chicken, my mind feels a little bit confused. Once a week, however, I’m able to have a treat meal where I can enjoy any sort of meal that I feel like. As Shereen says, this is really good for the soul to be able to share a meal purely for enjoyment.
When I plan my treat meal each week, it’s like I’m planning some sort of sensitive military operation. There are Pro and Con lists and flow charts and spreadsheets to help me decide what I want to have for that week (Ok, the flow chart and spreadsheets bit was a bit of an exaggeration). I figure that if I’m only having one treat meal a week, then I’m going to do it right (apparently going to an all you can eat buffet is not ok). Usually I go by what I’m craving during the week – it helps to then get my focus back for the following week. So far I’ve had pizza and pasta (big surprise there, I know!) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Having those meals at the end of the week was like having a party in my mouth. I ate slowly and savoured every bite. My husband asked if I wanted to be left alone with the pizza the first week. I think I was groaning in delight a little too loudly.
I definitely still have cravings during the week. Pretty much daily. This is where my biggest challenge lies, the mental aspect of being strong enough to not act on those cravings. Working in an office environment where there is an endless supply of cake and biscuits and treats makes it hard to say no. I’ve been caught a couple of times just standing and staring at cake or biscuits. I don’t think I would’ve acted on it, but the longer I stand there staring at the treats just makes it harder for me to walk away from it. When someone opens a packet of classic assorted, the Nice biscuits call to me like a tantalising Siren and it’s hard to look at those sugar coated temptresses and not take one. But I know in myself that having one biscuit isn’t worth the guilt I would feel from having something I shouldn’t.
There have been moments of self doubt this week, it’s a struggle at times to keep those thoughts in check and to not let them consume and undermine my determination. When I feel bloated or heavy I get so frustrated that the weight is not coming off faster and then I panic. It really is a constant battle to keep my mind focused on the goal and to know that it is a slow process. With having the 12 week deadline looming, I get fearful that I’m not going to be able to lose the amount of weight that I want to, or I will barely lose anything and will let everyone down. I really worry at times that I’ll be a disappointment to everyone who has been so supportive of me. I want to make everyone proud and prove to myself and the world that I can do this.
Things I Have Learnt This Week:
- Focus on the goal at the end, don’t get distracted by the ups and downs of each day.
- Don’t be afraid to push yourself harder, even if it hurts. (I have to remind myself of this every single day!)
- Exercising makes you feel happy, but exercising with friends will leave you grinning from ear to ear!