Life isn’t perfect

Life isn’t perfect, and neither is my eating.

That’s okay.

Overeaters Anonymous is about “progress, not perfection” and while I’m nowhere near perfect, I definitely am progressing.

Overeating is becoming less common, and binging is very unusual these days. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but it is happening less and less.

I’m doing okay. I’m continuing working the steps (I’m on Step 4) and I’m attending two meetings every week. They help a lot.

When I look at how I am these days versus how I used to act around food, I can see things are getting so much better.



Am I still a minimalist? 6 years on…

Short answer? Yes!

I own very little. Definitely more than that guy who travels the world with 43 things. And definitely much, much less than the average Kiwi.

I’m still refining everything. So from time to time I’ll audit my possessions and sell or give away stuff I don’t need or use.

Minimalism has taught me there’s no point in hanging onto our mistakes. We need to learn from them instead.

I don’t know how many items I own (but I’m tempted to count!).

I also still have “problem areas”. For example, I think my overeating is related to my desire to own and consume. Stationery is also a problem – I struggle getting rid of pens and pencils and notebooks, even if I’ve never used them and am unlikely to use them. Cosmetics are “another problem” area, but one that I’m rapidly getting under control.

Things I have learned from minimalism:

  • If I haven’t used something in a year, I’m unlikely to use it. Ever. It can be thought accepting I made a mistake on a purchase, but honestly, if I were going to use it, I would. Believing anything else is just delusional.
  • There’s no point in keeping cosmetics you don’t like. That lipstick that looks a bit off? That body wash you just don’t like the feel of? If I realize something doesn’t work, I let it go.
  • I look awful in black. All those black and white capsule wardrobes you see online? They don’t work for me. My colours are khaki, navy, brown, maroon. I don’t try for someone else’s perfection. I just try being me.
  • Flat surfaces will always be clutter-catchers. So I attend to flat surfaces in my home first. If they’re clear, my home feels good.
  • If it doesn’t have a place, it goes. Over time I’ve learned to put things in their own particular spot. It’s the things that don’t have a home that cause mess. If it doesn’t have a home, I probably don’t need it.
  • Making my bed every day helps keep me on track. If the bed is made, the bedroom always looks presentable.
  • Life isn’t perfect. Neither am I. I have three teenagers at home, as well as my husband. I have better things to do than expect perfection from them. Especially when I’m far from perfect myself. Compromise is just fine.

Do I still use a capsule wardrobe? Six years on…

I started down the path to minimalism about 6-7 years ago. I was going through a divorce, selling a home, and – to be frank – it felt great to clear the clutter and start fresh.

I was doing #project333 which is a 33 item capsule wardrobe.

Now it’s a few years on, and yes, I still keep a capsule wardrobe several years on, although I’m not as strict about it as I used to be. My guess is I probably own about 50 items of clothing now. I wear pretty much everything I own regularly.

The benefits of a capsule wardrobe?

  • I spend much less on clothing. I spend about $400 a year. Which sounds a lot but isn’t. Most of my spending goes on replacing items that have worn out or are not in good condition any more.
  • I wear better quality clothing. Everything I wear fits me well and is good quality. Most of my tops are merino, and my shoes are leather. I don’t wear fake anything. And I feel more genuine as a result.
  • Getting dressed in the morning is quick and easy. I wear one of the 10 or so tops I own, pair it with jeans, and sling on a jacket if I need to. I own one belt and two handbags, so that part is easy as well.

Running a capsule wardrobe has helped me with every aspect of my clothing.

There are some areas I break the “rules”:

  • I don’t rotate my wardrobe seasonally. I find mostly wearing the same clothes year round – with the addition of extra base layers and jackets in winter – gives me more flexibility. The office I work in is very well heated, so my clothing tends to lightweight items, and big thick jackets for outdoors.
  • I wear “lounge wear” outside my house. But it’s good quality, well-fitting lounge wear.
  • I don’t count my glasses and jewelry as items. I found this aspect of capsuling too hard. So I don’t do it.
  • I don’t actively count how many items I wear. I gave up doing this, and now just eyeball my clothes rack instead. It’s just easier.

I’m going to stick with capsuling. It works, it makes me happy, and it keeps my wardrobe and spending sane.

Still an anonymous overeater…

I’ve been at Overeaters Anonymous for just on a year now. It’s been a good decision.


  • I no longer drink pepsi max. At all. I don’t even want to drink the stuff. I’ve replaced it with sparkling water (sometimes with a twist of lemon), black tea and tap water.
  • I no longer eat chocolate by the family block. I occasionally have a candy bar, but that’s it. My chocolate addiction has decreased by about 90%.
  • I no longer frequent drive throughs. I still occasionally eat junk food, but nowhere as often, and usually more restrained.
  • I’ve lost weight and am getting fitter. Even thinking about starting to walk to and from work!
  • I’m becoming more balanced and calm. I think I’m a nicer person as well!

