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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Company or comfort?

So one of my biggest triggers for emotional eating, anxiety and stress is when I am left alone. Obviously no matter how many friends or loved ones we have, how much social time we arrange, or Skype calls we sit through, there will always be times when we are by ourselves. Some people absolutely love this time - but not me. I hope to change that though, because as I've explored my reasons for eating when I am not hungry, this one comes up time and time again as a big trigger. 

Looking at it through the tool of need meeting, I guess the need I have not met is company, of course... but comfort too. Ever since I was little I have been a big worrier. I worry about going out, I worry about staying in, I worry about work, about meeting new people, about change... you get the idea. So, I guess from the beginning, other people to me are always a source comfort and reassurance. My family, my friends, my boyfriend... are all sources of comfort and calm. When those people are no longer there (although I know logically it's only temporary), I begin to feel rising anxiety at the perceived loss of the comfort they bring. 

So what else brings me comfort? Food I know, but what else? I'm never going to stop having periods of time when I am on my own, so in those moments of solitude, what else could I do to meet that need for comfort? 
I love blogging and writing. That is a big comfort, so here I am tapping away. I love Spanish guitar music, so I've put a load of that on my Spotify. I plan to watch Game of Thrones from the very beginning as I love historical type dramas, curled up in bed with a big mug of tea.

I seem to judge myself for finding it hard being alone, instead of accepting it and finding ways to make it easier for me. By no means will having a bath, watching films or writing on the internet make me less alone physically, but it will definitely help feed that need for comfort in a better and healthier way than foraging in the fridge would.


As the UK celebrates gay marriage becoming legal, we thought a trip to Brighton was in order. Just £10 for a return ticket and 1 hour away, it's rude not to really. The sun was shining and the little town is a perfect way to spend a history making Spring day. The pebbly beach was beautiful and despite the Lanes being packed, there was lots of space to roam on the shore. My little pumps kept filling with stones though...

Tomasz and I are moving into our own place in a few weeks, and I was seriously considering nicking a few of these chairs for our garden... 

Once the pebbles had gotten the better of us we mooched up the hill to the Lanes. Here are lots of cute and quirky boutique shops and cafes. My Mum is from Brighton originally so I've been a few times before, but there are always lots of new little shops popping up.


We then went to have a look at the stunning Royal Pavilion. Built for George IV, this exotic beauty looks rather out of place in an English seaside town, adding a little bit of unexpected magic to the landscape. 

After a lot of walking, our tummies were rumbling so we found a sweet little street side bistro and a table outside in the sunshine. We ordered some meats and cheese followed by garlic prawns to share. Tomasz then had a lasagna and for me a warm goats cheese salad with chicken. The food wasn't bad, but I could definitely have used some dressing on my lettuce. 

Feeling rather sleepy we meandered on through the side streets doing a spot of shopping, and came across an ice cream parlour to duck in to. I was still quite full, so only managed a lick or two of my banana scoop (lovely though it was).

I couldn't resist passing The White Company without having a look. They are quite dear, but I find their shops so calming, serene and a pleasure to experience. We bought their Seychelles Scent Diffuser which actually has 20% off on their website.  The smell is a wonderful tropical flowers and coconut, and will remind me of our lovely day by the sea.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Rest & Relaxation

Today was a busy day... when I left the office I felt tense, stressed and tired. Normally this is just the time I would head for some food to relax me. Today I decided to focus on how I was feeling, and what needs were not being met for me in this situation (rest, calm, enjoyment, relaxation...)
Instead of going on autopilot to cook dinner, do washing etc, I came home and had a lovely long soak in the tub, and pampered myself instead with delicious smelling creams and potions. I communicated that I was tired to my lovely boyfriend and asked if he would cook for me tonight. He happily obliged and is now bustling around in the kitchen while I sit my silky skinned behind in bed and write. Ahhh. Bliss. 

