I’ve been doing a habit-based approach to health for the past 15 months now. 455 days, to be exact. In that time, I’ve introduced 22 new habits, and most of them are easy and fit well into my lifestyle.
Well, shit. That’s a wake-up call. Because I thought I was health-conscious before.
And yet, after 15 months, I finally have some basic habits in place. I mean, I did some of these things before….but not often enough to call them “habits.”
Turns out that being “health-conscious” is not the same thing as having healthy habits. (And of course, they are not mutually exclusive….but they are not the same thing.)
[Insert disclaimer: having healthy habits, whatever that means to you, is a personal choice and is not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, or anyone else’s business. I’m only talking about myself in this post. Also, health is not entirely within our control nor guaranteed.]
Content Heads-up: This post includes direct quotes about bodyweight and setpoint from Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size. It also discusses how I am viewing some unintentional but not unwelcome weight loss.
Underpants Rule Statement: This post discusses my own thoughts on how to handle weight change talk in my own space, based on the original HAES work. It is not an attempt to tell other people how to handle weight change talk in their spaces.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been losing weight as a result of my Intuitive Eating practice. Once I began noticing my satiety signals, and feeling safe enough to trust myself not to restrict food based on them, I started noticing some weight loss. (By the way, Intuitive Eating is not a weight loss method. Weight loss is only one possible outcome out of three.) Should I or shouldn’t I talk about it on this blog?
When I published that post, most people were supportive, yet a few made a point of letting me know that they thought I was “doing it [HAES] wrong.” Since many online groups that discuss HAES ban weight change talk completely, should I also do so for this blog?
More and more, I am thinking the answer to that is “No.” If weight isn’t a moral issue, why not write about it like I would any other change that is happening?
Here’s the thing: Not even Linda Bacon, the creator of the “Health at Every Size” approach, refrains from talking about weight changes. While she recommends forgetting about weight change as a goal or a as path to health in and of itself, she does not give it Lord Voldemort status of “that which must not be named.” She actually writes extensively about weight regulation and weight change as a result of a HAES approach.
Happy March! This month, the Healthy Habits Happy Moms habit of the month is meal planning / meal prep (go check them out if you are looking for healthy habit ideas! I’ve tried a few of them and have really enjoyed them). I have been doing some form of meal planning for several years now, and have tried several different strategies. This post will discuss some of the strategies I have tried, and what is working for me right now.
Last month I posted about how eating intuitively had suddenly clicked for me….but that my shopping and cooking habits hadn’t caught up to my eating habits yet, so I was wasting a lot of food.
Well, this evening I went grocery shopping and realized that for the past two weeks, I had easily spent almost half of what I had spent in prior weeks. Even though I bought plenty of vegetables and fruit, some meat and seafood and eggs, and some treat foods (I still had plenty of dry goods in the pantry).
And the past couple Sunday nights, my husband and I have cooked some food to have on hand for the upcoming week, and we have done a pretty good job cooking the right amount for the week and not throwing much away.
And my pantry is pretty full, so I’m sure that if I actually bothered to meal plan, I’d spend even less.
So, I would say that I am adjusting well to my new intuitive eating habits….and they are benefiting not only my physical health (better sleep), but my budget too!
I sometimes struggle with whether, when, and how I should mention bodyweight changes on this blog.
I have been very grateful for online support in my healthy habits practice. Some of my favorite groups have a lot in common. They recommend focusing on:
- the process of creating healthy habits, as opposed to the outcome
- loving your body as it is, now
- finding a form of movement you enjoy doing consistently
- learning to pay attention to your hunger and satiety signals, and recognizing factors that might prevent you from doing this
- getting enough rest
- taking care of mental and emotional health
- getting treatment for any medical conditions you may have
- setting healthy boundaries
- cultivating patience and long term, sustainable habits that fit into your life
But when it comes to the question of “should we discuss bodyweight / weight loss?” , there is definitely a difference of opinion. Of course there are shades of gray in everything, but I’ve noticed that the support groups I love tend to fall into one of two camps: the “HAES/no weight loss talk allowed” camp, and the “discussion about habits that encourage weight loss is allowed and encouraged” camp.
Since I learn from and benefit from groups in both of these camps, I sometimes struggle with “what direction do I take for this blog?”
I had a fantastic day today!
I started off in a really grumpy mood. I hadn’t been to barbell club in a while and I wanted to go alone. But my husband had physical therapy and I was grumpy about bringing my kiddo.
It turned out great though. Kiddo ran off his energy by running laps around the training rig and playing with various balls and jump ropes he found, as well as the dogs that were visiting today, and his lunch, and his toy barbell.
Once I started lifting I felt better. My lifts felt great today and it turned my mood around! I did snatches, clean and jerks, and bench presses. Even though I am only doing olympic lifts once per week now, I felt good about how they went. And my bench press form is improving. Like a real powerlifter with my back arched and my ass off the bench! I also got some tips on setting up a sumo deadlift, which I will try tomorrow when I do my deadlifts.
Afterwards I got to go out by myself. I got a new phone for my birthday and I went to get it activated. I can’t tell whether I am more excited about the new phone or the CPAP machine I am getting on Tuesday.
And then got myself some treats. Something from a local candy shop called a fudge caramallow I think? And some Vietnamese food. I ate them for dinner. Om nom nom. Oh, and a jasmine limeade while I waited for takeout and played with my new phone. (Oh, THAT would be why I still have so much energy this late at night. The green tea in the limeade…)
I am excited to go watch a weightlifting competition tomorrow! It will be my first competition I am watching in person (as opposed to online).
When I color coded my habit tracking spreadsheet, I thought it was just going to be a fun way to categorize my habits and make my spreadsheet nice to look at. I didn’t realize that it would also encourage and reinforce moderation, balance and slow, sustainable changes. I didn’t know that it would discourage obsessing over one particular area of lifestyle at the expense of other areas. And yet, that’s exactly what it is doing.