Health Diary Week 13: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

Katey Versus Chocolate!

Image: Ridwan Hardjowibowo, Pixabay

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Hi and welcome to another weekly instalment of what’s on my plate, health and nutrition updates…

What’s New

It’s been a week of self-reflection, partly influenced by other’s thoughts on my previous results – I very much appreciate having these different perspectives to consider. Back when I studied Counselling skills, we were taught that feedback and reflection, as difficult as they can sometimes be, are an important part of self-development:

Me deep in thought, British Virgin Islands, 1992 (yep – 1992!)

It turns out I’m a bit obsessed with chocolate – initially I felt quite defensive about this observation, but upon reflection they’re not wrong! Clearly, chocolate isn’t as comparably harmful as some other habits like smoking, but there are weight/fat gain consequences if eaten excessively – as shown in my results this week. I particularly crave chocolate immediately after a meal and when feeling stressed or tired. I try to curb the craving after meals by having a rooibos (red bush) tea (no added sugar) in the hope the urge will pass. But, it’s more difficult to ignore when the craving is emotional[1, 2]. I have no intention of giving up chocolate, but I’d like to have a better handle on how much I eat.

Weight, BMI and Fat Results

Here are my results – oh dear! – everything went in the wrong direction:

Week 13 results – not good!

Food and Nutrition

So, let’s have a look at what food was on my plate, the healthy and not so healthy choices and identify any tweaks I could make to improve my nutrition…

Poor Sleep Affects What You Eat:

What happened this week? Well, I think the weight/fat gain was a case of tired comfort-eating again, as discussed in Week 8 – The Big Grump!, although this time my sleep deprivation was due to pain in my left shoulder blade (I’m not sure why it’s hurting so much). But, poor sleep increases hunger hormones, reduces satiety (fullness) hormones and induces cravings for high calorie foods[3, 4] – in my case chocolate. Usually I’d stick to my raw chocolate goji berries, but I’ve had a stock of higher fat and sugar options from Christmas – thankfully the stash is running low now, so I’ll be back on the goji berries soon enough:

Image: Derek Robinson, Pixabay

High Sugar, Fat and Calories:

Also, it didn’t help that I had two meals out where I chose highly calorific, fatty and sugary options – again probably the fatigue influence. The pizza and pudding at Zizzi were particularly calorific – I took half the pizza home, but of course I ate it the next day. Thankfully, I resisted the temptation to have a pudding after dinner at the Black Phoenix, as I recognised and accepted I was full – that’s progress! Also, my home meal portions were probably larger than usual due to my tiredness-hunger:

Top: Zizzi jackfruit Italian hot pizza & millionaire slice. Bottom: Black Phoenix ‘Ribz’ (king oyster mushrooms) & sodas (instead of booze, but high sugar).

Exercise

I completed nearly 6 hours physical activity this week – 1 hour of circuits, 2 hours 45 minutes on the exercise bike (moved up to the highest tension this week) and 132 minutes walking, of which 74 minutes was brisk. I was satisfied with this accomplishment considering my pain levels were quite high:

My week’s walking recorded on the Public Health England/NHS ‘Active 10’ app.

Positive Thinking: What Made Watson Smile

Things haven’t gone so well, but there was some progress to smile about:

My Boots Zip-Up:
Okay, so I gained back the 2lb weight lost the previous week, but despite that, this was the first week I could fully zip-up my boots – an issue discussed in Week 0: The Starting Point.

Left to right: Week 0: calf- boot-zip issue. Week 13: issue resolved – yay! Me wearing my boots for an evening out.

My Pyjamas are too Big:
And, my pyjamas have become ridiculously long since this health journey began (they used to fit snuggly and were at ankle-length), demonstrating my reducing thigh and calf circumferences – must be all that time reading on the exercise bike!:

My shrinking legs in my pyjamas. (Just realised this week’s post has lots of pictures of my legs!)

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that I’m classified with obesity yet again. Regardless, I can’t give up – this is too important for my long-term health and clearly there have been some positive improvements. I just have to keep trying to move forward…

Beautiful blue winter sky on my Sunday walk (including it just because it made me feel happy).

I hope you enjoyed this week’s ‘What’s on Watson’s Plate’. Please feel free to follow my bite-sized updates on Instagram or Facebook. See you next Wednesday for another catch up.

Week 14>>>
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References

1. Nash, J., Ca. 2019. Diabetes UK: Sugar cravings: combating a sweet tooth [online]. Available from: www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/food-psychology/sugar-cravings.
2. Nash, J., Ca. 2019. Diabetes UK: Emotional eating and feasting [online]. Available from: www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/food-psychology/emotional-eating-and-feasting.
3. Hanlon, E. C., Tasali, E., Leproult, R., Stuhr, K. L., Doncheck, E., de Wit, H., Hillard, C. J. and Van Cauter, E., 2016. Sleep Restriction Enhances the Daily Rhythm of Circulating Levels of Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol. Sleep [online] 39 (3), 653-664. Sleep, Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763355/.
4. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016. National Institutes of Health matters: Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain [online]. Available from: www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-ties-between-lack-sleep-weight-gain.

More from What’s on Watson’s Plate:

2 thoughts on “Health Diary Week 13: Food, Exercise and a Positive Mind

  1. I had to laugh at the pic of your pj,s! Dont you think it,s mad how food is so wrapped up with how we,re feeling,sad,happy,bored. Why cant we just eat healthy food,excercise more and be what we want to be,the million dollar question! See you Friday x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jo. Indeed – it’s so complex! Soon I’m hoping to write about unexpected influences on our mood & behaviour. Thanks for following my progress & see you Friday 🙂 x

    Like

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