Monday, 31 March 2008

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Last month – a week before I left on holiday – my gym and I went our separate ways.

Ever since last May, when my office moved to the South Bank, it had been a bit difficult to make time for each other. There was no gym in my new office building (it just opened this month!) so I stuck with my old one, which was a 25-minute walk away – sometimes more, depending on trudge factor. And yes, it was always a walk – there is no convenient tube or bus route between my old office and my new one. So I was getting up a good half hour to 45 minutes earlier to get to the gym in the morning, and in the winter, it was a struggle.

In February, my company stopped the corporate rate. Between that (to remain a member, the price for me would more than double), the distance and the fact that my attendance had dwindled (I was substituting running outside and occasionally, walking the hour from my flat to my office), I knew things were over.

What I miss most already is my Saturday routine – I’d do Body Pump (instructor was, quite simply, the awesome-est) and then some cardio and then head to lunch. Without fail, I did it every single Saturday I was in town.

Currently, I’m researching some new classes (mostly yoga, which I became completely obsessed with while on vacation – more on that in another entry), but I’m struggling a bit. I don’t do well without a routine, and from a purely physical (and physiological) standpoint, I can’t run every day. And I’ve got a few other complicating factors, including Bachelor No. 2, who lives on the opposite end of London from me and eats like a total boy, and a total English boy at that (translation: extremely unhealthily). He was seriously sporty at university, but as even he points out, that was many, many dinner parties ago. Almost every weekend I haul my running gear to his house (because every week he insists he wants to go), and then – like Waiting for Godot – we do not move. Sigh. But this morning, when – predictably – he announced he’d decided not to come, I went myself. It wasn’t easy.

* * *

BN2 knows I struggle with eating, but he does not know why or how or to what extent. (I am a rotten liar, and he asked me directly what the specialist doctor’s appointment I had was all about a couple of months ago. I told him in the briefest terms, and didn’t even use the word “binge.”) He knows I don’t handle anything well when I get too hungry, and he knows that exercise is important to me.

What he does not know is that staying at his place is getting me slightly crazy. I cannot – as he does – eat croissants or pain au chocolat or toast with butter and honey (or sometimes, nothing at all) for breakfast. I can handle it every once in a while, but it shouldn’t become a regular fixture. It doesn’t fill me up. It’s so easy to eat too much of. And it sets me up for a day of eating poorly. In short, it was starting to cause me stress. Stress makes me eat, or at least, want to eat.

Yesterday I managed to bring it up. He asked me to remind him to buy milk so we’d have it for tea in the morning and I just thought: Here’s my chance. Except for his slightly defensive “I asked you what you wanted for breakfast” – and his total obliviousness to calories and nutritional content (he puts butter on his peanut butter sandwiches – it’s so sweet and childlike in a way that I don’t want to be the one to make him think twice about this) it was really not a big deal. So along with the milk we bought porridge and peanut butter (to be eaten separately, thank you very much -- I rediscovered in Indonesia how filling peanut butter can be.)

I breathed a huge sigh of relief… until this morning, when he wanted to make me a peanut butter sandwich while I was in the shower “so I can have more time with you.” What kind of person says “no” to an offer phrased like that?

Um, that's me in the spotlight. That's me in the corner. I thought about all the instructions I’d feel the need to give (“please no butter, and please not too much peanut butter” – he is about as heavy-handed with any kind of spread as Tammy Faye Bakker was with makeup – “and please don’t toast it and…”) and the fact that no matter how he made it, I’d feel obligated to eat it. And so I said no thanks, and felt at least as guilty as I did when I decided to do exactly what suited me and go running.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Back to (Um, Need a Play on "Black" Here)

I’m battling jet lag and freezing temperatures (I came home to my boiler not working – so it’s literally too cold to type in my flat), so a proper post probably is going to have to wait a few days.

But (since I, too, assume silence on a blog = nothing good to report) as of now I’ve gone 21 days without bingeing. (I'm especially proud that a bunch of those days were heavy travel days.) That’s the longest I’ve gone since sometime before Christmas. October maybe? I don’t know – it feels good. I feel good.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Bali High

Greetings from Bali, where I stand out not only as the palest girl on the planet (I am so becoming English -- the other day I craved a cup of tea), but as the only one without a tattoo. (I'm not free from markings, though -- apparently the mosquitoes find me as delicious as they did when I was a child. No wonder no one else has any bites -- they're all feasting on me...)

Anyway, it's a gorgeous sunny day and I don't want to spend it inside on the Internet (this is the first I've been on in at least a week -- bliss!), but just a quick accountability post to say all is going well. I've gone 10 days without a binge and have been doing well with the exercise (running by the rice paddies, yoga yesterday, etc). Must be careful not to let my guard down, though -- it's always just when I think I can relax that I fall even harder than I thought possible. (Like yesterday -- spent the whole time we were in Bukit Lawang to see the orangutans thinking I was going to take some awful spill down a mountain and break something, and then yesterday, daydreaming my way down the street in Bali, I swear I nearly fell into a ditch!)

Have been keeping good notes so hoping actually to post some pictures along with words when I'm back after Easter... hey, I can dream.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Coffee, Tea or Paella?

I'm writing this quickly, sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Kuala Lumpur. In my travel bag next to me: Enough healthy food for the whole flight, so I don't even have to contemplate the airplane or airport food options.

Yes, I binged in Spain. But I haven't given up yet.

(Sidenote: Just who is buying a kilo of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, which I saw for sale in the duty free? And, erm, why? Even I have to pause when confronted with the possibility of a personal chocolate supply that vast.)

Spain was tough. Because it was a food show, I spent hours watching people eat amazing food, and of course was ravenous by the time it was my turn to eat. The hours were long, there were no gyms in the hotels (I'd had to stay in them because that's where the crew was staying), and it was a lot of hurry up and waiting. I found myself a gym to go to when we moved on to Madrid from Valencia, but Madrid gyms don't open early in the morning, and the shoot was scheduled to start at 8 a.m. (I knew perfectly well it wouldn't start until at least 10 -- and in fact, it didn't start until just before noon -- but I still couldn't chance it.) Frustrating.

To top it off, I've been struggling with a couple of personal problems too personal even for the Internet. (Yes, there is such a thing. At least for me.) One of them is causing such anxiety I am positively jumpy -- so it's hardly surprising I want to eat to soothe my nerves. I know, I know: I should read my own damn blog: Eating will not solve any problem (except hunger, of course).

I ate my way through Tuesday and Wednesday (including the best paella I've ever had in my life -- I may never be able to eat it anywhere else ever again) and much of Thursday, when I finally dug in my heels and cancelled the tea on Friday, claiming I was delayed in Spain. I knew having to run out of work early for a tea that consists entirely of cakes would be stressful and disastrous -- and bingeing the night before a long plane trip would be awful. I'm not proud that I lied, but I'm proud that I put myself first, even if I had to do it in a roundabout way. (The birthday girl is a good friend, but not such a good friend that I've explained the eating problems.)

So yesterday was a gold star day, food and gym-wise (despite the fact that I really didn't want to go.) It helps, but I'm still feeling very fragile.

This post is mostly for accountability -- hence its quick and disjointed nature. (Also, the fact that I have four minutes left and my flight's about to board). I'm hoping to do a bit more writing on the plane and perhaps post again in Kuala Lumpur. Hopefully, a post or two should keep me honest!