braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘habits

Hi folks.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been doing something I don’t seem to have been managing much recently. It’s the Easter holidays, and I’ve been enjoying spending time with the children.

And I mean properly enjoying them.

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If you see what I mean.

Now, I love those kids, and I, even recently, regularly have little moments of heart-glow several times a day, especially as smallest one has been doing so many new cute things recently. In spite of my numerous low moments recently. But what I haven’t been doing is engaging with them on any level other than making sure they go to school clothed and fed and making sure they go to bed fed and teeth brushed. I haven’t had any room to enjoy them. Not emotionally.

Instead, I have been shutting myself off. Unable to handle any more than the bare minimum, I have been using the iPad loved one gave me last year. I have hidden myself away and frittered huge quantities of time finding an unsatisfying numbness in pointless games. Games that don’t need anything from me but my eyes, fingers and reactions.

But now we are on holiday. In a cottage in North Wales. Lovely. Rainy. Lots of green with lots of sheep. Waking up to the sound of bleating. Simply fabulous. And most importantly of all, all five of us are here. For two weeks.

Two weeks! I may have mentioned this last post, it’s such a rare event. And I have been given a chance to stop worrying about the daily grind, thanks to a lot of input from loved one. We have slept lots, been out in the fresh air lots (and in the rain a lot too, of course). And, whilst my now-rather-difficult-to-break habit of retreating into my games has some way to go, at least I have felt alive. And more to the point, able to cope.

And the kids have been WONDERFUL. Extra cuddles from the lot of them. Extra jokes cracked by oldest one. Extra pictures drawn for me by middle one and heaps of new words and actions from smallest one.

Or maybe it’s not extras. Maybe it’s just their wonderful normal selves, and I am only just noticing.

Gotta try and savour that once the holiday is over…

Remember how I talked about keeping up routines to make a summer holiday go smoothly?

Turns out I needed a break from routines myself.

Yes, indeed. All that talk of daily routines didn’t last more than a few days.  It’s partly because loved one has had a week off this week, and that’s triggered me into weekend mode. (Weekend mode can loosely be translated as someone-else-can-do-some-of-the-work-so-I’m-going-to-veg-out mode.)

A week of weekend mode is driving me insane, though.  I’m so relaxed I’m almost asleep.  And that means bad sleep at night (I’m posting at 5.45 am). The time has come to get back into the routines.

So, this morning I will be doing the following before anything else, including opening up the laptop..

  • Get dressed, brush teeth and be ready to go out.
  • Empty the dishwasher.
  • Hang out yesterday’s laundry and get a new load on.
  • Make the bed.
  • Tidy up for fifteen minutes.
  • Eat some breakfast.

Simple stuff, I know.  But it’s the basics I can be rubbish at.  I can’t help but think that because I never had these kinds of routines at boarding school (well, except for getting dressed and eating breakfast), it doesn’t come automatically now.  I wonder if I should make a point of encouraging the kids to get used to joining in these routines. Hmm. Might be a good idea.

Oh yeah, did I mention I once went to boarding school?  An, um, interesting experience. Gives you a great instinct for survival.  Also a wonderful experience – I still have very good friends from those days (you know who you are!), and some amazing memories.  And in spite of getting you to do one cleaning job for ten minutes, three mornings a week, I generally didn’t have to clean up after myself.  My old housemistress will testify that I never got the hang of being tidy…

All the more reason to try, try and try again to make routines a habit.

Roll on the morning.

So, another weigh-in, and a full month gone by since I started this malarkey.  As it’s the first weigh-in in February, I’m going to make this a longer post and wax lyrical about how things are going.  (I really ought to find out what ‘wax lyrical’ means before I use the phrase, but hey, I’m fairly sure it’s nothing taboo..)

I’m starting to realise that you can only do so much at a time if you want to keep it up permanently.  So many times I’ve tried to lose weight unsuccessfully because I couldn’t form a proper habit of what I needed to do.

Funnily enough, the idea of habit-forming is all over the place at the moment, or so it seems to me.  Dare I mention her again?  The Flylady talks a lot about forming a habit if you want to make something last.  Also the Simple Mom (whose blog I heartily recommend) explains a lot about habit-forming in her New Year – New You! post.  Also my man has been doing some work on healthy lifestyle behaviour change for the last few years, so I hear about habits. All. The. Time.  And I’m finally coming round to the idea.

So, in January, the one habit I managed to maintain was regular exercise, and what a difference that has made to me.  I have been going to the gym weekly, and I have been taking weekly Pilates classes.

There were two habits I tentatively formed, which were not eating between meals and not consuming excess alcohol.  I’m getting better at both of these, though they are not perfect.  I’m going to try and keep them up.

The habit I had hoped to form, but looking back, failed miserably to do so, is not having seconds.  Which includes anything on someone else’s plate.

So by the end of February I plan to (1) continue the alcohol only twice a week rule and see if I can get 100% on track for February, (2) nail the not-eating-between meals habit and (3) work harder at not having seconds.

However, (2) is going to have to be tweaked, since at least once a week there is cake at toddlers.

Now, it’s all very well not eating between meals when there is no cake in the house to tempt, but if I deny myself the cake it is tantamount to torture.  And if it feels like torture, it’s not going to work in the long run.  So I need to work out a way of allowing myself to have cake.

I’ve considered skipping breakfast… unfortunately the toddlers get toast just before the cake, so I would then eat all the leftover toast before also having cake.   So I need a more do-able alternative, preferably one that takes into account the fact that I have absolutely no spare time in the mornings, and I detest cereal bars.  Maybe half a breakfast? Hmm, I can’t quite grasp the perfect solution.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Now, (2) is going to require me to get more sleep, since my monster appetite creeps out from the shadows only when I am tired.  So my being-nice-to-me habit for February is getting enough sleep, so it will go in tandem with slaying the appetite beast.

ANYhow, I really need to divulge that I didn’t lose any weight this week.  I’m still firmly stuck at 12 stone on the nose.  It’s a bit too soon to plateau, so I reckon it’s just a case of the appetite monster again.

I promised to do waist measurement and BMI this week too, so excuse me while I go grab the tape.

Yay! A two-inch improvement on January’s measurement.

Let’s check the BMI scale.  Last month I was clinically obese.  Does 3 lb take me out of that zone?

Sacha's BMI this month

Click on image to use the NHS tool

Yes it does!  Hooray!

So the long term goal is to get my BMI into the safe zone at 25, which is 10 stone 1 lb for me.  My original goal was 9 stone 10 lb, since I used to be able to maintain that.  I think I’ll see how I go on that front.  If the weight wants to be at 9 st 10 once I’ve established my healthier eating habits, great.  If not, that’s fine too.

My calculations tell me that if I aim to lose a pound a week like I’ve been trying to do, it realistically turns out at around 3 lb per month. Between now and December (let’s forget about losing any weight in December right now), 3 lb per month spookily turns out to get me to 10 st 1 lb by the end of October.   So there’s a month’s leeway in case of a blip.

That actually sounds do-able.

You know? For a week where I didn’t lose any weight, I’m feeling remarkably optimistic!