It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve had plenty of slip ups. But it’s working for me.

I’m looking forward to my next year at OA, and I wonder what new benefits it will bring 😊


It’s been a while since I updated, so here I am.

I’m still doing OA, and have lost close to 10 kgs since I started. I’m probably down a dress size, but I’ll keep wearing my current clothes until they are too lose rather than buying new stuff right away. When I need to buy new, I’ll buy new.

OA is really working for me, mainly due to the accountability. I go to two face-to-face meetings a week (one on Tuesday night and one at Saturday lunchtime) and they really help me.

I also do occasional long fasts. They help too.

I’ve still got a long way to go until I reach my goal weight, but at the speed I’m going I should be there within a year.

More to the point, I’m starting to genuinely believe that I can do it.

The mind games of weight loss

“It’s all in your head, it was never about the weight” – quote from successful OA member.

That’s so true. When I first joined OA, I was desperate to lose weight. I thought OA might provide an easy answer.

But the longer I’ve been in OA, the more I’ve learned there are no easy answers. You can’t just sign up to something and magically, suddenly lose heaps of weight.

Life doesn’t work like that.

What I have learned is success follows action. You won’t lose weight until you perform the actions that result in weight loss.

Those actions are different for everyone, but for me that’s 2-3 meals and no snacks. Sometimes I have breakfast, sometimes I don’t. I also incorporate regular fasting and exercise into my plan. But the big thing is no snacking.

When I think back to how things were when I was a kid in the 1970s and pretty much everyone was lean, I remember how snacking was frowned upon.

We’ve got fatter as a society because 3 regular meals have become 6, or 8, or just one long meal that lasts all day.

The other difference is people eating out a lot more. These days it’s a regular hobby for many.

I was nine years old before I went to my first restaurant for dinner. I remember it clearly. And my experience was typical of our generation.

These days there are many people who don’t ever eat at home! I know some of them, and being overweight is the norm.

I don’t eat out very often, so that hasn’t been a huge problem for me. My problem is snacking. But for many people, the eating out incessantly is a huge part of their weight problem.

But yes, I’ve learned that my biggest mind game has been recognising that snacking causes weight gain. And some of the so-called ” healthy” snacks – often found in the “health food” section of the supermarket – are the worst offenders. The advertising is so slick they convince you a 500 calorie snack is “healthy”. It’s not, not for me.

When I stick to a regular plan of 3 meals a day, nothing in between, a daily walk and occasional fasting, I lose weight. When I don’t, I gain.

The mind game of this simple realisation is accepting the truth that restraint in my life – a balance with commonsense – is getting me closer to my goal.

Q and A: The results of fasting

I’ve had a few questions about fasting recently, and how it affects me. So here’s a bit of a Question and Answer session 😸

I’m not a doctor, so all I can really comment on is how I feel when I fast, and the effects it has on me.

Physical benefits: I feel more alert mentally, and have lots more energy. My eczema disappears, as do my allergies (I’m an allergic sort of person) after about day 2. I just feel better and clearer-headed.

Weight loss: I generally lose about a pound a day when I fast, and I tend to keep about half of that off long-term (I’m much lighter than I was a couple of years ago when I started to improve my health).

Losing junk food addiction: I also find that any longer than about 3 days of fasting and junk food loses its appeal. Over the last two years of smaller fasts I’ve gone from eating junk probably 3-4 times a week to very seldom. And I feel better for it!

Why longer fasts?: I find fasts of a few days at a time much easier than the intermittent fasting that is all the rage right now. I tried intermittent fasting, and it always felt like I was deprived. I never got into the swing of it. I also never experienced the spiritual / emotional / mental benefits with intermittent fasting that I do with longer fasts.

Secrets to fasting: Drinking lots of water and tea helps. I think a lot of what we imagine to be hunger is actually thirst. Also, keeping busy makes things easier, especially for the first 48 hours (which are the hardest). I go for walks and also cleaning the house seems to be a thing I do when I fast.

Will I keep fasting?: Absolutely. I still want to do a much longer fast. My goal is 40 Days. I’m a long way short of that!

Other fasting experimentation: I’ve just started a new semi-fast. I’ll have a smoothie a day (1 cup blueberries, 1 cup milk, scoop of collagen and a scoop of whey) and Metamucil when I need it, as getting constipated seems to be a problem with me for the first couple of days of a fast at least. I’ll blog as I go and report back 😃

Would I recommend fasting: Yes, but be aware that I’m not a doctor and what works for me may not work for you. But I find the benefits are far stronger than any other health interventions I’ve tried.

Semi fasting

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve been experimenting with fasting.

I love the way fasting makes me feel: I’m more alert, I lose weight, and any brain fog disappears. I feel healthy, and my mood stabilizes. I feel calm and positive when I fast.

However, there are some big downsides.

My kids worry when I fast. My daughter in particular doesn’t understand it. All she sees is Mum not eating, and she gets scared I might be sick.

