Taking arms against the nonsense inside my head…

Sigh.

The day may come when I am not an over-the-top, self-sabotaging eejit, but it is not, apparently, this day.

Here’s what happened:

This January, as part of a positive approach to the new year, focused on more, not less, I decided that I would eat more fruit and veg and exercise more.

I already probably eat more veges than a lot of people, but I thought I’d go all out and try to get my two fruit and five veg, every day.  And I can always do with upping my exercise.

So I pulled out all the stops.  I bought more fruit and reminded myself to eat it.  I brushed up on what constituted a serve of veges and even set up a spread sheet to keep track of progress.

Are we getting an inkling that trouble might be around the corner?  Are we feeling the shadow of overdoing it?  Are we?

Well I wasn’t.  Not yet.  I was just keen and keeping myself accountable!  These are good things, right?

And it went well, I thought.  I ate MORE than two pieces of fruit, some days!  I kept track of the veges.  I loaded our dinner plates with salad to the point that the other members of my salad-loving family couldn’t eat it all – but I stoically ploughed through.

But then…

I noticed that my weight, which has been stable or slightly reducing for several years now (which is a good thing, after a lifetime, on and off, of disordered eating) was increasing!

Quelle Horreur!

It couldn’t be the veges, surely?  They’re healthy!  So I must not be doing enough exercise!  I had dropped off a bit over the summer holidays.  No problem.  I was going to the pool anyway.  I’d just up the duration.  I’d go for an hour every day, instead of half an hour and I would prioritise the endurance movement over the stop-start strength work.

But then my knee, which is still recovering from an old injury, recently aggravated, started hurting and I admit, I got a little panicky.  The soundtrack in my head went something like this…

I’m doing all the right things!  I’m eating so many veges I think I’ll master photosynthesis any day now!  I’m exercising for an hour several days a week and pushing for more!  But I’m still gaining weight!  Why does the world hate me?  What can I dooooo?

Can you hear the hyperventilating though the computer?

Every perfectionist, diet-scarred, self-flagellating trigger I had was being stomped on and I was at serious risk of succumbing to The Fear – and that way, madness, bingeing and depression lie.

(‘The Fear’ btw, is my shorthand for the irrational reaction that comes from having your buttons pushed and leads you to freeze up, stop thinking clearly and do things that send you in the opposite direction from your goal.  I am regrettably prone to it)

BUT…

I took a deep breath.  Oh, let’s not kid ourselves.  It was quite a few deep breaths over a couple of weeks.  But they let me think.  Really think, instead of letting the perfectionist panic take over the brain space.

And I realised a few things.

  1. In my enthusiasm to hit my fruit and vege targets, I had been ignoring the mindful eating that I have worked so hard on in recent years and which is largely responsible for the stable weight. After years of dieting, learning to get back in touch with my body’s cues about when I’ve had enough is an ongoing effort and apparently, easily forgotten, when I have another goal.  And guess what?  Even veges can put on weight if you eat your own body-weight in them on a daily basis!
  2. There was a reason why I was doing all that strength work at the pool. It’s because that’s what my POOR KNEE, STILL RECOVING FROM AN INJURY, needs.  HOURS OF REPETITIVE STRAIN IS NOT HELPFUL YOU GIANT NUMPTY.
  3. General health advice is not applicable to every person in every situation, SOMETHING I HAVE KNOWN SINCE I WAS A TEENAGER, but apparently can forget at a moment’s notice.
  4. Knee-jerk (ha!) reactions and my perfectionist tendency to overdo things can still come and bite me in the bottom if I am not vigilant.

So…

I have chilled out on the fruit and veges.  I am still trying to increase the vege content of my meals and still buying more of the fruit I like.  But I have stopped recording it in the spread sheet, since that seems to be setting off my extremist tendencies.

I have reminded myself about the mindful eating and have restarted the hypnosis app I use to support it subliminally.  And guess what?  The weight is going down again.

I gave my poor knee several days of complete rest and have started using my walking pole again. (It’s not the sort of stick you rest on, more of a bush-walking aid.  It helps me stay balanced and it keeps me from favouring the knee and causing more trouble.)

And today, I am going to the pool to do my strength exercises, in the warm hydro pool, which is why I started going to the pool in the first place and which, clearly, I still need!

