Less of Me: The Diet, Week Two

So much for great plans and good intentions. 

One of the good people who offered advice about my impending diet last Saturday told me to be gentle with myself when I failed to do what I had planned. That was excellent advice, especially since I didn’t succeed consistently on anything  I planned.

First the good news. When I weighed this morning, I found to my surprise that I had actually lost 2.3 pounds. Why? I dunno. I made no effort to eat less or even to eat differently. I was more aware of what I ate just because I had weighed and then written about it here.

Now, to the long list of failures. My objectives and the results were:

1. Start getting 8 hours sleep every night. It turns out that the only easy thing about this was writing the sentence. I managed to make myself go to bed by 1 am almost every night. I did not pull an all-nighter all week. But I couldn’t sleep once I got there. I tossed. Turned. Tossed some more. To top it off, my elderly mother got me up at 4 a couple of mornings; not because she was sick, but just … well … because. So the first objective gets 14 for effort and zero for success. I will keep trying and would appreciate any and all ideas as to how to succeed. I. Am. So. Tired. I need the sleep!

2. Exercise every day. I managed to do this 3 times rather than the 7 I hoped for. I rode my recumbent bike for 30 minutes instead of the planned 15 simply because it was easy to peddle and read. The challenge here is making myself go do it. I’m going to run at it again this week. I think that three times is a big improvement over none, btw. My score for this is 7 for effort and 7 for success. Halfway there.

3. Don’t do so much. I was a TOTAL flop at this! In fact, instead of clearing the decks, I took on two additional projects; one for a volunteer position I hold and another for my family. The score here is zip and zip; the big zero.

4. Drink more water. I drank more water, but not what I had planned. I’ll work on it. I would score this 10 for effort and 7 for success.

5. Weigh. Every Saturday. I am 14 for 14 on this! I finally have something where I accomplished what I planned, even if it is just stepping on a scale and looking down. Yeah!

6. Blog about it here every Saturday. I am doing that now. So again, 14 for effort and 14 for success.

7. Pray about it. I (blush) didn’t do this at all. It is so hard for me to pray about this. I have no idea why.

So there you have it. The bottom line is that I need a lot of work just to get to the beginning of living a healthy life. The odd thing is the weight loss. I think it is most likely a result of the self-awareness I gained from talking about all this here. I think that may actually be the most helpful thing I’ve tried.

I hope you guys have some ideas about sleep. I think that’s the single most important thing I need to do for myself right now. Please feel free to chime in with any ideas, thoughts, prayers you have for me. I need all of it.

Thank you again for all the help you’ve given me so far. As I said, it seems to be doing me good, almost without my knowing it.

Now, I’m off to put a roast in the oven and then go to mass.

 

 

 

  • Faith

    I could have written this exact list. I too am always trying to eat better, exercise, etc and only getting a miniscule amount done with frequent backsliding. Some things about the sleeping problem, I have found: 1). Drink less caffeine. I try not have any after 3 p.m. 2) Also get off the screen an hour before retiring to bed. Something about blogs, news, etc does not help me sleep. It churns my mind up. Instead I make sure I have a good book to read every night and I try to get to bed early enough to have 20 minutes at least of reading. 3). If you can’t sleep or wake in the night for no reason, say the rosary, maybe several. I tend to let worrisome things fill my head, but if I pray them away, it really helps relax me and the rosary’s repetitiveness helps lull me to sleep. I still have some trouble sleeping. Partly I think it is my age (52) and partly because for so many years I had broken sleep that my body just doesn’t know what’s healthy anymore.

    I am going to follow along with your journey here. I think it will inspire me. So, thank you!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I’ll try the book … and the Rosary. I usually pray the Rosary before bed, but you can never pray it too much!

  • J. H. M. Ortiz

    For at least several years now, I’ve found that, day or night, I get sleepy about an hour to an hour-and-a-quarter after a meal or a snack. So would maybe some low-calorie meal or snack (maybe just an orange?) help about an hour before bedtime? (Maybe a different pre-bedtime time-span would suit better?)

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That might help. I’ll try having a glass of milk and see if it does anything.

  • http://tljax.wordpress.com tl

    Precious sister,
    I like your friend’s advice to be gentle with yourself. I found that, for me, recognizing and celebrating progress was vital. Like the Dow Jones indicators after a good day, the green arrow is pointed up, so celebrate (just not with food or sloth)! Commend yourself. You are worth whatever it takes to conform yourself to the perfect image in which God created you! Remember: the best self-denial comes with the best self-care. We, who know to whom we belong, understand this better than those who do not. I am 62% of the man I used to be, all because I learned to come to grips with this fact, and because I allowed God to reshape me according to His design. My Creator is your re-Creator too! Peace to you as you rest in Him. Amen!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you for this beautiful comment. I will treasure it.

  • http://stevenjeffries.wordpress.com Steve Jeffries

    Thanks for visiting my sports site, Rebecca! I appreciate that very much. Take care and stop in anytime!

    Steven

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Steve. I’ll be back.

  • http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com Wendy Macdonald

    I am so glad to hear that you are not slave driving yourself with restricting food or over-exercising. Yet, you managed to lose a healthy sensible amount of weight. Slow losses tend to stay lost. Remember that as you get in more shape, you may not seem to lose much on the scale since muscle weighs more than fat; however the inches will measure differently. I agree that 3 times a week on a bike is better than 0. I rarely make it past 4 times. And it’s okay. Because when we went on our hikes, this summer, I could tell that my old bike helped me keep in shape. I use it more to keep my heart and mind healthy. My only advice for sleep is to avoid stressful conversations in late evening and do your exercising at least 1-2 hours before settling down since exercise tends to make us more alert! I will pray for you tonight about the sleep struggle. It happens sometimes to me, and I find it so draining. My heart goes out to you on this one…
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you for the encouraging words. This struggle with my health habits is tough for me, even though I know it sounds like something trivial that should be no big deal. For me, it is a big deal. And a rather embarrassing one. I need the support. I’m getting some great suggestions here about the sleep, including yours. I think the sleep is key. If I don’t start getting more rest, I can never begin to feel better. Thank you Wendy.

