(Apologies in advance for the no pictures, whiny-young-girl-talking-about-herself blog post. I promise you vegetarian quiche with lentil freakin’ pastry on Sunday !)
I’ve been feeling a bit… I don’t know… rubbish lately. I know that makes me sound pretty pathetic and attention-seeking but it’s just the truth. Washed out, drained, listless, negative, hopeless, irritable. Don’t want to go out; bored staying in. I let myself get back into calorie restricting, and I’m getting a little more obsessive than I generally prefer, like if I eat 2 plums in a day where I had originally planned to eat 1, I get panicky that I’ve ‘given in’ to temptation. Let alone chocolate/cake/biscuits… y’know, happy food and all that.
I think it all began when last week I wrote out a whole menu WITH calorie values for the entire week.
Breakfast: banana, beetroot and ginger smoothie with soy yoghurt (162 cal)
Lunch: 2x brown bread, ½ tin of tuna, low-fat cream cheese, rocket (302 cal)
Dinner: baked potato, 20g cheddar cheese, sweetcorn, rocket, tomatoes (228 cal)
Snacks: apple, plum (104 cal), Graze (144 cal), 2 small glasses red wine (300 cal)
Why did I do this ?
It started out as an experiment to gauge how many calories I was actually eating in a week, as I have been decreasing slightly in mass recently. Not a drastic amount, but a little each week, and it’s been feeling kind of good seeing the number on the scale drop despite it not being necessary. So now I’m terrified to increase my calorie intake in case the numbers go up. I don’t want to go back to Summer Weight (heavier-than-usual drinking, holiday food, home comforts etc.). I’m strapped for cash now that I’m back at uni, so naturally have been snacking less and, albeit initially unintentionally, living on the bare minimum of food, but now that I’ve noticed the effect it’s had on my body I don’t want to go back and am therefore denying myself treats when offered and consequently making myself unhappy.
So this is what I did. I wrote my menu, added up my prospective calorie intake for the week, subtracted the calories I’d burn with exercise to get my final calorie intake, subtracted that from my maintenance calorie intake for my current weight and height to get my calorie deficit, then I divided the deficit by 3500, the minimum deficit for 1 pound of fat loss. If I stuck religiously to the calories I had set out for myself from the food and meals I had available in my kitchen, the calculation said I would lose 1 and a half pounds. That sounded nice.
Thus, I have become terrified to eat anything that isn’t predetermined on the list in case I don’t lose the 1.5 pounds that has been predicted and offered to me so tantalisingly, if I can just stick religiously to the The List, which is stupid because it isn’t and never will be guaranteed how much weight I will lost or gain and when, even if I seem to have foretold it. Nevertheless The List has become gospel. I have to check the list in excess of about 10 times a day, even though my daily food menu is pretty much already implanted into my mind from already having looked at The List so much. I have planned my food and calorie intake for this week, next week and the week after. I got so hungry today that my planned 80g of lentils and tomato vegetable sauce without cheese looked so pitiful that I relented and got a wrap out of the freezer. I looked at it for a few minutes while my lentils simmered, felt the guilt rise and subside, and rise again until I grabbed it and shoved it back into the freezer where it belonged, for a pre-planned, calorie-restricted meal for another day.
This needs to stop. It’s making me miserable. I’ve started doing that thing again where I analyse what I see other people (mainly girls) eating, thinking “how do they get away with eating so much junk and staying so slim ?” and subsequently feeling fed-up that I’m practically starving myself and am still bigger than they are.
Basically, a combination of my obsessive rule-making and the fairly small amount of food I’ve been allowing myself is to blame for my melancholy.
But enough is enough. I will not let myself sink back to the Alarming Thoughts level, wallowing in my own self-generated pity. I resolve to keep the menus that I’ve written for the next 2 weeks but NOT count the calories on them, or so severely control my snacking. I will pacify myself with a compromise: see the week’s experiment out until Sunday morning when I had originally scheduled to weigh myself, but NOT stress out if the number hasn’t gone down by the magic 1.5 pounds, or even if it has gone up. I am expecting to have retained a substantial amount of water due to it being ‘that time’ of the month; I really, really, really hope I can keep myself from spazzing out if the scale says I’ve gained. It’s NOT the end of the world. After this, whether I have gone up, down, or stayed the same, I will allow myself the odd cake or biscuit, glass of wine, extra 10g or so of cheddar on my pasta if I want it. I will continue to otherwise eat healthily, but will not go down the insane, self-regimented, fascist nutritional path that I yet again sway so dangerously towards.
Gah. Do you ever get like this ? I hope this helps if you do. I should probably read Love and Advice for myself…
On vocalising some of my concerns to my girlfriends over the road this evening, we decided that the best thing to do was to have a fun day of lunching and shopping in town next week wherein you must buy a new outfit for less than £5 to wear that evening. Then we will dance the night away in the most banging (gay) nightclub in all of Brighton.
Bring it on.