It’s chastening, at my age, to realise that I am still prone to the same loony-ness I’ve been battling my entire life.  (If I was talking morals, I guess I could describe perfectionism as my besetting sin. 😉 )

But at the same time, it’s encouraging to discover that at least I can recognise it now, have a laugh at myself and reset, rather than hopping straight on the shame spiral that leads to self-destruction and self-hatred.

So, despite starting this with a sigh, I’m going to count this as a win.  Onward and upward!  Gently!  And I’m going to have some gratuitous Aragorn, to remind myself that, while the day has not yet come that I am over my own craziness, nor have I given up – and that is, after all, what the quote is about.

Do you have any unhelpful behaviours that stalk you, ready to pounce if you let your guard down?  Any that you’ll admit to, to help me feel less of an eejit? 😉

 

11 thoughts on “Taking arms against the nonsense inside my head…

  1. You poor darling! Obviously your mother’s daughter! And now giving lessons to said mother. Thank you! 😊❤️👍

  2. My sympathy and support. I’ll share one of my personal stupidities. Pretty much any time I see people doing impressive things, especially people I know, I feel inadequate that I can’t or didn’t do that. Usually it’s just a flash of thought, but if I’m already feeling down, it hits harder and I have to struggle my way up again. It’s really dumb and my higher self knows that.

    • Higher selves are not always uppermost in our minds though, eh? Maybe that’s why I’m a restful friend for you. I am seldom more impressive than you! 😉 (And no, that isn’t fishing. It’s genuine opinion. Remember it, next time the inadequacy hits!)

  3. *eejit behaviour*
    When I drink red wine late at night I bite my fingernails. Only red wine late at night seems to do this to me. When I get up in the morning I have sore fingers, no fingernails, and I know that when I go to either a) the computer where I was probably drunk tweeting, or b) the couch where I was definitely drunk television watching (possibly LOTR and very possibly Return Of The King) I will find little bits of white fingernail everywhere…
    I then run for the dustpan and brush before the rest of the house (hubby) notices what I’ve done.
    I bit my fingernails for years and years but in the last ten I’m really good, unless I drink red wine late at night…
    Oh the shame I feel before those nails start to grow again… constant reminder that I’ve fallen off the fingernail wagon.
    Hugs to you Imelda. Spreadsheets always have, and always will suck. Keep away from the Excel file!
    xx

    • Oh, Lily, I knew we were separated at birth! I don’t bite my fingernails, but hiding the evidence of eejit-ness I can definitely empathise with! I have a solution for you. Get yourself a pair of red-wine gloves. Before cracking the bottle, put them on – add tight bangles if necessary, so you can’t get them off easily. Then drink to your heart’s content! 😉 ❤

  4. ah those dreadful self sabotage things, we creatives are all afflicted with them.
    This -> YOU GIANT NUMPTY. is not a kind or helpful description of yourself dear woman. It is good to read that things have settled back into a more healthful space.

    • Thank you, m’dear! Don’t worry, ‘you giant numpty’ is much kinder than I used to be to myself. It’s more exasperated than mean. But I will heed your advice and be kinder! ❤

  5. Ah, Imelda. {{{hugs}}} lady.
    Yep. I’m one of those who have The Fear, and also a nasty little b*stard sitting in my ear who says ‘Why do you bother? We both know you’ll fail anyway.’

    Re weight. I have an issue with this (as you know). I do well, then it all goes to hell. For EG: I’ve lost 4.4kg since Christmas. So what do I do? Eat chocolate. Or lollies. Or potato chips. Or God forbid, KFC. I get on the scales the next day and Lo and behold, the lovely downward spiral has skyrocketed UPWARD.

    What do I do, go on my treadmill? Eat properly again and see it disappear? No. That stupid little bugger in my head head starts and says, ‘Just eat more of X. It won’t matter. You’ve already put weight back on anyway.’

    So the seesaw continues, and I avoid mirrors because I don’t want to acknowledge how bad it’s got. This is a never-ending fight on loop in my head.

    Talk about self-sabotage! 😕😞

    • Oh darlin’, I hear you! I managed to stop the yo-yo some years ago, but as you also know, doesn’t mean I have got smaller! I eventually accepted that stable was better than seesaw, even if I didn’t get smaller, but it wasn’t easy. I still want a way to get smaller but I am determined not to engage with the seesaw again. Giant, giant hugs to you. You are beautiful to me, in every way, wherever the seesaw stops! ❤

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