Tag Archives: cooking

Snarling #12wbt: One month in – what’s stuck?


I’m now a month into the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. What’s the verdict so far?

Not as triggered as I thought…but by design.

I knew going into this program that there would be loads of triggering shit in the videos and the forums and the articles, so I’ve chosen pretty carefully and wisely what I read and when. I’ve basically avoided reading anything on days I’ve felt like crap, and just followed the food plans and done a bit of moving.

I’ve definitely had more “weight loss-esque” thoughts and feelings than I’d like, and there’s definitely moments where I’ve been more focused on my moderately shrinking body and how it looks in the mirror than the joy of moving and eating with joy and structure. But I would say those moments have been in the minority. And because of the intentionality with which I approached re-ordering my eating (I’m surprised at actually how big a part that has played in making me not go off the compulsive deep end), I think I set up some good decisions that have shaped my approach throughout. I’m coming back to my mantra of “happy habits” (doing things that make me happier in the short and long-term) rather than worrying about my waist.

For instance, I’ve worked out that I just generally do not want to work out five to six days a week. I get that some women doing this program “religiously” follow the exercise plans, but I can’t be fucked. Really, if that’s your bag, go for it. But ill health and exhaustion aside, I simply just cannot be bothered getting to the gym full time. I’ve discovered that it is more important to me to be ENJOYING and WANTING the movement I engage in, than to go hard and slam myself. I am just not interested in that.

I’ve also discovered that unlinking my brain from any kind of feeling of obligation to the program (oh I’m paying for this! I should be following everything it says!) is of less value to me than being a grown ass woman who makes decisions for herself based on what she can and wants to be doing, guilt free. Don’t want to go to the gym? Want to go for a short walk instead, or crochet and decompress from a crapper of a day? Don’t mind if I do. We are not obligated to move. It should be a joy. And when I’ve done it over the last four weeks, it has been increasingly a joy, not an obligation.

I like exercising with people AND THEN AGAIN, alone.

Oh the duality of this! I have discovered that some days I want to be walking and chatting with my honey, and some days I want it to just be me and the cross trainer. Makes sense that movement can be a lot of different things, and that it doesn’t also have to be the focus but instead a backdrop to social engagement, chatter, thinking aloud, laughter, or time alone. Just as eating is more than fuel, I’m discovering that movement is more than reps and time goals.

My eating is radically fucking different and BETTER.

Biggest differences to eating in this house for both myself and my husband include:

  • Low sodium cooking. I never realised how much salt I used in my cooking until it wasn’t there. I rarely use salt in my cooking now, and when I do I only use a very very small amount, and I really notice it when food had added salt (such as the presence of soy sauce, or when I eat a meal out). My husband says he’s finding some meals a bit bland (but then he can add salt. I choose not to and am perfectly happy). I’m enjoying how food tastes without being massively salted – it seems like my palate has reset, and I like it.
  • Much less oil, and when it is there, sparingly and deliciously enjoyed because it is appreciated for it’s own unique flavour rather than being the baseline of my cooking that drowns out a lot of other stuff.
  • Way more fruit and veg. WAY. It’s a joy to open my fridge and BAM, there’s so many pretty colours to look at.
  • A sudden influx of new recipes has meant I’m never bored, and I’m more creative in the kitchen. The cook in me is very happy with new ideas to tinker with, new ways to play with food. None of the food is boring or unattractive. It all looks very pretty indeed in my plate (especially things with red cabbage and snow peas. And we’ve covered my weakness for sweet potato.)
  • Satiety. I feel more full more of the time and the temptation to snack is covered by the two snacks a day inbuilt. I’ve finally broken my habit of eating all of my food in one go at lunchtime – the gorge effect – and I’m learning to pace myself so I can idle along at a nice rate of fullness most of the time. My pattern is somewhat addled by shift work, but mostly not too bad. I eat around 6:30am/7am, snack on fruit around 11am, eat my lunch at 12:30/1:30 and then have a proteiny snack when I knock off, as I’m catching the bus home. Then dinner happens around 7.30/8pm. Eating every few hours means I’m not hangry and much less likely to compulsively eat or teeter into weird ethereal low blood sugar highs which lead to fucked up OMG I’M SO INVINCIBLE WITH MY DIGNIFIED HUNGER, LOOK AT ME, I COULD STARVE LIKE THIS FOREVER. (Yeahhh…disordered eating thoughts are FUN.)
  • I always always always pack my lunch. And our wetbags from Planet Wise arrived so we can kiss disposable glad bags a big fat goodbye.
  • Husband is learning to cook, and is quite good at it. That man can really rock a wok. I love having dinner made for me!

kebabs

Veggie kebab skewers and a couscous salad (above) and our new PlanetWise wetbags for taking lunch to work - no spills!

Veggie kebab skewers and a couscous salad (above) and our new PlanetWise wetbags for taking lunch to work – no spills!