  • joannemcportland

    The advice about getting off the screen (any screen–laptop, iPad, Kindle, TV) at least an hour before bed is a good not just because our devices carry content that gets us riled up, but also because the light emitted actually interferes with the brain’s ability to power down. I’m a longtime insomniac who has learned that darkness and quiet really do make a difference. But go easy on yourself in this area, too; getting a couple of extra hours is a good habit-starter, so don’t despair if you don’t go from up-all-night to 8 uninterrupted hours overnight—or ever. :) And the rosary, I must admit, is a great calmer and sleep inducer. I don’t feel bad about using it that way because my mom always said if you fall asleep praying the rosary, your guardian angel finishes it for you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Hi Joanne! I was thinking about this after I read the earlier comment, wondering if staring at the backlit screen might be “programming” my brain to stay awake. It’s going to be hard, (another bad habit) but I’ll start trying to put the computer away earlier. Thanks for stopping by while you’re on your pilgrimage.

    • http://jscafenette.com Manny

      I didn’t realize that about the video screen too Joann. I’ll keep that in mind as well.

  • http://Heartfulmemories@wordpress.com Janice oliver

    First congratulations on the weight you did lose Rebecca! Sleep is my worst enemy or so you would think. I’m so nocturnal and have ben most of my adult life. I have beside my bed every form of lavender there is. If not for the relaxing herb I would be sleep walking everyday. A simple lavender balm to rub on your temples works best. I have one made by Badger, I bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Also if you have arthritis you could take a Tylenol pm. Warm milk is probably better though. I too was not as vigilant as I should have been but lost 2 lbs just by cutting my portions and watching the carbs. Yay us!

    Yours, In Christ’s love jan

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Congrats on your weight loss!!!!
      I had never heard of Lavender as a sleep aid Janice. Can I just buy this at the supermarket or drug store or do I need to go to specialty shop?

  • http://Heartfulmemories@wordpress.com Janice oliver

    First congratulations on the weight you did lose Rebecca! Sleep is my worst enemy or so you would think. I’m so nocturnal and have been most of my adult life. I have beside my bed every form of lavender there is. If not for the relaxing herb I would be sleep walking everyday. A simple lavender balm to rub on your temples works best. I have one made by Badger, I bought it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Also if you have arthritis you could take a Tylenol pm. Warm milk is probably better though. I too was not as vigilant as I should have been but lost 2 lbs just by cutting my portions and watching the carbs. Yay us!

    Yours, In Christ’s love jan

  • http://about.me/scottwfischer Scott

    Faith hit the nail on the head with her sleep inducing suggestions, except I’ll caution you to not make the book TOO good. Getting pulled into a great story can also be detrimental to sleep. Sometimes the body needs a little assistance and there was a book I read long ago that recommended and amino-acid, herbal cocktail to help sleep (I’ll see if I can find it) – the combination is 5-HTP, GABA and melatonin.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I’ve tried melatonin. It has no effect that I can tell. I’ll look into the other things.
      “I’ll caution you to not make the book TOO good” :-)

  • Laura

    This week’s motto: Focus on progress, not perfection.

    Exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time is ***AT LEAST*** as good as 15 minutes a day, seven days a week; some argue that it is better. You should increase your “score” to 14/14! Seriously. The key to getting an exercise program going is what works FOR YOU– your body, your schedule, your preferences. Some people do better if they do the same thing every day, or at least every weekday; others do better if they have a fixed number of workouts per week, but give themselves some leeway in when they actually do them. And reading while you pedal is a great idea; watching TV is also an option. (One way to ‘force’ yourself to exercise is to only allow yourself to watch a favorite TV show while pedaling; it makes sure you’ll get at least that much exercise per week!)

    As for sleep: that’s a big problem for me too, so I sympathize. One part of your solution will be to get physically more relaxed, i.e. once your exercise regimen kicks in. This will take a few weeks, so be patient. Next, you need to re-train your body and mind to sleep a healthy amount, at a healthy time. Google “sleep hygiene” for good tips on what to do… then do them ruthlessly. What people have said above about glowing screens (either computer or TV) is absolutely spot-on. NO screens on after 9PM! Be RUTHLESS with this habit– it hurts your body. The converse is also true– getting exposed to bright light first thing in the morning (natural daylight or an Ott-light type bulb) will help your “clock” get reset. Also, a short (2-3 week) course of prescription drugs like Ambien can help as a part of a re-training program for your body (it’s call “cognitive behavioral therapy”, and your doctor can refer you to somebody who does it. You HAVE scheduled an appointment, right?) (Long term, drugs don’t work, BTW.)

    Also… you need to have a talk with your Mom about not sabotaging you. BOTH of you have to respect your physical health needs more than you have in the past. (And also… waking up miserable and lonely in the wee early morning multiple times a week is the classic form of depression in elderly women. Just sayin’…)

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    That’s a really good start, and losing 2+ pounds in a week is on track for the right amount of weight to lose. I think you did very well. Keep going and keep trying to improve. Three times a week exercise is way better than what you were doing. One thing I do to help me fall asleep is that I take an ipod to bed (with old headphones since over time they tend to break in bed) with an audio of a lecture or an audio book. Listening to the human voice tends to make me drowsy. I use headphones because my wife is in bed, but don’t know if that’s an issue with you.

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