One dark secret most women admit to is harbouring the smaller sized outfit in their wardrobe that they are unable to part with. This is because it represents a time in their lives when they felt good within themselves. If you’re like me you probably still have more than one pair of undersized jeans in your closet and/or at least one outfit you cannot bare to part with. So what is the solution particularly when one has a chronic disability that restricts them physically and also affects their diet and fluid consumption?
In my case chronic disease affects my appetite. I used that as an excuse to binge and graze on sugary foods and drinks. However, the majority of people that have issues with binging also have issues with some type of mental or physical health problem. It is a psychological fact that illness affects a person’s behaviour. This is because we seek comfort and to replace the restriction illness has placed on our capabilities.
Having attended Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) lectures as part of my degree many moons ago I should have realised that my urge to gorge on packet after packet of Custard Creams and packs of chocolate down were more to do with my behaviour as opposed to my diagnosis. But I instead I argued with myself that if there was not so many shops with tempting treats then I would be less tempted. Of course I never considered moving out to the countryside where I would be less tempted. I simply convinced myself that one day I will be well again and the weight will just disappear.
According to CHP research behaviour changed during any type of illness is common particularly comfort eating which usually occurs owing to the lack of motivation in people’s lives. CHP educates us in understanding the techniques of behavioural change towards food, exercise, socialising, mood and many other aspects that affect us during difficult times. In my case my illness is chronic and affects my physical capability.
I cheered up when my consultant informed me that I could stop taking steroids until she added that she was extremely concerned about my quick weight gain. She recommended me to see the dietician later that day. I hadn’t weighed myself in three-years since becoming ill and was now faced with the news that I had piled on three-stone. I knew I had gained weight because my fashionable clothes no longer fitted me and I had switched to wearing leggings and baggy tops. My one time clothe shopping appetite had been replaced by the sugary appetite. I not only gained weight but I had also allowed my appearance to go and besides my trip to the hairdressers and the beautician to get my eyebrows done I had lost interest in my pedicures and manicures. I was also a recluse and was losing touch with friends and socialised only with the TV day and night and food. I cried as I discussed with the consultant that through my disability I was no longer to able continue my twelve mile walk to and from work everyday and weekend country walks with my friend and the walking group we joined. The consultant was sympathetic but advised me that I could undertake some exercise within my limits and socialise more she believed would take my mind of sugar.
I discussed my diet with the dietican later that day and she found that my food itself wasn’t the problem the problem was I wasn’t eating enough of it because I was full of sugar. I had become a couch potato in a rut with life passing me by. She advised me that long walks for me at this time was not possible but I could always take up another hobby like swimming. I pointed out that I couldn’t swim and she responded that it was probably time I learned adding that there were plenty of health clubs with swimming pools in my local area. It was her belief that even a small exercise would be better than nothing. .
On reflection I had plenty of time to learn as I was unable return to my stressful job owing to blood pressure and I was bored. Learning to swim had to beat sitting glued to the TV all day binging on food. I felt that now would be the best time to learn a new hobby such as swimming.
I booked swimming lessons at my local swimming baths that would eventually lead to me changing my life for the better in terms of my health.
Swimming not only helps with general physical fitness, but it encompasses a host of other benefits such as muscle toning, breath control, and meditative qualities. With so many peripheral benefits in one workout, you can kill two birds (or should I say six birds!) with one stone. Stone’s, Stones and Stone’s are what I need to lose lessons booked and now for the plunge!