Gone are the days of eating at all hours, relying on takeaway, eating lakes of dhal and feeling sick aftwerwards, giving myself heartburn from using so much damn oil, and never kind of understanding what it meant to stop eating when full. Gone is the scavenging for protein at work and coming up with noodles. Gone is the snacking on random sugary shit from the seven eleven.

Just goddamn decent cooking and plenty of it. Pow!

I’ve still got eight weeks to go and I plan to start saving lots of the recipes and menus so I can keep at it once this round is done. I am beginning to get the inkling that doing the #12wbt will have been a game changer for me in many wonderful ways.

Bring on week 5!

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Snarling 12wbt: slashing waste, plastics and stress levels


bags

One of the big perks of meal planning over the last week is that is has brought into sharp focus an issue that has plagued our household (and driven my waste-conscious husband crazy).

We have a massive problem with plastics and wasted food. Our shopping routine before now went a little something like “loiter the aisles of coles buying random ingredients with no plan or list”. This led to loads of annoying outcomes, such as:

  • Wasted food. Every week I would throw out at least a quarter of the food we’d bought because of poor planning and over buying – meaning that produce would go off before I had a change to use it. David is very conscious of waste – he grew up in a home where you just did NOT throw away food (and my grandma would be pretty upset with me for the amount of wastage that has gone on, having grown up in the depression). Over time this has become a source of real angst for me but poor organisation, tiredness, and not stopping to think about what will actually be cooked and when has meant the problem has gone on and on.
  • Use of plastic bags.¬†A lack of organisation of everything to do with eating in our house has meant that I wind up doing almost all of the cooking because I just refused to plan. The lack of a plan meant that I was magicking up meals out of my head largely on a whim every few days and not cooking to recipes. This meant that my husband, who has Aspergers and *needs* order and clear direction to function happily, could not really contribute to cooking or shopping because everything was locked in my head. The result? Shopping was incredibly stressful, because he didn’t know what we were buying or why. It was an inexplicable mystery (to me and him!). We often wound up in a fight. My therapist suggested we just shop online, and for the longest time that has seemed like a good solution. But the cost to the environment of letting someone else shop and deliver to us, has meant PILES and PILES of plastic bags, because we were unable to use our reusable ones. We also use zip locks to store food in our fridge. I don’t really like rigid stacking systems because we have a small fridge and a combo of containers and bags makes fridge tetris heaps easier. Also, I’ve been using zip locks each day to take my lunch to work because spillage and mess is the worst.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve made an appointment with myself to do my grocery shopping in person and use my cloth bags. You have NO idea how good it felt to not bring home a swag of plastic again.

And a small miracle happened this week. We did the shopping¬†and we didn’t have one single argument.¬†It was actually fun. We smiled and cracked jokes. Because there was a shopping list, we divided it up beforehand and went our separate ways with purpose, and before I could blink it was over and for the first time in a long time we had emerged from Coles without marital disturbance. David noted that shopping on a Saturday evening was a great time of day to go, because it was very quiet and few people were there.

David has said he’s willing to start taking his lunch to work as well, to eat a bit healthier and more sustainably financially. Like me, he hates mess and spillage. So I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered us some goodies from Planet Wise Inc to store our lunches and food – a US company that manufactures reusable wet bags and storage bags. I’ve got a wet bag in chevron gray and yellow coming – whee zigzags! – and David has a houndstooth wet bag winging it’s way to him. I also ordered six of the gallon size reusable clear zippered bags for storing produce in our fridge, which we will combine with reusable containers. Everything is washable and the lip of the bag pops in, so it stays open and dries well in the air.

As for food wastage and the labour of cooking? Because we’re now cooking to a plan, and we know how much food to buy, there’s way less wasted food getting chucked in the bin. I hope we can become even smarter with that over time – freezing what we don’t use. I’m keen to keep thinking and refining systems so we’re wasting as little food as possible. When so many folks don’t have enough food to eat, chucking food away is pretty gross. And a waste of the money we work hard to earn.

Best of all, the recipes and plans mean I can just give David my 12wbt password and it opens up like a treasure trove for him – so now he can contribute to meal preparation with the structure he needs to feel happy and secure. I can see now why what we were doing before would have felt like a huge stressful question mark, and it created SO much conflict between us. Being able to practice his cooking skills with lots of time to think about it in advance, with a format to fall back on, means I can do less cooking which takes heaps of stress out of my week too, and addresses the massive gender disparity that often goes with domestic labour around food preparation.

So, thanks to the meal planning tools of the 12wbt, lots of good things are happening to reduce stress, reduce waste, and it has really gotten us thinking about our abuse of non-reusable plastics and packaging. We’ve gone from a mounting pile of plastic bags to cloth that doesn’t cost the earth. Hooray! I hope we can keep it up, and keep enjoying the flow on benefits of ordered food systems to our relationship. I can already feel the difference!


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