BESSHAILE   46,313
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Making time for sleep - because What's Next will be there when I wake up

Saturday, February 13, 2010

One of the things I wanted to concentrate on this year was getting Enough Sleep. SP emphasises sleep in its program as do other good health guides but in this world of instant 24/7 distraction it's easy to think we can fit more in if we just stay up a little later - or, as in my case - since I am a lark - get up a little earlier. So one of my New Year's Resolutions was that I may not get out of bed before 5 a.m.

for you night owls, that may seem preposterous but there you have it - I think staying up later than 9 o'clock is absurd and I quit a promising career in music because it is basically Night Work. I actually look forward to 8:30 when I can start thinking about going to bed. emoticon

But my brain is just as susceptible to the world's demands for speed and quantity as anyone else so I often go to sleep already planning to hop out of bed early the next day. And in my case, I think it has a little to do with not living enough in the present - with running away to the future so I can be prepared - and in the end, loosing touch with the here and now.

I notice this with my yoga practice yesterday - that I wouldn't come back to a resting pose and think about what I had just done - and feel what had changed within my body. Instead, I was reaching for a prop or putting myself into the next pose the moment I reached maximum stretch. I would watch myself do this and think 'You're being absurd, Bess! Stop it!" and I would, but the period of flowing into repose was already gone, brushed aside in my haste to Be Prepared for the Next Move.

Like multi-tasking - another bad habit I've embraced - and mindless eating - I am not actually doing anything in and of itself. It's always got to share space with TheNextThing which will also get smashed into whatever follows that. I tend to never actually BE anywhere or DO anything solely and completely because I'm always preparing for What's Next - which frequently includes borrowing troublesome worries about the many ways What's Next can go wrong.

I've actually realized this about myself for quite some time. Now and then I've even consciously stopped behaving this way. But I believe that, for today, I am going to concentrate on living in the present - finishing everything I pick up, eating all of what's in my mouth, completing every yoga move - for the whole day. It will be fun to see how I feel about things at the end of the day.

Happy Saturday to you

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOUISE1238 2/13/2010 5:10PM

    I suspect the majority of us suffer from this getting-ready-for-the-next-thing syndrome. It's nice when we actually realize it, and, at least for a few moments, come back to the here and now. Happy (almost) Valentine's Day! I love yoga, too, btw. But I am definitely NOT a 5am person.

Comment edited on: 2/13/2010 5:11:35 PM

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SHEILA1505 2/13/2010 11:31AM

    I can relate to this Bess - instead of enjoying the process of creating an attractive corner in the garden, or painting a room, I'll go at it like a bull in a china shop to get it finished a.s.a.p. Yet I do enjoy the process so my only excuse is that I am impatient to see the finished product.

I'm also up with the sparrows and find I'm yawning my head off after dance socials if my friends have persuaded me to go on for coffee afterwards (at 10pm!) No longer the night-owl I used to be - coming home with the milk delivery or the newspapers.

Let us know how you get on with the single tasking - and whether you actually enjoy the adventure!

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JKTENTATIVE 2/13/2010 10:12AM

    What an articulate posting! You know, I have thought about some of this sometimes...about really living in the present, but I have never tried to put it in words. Sounds like you are starting to really get a handle on it all, based on the way you have broken it all down into the key steps. Happy Saturday to you too!

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    Great insight about that Being Ready for The Next Thing syndrome; hope your reflection at the end of the day is fruitful. And may the end of your day coincide with an early bedtime. (Me too -- bliss is bed at 9!)

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JLITT62 2/13/2010 8:40AM

    I've gotten much, much better about not multitasking over the years.

OTOH, I have trouble sleeping past 4:30 am most days (and I don't even have to go to work!). Most of the time I will get up because what's the point in laying in bed when you're not going to sleep? I could be reading blogs, after all.

I keep trying to convince DH that multitasking isn't such a great idea. I've been trying to get him to snuggle with the dogs before coming to bed, so that he doesn't go straight from the computer to bed. Well, I keep suggesting it, anyway. Maybe someday it will stick.

Good luck on being in the now today! I often have to remind myself to concentrate on the task at hand, not the 20 next tasks.

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Hitting the override button on my stomach

Friday, February 12, 2010

so here is my conundrum.

I am working hard to train myself to eat:

Only when I am hungry -
Only what I want -
To Savor what I'm eating -
To Stop when I'm full

I know that if I eat that way I will eventually weigh what I should weigh. Period.

