Now that the cat’s eating and feeding and weight are more or less under control (although not the begging), I am switching gears and looking at my own eating habits.
Problem #1: I am tired ALL THE TIME. Or, it seems as though I’m often living in a fog and don’t have as much energy as I should or could. As much as the obvious answer to this is my cats’ interference with my sleep, I actually have had this problem (of and on) for longer than I’ve had the cats.
Problem #2: I have digestive problems (bloat) that sometimes is so severe it means I can’t dance. I like to think it’s a simple food allergy or reaction that (in theory) could be solved by keeping a diligent log book of what I eat and how it makes me feel. When is it ever that simple?
Problem #3: I have problems with my period that I don’t really want to discuss in detail in this forum but is important to mention because it’s possibly related.
So I have finally decided to tackle some of these issues – with less than one month before my next big performance. Yup, should have thought about this last fall, silly.
I feel I should digress into a little bit of personal background regarding how belly dancing challenges one’s concept of body image. All those people you see on magazines and in movies and on TV – I feel like they are not real people. They have personal trainers and are photoshopped and sometimes have eating disorders. The people I dance with are real people. Sometimes they have stretch marks or rolls of womanly lusciousness. Sometimes they’re really thin and fit too. Rationally, I just want to have a healthy body. Irrationally, I want to look like a supermodel. Because I spend a large amount of time in yoga pants and a sport bra in front of a mirror, I have plenty of time to love/hate my body while I’m working out. For the most part, I’m accepting of my body, but know I’ve put on a little weight in the last couple years and have been generally too lazy to do anything about it. My belly is always the first thing I notice in photographs, and not in a good way. I’m going to finally try to do something about it. Since I’m already practicing almost every day (anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours) I’m not sure how much more time I can add to cross training on top of my full time job. (Less blogging perhaps?)
So for right now I’m focusing on food. Its true this has been a New Year’s resolution for the last 3 years.
- learning how to cook for myself (on a budget, “almost vegetarian”)
- figuring out the degree of my lactose and or gluten intolerance, or any other food issues (refined sugars, etc).
- figure out what is making me so puffy
- curb my coffee/caffeine addiction (2+ cups/day for a lifetime)
- figuring out which, if any, supplements (vitamins, digestive enzymes, or probiotics) are best for me
- figuring out how to best control periods. until I hit menopause. ug.
Part of the problem is that I never really learned how to cook. I can read a recipe, but I tend to burn things a lot because I get distracted. I just don’t have any desire to spend precious time doing meal planning and proper shopping. I’m a little lazy in the kitchen.
So the first thing I did was quit coffee on February 25. Straight up. Cold turkey. Notice I did not say that I quit caffeine. One thing at a time! I still allow myself one cup of black tea in the morning (and about 5 cups of herbal tea after that). I am on day 4 and don’t miss it at all. I actually think coffee is bitter and always make my stomach feel really acidic. Now I can concentrate on a breakfast I really want to eat when I want to eat it, rather than needing to put something in my stomach to recover from the coffee.
Oddly enough, I am experiencing flu-like cramps in my entire lower body. I thought this would be a symptom of caffeine withdrawal, but I guess there’s something specific about coffee-caffeine that my body is missing now. It’s a constant dull achy suffering.
I’m going to quit the pill again. I’ve been off and on the pill my whole life to control bad periods but I would like to try again to “manage” them with proper diet and exercise. I know technically the pill does not make you gain weight (this is a myth) and also there are stories of women gaining weight after going OFF the pill, but I’m just sick of being on it.
The only reason I recently went on it again was one of those looking-ahead-at-the-timing things and simply refuse to ruin my glorious spring events in Seattle, Portland, and Denver for belly dance workshops, training, and performances because of my unbearable reaction to AUNT FLO.
I am considering doing a “10-day transformation” (cleanse/detox/diet/fast) using Purium Health Products. But I’m not sure I can handle it. I’m not sure I have the discipline to sit in my home office and not eat anything that is in the house (hey that cat food looks really good!). I’m also concerned that I won’t have enough brain power and physical energy to do my job and rehearse every day. So maybe it’s not the best time to be doing this. I’m ALSO concerned that after the 10 days I would just go on a massive nacho-cheeseburger-beer-cake binge.
But looking at the month ahead if I’m going to do it I have to order today so I did. And then celebrated by buying a package of Newman cookies. Which really made me think about how our culture has us trained to look for any sort of instant gratification, rather than accepting just a little bit of suffering. Like I’m suffering with my no-coffee-body-cramps.
Its not just our culture though – the Buddha speaks of the desire to escape suffering in a universal sense. It’s just that our culture is REALLY GOOD at providing countless ways to fulfill your immediate desires to escape.
At least I can say I have more sympathy for what my cats went through when I changed their diet.
This picture is only funny because when Tigger came home from the shelter this is what he ate before switching him to Science Diet. He went through all the trouble to open the kitchen cabinet and crawl inside to partially destroy the bag and then decided he didn’t like that food any more.