About a year and a half ago, I began trying a new way of exercising and eating. I have always been conscious of what I ate and the exercise I got but that is not to say that I was always making sensible choices. At points in my life I would be really good, but at others, when things were busy and/or stressful and I felt maxed out, it would all slip a little bit. As someone who had an eating disorder when younger, my feelings around diet and exercise is something that I have to manage, along with some recurring body image issues. I am not suggesting that you can never move on from such a thing – I would say that I certainly have and am pretty healthy both physically and mentally – but I do recognise that there is still a tendency to obsession and unhealthy thinking patterns at times.
That being said, I generally feel pretty good about my appearance now. Of course there are things that I would change but HisLordship has helped to boost my confidence with his positive feedback and the structure of the D/s has meant that he has helped me to change my thinking quite a bit. I can still have bad days but I can have lots of good days too. I have posted about this before of course, in posts such as D/s has made me sexy and Being Beautiful, so this post is more about the way that I am, the importance of finding something which fits and the way that finding something which fits can make you feel.
The exercise and eating plan we ‘follow’ is essentially one where you exercise for short bursts at a high intensity (HIIT). Apparently this means that your metabolic rate changes and you are in ‘fat burning’ zone for longer than you would be. I think that the principle is that your body doesn’t adjust to compensate like it may do eventually with a longer workout so you can have the same effects for less work. The eating plan is about eating more of some things – fresh foods, high mineral vegetables, protein and healthy fats – and less of the things like carbohydrates which it claims you need when you have exercised and not so much otherwise. This is because the body will burn carbs post exercise and convert them to energy, whereas the rest of the time they will turn to fat.
This strikes me as being a bit like our D/s dynamic; we have things in place which mean that the short bursts of activity alter the way we think and feel the rest of the time so that we can have those feelings even when we are not actively submitting or being actively Dominant. It kind of runs along in the background, ready to kick back in when it is needed. We also do more of some things and less of others, depending on what each of us needs at the time. So rather than things being habit, they are consciously thought about and selected. We have a clear set of rules and rituals which help to provide a structure for it, but these will be adapted depending on what is required at that particular time.
So why does this sort of exercise and eating programme suit me? I like that it is clear and easy to use. It fits well into the busy life that I already have and it is manageable. It is not one of these things that you have to do but one of the things that you choose. If you don’t exercise one day then you can do it the next and if you eat too much of one food group one day then you can just go back to it the next time. There is no going on the scales because it is about how you look and how you feel and not what the measure says. That leads, I think, to much healthier habits. Now I will admit that I have not given up my weighing scales just yet, old habits die hard, but I am much less influenced by them than I used to be. My weight actually has remained fairly constant since starting this programme but my shape has definitely changed as the fat has begun to ‘fall off’.
The other morning I was running on the treadmill and I realised that I was able to sustain the level of effort because it was short and manageable. I am able to push myself past what I would naturally choose because it is only for a short time. The result is that I feel stronger and more powerful at the time and generally better in myself once I have finished. It gives me a feeling of well-being and I can immediately see parallels with our dynamic. Pushing past boundaries and dipping my toe into waters I have not previously becomes possible because I feel safe, supported, stronger and more able to cope with whatever comes from it. It also give me a routine and a structure which I feel comfortable with and this is the same with the exercise plan that I am working with. It is all doable and the effects are both felt and seen so there is quick feedback that what you are doing is working.
I have already said that throwing away the scales is recommended but not something I have chosen to do yet. There are other ways that I have taken what was suggested and either accepted, adapted or rejected it to suit what I want from it. This is key with D/s I think. There is no point doing things which mean that you are measured against some sort of unrealistic ideal. The point is not to be like everyone else but to find a way that makes you feel good within yourself, so there is no point beating yourself up for what you aren’t if those are not things that you can or want to change. There are many styles of D/s dynamic out there and the key thing is to find a way that will work for you – my D/s is not your D/s and all that.
There are many programmes similar to the eating and exercise one that we follow, but the one we do (loosely) is ‘Lean in 15’ by Joe Wicks. We have not signed up to the official programme mostly for financial reasons, but we have bought the recipe books and do use the exercise videos on you tube (google ‘The Body Coach’ if you are interested in finding these.) Like the other versions of D/s we came across in the beginning we have found our own. We made some mistakes early on with trying to make our relationship fit into someone else’s ideal before we realised that there was no one true way. That is one of the things that I like about Joe Wicks, he is realistic and encouraging that you can achieve the desired results whilst recognising that we are all different.
One of the things that we had to leave behind was some of the HIIT sessions that we found on the channel. I think that for the young fit 20 somethings they would work well, but for the nearly 50 somethings, we learnt the hard way and limped along to the ‘low impact’ sessions. We also adapted some of the recipes to suit our tastes, our budget and the fact that we are feeding a family of 7 rather than preparing a meal for one. This is true of D/s too. I am pretty sure that our dynamic will look quite different when the children are all up and independent but for now it is what it is. It works for us and we have thrown away the preconceived and prescriptive views that said we weren’t ‘doing it right’ or we ‘had to do it like this’ and that has lead to us really finding our groove and having something that is sustainable and meaningful.
At the end of the day, I suppose the point I am making is that for us, living a Dominant and submissive dynamic is a lifestyle choice. It is one which makes us feel good about ourselves and about what we have. We have made it easy to sustain by creating something which meets our needs and fits into the demands of our lives and we are seeing really positive results. The energy we put in has lasting effects which means that we are able to experience the advantages of that effort, even after we have moved on to something else. Of course it will require tweaks along the way and there will be times where it falls back a little but it is just a case of giving it a bit more focus in order to get it up and running and back on track once again.
Measuring results is always tricky and I think it really depends on what your expectations are when starting off. Would I like to be completely lean and fat free? Yes I would but at age 47 on 20 minutes of exercise 4 or 5 time a week that is probably unrealistic. As it is I have certainly shed some fat and have had to make some wardrobe adjustments to address that (thin clothes to the front and fat to the back). The point is that I feel happier and healthier and I have more energy. The same is true of our D/s. Would one of the self-proclaimed gurus mentioned above say that we were an example of best practice 24/7 D/s? Probably not, but we are happy because it suits us. We are closer, more intimate and more into each other than we have ever been and that puts us in a place where we feel safe, supported and secure in our love.
Click the badge to see more posts on healing foods for May’s new month long Food Matters Meme
Other posts by me about my issues with food are:
Food. What’s your Problem? An Eating Disorder Exposed which is about how an eating disorder might affect you and signs to look out for.
Skeleton in my closet: eating issues undressed is about my journey and the way that I am still affected by my difficult relationship with food and with my own body.
Healing is an autobiographical account of my experience, but told from a third person perspective as the distance made it easier to write.