If not dieting, then what? Creating healthy habits, without moralization of those habits, has been harder than I thought.
Last week I put together a list of habits I'd like to integrate into my life as a way to improve my quality of life. After doing my best to integrate these six habits I had some successes, but a lot more failures.
1. I kept forgetting to integrate some of my new habits.
(Habits number three and four - adding exercise) For some reason I had a hell of a time remembering that I needed to exercise. I don't even know where to start here. I would go to bed with the full intention of exercising after my kids were done with their school work. The day would get started, we'd start school, end school, and then I'd receive a phone call, text, or have some errand I'd need to run and BAM the allotted exercise time was gone. I had originally planned to workout at home, but my daily routine seems to be more imbedded in my brain than I thought it was.
(Habit number six - going to bed earlier) Going to bed earlier stressed me out.... a LOT! I set up three timers on my phone to remind me that it was getting close to bed time and I needed to shut things down. I thought these would be gentle reminders to wrap whatever I was doing up. Instead, I felt like I was on an episode of Forged in Fire, sweating my ass off in the forge with Will yelling at me that I had only 30 minutes to turn in my piece of cold metal to the judges as a finished knife. The first timer would go off and I'd think I had time to finish what I was reading and get to the dishes in a minute. The second timer would go off and I'd think the same thing, but by the third timer I'd be pissed because I hadn't finished what I was reading, creating, planning and I'd need to rush around, put the dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down counter tops, yell at the kids to brush their teeth and get into bed, rip my contacts out of my eyes, wipe down my face, FIND pj's and lie in bed... awake... annoyed that I was in bed.
2. It felt like a diet.
(Habit number three - keeping a food, sleep and period journal) This is where things get a little more complicated. By keeping a record of what I'm eating, sleeping and my period, I'd like to understand my bodily patterns. If I have more awareness of what I'm doing, then I can make changes that would benefit my body. The problem I ran into, is that by tracking everything it took a lot of time AND I started to second guess what I was eating. I moved away from listening to my natural hunger signals to what I thought a healthy food journal should look like. Oh... and I was totally disappointed in how much sleep I wasn't getting.
Where Do I Go From Here?
In "Atomic Habits" James Clear discusses in depth how to create a habit which consists of a cue, craving, response, and reward. It's pretty obvious to me that I'm missing the boat on exercise by not creating an effective cue for my exercise habit. I'm getting caught up in life and blowing past the time I have set aside for working out. Another issue is that I don't find working out at home all that attractive. In the past, when I have actually worked out, I've had a lot of distractions such as the cat needing me to add more food to his already full food dish, the kids asking me if I know where the Oort Cloud is, and the dog feeling like she needs sniff and lick me while executing downward facing dog.
In an attempt to address these issues I'm going to set a timer to remind me to exercise (cue). Second, I decided to join a gym to give myself 60 minutes of uninterrupted exercise time. I'm not sure how I feel about a gym? I know a lot of people use gyms as a way to punish their bodies, but I'm not there for punishment. I'm hoping the gym is actually a place of relief from the distractions of home.
As far as addressing the food/sleep/period journal? I think I'm going to give it a month before I decide if I want to keep doing it or not. Yes, it does feel diet-y but I'm wondering how this is going to pan out? Will all those old diet-y feelings kick up? And if they do, how is that going to manifest because I'm not restricting calories, carbs or really anything except for mean for two meals out of the day. I guess what I'm wondering is will I still want to binge despite the lack of restriction?
I did have some successes last week.
I may have focused a lot on the failures, but I did have some success this past week. I was able to add fruits and/or veggies to every meal AND I ate meat for dinner only. While my parents were visiting us, my mom gave me a great idea for a vegetarian lunch. She mixed a couple handfuls of grape tomatoes, 1 avocado (cut into chunks), about a cup of 4% cottage cheese, and drizzled Olive Garden's Italian dressing on top. It may not sound the best, but man is it delicious. I asked her where she had come up with the interesting combination and she informed me that my grandma had eaten something similar to this when she was dining at a place called Woolworths. Apparently, Grandma had asked for a Lent appropriate meal at Woolworths, and they brought out a tomato, that had been cored, filled the tomato with cottage cheese and drizzled French dressing on top. She loved it so much that she made her own version at home.
This week's habit plan is to:
1. Keep adding fruits and veggies to every meal.
2. Continue to cut down my meat consumption to dinner only.
3. Keep a food, sleep and period journal to gather data on my patterns and habits.
4. Set a timer and Walk 3x's a week after my kids are done with school at the gym.
Table Number 5. Practice yoga 2x's a week after my kids are done with school.
Table Number 6. Have the house shut down, cleaned up by 9:45PM so I can go to bed in peace.
Out of all of the habits, the sleep habit has caused me the most angst. I need to brainstorm another way to obtain more sleep. Also, I'm not sure where I'm going to do yoga. I'm wondering if I just need to cut down on my expectations of yoga? Maybe I should shoot for 10 minutes of yoga instead of the 60 minutes? I'm not sure how all of this is going to shake out, but I'm gonna keep steamrollin' on through!
Still Workin' on Wellness,