My lovely de-stress kit tonight was Dirty Works Breathe Easy face mask - I like this as it's not sticky or too dry, it goes on nicely and comes off easily. It's handy that it's in a tube too, so you can dollop on as much as you like. I followed that with their eye cream to help rid me of the old bags and puffiness and my Olay 3 Point Treatment Cream. Granted I do work on their advertising, so we tend to get freebees at work, but this cream is sublime. It's silky, thick and doesn't leave a residue. For over £25 a pop it's not cheap (although I think you can get it cheaper on Amazon), but my skin always feels amazingly smooth after I've applied it. 
For my body I finally ripped into a Christmas present from Tomasz's sister - Sanctuary Spa body moisturisers. These I found a bit too sticky for my liking (I used the Mande Lular body soufflé), but the smell is wonderful - it has the same spicy and natural scent you get from a real spa. 
For my hair I use Kérastase Nectar Thermique - mine is bleached (I know, I know, but it's so NATURAL I hear you say...) so I need something to really put back the moisture. I have to be careful to run it through the tips and not get any on the roots, but it's great for giving my hair a treat. 
So after all this, the desire to eat? Gone. The stress from the day? No more. Do I feel guilty? Nope. I must admit this is something I struggled with a couple of weeks ago. I worried about what would happen if I didn't cook dinner and we got a pizza, or if I took my whole lunch break... and you know what? The sky isn't falling, the world does keep turning, and everyone soon gets the message that I am currently unavailable for 1 hour. The funny thing is, once I've had that hour I am much better company, a much better employee, much friendlier and more confident. Who knew taking time for yourself not only helps your waist line, but your whole peace of mind and self esteem as well?

What are you looking forward to today?

So I was asked a question recently by an inspiring woman who has beaten her demons and cracked emotional eating. She suggests (and many have the same opinion, La Flamme and Jenks being two examples) that we eat because we are bored, in a rut and uninspired by life: 
Josie: "So what are you looking forward to today/this week/this year?"
Me: "Ummm... nothing?"
I thought, wow.. that's bad. Even if I had no weight to lose, having nothing that I was looking forward to particularly was a bit sad... could my life have become all about work, the "have-tos" of life, and letting others arrange the fun in my life and just hope they invite me along?
Marc David argues that if we want to lose weight, we need to picture ourselves there. What would being thin look like to you? Picture all the things you would do, be, say, and think and start doing, being, saying and thinking that now! The idea is that this would naturally shift our lives to the level of satisfaction, pleasure, meaning and fulfillment that we automatically assume would happen when we are thin, and as a result reduce our need for food to fill that emotional void.
Ever read about Maslow and his hierarchy of needs? It's the same thing. Emotional eating = unmet needs/ unsatisfied desires, things we want to do but "can't" (or just don't). 

A lot of my emotional eating/feelings of stress happen when I'm at work. And no wonder! This is a key point when my needs for pleasure, joy and fulfillment are not necessarily being met when I am firing out the emails and in meetings all day. 
So, this last 2 weeks I have booked a week in Spain, got my nails done, and bought myself a bunch of flowers every Monday. (Jenks, La Flamme - you would be proud!) Just little things like this have perked me up no end. Suddenly the focus is less on what I weigh, but more how can I inject that passion/life/fun back into my life. Apparently this brings about the skinny ass as well as I have lost 6lb this week and really noticed a difference in how I feel.

It's not always easy though. When the sun is shining - sure it's no problem to pop out and gallivant in the rays feeling great. But, what about a day like today when the March rain is pouring and my pumps are wet through? Today I found my stress mounting, and not just from the hectic work day, but because I felt like I wouldn't be able to have my fun little treat for the day. The little me who had been enjoying getting out the office and having a few treats suddenly felt ignored again (and so up comes that eating stress response). It's amazing how reactive it is, and how much food has been a source of recreation for me. 

So, as I'm still learning how to do this for myself I decided the best thing was to just get away from my desk. It's nearing pay day so I'm broke and don't have money for a pedicure which is what I really wanted. I had about a tenner to spend, so I whipped out my umbrella and fought my way down the street. Hmm... not releasing that stress yet! Still wanting to eat when I knew I was not hungry I allowed myself to grab something from M&S, but purposefully spent longer just looking at the flowers and other pretty things... I felt a bit better. I then bought some £3 daffs along with a sandwich (that I wasn't hungry for yet) and decided to head back to the office. I arrived wet, cold and still feeling frazzled. That would be the time I dived for that sandwich and started firing out emails again. Not this time. I still had the feeling of being stressed because work is busy and chaotic (as it always is), and I still had a need for rest, calm and something pleasurable. So, I decided to sit and write my blog. I gave myself one hour to write something I love and care about, and as if by magic, my shoulders untensed, my anxiety and bad mood disappeared and *shock horror* I no longer needed that sandwich. I swear to God - it's still in my bag. 

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