The One With the Failed Diet

When I was looking at accommodation for uni I automatically drifted towards catered accommodation- it seemed more private, closer to uni, breakfast and dinner provided, £5.10 a day to spend at any uni food outlet, room and bathroom cleaned. It seemed great, and it wasn’t much more expensive than self catered. So far its been fine. But this food thing? Bit not good.

I never really talk about this on the blog, and I’m not sure if I should, seeing so it may make seem a little crazy but here we go.

I have never had a good relationship with food. I don’t like to eat- I’m really weird about food,  like if I don’t like the smell or the texture or the way it looks then I can’t bring myself to eat it. My parents used to have to force me to eat when I was little, and spent years bargaining with me to finish just half of what’s on your plate, Catherine. I’m sure I should of outgrown it but I never did. I still pick at my food, and my portion sizes are half the size, even the quarter the size of other peoples yet it takes me longer than them to eat. I also developed the tendency to associate food with comfort instead of nutrition. At one point when I was depressed I was eating so little, and at the same time so much of the wrong things (aka skipping supper and filling up on chocolate instead) that I ended up underweight. That was part of my wake up call and so I simply forced myself to eat- even if I didn’t like it, even if I didn’t want to. And I got good. I learned to eat and I put the weight back on. Last year, last academic year, I was eating three meals a day, I was having just one chocolate bar a week and one packet of crisps a week (that sounds bad but to go from one meal a day, if that, and to having one bar of chocolate a day, if not more, it makes you feel proud to end up at that place). Sure, it wasn’t an amazing diet, but I was proud of where I had ended up. I was in control of my diet. I was doing well and I was going to keep progressing, getting better.

But last Semester I fucked up. I justified it- the first time living away from home, the stress of adjusting to uni. OK, I said, but I made a goal- I would do better this semester. Alas.

Now? Now I have completely lost that control, and it doesn’t seem to be coming back any time soon. University catered meals are frankly, gross, especially for someone as fussy as me. I thought having meals provided for me would encourage me to eat, but it does the opposite- I skip supper at least three times a week, and often just substitute for snacking or nothing at all. I keep some food in my room but they’re snacks, mostly, and I can’t really get fresh fruit and veg easily- such things are expensive, and go off quickly. And that £5.10? Pure temptation and for someone as weak willed as me, especially when I’m stressed out or anxious, which is often,  I end up spending it on things I shouldn’t. In my effort to start working I have been going to the library again- and I’ll end up buying a hot chocolate because I’m cold, and a  brownie or a muffin just because I have some money left over. When I’m between lectures I need something quick to snack on because I’m hungry and I don’t have time so I end up grabbing a packet of chips or a brownie or something else ridiculous. Its so easy to give in temptation when you have the means. Last year in an effort to save money every day I went into uni I made myself sandwiches, on whole wheat seeded bread , and packed a little something with that and that was lunch. No snacking, unless I’d brought one. My only treats would be the occasional pizza slice or ice cream. And of course I was at home, which meant I could cook for myself, or eat my parents cooking, and have access to whatever i wanted, including lots of good stuff. It was reasonably easy to keep myself in check.

I long to have that control back. But I feel like its out of my hands. A large part of the forcing myself to eat was learning to cook, making my own suppers,  putting together my own lunches, so that I could see and track exactly what I was eating. How do I do that at uni? I am lazy and stressed and I have £5.10 to spend on what I want and so I do. This is problematic. I am currently anaemic, again.I don’t feel good. I need to do something about this.I need to start forcing myself to eat things I hate again because I am not getting enough vitamins, minerals..anything. But I severely lack willpower. And I really like hot chocolate.

I read this blog post and it made me feel a lot better. In the end I need to accept that I have messed up but its not too late. I need to stop resisting, making all these excuses. I just need to do it because I can. I did it once and I can do it again. The diet may be failed now, but it doesn’t have to stay that well. It goes back on my list of goals for this semester. I will start by taking baby steps- like working on cutting down the chips first- and then go from there.

books on shelf
I used to read a lot. My room back home is cluttered with books, and even when I came to uni I packed as many books as I could get away with. Sometimes I can easily read a book in a week, two weeks. But not much anymore. Over the past year I have barely read 10 books, if that. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy reading anymore, its just I can’t seem to concentrate anymore. At least when I was commuting to uni last year I had the benefit of having that time to read without distractions. Now there seems to be so much else to do. I have university, and I have to study and between all this it seems so much easier to do far more mindless activities- like browsing the Internet or watching dramas. Not to mention how noisy halls are, especially late at night when I want to read (I love my hall :|).  But nonetheless, I want to read more and I want to read like I used to. So I made this a goal for this year. I wrote out a list of 30 books and I’m going to read every single one this year. I know 30 books doesn’t sound a lot, but for me this is going to be a challenge. So far I have made good progress though- I recently finished The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, which was a nice quick, satisfying read and I’m left anticipating the next three books. I managed to finish this book in just under a week too- which is a testament to how good it is, or how much free time I have right now. Either way, I am left hopeful that I can do this.