The tools I'm using are:

Nutrition tracker to be sure I'm eating food that nourishes me
S L O W I N G down my eating
Packing my lunch and healthy snacks
Eating food I really really like
and of course Spark People

So. So why is it that when I have done all the above - and it's dinnertime and I've eaten a delicious dinner I cooked myself, of foods that I really like, in portions that exactly satisfy me

and dinner is over

and I know there's a little wiggle room on my nutrition tracker ... a few more calories uneaten


I go out to the kitchen and get a skinny cow ice cream sandwich anyway?

Now - there's nothing wrong with the skinny cow ice cream sandwich. It's tasty, it's got calcium, it won't push me over the calorie limit -


so - why do I violate the first rule of mindful eating?

It's important to remember the part about Not Being Hungry here - because there's absolutely nothing wrong with eating something planned. The question is ... why is it that I don't think I'm done with food if I don't eat something sweet?

Is this something leftover from infancy or childhood? (could be) Is the sweet lust hard wired in human brains? (I suspect so since breast milk is sweet)

I'm glad I planned well enough to fit some sweet ice cream into my daily consumption but I am not glad - I am really dissatisfied with how my brain hit the override button on my stomach.

This is the biggest hurdle I have to leap - switching control from my brain to my stomach. Because all too often I mindlessly choose sweet junk or even sweet not-such-junk to eat for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with hunger. (remember those cheetos?)

I wonder if I had waited just 10 minutes or maybe 15 - would I have gone out to the kitchen and visited Mr.IceCreamBox? Hmmmmm. coming up with a plan here. hmmmm.

Okay -

For the next two weeks there will be No Desert till 15 minutes AFTER dinner. Then - if I can honestly say I am hungry and if I can honestly say there is room in the calorie budget and if I have had a glass of water first - then I can have whatever I'm lusting for.

Let's see if this little exercise will help my brain have a more honest and respectful relationship with my stomach.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 2/12/2010 5:07PM

    You've got a good plan. Good luck! Have a wonderful Valentine's Day weekend!

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ELLENB10 2/12/2010 5:02PM

    At least you are thinking about this. Drinking the water and waiting is a good idea. I will have to try that, too.

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DMBEECHAM 2/12/2010 2:27PM

    When I do my nutritional tracker, I budget in dessert/glass of wine at the beginning of the day so I know what my remaining ranges are for the rest of the day. I might have a glass of wine per week on average, but I like to have something for dessert. Sometimes it's 1/2 cup ice cream, 1/2 cup rice pudding, apple slices w/ cinnamon sprinkled on, or grapefruit & 1/2 cup cottage cheese. But, in my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, I'd rather budget in a dessert than feel like I'm depriving myself. Yesterday, my son decided he wanted to make brownies for everyone to have as dessert. I was able to eat sensibly for my remaining meals and still have a brownie guilt-free. I also usually delay having dessert until 30 min-1 hour after I've finished dinner.

Best wishes with your exercise during the next 2-3 weeks. emoticon

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BESSHAILE 2/12/2010 2:18PM

    Thanks so much friends. I do want you to know that I am all about planning for the treats in life. What I'm working on now, though, is something different - a habit of listening to my body and responding with the appropriate behavior. I've spent a lifetime of listening to my heart, listening to my mind, listening to my parents, teachers, and others. Everybody including my psyche has been allowed to take first place in line.

What i want to work no right now is letting my body tell me what it wants. 102633 - your suggestion of giving this 3 weeks is great! I'm going to add another week to this process. Don't think I won't have a treat in these three weeks. I just won't have one if I am NOT hungry. I'll drink the water, wait the 15 minutes and then have the treat.

again -you guys are all the absolute best!

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JKTENTATIVE 2/12/2010 11:50AM

    I don't try to fight it. I plan to have a WW chocolate fudge bar some time after dinner...usually when I am watching TV. My goal is to only have 1 (or 2 if I need the addl calories to hit my target). This is an enormous accomplishment for me, because before it was 1 or 2 whole boxes!! I think it is okay to have that sweet after dinner, though I never have it immediately afterwards. You can't put yourself in an eating straight-jacket...that is not sustainable. I think you should allow for and plan a sweet treat each evening, enjoy it, and while you are eating your meal, know that that will be consumed later in the evening. That might be a more sustainable compromise with yourself...and will also allow you to achieve complete control.

