Sometimes you just have to say NO

 The power of saying No. But I will always say Yes to a nice Cappuccino!・The Reluctant Cook
You can have the pain of discomfort or the pain of regret. Choose. The future you want depends on it.
— Sandi Faviell Amorim

Life is busy which for me often comes at the expense of tending to my health and food choices.

So what was going on? Well, we are buying a house and accepted an offer on our condo! Which concludes 12 months of househunting, indecisiveness and a general state of limbo. We found our dream house. It's in a brand new development of solar and energy efficient housing not far from where we live now. The house is still being built and we won't actually move until August. We are closing on our condo at the end of this month and then we'll rent back from the new owner until the house is ready. Which is a lovely synchronicity as we also rented our condo a few months before buying it. It's amazing how, once we identified the right home, everything just fell into place. Nonetheless, this process doesn't come without stress, especially as the house is a new construction and the developer only has a narrow margin for customizations. Thankfully we really like the house design and most of the available standard and upgrade features, and I spent much of last week creating lists and such to make sure that no detail is missed. All in all a wonderful yet unsettling distraction!

So what happened?

To be honest, it all started with a Chinese take-away dinner a week ago. We were super exhausted, I hadn't planned anything for dinner and dialing our local Chinese is our default coping mechanism for stress. The funny thing is that I actually would have been quite happy to cook a comfort meal instead, like a nice and healthy pasta dish, but there was a part of me that gleed at the chance of "letting my hair down" after being "good" for two weeks. I put these words into quotation marks because that is exactly the kind of thinking I want to get away from. Alas, these remnants from my dieting days cannot be switched off over night, and neither can my last-supper-mentality as I found out last week. The day after the Chinese meal I had a meeting with a potential client who owns a gorgeous European-style bakery and how could I refuse the delicious macaron and croissant he offered? Especially the latter which is one of my all-time favorite foods! Sigh.

 Temptations, temptations!・The Reluctant Cook

It took me seven days to fully recover from the Chinese incident. And I made some interesting observations:

  1. Starting my day with a carb breakfast (bread, bagel, croissant - perfectly normal for a German!) makes me crave more carbs throughout the day.
  2. Even if I keep my carbs within my calorie limit I feel hungry all the time.
  3. The same goes for when I eat too many sweets. The more sugar I eat the hungrier I get.
  4. Stress makes me not care and withdraw into my head bubble and tune out my body.
  5. Meal planning and keeping healthy staples in the house is crucial for my weight loss efforts. If I don't do those things I fall back into my habits of grazing and haphazard eating.

The effect of carbs and sugar has been studied intensively as well as the phenomenon of always feeling hungry even though we are eating a lot of food. I can certainly attest to the latter, the more refined carbs & sugar I ate this week, the hungrier I felt and it makes sense: in addition to the whole science surrounding our Leptin levels I was also not giving my body enough of the nutrients it needed.

This is why the first two weeks were relatively easy: I ate a lot more nutrient dense and low carb foods, and starting my day with a green smoothie is perfect actually because that really sets a good tone for the day for me. When I eat this way I can also have moderate amounts of bread, pasta and sweet treats without derailing me.

 The Iron Rooster・The Reluctant Cook

Saying No.

There is definitely a science to all of this but it's the psychological pitfalls that trip me up the most. Alas, I've said it before and I say it again: I can analyze all of this until the cows come home but sometimes it's just as simple as saying NO:

  • NO to the Chinese take-away.
  • NO to the Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard.
  • NO to sitting on my butt all day and not moving.
  • NO to my inner voice that tells me "Screw it, let's eat as much as we can!"
  • NO to the things that are not supportive of my goals.

If anyone has any tips on how to practice our "No" muscles I am all ears!