In November 2018, I tackled a 30 year addiction to chocolate, refined sugar, carbs, all the unhealthy food choices so many turn to for comfort. I cut them all out of my diet for 4 weeks, and then re-introduced healthy sugars found in fruit and vegetables.
Over the years I have sought help through a celebrity hypnotherapist, NHS hypnotherapist, Eating Disorder Clinic (being told I had no disorder as I was not anorexic). Over recent times I have made reached out to contacts who work in the nutrition world, but no one seemed to totally understand my blocks and challenges.
In the 6 weeks of tackling the sugar detox in November, finally I had help and advice from two friends, knowledge they had gained from their own health journey. With the combined support of my family, who had to tolerate my mood swings and feeling of overwhelm, I lost 22 lbs in weight and dropped two dress sizes, when I had not been focusing on weight loss.
In January there were shifts in friendships I truly valued, and I found this time extremely painful. Gradually the odd unhealthy treats began to creep back.
Then in March my Dad died and I until his cremation last week, my life has been suspended in a bubble of uncertainty and trauma. The patterns of unhealthy food choices rose to new levels, and took me back to the familiar place I have know all my adult life. So many exciting things are happening in my life, and I feel cross that emotions have led me back down a pathway I had worked so hard to leave.
I know how difficult it can be when you live in chronic pain. The brain fog which hinders your ability to think and function, and the exhaustion attached to living with a fibromyalgia diagnosis, where making a meal from fresh produce can feel simply too much and send you into overwhelm. People may say you just need to get on with it, all the information is on the internet, on a podcast, in a book. If only it was that easy! For anyone who struggles to absorb written and spoken word, to navigate the sea of often conflicting information on nutrition, can simply be too much. It is not an excuse, they are not lazy, it is simply a difficulty.
To have friends by my side back in November to help me in the early days, to more or less hold my hand from a distance, as I tried to learn a new way, proved to me what I had always thought - it makes such a difference to have someone walking alongside you during the early days, whilst you are breaking the habit. Once you get in a routine, they can step back little by little, until the time comes you are going it alone. You have developed new habits, and your mind and body functioning should improve, which will make this new way easier to sustain.
Then we need to look at ways to cope with the triggers that can send you back to unhealthy choices, the comfortable place that is familiar to you, where you do not have to think. If we get the support we need and learn new behaviours, eventually it will become a way of life and we will not need to think so much.
So I am about to embark on this journey again. If I can crack it over Christmas then I can do it again!
This is a subject I am very passionate about, so I decided to write this to share on Mental Health Awareness Week, in the hope it may help someone who may also be struggling with lifestyle changes.
Be gentle on yourself.