Ok. It’s time for some blunt and brutal honesty.
I’m not eating correctly. In fact, my staple diet is frightful and I’m ploughing headlong into a future riddled with health problems. There – I’ve said it. But it doesn’t feel good.
Rather than seek help, I’ve been slowly spiralling into a continued regime laced with all the wrong substances – excess salt, excess fat, excess carbohydrates. My weekly sugar consumption could floor a concrete rhinoceros. Chocolate is my addiction. Fried goods are my comfort.
The thing is, I’m not obese, but I’m certainly no athlete. I’m far from lazy, but I don’t burn calories through sports or the gym. My time is spent frantically keeping pace with modern life – lurching between stressful situations at work and a demanding social life, amid the anxiousness fed by contemporary society and the cost of living.
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The exhaustion that seemingly prevents any progress towards fitness and nutritional balance is not a physical one.
It feels like subconscious fatigue in my mental state. Spending far too long at a desk, often bored, and reaching for convenience foods when the short lunch hour takes place, before tackling the manic and lengthy commute home doesn’t fill me with motivation to exercise.
Instead, I’ve got one thing on my mind – and that’s sitting on the couch and resting. That notion feels ironic considering that I’ve been sat down most of the day.
Yet, the couch doesn’t aid any physical weariness, it simply allows my brain to switch down. Almost as though my mind is sparking out and rebooting, I can find myself staring into space for prolonged stretches until my awareness kicks back in. I’m running on empty. I’m catatonic with the wrong carb.
That mental state saps me of the energy that I’d rather utilise for climbing out of a self-inflicted rut. I can trace my current condition back to a failure of commitment. Not to a relationship, but to routine.
Getting home at different hours each day has left me at the mercy of ‘easy wins’ – dinner from a packet that’s far from fresh cuisine. If I don’t turn to the takeaway menus first.
Stuck in a nutritional rut
When I eat, I typically get into a frenzy. I don’t really look at what I’m eating. I open the cupboard after a carb-heavy dinner and it’s just next, next, next.
My brain fog sends me in search of sugar and carbodhyrates, and even though I purposefully place fruit within easy reach, I automatically bypass the good stuff in favour of brain-appealing crap.
When I’m left alone, my calorie consumption goes through the roof. I swear that my late dinners and midnight snacking cause my poor sleeping habits, and when I wake up tired and feeling rough, I turn straight to sugary cereal for sustenance.
It feels good at the time, but that’s my addiction being fed – not my body. I don’t believe that my stomach gurgles because it’s happy. I honestly feel uncomfortable in my own skin.
Even then, when I’m beyond stressed and my appetite dwindles, I use coffee and sugary drinks as a substitute for food. I know it’s unhealthy and I shouldn’t be eating the way I do, and it absolutely plays on my mind, but there’s a series of mental hurdles that seems to prevent any form of positive change.
And as I’ve learned, the problem remains the comfort food that I depend on. My addiction to sugar, and my mental state, keep me stuck in this never-ending cycle of tiredness, stress, lack of exercise and an appalling diet. My portion control and choice of meal have also worsened following a family bereavement; trying to stay strong as support for others absolutely heightened my reliance on comfort eating.
I need help, which has led me to the doors of Focus Osteopathy and their functional nutrition. I’ve agreed to document my journey with their nutritional guidance to demonstrate how life can be regained by eating correctly – even if it may prove difficult to kick the habits of a lifetime.
It's time for change
But you know what? I’m ready for the challenge.
I don’t want to watch my life pass by, yearning for a better quality of existence. I need to grab control. I’d kill to feel more human, rather than simply existing from day to day, surviving on ill-formed concepts of food and staggering around almost hollow-eyed with exhaustion.
Speaking with the team at Focus felt more like a therapy session. There was no judgement when I explained about my secret eating, or how opening the fridge feels like meeting a friend, or how I snack out of frustration and apathy. Or how I steer clear of healthier options when eating out – I know I should, but my worry that I won’t feel satisfied always means I order a burger or a pizza.
Instead, I received heartfelt compassion. My one-on-one with Focus Osteopathy’s dietary nutritionist opened my eyes to how I’m starving my body of what it really needs, and helped me to understand where my eating choices are coming from. I wasn’t patronised by an ‘eat less, move more’ mantra.
The team knows that it’s more complex than that. It was refreshing to find professionals who grasped the mental health aspect of a nutritional deficit.
It’s all manageable if I commit to a regime change, and as I’m going to showcase, eating the right things apparently doesn’t mean I have to skimp on taste. I don’t have to eat gruel and snack on grass clippings.
So here goes. I’m going to be following personalised dietary advice and trying to regain control. I’m not sticking my head in the sand and pretending that this will feel easy.
I am braced for days when I return to my comforts and suffer the subsequent guilt trip. I won’t be going cold turkey on the sugar, salt or fat; as that’s also dangerous to swing completely in the opposite direction.
It’s not about punishing yourself, as I’ve been told. It’s about creating a staple diet that provides healthy doses of what your body requires to be fit and healthy.
And if I can do it, I’m pretty sure you can, too. My journey starts here, and I’d like you to join me – courtesy of the support and knowledge bestowed upon me by the team at Focus.
Finally, don’t think this is fictional. I’m very much real. I’m Scottish, in my early 30s, and you can find out more about me through my social media profiles. And, yes, that is me in the picture above – not during my finest moment!
My first report won’t be long in the making. Watch this space…