We’re half way through the holidays and I’m only just beginning to take the time to think about me.
I’ve made a good effort at writing this blog more regularly; I’ve gone back to thinking about HAES. I touched the Wii yesterday for the first time in months. I’ve started thinking about what I’m cooking in advance and I’ve started trying to add more fibre back into my food and balancing my diet more.
But it all takes time and thought and energy. I’m not going to have time to get set into new good habits before we go back to school and other pressures will take priority. I need to find a way of addressing this or I will never give myself the time.
When I stopped smoking over 5 years ago, I spent a good year thinking about it beforehand. I read Alan Carr’s book which helped a little, and was further helped by someone who said they’d read it 6 times before stopping. This made me realise the amount of thinking I had to do. But I did. I renounced my desire for smoking mentally, before I put that last cigarette out and as a result I quit without patches and without all that feeling of deprivation that had gone along previous efforts. I wanted to not be a smoker so I was.
I need to perform the same sort of mindswitch here. The biggest and slowest switch is to throw out much of my ingrained habits formed one way or another by my parents and childhood. That’s a work in progress but I’m finally beginning to really understand how pervasive my childhood is and how much it affects everything. There’s a lot to unlearn, but I’m getting better at recognising the thoughts and feelings I need to throw out. I do need to think about what, if anything, I say to my parents about all this but that’s almost a separate issue.
Writing the previous few posts have made me realise other mindswitches I need to make.
In Fat Is My Prison I realise for the very first time how much my parents’ attitude towards sport and exercise has worked against me. They only value walking as exercise, nothing else. I taught myself to swim and did quite a bit of that when young, mainly because we had a marvellous and cheap swimming pool. That fell off when we returned to England and it wasn’t such a pleasure any more. I also learned to ride a bike with the help of 2sis and used that to go off cycling round the streets although I never got into going on big days out on it. Riding a bike is also something that stopped when I returned to London. Having learned on safe streets with good cycle paths I cycled to Weybridge once and was absolutely terrified and never got on a bike again. I do occasionally think about starting again, with all the riverside paths we have but this is something I feel I ought to rather than I want to.
Writing We’re Eternally Hungry has forced me to re-evaluate my diet. I always used to think my diet wasn’t that bad because I didn’t eat a lot of cakes, creams and puddings. Again this goes back to my parents. Nice sponge cakes with a bit of jam or icing in were all right but for the most part puddings were not deemed ‘proper food’ although we did indulge in the occasional patisserie. Just about the last time my mother made me cry was when she ridiculed me for wanting an ice-cream after a meal. The children could have one but it’s a childish thing to eat so why on earth was I bothering. I know that sounds petty and ridiculous but it hurt. Why was I not allowed to enjoy the simple pleasure of having an ice-cream along with my sons and nephews just because she didn’t want one. So I grew up with savoury=good; sweet=bad mentality. Chocolate is an indulgence we permit ourselves. So I need to throw out all that as well as all the diet indoctrination that goes on in my head.
I don’t really know how I’m going to keep up this level of thinking when term starts again. To write this blog, I need a good hour’s peace which I find in the morning if we’re not going to school or elsewhere or in the evening once they’ve settled down. I feel too much pressure on the hours while they’re at school to use that time to write which is something I need to try and address but that goes back to prioritising me over work which I find difficult. So I need to think more about that.
I also need to make the time to play on the Wii, something I don’t need peace and quiet for and don’t have to do in a solid chunk. Again I hear the thoughts that you don’t start burning fat until you’ve done at least half an hour so anything less is wasted. I need to throw out that thought and think that actually 20 minutes can make my muscles ache and that strengthening my muscles and making me stronger and healthier is actually what it’s about rather than as a source of weight loss (which according to research is a fallacy anyway). So if I can break it into 20 minute chunks that makes it a lot easier to squeeze it in during the day in a way that doesn’t make me feel that it’s pushing other higher priorities out of the way.
When I stopped smoking, I wasn’t working. But I didn’t have all my children at school yet either. So pressure was still there, just in a different way. I managed to find the time then to do what I needed to do. I need to find the time again.
I also need to continue to think about the implications of my reluctance to take the time to think about me, to not see this as a luxury but as a necessity. I still need to learn to value myself more, to prioritise looking after myself as essential and to take the time I need to do what I need to do. For me.