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.
Excellent advice. HIIT is a hit. It’s one of the reasons I like strength training as well. Short bursts of very intense activity. I wish more women would consider strength training. I’ve heard many say they worry about getting big, not being lady like, etc. I counter that with as we get older, we lose muscle mass..
As we age, we all exercise in hopes perhaps we live longer. For me, I just want the road to the finish line to be a bit less bumpy.
I would also like to suggest to any others reading this to look into the concept of Intermittent Fasting.
One last thing a friend mentioned to me, and I need to never forget, “I can’t out-exercise Poor diet choices.”
Thanks for your comment and I am glad that you are finding the strength training helpful. I have tried fasting and did the 5 and 2 for a while. It worked initially but in the end it seemed to encourage the old binge/starve habits for me which was not a positive. I realise that is a personal thing but I would urge caution to those who have had an unhealthy relationship with food in the past. Strength training is part of the lean in 15 too. It works on the premise that lean muscle will metabolize faster than fat so it doesn’t mean that you bulk up at all. Unless that is what you are trying for of course ?
I’m doing a 20 hour fast every other day this month. Strength training on food days, cardio on fast days. My issue has always been quantity control. Fasting makes my food intake decisions easier. Just don’t eat. Genius.
After october is over, I will gauge my results and decide how to best continue.
I will see my abs one day!
I think that it can teach you that your ‘hunger’ is often to do with mood or boredom so it can work for a lot of people. I guess my issues made it hard for me longer term as what I need is to make healthy choices on a regular basis.
The best references I have found on fasting recommend 20 hours or breaker for men. However, they do not recommend any more than 12 to 15 hours for women.
The one I did you had 5 days a week where you ate normally and then two (not consecutive) where you fasted.
That does not sound very doable. Anything past 36 hours and allegedly that Theory about the body going into starvation mode starts to kick in.
Yes that is why the two fast days are not consecutive.
Oh and good luck with your abs!
Ha ha, thank you. The abs are there, no one has seen them in years, maybe ever. . I believe it will probably take me upwards of 1 to 2 years to accomplish this goal
I’ve been struggling with fitting in exercise with my current awful work schedule. You reminded me how much I like HIIT. The D/s, that’s a struggle for me right now. Maybe there is a correlation…
I hope that you will get back to both. You have been through so much and I think you have found a way of surviving it that makes the D/s harder right now. When you are relaxed enough with life to take a chance again I am sure your babygirl will return ?
I’m just getting back in to exercise myself. Like yourself, I’m also trying to change my relationship with the weighing scales, trying not to focus on a number rather how I look and feel. Thankfully I’ve never had an eating disorder but the scales is something I’m beginning to care less about now and realising at 23 that a number doesn’t define who you are. Happy to hear that your D/S is working out!
Thank you for commenting and good luck with the new regime. I have tried a lot of different things over the years re dieting etc and so it is good to find something which is healthy and manageable. A lot of it is in my head of course and that is where the D/s comes in. ?
Thanks very much same to you! 🙂 Same I’ve tried a few things (I found dieting doesn’t work on me at all) and it’s great when you find something that works for you. I’ve found Pilates and Cardio works a charm for me! I agree, the mind is a very powerful thing 🙂
Thank you for writing this! I have very low self esteem when it come to my body image, but with everything I’m not happy with ‘I’m work on it’ (that is pixie code for yeah I know it’s a problem and I’m dealing with it with love and support ) the gym and training have been a god send, they help me feel in control, boost my mood and I find it calming, so it was great to read about what your doing and how it seems to empower you! Bravo!
Ps – I’m looking up hiit training to see if it will help loose baby weight!
Thanks Pixie. I think that after a baby it can take a while and I kept some of the weight while I was feeding. You have to be careful as you need the rest etc too so don’t push yourself too hard. I would stick to the low impact (old person’s) HIIT to start with as I think that a lot of the ligaments etc soften due to the hormones so you need to be careful. I bet you are beautiful as you are anyway. I did find that I had a lot more respect for my body after I had a baby as all of that just seemed amazing to me.
Awww thanks! Yeah going to take things super slow, but I am super lucky as I have a great PT who has written me a plan! (I train his dogs and he trains me!). The thing I can’t wait to get back to is yoga!
Ooo that sounds fun. And yoga is relaxing too. I do pilates and most of it involves the core so I guess you need to be ready. Good luck with it 🙂
I found this really interesting Missy. The short bursts. I do remember learning about that years back and you certainly look great on this time of regime. I get most of my exercise “outside” in my job. It keeps me fit to a certain extent but not enough to increase my metabolism – although luckily mine is generally ok-ish but at times i feel it could do with a boost.
Thanks for linking up x
I like the sounds of the short bursts of exercise. I have often thought a treadmill might suit me as running outside is not something I am keen on for various reasons. But I do wonder how I’d fare with large boobs bouncing about…!
Unfortunately I have no experience of that as mine are quite small. I think with a good sports bra you would be ok ?