A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post entitled Letting Go of the Fight which described how I had woken up to the fact that yes, there was room for improvement in my diet and fitness levels, and no, simply because I’m almost 39 years old there’s no need to give up and accept my increasingly worrying chocolate habit and associated muffin top as the status quo.
I decided to embark on, not a radical overhaul of my life but a few tweaks here and there that were manageable but would nevertheless have an impact and would help me to reach my physical goals. I wanted to lose about half a stone and increase my fitness in order to be able to run further and faster. I also wanted to tone up.
Since the 23rd July I have lost seven pounds and it’s not been that hard. The mental shift I experienced which means I now put my body first as opposed to my head has enabled me to cut out all the crap from my diet and replace it with good stuff – and to feel happy about it. I’ve switched normal potatoes for sweet ones, embraced courgette spaghetti (julienned courgette fried in coconut oil as a replacement for the regular pasta variety – just don’t attempt making this after you’ve had a manicure!), and Medjool dates have become my new evening treat instead of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut supersize chocolate bars. Breakfast is porridge with coconut milk, snacks are either almond nuts or an apple, and lunch is usually rye bread with humus or salad and an oily fish variety or chicken. And I drink a lot more water than I used to.
It hasn’t cost the earth, this new way of eating, and I haven’t once felt deprived because I can’t eat a great big slice of chocolate cake. My clothes all fit better, I have lost the bloated feeling I always used to have, and my hair looks and feels in better condition. But, more than any of these benefits, it is the fact that I feel so much more energised that’s the main motivator; that I no longer suffer the mid-afternoon slump where I just want to crawl into bed and sleep through until the following morning. I’ve been far more inclined to exercise and have therefore noticeably toned up. This has mainly been down to the weights programme I’ve been following (a combination of gym classes with handheld weights, and a little regime I do by myself at home, also with dumbbells).
After about five weeks, this way of life feels entirely normal and I wouldn’t eat a piece of chocolate tiffin if you paid me. I have struggled forever to be my ideal weight and to lose the love handles, and, although dropping a few pounds hasn’t been quite the challenge it was when I was knocking back a bottle of vino a night, it still hasn’t been a walk in the park as a non-drinker – not until I altered my way of thinking and just decided to treat my body as though I living in more primal times.
No processed food, as few toxins as possible, home-cooked, healthy, vegetable-rich meals that don’t contain the wrong type of fats, and which, surprise, surprise, make me feel a million times better and more alive than any of the man-made, overly-salted, processed, nutrient-free junk that I used to eat.
So, if you are a person who has stopped drinking but who has slipped into bad eating habits, be assured that it is totally possible to get on top of things and NOT feel as though all your treats have been taken away. Eating well makes you feel better, physically and mentally, and once you get into the swing of things it becomes simple. Just as is the case with alcohol, with the right mind set, this shouldn’t be about gritted teeth and marking off the days on your wall; it’s about breaking free from addiction and making bad choices, and celebrating a better life.