There’s also the social aspect. It’s hard to go out for lunch with friends and not eat. Or to bake with my kids and not even try what they make.

So I’m going to try semi-fasting from today.

Total calories per day: less than 500, and ideally zero. Water and black / green tea only. Food to consist only of soups and smoothies.

I’ll track how I go 😃

Day 8: Back eating

I broke my fast, and am eating again. Part of the reason (apart from missing food) was I had really bad constipation.

I did do a saltwater cleanse a couple of days in, but I think retrospectively I should have done it a day before fasting rather than during it.

Anyway, problem is resolved now (I hope that’s not TMI!) 🙂 My stomach ache has stopped, and I feel back to normal.

So what next? I still want to do a long fast. I like the way I feel when I fast – my head is really clear and I feel really alert.

So I’ll eat normally for a few days, and start another fast next week.

The results? I lost about 3 kgs / 7 pounds. I’m happy about that, and hopefully it’ll stay away.

More importantly, I feel more in touch with myself and my Higher Power. I feel calm and happy.

So, yes, I didn’t achieve anything like 40 days, but I have hopes of doing so in the near future.

Day 7: Crazy busy at work

I’m still fasting and very busy at work. I really need a break!

It’s going okay, but I feel like I’m ready to call it quits, take a break, then come back to it. It’s not because I’m crazy hungry or anything – I’m just feeling like I need a break from it.

Fasting isn’t hard so much as challenging. It’s more a mental game than anything. There’s so much food just lying around in our society. At work there’s chocolate and sweet stuff, and at home there’s, well, everything. It’s always visible and available. Avoiding being tempted is hard.

I’m pretty familiar with fasting. I’ve done it plenty of times before. I’m familiar with how it feels and the mental struggle. It does get easier when you’re used to it, but it’s never actually easy.

Weirdly, I like the way fasting makes me feel. I feel more alert, and not drugged out on all the sugar. It makes me realize how dopey eating normally makes me. I don’t think I’m particularly dopey, but food definitely is like a drug to me – a coping mechanism to deal with the world.

When I take my drug away, I feel empty, bored, stressful. Then I want my drug back again. Fasting makes me realize how much of a food addict I really am. It’s absolutely central to my mental well-being.

OA is right. I’m a food addict. Food is an emotional, social and mental crutch to me. I don’t want it to be. I just want it to be food. I want to be sane and abstinent. I want the centre of my life to be those people I care about, rather than what’s on my plate.

My goal with OA and fasting is to know myself and my Higher Power intimately. To understand. I’m not at that point yet, but I am feeling more aware than I was before of how brutal the truth is about me and food.

I hope some of this makes sense!

Day 6: Back at work

I’m back at work today, and really wish I weren’t.

It’s slow, and as it’s school holidays, there’s not much work coming in (I work in education).

I’m feeling fine. Weirdly, I feel quite cold, and normally the office is overheated. I don’t know if it’s me or the thermostat!

Over the last few days, I’ve lost the taste for lemon juice in my water. I’m preferring the water straight. Still drinking plenty of tea, and enjoying that, but the water I like straight.

I can feel that I’m starting to lean out. My jeans are fitting better, and my tops are starting to look a little too big. Like I’m slopping around in my big sister’s clothing.

It doesn’t feel like a Tuesday. It feels like Monday. The long weekend has confused me, and now my week feels out of whack.

As expected, there’s a lot of chocolate sitting around the office. Easter eggs everywhere. There’s a small part of me inside that wants them, but for the most part, they’re not bothering me at all.

One thing I’m finding helpful is watching the TV series Alone. It’s about people who go off and live by themselves in the woods for as long as possible. Last man standing wins half a million dollars. They deal with bears and cougars and wolves, and they don’t eat a whole lot.

Watching everything they’re going through makes me feel better. After all, I’m warm and clean and dry, and I can see my family all through this. All those things make a huge difference. It also makes me a whole lot less likely to grumble about how hard it is. My life is pretty darn easy, to be honest. It’s just a lack of eating that I must push through. I know I can do this.

So yes, I’m feeling good. The tea and water help a huge amount, and it’s not so much me being hungry, and me missing food and the happiness and distraction that eating brings. It gets raw when you don’t eat. You naturally turn inwards, and spend more time thinking and meditating.

Day Five: Easter Monday morning

It’s Easter Monday morning, and I’m feeling fine.

A bit of a cold, but otherwise normal. I’m a little bit constipated – the salt water cleanse did nothing the other day – so last night I took some metamucil in the hopes of clearing things out.

I don’t have a lot planned for today. Will possibly do some digging in the garden, and I have three pumpkins that need to be made up into soup.

I’ll also go for a walk, listen to an OA podcast, and do some reading. I really wish I had this week off work, but I have next week off and am looking forward to that. It should work out that I’m on leave just when things really get tough with the fast. Ideally I’d have liked to have the entire time off,but that was never going to happen. 40 days is a lot of leave.