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SHEILA1505 2/12/2010 8:00AM

    My sympathies!
I don't know if it works out any less in calories - but if the delay and the water story don't make any difference, have you tried eating an apple or a peach and then cleaning your teeth?
Usually once I have done both of these, then eating is over for the night.

Good luck

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JLITT62 2/12/2010 7:48AM

    I have the same problem. So I usually plan out my sweets, too. Because if I feel deprived of my sweets, I'll eat around it -- usually eating more than I would have if I'd just eaten the darn thing.

If I'm craving something sweet that isn't planned -- then I invoked the water & the 20 minute rule. Most of the time I find the craving has past, but sometimes it's still there.

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102633 2/12/2010 7:27AM

    Many of us have your same problem. We have been raised in this culture that says, "the meal is not over until you have that piece of dessert".

It sounds like you have a handle on what you need to do. Your "re-programing" exercise should work. Just remember it takes 21 days for an action to become a habit. Perhaps a three week change will bring you closer to making the positive change you want to see.

Good luck and healthy living to you. Let us know how things turn out with your new motivation.

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Yielding to the inevitable

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First off - thanks for all the kind thoughts and support on yesterday's blog. I was of two minds about grousing here. The truth is - Tuesday wasn't a bad day - I know - I've had Bad Days. I was just crabby and irritable and seemed to be borrowing trouble - focusing on what bad thing Might Happen - and before I realized it, I was eating junk food - and believe me - that WAS a bad thing - though, of course, a minor bad thing.

Like stupid stress - bogus bad things are a major waste of a good life. And I suspect we all fall victim to being victims of bogus bad things now and then - so that's why I decided to write about it.

In fact - that borrowing of trouble seems to be linked to overeating. Obsessing about what Might Happen just sets me up for making dumb choices. It's as if I say "If All Heck is about to Break Loose - I better eat a cookie because there might not be any more cookies ... or at least any more good things after that." stupid, huh. I have to keep remembering that There Will Be Cookies - just not right now.

I especially have to keep remembering that since I've decided to yield to the inevitable, use up precious vacation time the rest of this week and stay home - which means stay within a few steps from the kitchen all day long - till the lane to my house dries up and the ice cradles around the cars have melted. We have several days of sunshine up ahead, March is less than 3 weeks away. This winter has to end sometime.

I'd far rather use my annual leave on beautiful spring days but if that isn't possible at least I HAVE vacation time I can burn this way. I canceled my pedicure and manicure (see? I'd already planned to take this day off as a reward) and will reschedule that for some lovely day when the temperatures are going to be in the 60's or better and meet up with my sister in TheCity for a girl day.

It is easier to succumb to mother nature than to fight it. I'm gonna stay home and watch these critters from my knitting nook.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAYHIKER 2/11/2010 5:18PM

    It sounds like a very enjoyable day to me! I love watching the birds and boy, do we have them with this weather! We at least did not have fresh snow today and we also had sunshine!!! emoticon

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HARPERLADY 2/11/2010 8:19AM

    sounds like you have a plan, I love bird watching,I can totally relate giving in to giving in all it takes is one thing to get the ball rolling and before you know it you have an entire snowman of consumption , I am doing this like I did when I quite smoking knowing that all it takes is one ( at least I try 2)

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Was it worth it? thoughts (A rant, really) about emotional eating

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I was cranky all day yesterday. the list of reasons for being cranky goes on and on but really, these are just the usual February complaints coupled with a simply wretched economy that may or may not kibosh my work and, consequentially, my personal economics. Most of the time I can stride ahead through the morass of Reasons for Being Cranky and leave them all behind me, gasping on the side of the road - but yesterday it all began to get to me. I was snappish with an employee - crabby with my DH who managed to do all the things I really hate for him to do, all in one day - and on my second unwelcome trip to the grocery store, in the falling sleet and fading daylight I stood in another long line at the checkout counter and stared at those dreadful little bags of cheetos.

Cheetos. Cheese. Sigh.

Cheese is my chocolate. I would rather have a bite of French Corbier or English Stilton than the finest Belgian chocolates - although there is the most marvelous little shop in Culpepper VA that will sell you both - the French Corbier AND the perfect dark chocolate (no fruity taste, my dear) to go with it - as well as the absolute matching bottle of wine.

