alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

A Post Not About Writing At All

I had a lot of success with the Slimming World fat-free diet, which I stayed on for at least four years, losing three stone and keeping that weight off for two years afterwards. But when things got emotionally overwhelming in the later part of 2015 and not even therapy and meditation could completely keep me on an even keel, I began bingeing again to cope.

I rapidly put back on about a stone and a half. Initially, I thought “never mind. I’ll just go back on the diet and take it off again,” but when I tried, I discovered – like a friend I had met at the Slimming World meetings – that it was a hell of a lot more difficult to make the diet work and to stick to it the second time.

Cue despair, because if you can put on a stone and a half over Christmas and the first two months of the year, where does it stop? I’ve feared all my life that if I ate ‘normally’ – if I ate what I wanted to, when I wanted to, I would just keep piling the weight on and on and on until I couldn’t walk for it.

But Slimming World had been my last hope as far as diets went. I’d tried counting calories, and that worked until I couldn’t bear it any longer and gave up, telling myself that if there was any way I could economically afford it I would never be that hungry again. Slimming World was good because it didn’t require you to be hungry, but God, the food got boring after four years. I’d tried low carb/Atkins but that’s no way for a vegetarian to live – our sources of protein are too limited, and meat is horrible.

So the only option seemed to be to learn to love being fat. I signed up for some fat positive blogs, read a lot of articles about how dieting didn’t work and replaced my size 12 wardrobe with enough size 16 things to be going on with until I inevitably progressed to 18 and then 20 and then upwards.

However, one of the ‘diets don’t work’ articles I read suggested Intuitive Eating as an alternative. Eat whatever you wanted and find a set point of weight around which you would naturally come to settle and normalize.

That sounded like the epitome of “That sounds fake, but…” Except for the fact that I am married to someone who’s never dieted in his life, never done more exercise than a bit of morris dancing twice a week (same as me), and yet whose weight never really fluctuated at all. He certainly wasn’t clinging onto it in desperation for fear that he’d end up physically incapacitated, the way I was. So clearly there is such a thing as an intuitive eater. It works for some people. I decided I would give it a go and see if it would work for me. There was, after all, nowhere else left to turn.

I bought the book and started trying to follow it some time around the beginning of February. I thought there would be rules, but basically the rule is “Eat when you’re hungry. Eat as much as it takes to make you full. Then stop.” You can eat whatever you want, just pay attention to what it is that you actually want, because it might be different from what you assume.

I feel that the meditation I had been on since October last year definitely helped in this, because I was used to concentrating on different parts of my body, paying attention to what was actually going on, and not just living on autopilot. So once I started paying attention to my food in a mindful sort of way several dramatic things happened very early on into my practice.

  1. I realized I didn’t actually want chocolate as much as I thought I did. Most of the time what I really craved was bread. I’ve been eating a lot of toast and butter – that being one of the things I absolutely could not have on the SW diet.
  2. In the past month I’ve had three occasions where I would probably have binged if I wasn’t paying attention. I started, and then I caught myself and asked ‘do I really want these biscuits?’ And the answer on two occasions was ‘no, really what I want is rest. I’m knackered.’ On the third occasion it was ‘no. I’m just upset and don’t want to think about it.’ So I rested/meditated instead.
  3. I’ve tasted and enjoyed my food more than at any other time in my life. It’s hard to pay attention – I generally eat and read, and I’ve had to give that up so I can actually experience what’s going on in my mouth and stomach – but it’s really been worth it. I’d no idea that food was this good.
  4. I am loving the fact that I can go out and eat anything without wondering how much fat or how many grams of carbs or how many calories are in it. I tried pho. It was fab!

By the end of this first month, although I haven’t weighed myself, my clothes are no tighter than they were. So I’m cautiously optimistic about this. I’m going to reserve final judgement until the end of the year, but yes. Thumbs up for month one!

