Mindful eating pretty girl and fork
by The Non-Obsessive Way of Eating Company                      23 February 2018

Over the years I have been good at ignoring the over-eating signals because I enjoy food and the pleasures of eating – and the food eaten has not always been the healthiest. As kids we were not allowed to leave the dinner table “until the plate has been cleaned”, and this approach has become habitual in adult life too.

Even when full, the tendency is still to finish what’s there in front of me. Naturally this has done little for my waistline and over the years I have tried a variety of different diets and tricks to combat the over eating. Yes I tried counting the calories, experimented with the Israeli Military Diet, weighed the portions, ignored my real wants for “good” nutritional food, and even at one stage cut out all food stuffs that were yellow! And yes, I also lost weight and yes I also put it all back on when the diet phase finished.  Dieting is not a way of life. Oh as a footnote, sadly the Doctor who advised my cutting out of all the yellow foods, died of a massive heart attack in his mid fifties! Not even all the doctors get it right it seems.

The positive part in all this is that I also spent many years working out in the gym as a Power lifter and body builder, while also working physical jobs, in tandem with my sedentary academic job. The physical stuff balanced out the eating stuff to a point. But once youth began to wane and my 60th appeared on the horizon, along with the taking of early retirement following a series of accidents that slowed me down, I noticed the scales unrelenting march to larger  numbers each weigh in.

Just 18 months ago I was pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure, bad blood counts and was well overweight. As the muscles were beginning to soften also, I realised that I had to stop kidding myself that the weight was still all muscle. I needed to do something to try and push the finish line out a bit further or I would be seeing it sooner than I wanted too!

So to bite the bullet of a lifestyle change, rather than another quick fix diet, I started to actually look at what I was eating. A fact many of us do not appreciate is that “we” are actually in control of what “we” eat. I choose what to eat, and being single, I often chose quick fix fast food meals. I choose what to cook when home, from the ingredients I chose when shopping. So in actuality there is no real excuse for poor eating habits, other than a lack of knowledge of how to eat correctly, or a lack of planning, or a lack of will to change. Hell I am also an academic, and educating, planning and instigating change used to be part of my job description. So how hard could meaningful change be?

The first step to a new lifestyle was to become educated on the subject. I had a basic understanding of food from my lifting days but this was quite basic – eat heaps of carbs before training and eat heaps of protein after. Don’t eat fat. After a bit of reading on Ms Google, things seemed to fall into place. During this time there had been a number of articles about the growing “sugar” problem, and I realised it wasn’t just the fast food I was eating but also the “healthy” juices, flavoured milk, wholesome nut and fruit bars, real fruit, and the quantities of carbs in my main meals that could also be part of the problem. Sadly these were all my go to foods, the ones I ate and snacked on, on a regular basis.

Therefore the first step was to cut out and cut down on sugar and carbohydrates. I noticed a difference immediately in my weight, how I felt, and the more positive interactions I was having with my doctor. Back to moderate gym work completed the move to a change. In reality I had adopted a Semi Low Carb Semi Healthy Fat way of eating.

Moving on 6 months, I was slimmer, more muscular and fitter – well maybe not actually that much fitter but at least I felt fitter – and all my blood test markers, along with my BP, were back to normal. Great! you may say. However I missed the carb foods and my “junk foods” I had given up – Fish and chips, bread, roast spuds, KFC, sushi rolls, lasagne and the rest. Have I mentioned I do enjoy the pleasures of food?

Slowly some of these foods began to slip back in and I could see that I needed to do something more to maintain the new lifestyle I had created – and to preserve the 12kg lost. I had continued my relationship with Ms Google and my reading and research over this time had found an extensive collection of ways of eating, from Paleo and Keto to Eating for your Blood Type and Mindful Eating. Cutting carbs and sugars was not the only string in the bow!

Next … moving on to Mindful eating

Check in at Towards A Non-Obsessive Way of Eating to view my opinion piece, The Weekly Short Piece, containing observations, tips and debate on nutrition, food and eating that will inform your health.