The Frenchman's corner - if you are EVER in that upper central part of VA you have to stop there - the staff really knows what they're selling and it's the only place where one bite of cheese or chocolate lasts on your tongue for 15 minutes.

oh dear - I am SUCH an ENFP! distracted by the slightest wisp of a thought. But at least thinking about that little shop has lifted my spirits to the point where I can laugh at myself.

anyway - to get back to the POINT of this post - I was standing in the check-out line and I was fretting and grousing inside because Other People were Making Me Do Things I Didn't Want To Do and it was ALL THEIR FAULT when that familiar orange bag winked at me. It shrugged it's little cellophane shoulder. It made a little kissy face and asked "Who loves ya, baby?"

And I reached over and plucked it up in my grubby little hand - I tossed it on the conveyor belt - pulled out some dollars - made my meager purchases (all the frackum way out here just to buy Someone some stupid green tea that I don't even like!!!!) and hurried out to my (defective car that I had to add anti-freeze to Right There in the Parking Lot of Walmart!!!! Me! A Girl! Touching the grimy inside of a car hood!!!!)

Mechanic duty completed I sat behind the wheel and ripped open my little bag of ecstasy and selected a salty cheesy gritty crunchy greasy little morsel.

And right away, that fickle bite turned on me. Oh - mind you - it was salty enough for me to eat the whole bag. I'm not a major salt consumer - but I can succumb to the addictive qualities of salt - especially if they have (even only) Artificial Cheese flavor in the mix. So. I can't claim any Road to Damascus conversion from a profligate life of junk consumption to a transformed life of pure clean living.

But honestly - those cheetos really weren't that good. And of course they did nothing to elevate my mood so when I finally got down my half a mile of flooded, rutted, frozen driveway with my soggy self and all those groceries to put way, I was still not prepared to greet, with any sort of equanimity, the utter chaos Somebody had created in the kitchen while looking for Green Tea that I Don't Even Like!

It took more than an hour to get the grouch off my face. Somebody quickly stuffed all the contents of an entire kitchen cabinet back any which way so that at least I didn't have to keep looking at it. Dinner was a fairly easy bean soup that always pleases and NEVER turns on me inside my mouth with a lackluster taste and a pile of empty calories. But the caloric damage had been done. already dabbling slightly over the top limit, those cheetos pushed me 200 calories over and with grim honesty I logged every one of 'em in the nutrition tracker.

Because. Because I wanted to tell the truth to myself. Because I have to know what sorts of things can go wrong. Because one 200 calorie day is not going to even cause a ripple in my progress - but by golly a whole string of them will. And while I can't do anything about the weather - or even the ancient car that I have to drive in this wretched weather (because I'm not taking my golden chariot out in This Weather) - or truly - even the Someone who I know was sick yesterday and in a lot of pain.

I can only do something about how I react to these things. And I believe, the next time it all piles up on me - no matter what else I do in response - it is NOT going to be flirting unfaithfully with that durn bag of Cheetos. by golly - If I'm going to eat cheese it's going to be a rich buttery cheddar or maybe some of that artisianal Swiss cheese I picked up at the health food store.

For me - From now on - If I am going to have a food affair - it is going to be with something that's really worth it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAMMYYARBROUGH 2/10/2010 12:47PM

    emoticonHere's to being honest!!

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HARPERLADY 2/10/2010 10:36AM


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GRANDMAAMIE 2/10/2010 9:40AM


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JKTENTATIVE 2/10/2010 8:45AM

    What a great writer you are! It's terrific that you forced yourself to face up to your actions...a milestone in getting/keeping things under control.
My fear is that it creeps up on me...I don't go for chocolate or cheese or cheetoes. I go for a 2nd, 3rd or 4th helping of "diet food." The whole package of fat free chocolate pudding, several bags of low fat popcorn, or a whole box of diet chocolate pops. I recognize that it is all about tricking myself into believing it is okay. Sounds like you are on the right track - focused on being honest with yourself. I am getting there too...


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MYFEETHURT 2/10/2010 8:37AM

  Ugh...I know too well the perils of a quick "fix." It's never ever worth it. It's never ever what you think it's going to be. I agree with MSLZZY...make it something really worth that "bite" of marvelous cheese that lingers on your tongue for 15 minutes. Hang tough...and put that green tea...I don't care for it either...right out in the open where he can find it.