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Congratulations to Andrea, who aced the Blessed Isle blog tour quiz and has won either the two books of the Under the Hill series, or another two books of her choice. I’m just waiting to see what she’ll have :)

Thank you again to everyone who hosted me. It was an odd way to start the new year – with no time for reflection, but straight into things. On the other hand, what could be better than starting the new year with a new release? I only wish I could be sure I’ll continue the way I started.

I was at the Samhain Cafe “Thank God it’s not the Holidays any more” party last night, and we were talking about the depression that comes when you put away your Christmas lights – specifically how to combat this. I said I had decided to put up “Not Christmas but still darkest depths of winter” lights of some sort, and then went away wondering what to do about it.

A long time ago, when we were a little more flush, and were living in an entirely different house, DH and I bought one of these


and never got around to putting it up or even taking it out of the box. Well, I can gladly report that it was a matter of a couple of hours to remember it, find it and drill supports for it into one of the bookshelves. So now we have a golden fern-like pattern projected onto the wall just over the fireplace, making the entire room feel as if it’s the cool hollow under a tree canopy, where summer sunlight is filtering through the leaves.

I tried to take photos, but my camera is automatic and insisted on using the flash, which washed it completely out. But it does, it really does, do the same job of reminding me that there is light and colour in the world, don’t despair, that the Christmas tree lights do, but without being bad luck after 12th night :) Obviously I knew it would come in handy one day.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

If anyone ever says to you – as English people seem inclined to say – “what a shame we have no culture of our own at all.” Tell them they should have been at the Straw Bear Festival this year, but that it’s not too late to go to next year’s.

Or perhaps they were just ignoring what we do have because it’s not noble or serious enough. If so, tell them to come anyway and learn to embrace the riotous, ridiculous, vulgar and fun spirit of the morris – on the streets and unashamed.

As for us, we had a great day on Saturday. It was one of those winter days when the sunshine is the colour of champagne, there’s an icy mist over the fens, it’s almost warm in the sun, but stepping out of it is like running face first into a snowdrift. We set off in the procession with hoards of other morris, molly, rapper and clog dancers at half ten in the morning, dancing through streets that were packed with onlookers, and then we danced, on and off, until 3pm, when the lowering of the sun made us all feel like we were about to die of exposure.

Ely and Littleport Riot’s kit may be partly at fault here. It’s great in the summer to dance in a light blouse, skirt and waistcoat, but not even adding a pair of gloves and maybe a regulation red woolly hat really makes it suitable in the winter, no matter how many thermal vests and long johns you wear underneath.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.


Nov. 2nd, 2011 10:37 am
alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Every year, I hope to do Nanowrimo.  This year I planned to do it.  I had even plotted out an 80k long book and written the first 30k in the hopes of finishing off the next 50k during Nano.  I don’t know why I did this, because every year the edits on my existing books arrive during November, unfailingly, and they – of course- have priority.

Same again this year :)   Not that I should complain, because I’m half way through the edits on Under the Hill, having finished UtH: Bomber’s Moon but not yet started UtH: Dogfighters.  After having worked on it so long that I was sick of it, and sent it off to the publishers while I was sick of it, I’m now experiencing that wonderful writerly joy that comes with the realisation that “OMG, this is actually good stuff!”

I’ve also been given a sneak peek of the first stab mockup of the cover, and I can say “eeeeeee!” with confidence, because I love it.  I know it’s a bit early to be gushing over UtH, and I ought to be talking up By Honor Betrayed, but eeeeee! new cover art without a single naked man on it, and with all of the elements I asked for.  Couldn’t be better.

This is the one encouraging thing to happen during nearly a month of discouragement. First my husband was away and I was ill, then my husband came back and he was ill, while I continued feeling bad. Then both my daughters were grotty and upset for various reasons, while I continued to be ill, and now they’re still depressed and my husband and I are still ill.  And soon we’ll have to worry about Christmas. Aargh!

Still, By Honor Betrayed is out in 5 days, so that gives me something to look forward to.  (But it also reminds me I have a blog post to write, and a page to make for my website, and a book trailer to put together, and thank God I wrote my guest posts early or the hair I’m currently pulling out would be falling out on its own.)

Melodrama, I haz it.



alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

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