I am a big fan of self analysis. Its how you learn about yourself. If you dont study your patterns and habits then you’ll just keep making the same mistakes over and over. I started to clean up my diet in 2009. Its now 7 years later and while I still fall off the Primal wagon…and sometimes stay down for a while!… At least by now I know why. The internet is full of strategise to avoid falling off the wagon but no amount of strategise will help unless you first know why you fall.
I’ve realised only this year just how simple my reasons for straying from the Primal lifestlyle are. I am not someone who grew up eating a crap diet. Actually my 1980s Ireland diet was probably about 80% primal except we had no idea what primal even was. I become especially aware of this when I read about other peoples journies and they mention food they used to eat and I’ve either never heard of it (sausages in a tin?) or its something that I never ate and it never occured to me to eat (condiment sauces). So even when I stray its not to have a dalliance with an entire range of fancy and exotic processed foods.
My straying can be divided into two food groups and two reason.
Those are the two non primal groups that trip me up. When I say bread Im not even talking about a huge spectrum from a ciabatta loaf to a burger bun. Im literally just talking about a load of plain white bread. Same for pasta. Im talking about the boxes of dried pasta which I cook at home. And pizza is the round pizzas you get from a pizzeria. Chocolate is normally the Lindt brand and Ice-cream is Haagen Daaz . However if someone else has brought something into the house that can conceivably be in the chocolate family then all bets are off and I’ll eat that no matter what it is. I also have a big weakness for supermarket holiday/occasion displays (easter eggs, christmas pandora cakes etc).
The two reason’s are simple – Boredom and/or stress. As a stay at home mother I often find myself experiencing a boredom with a sort of low level hum of stress underneath. For example staying at home with a sick child. It can be really boring, you’ve to stay inside , theres nothing to do, but you never fully relax because you can’t stop thinking about how sick they are…could it be something more serious? should you go to the doctor? what if it’s not a cold….omg did he say he had a sore neck. It’s meningitis!…that sort of thing. And sometimes in an effort to do something…anything…. you decide “I will go to the shop and buy a bar of chocolate”…it’s almost less about the chocolate and more about having something to do, a mission, a goal. And most importantly it can be easily combined with child care in the way that going to the gym for an hour can’t be. After a while a habit forms and you find yourself going back to this easy familiar solution to boredom.
Sometimes I have actual full blown stressful days, nothing low level about it, and I just as easily take refugee in my easy stress free routine of walking to the shops to buy something ‘nice’ or indeed just the action of ordering a take away pizza rather than cooking gives immediate release to a build up of stressed out pressure. The feeling of relief when I decide “I’m not going to cook, I’m going to order in” is better than ANY pizza has ever tasted…ever.
Thats the thing…the food isn’t that great. Its what the food represents. A chink of light in a dark day. A moment of relief in a tightly-wound ball of stress. If I was richer I would definitely shop for clothes and shoes instead of eating less than average tasting food. Sadly I’m not. But recently I have really started to focus on how crap I feel after eating this stuff. Hazy lazy indigestion-ey full-in-a-bad-way. It’s actually amazing how crap I can feel after eating. And how quickly. Its so obvious. There’s nothing insidious about it. It’s right there in my face. Eat crap. 30 min later feel like crap.
So there you go. Thats why I don’t eat Primal sometimes. Boredom and stress combined with a lifestyle where my options or relieving either (in my head at least) are limited.
But I’m working on getting myself a hobby. Of course in 3 months I’ll have a new born. Now there’s a hobby! An all-consuming one.
But I do need to find a hobby…but what….