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DAYHIKER 2/10/2010 8:25AM

    Harrumph! And Cheetos promised to be faithful to ME! I should have known he'd be unfaithful since he is just so cheesy! (I feel your pain!) I would like for Captain Kirk and crew to go back in time to when Cheetos were soooo good. Oh, wait, maybe I don't!! They really aren't that good anymore, are they? emoticon

Loved the blog post and as MSLZZY pointed out, you turned the negative into a positive. I think that you, Judy, and I could do a lot of damage at The Frenchman's Corner. So...when do we meet??? emoticon

Snow Crazed Cindy

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PUDLECRAZY 2/10/2010 7:51AM

    Wishing you a wonderful and successful today! emoticon

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JLITT62 2/10/2010 7:47AM

    Here's to a much, much better day today. You guys are definitely having the worst winter in a long, long time, so venting is absolutely required -- just not with cheetos!

Unfortunately for me, I love both cheese and chocolate. Chocolate definitely wins, and by more than a hair, but it's still a tight race.

The few times I succumb to emotional eating it's usually with the good stuff. But my dark chocolate/peanut butter bar still lies unscathed in my pantry, right by those PB M&Ms. No, for me, it's all those BLTs. There's too many of them. In fact, a little bit of fudgy vegan brownie just fell into my mouth somehow this morning while I was tucking one in for DH -- and no, I didn't record it. Hey, I'm a work in progress.

Sending you "keep the job" vibes. And you are so right, one bag won't derail you.

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MSLZZY 2/10/2010 7:23AM

    You turned a negative into a positive! I agree! If you want to have a love affair with food, make it something really good!

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Keep your mind focused on how you're living your daily life.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Well that was my tuesday horoscope. An apt prediction too since I am likely to be home again for another day or so. Although my lane was frozen hard and the tar roads around here were all cleared, my car was also frozen hard in a cradle of ice - so I couldn't get out to work yesterday.

Now - I am not one to go stir crazy in my own house. I can stay here for weeks and never get antsy. I emoticon this place so much I'm counting the days till retirement .. and THAT is years away.

But - 84 hours straight only inches away from the kitchen can lead to some bad slips. So far so good - and I will get to work this morning for a few hours - but this time we're expecting ice - and so when something starts to fall today ... I am coming home. I almost left it too late on Friday. Won't do that again.

More than ever before I'm having to focus focus focus. Am I hungry? would a glass of water satisfy me? Can I wait 15 minutes? But the most useful tool I've used this weekend has been to eat off of the smallest dishes in my house. Last night we had left over pot roast and I used a desert dish to serve myself and cut it into as many pieces as I could. The good news? 3 oz was enough to fill me up!

so, break out those dainty dishes and see how long you can stretch those small portions out. You just might find you're pleasantly full and well within your calorie range! Even if it IS pot roast. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DMBEECHAM 2/9/2010 12:40PM

    I've been using smaller plates for most of my meals; it definitely helps with portion control and visually retraining my brain to recognize a realistic amount of food.

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HARPERLADY 2/9/2010 10:59AM

    we are getting a few inches of snow here. I have beenhaving those conversations as ell , am I really hungry? do I just like the taste? why am I in the frigde? etc, best of luck to ya and I was thinking of making all of mt dishes small ones emoticon

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DAYHIKER 2/9/2010 9:22AM

    I like the smaller dishes, too! They make me feel like I am getting a lot! We're snowbound yet again and I'll be going out soon to start working on keeping the paths we have cleared open. I am so thankful that I am content at home but this winter has definitely been more of a challenge with so much snow starting so early! I hope I can GET to Chicago the 21st!!

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JLITT62 2/9/2010 7:54AM

    I use the smallest dishes I can get away with all the time. Haven't quite convinced DH yet, when he cooks for me, he still grabs large plates. He'll learn someday! Maybe!

Stay safe.

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MSLZZY 2/9/2010 7:06AM

    I could see my DH with a dessert plate LOL! But it is an excellent way to make sure to only take what I need. Eat slowly, chew my food and enjoy each bite and put my fork down between bits. Besides, pot roast is so good. Who wouldn't want to make it last?

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DOOBIE893 2/9/2010 6:46AM

    Thanks for the tip.....desert dishes....even smaller than the luncheon plates I've been using. Make this a great day.

Comment edited on: 2/9/2010 6:47:06 AM

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