Have a banana. #NewcastleCAN

I’ve signed up to NewcastleCan and am counting myself lucky that the city I live in is the one that’s been chosen for this project. Its a city wide campaign to get healthier and lose weight, supporting each other to do all the things I for one have been intending to do for years. Finding sustainable small changes that will make a positive difference and building on them. I know what it will take to get healthier, but I get frustrated and backslide. I hope this campaign will make it easier to keep on track, or to get back on track when I wobble. 

One of my main problems is my relationship with food. When I’m stressed, depressed or anxious – I eat. When I’m happy or celebrating – I eat. That covers most occasions. I’m the member of staff with the multipack of Crunchies in my desk drawer, who knows the two for offers on all the biscuit brands and calls the pizza delivery guy more often than family. 

Stress eating is an easy habit to get into, but really hard to break. I’ve made various attempts over the years, but its never really lasted. Having to give up alcohol a few years ago due to medication just made it worse – the level of unwinding that used to be achieved with one glass of wine began to take a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s. And while I’ve managed to keep 10,000 steps a day or thereabouts going for over two years now my eating was getting worse and worse. 

My latest attempt to deal with it started last November. An over 40s health check at work showed up much that was troubling, and the nurse called me in to my local GPs to give me a warning. I have til March to show improvement, or there’ll be a whole new lot of medicines I have to add to my daily routine.

I realised most of my failed attempts had failed because I tried to change too much at a time. So I thought this time I’d start small. First change – No unhealthy snacks at work.

The first day was agony. My workplace always has several packets of biscuits on the go, chocolates too in the run up to Christmas, and cake at least once a week. My first healthy snack only day there was an open packet of After Eights on the desk next to mine that I was acutley aware of all day. It sounds daft, but it was hard to concentrate on my work knowing they were there.

But I made it through the first day, and the first week. By the second week I was less painfully councious of the sweets around the office. It helps that my workplace also has a healthy eating scheme, so there is usually fruit around. An apple just isn’t the same as a chocolate bar when you’re having a bad day, but it stops me using being hungry as the excuse for indulging.

I made it three weeks without unhealthy snacks at work before I broke up for Christmas. And I’m keeping it up so far this year too, despite a lot of stressful situations that would usually have me reaching for the Dairy Milk. I’m not perfect. I allowed myself a special dispensation for cake on a colleagues birthday, although I did have a smaller piece than I would have last year. I sometimes allow myself something sweet with my lunch, because that’s a meal not a snack. Or so I tell myself! But its not everyday like before. 

Today I felt grotty, with early migraine symptoms, and needed to eat something to take my tablets with. The staffroom had four different sorts of biscuits, no fruit. Did I have a biscuit? No. I went out to the greengrocer and bought some bananas. That sounds matter of fact, an everyday occurance, but it would have been unheard of for me to refuse a biscuit a few months ago. But its now a fixed habit that I don’t snack unhealthily at work. 

The next step of course will be to stop having unhealthy snacks at home too. I’m aware of the hypocrisy of no healthy snacks at work, then coming home and eating half a pack of chocolate hobnobs because I’ve had a bad day. And ringing for another pizza! 

But I think I’m heading in the right direction!