My best year or better life?

Friday, February 6, 2015 Permalink

I finally had the conversation with my personal trainer last week… telling him I wasn’t going to count calories or get weighed. I’d felt incredibly guilty the previous week when he weighed me as he was so disappointed with the result. I – on the other hand – am really happy with how my new exercise regime is going. I’ve started pushing myself a little more on the cardiovascular sections of the twice-weekly circuit AND I’m increasing my weights whenever possible. As I said recently I already feel more agile and supple. (And yes, I do – however – still feel fat.)

I tried to explain my iterative approach to my PT: the fact that I hope by feeling fitter and better about myself I make healthier food choices and ‘inadvertently’ lose weight. #osmosis #orsomething

And because I’m not completely stupid (despite evidence to the contrary) I also realise I will need to make some changes.

I was fortunate at Christmas to win a book by Australian blogger, graphic designer and writer Kelly Exeter. Released in 2014, Your Best Year Yet is recommended for those feeling overwhelmed and directionless. HELLO?!

It’s a quick and easy read and very very practical. Unaccustomed to non-fiction I found some little post-it-note strips in case there was anything I needed or wanted to remember, and found myself sticking them on page after page – highlighting quotes or sentences which ‘spoke’ to me.

best year yet

Kelly talks about her own experiences with perfectionist behaviour, control, decision-making, envy and offers sensible approaches to each.

Control

I’m a self-confessed control freak. It’s generally seen as a bad thing – I can’t imagine why?! – so I really appreciated Kelly’s take.

When we go looking for ‘control’ what we’re really after is the feeling that we’re able to roll with life’s ebbs and flows.

I realise what I really yearn for – and need to practise – is resilience.

 

Superiority & Inferiority

I was also struck by Kelly’s honesty when it came to having a sense of superiority. I tend to have an inferiority complex and assume I suffer in comparison to others.

However… Kelly talked about the fact that she was prone to judge others on occasion and feel slightly smug; confident she’s ‘right’.

I cringed. Oh shit! I SO do this. I don’t think of myself as arrogant and say I’m not judgmental. And I’m not when it comes to many things (sexuality etc).

However… I do sometimes cast my eye at those around me and feel quite smug in a horrid and arrogant way. Unlike Kelly it’s little to do with weight or fitness or anything physical, but perhaps it’s based on assumptions I make about others and their education or financial situation and the like. It’s something I dislike about myself – though I think many (if not all) of us do it. However, seeing my behaviour reflected back at me in black and white, was a little confronting – and a timely reminder that it’s something I need to rein in.

I need to stop thinking I’m better or worse than anyone else. Cos I am. And I’m not. And it depends on who you ask. 😉

So sharing memes like this on Facebook should probably stop. Right?

So sharing memes like this on Facebook should probably stop. Right?

Motivation & Habits

And finally – the thing which really hit home in Kelly’s book – the issue of motivation. Making changes, she suggests, is less about motivation than it is about breaking old habits and building new ones. And like Zen Habits guru Leo Babatua, Kelly recommends small steps.

My first habit-changer

So… it’s taken a while but thanks for hanging in there. We’re back to me and some of the changes I would like to make.

On the getting-healthier front, something I’d like to work on is my late dinner-time habit. I bathe and read until 7.30, sometimes 8pm or later. This means I start cooking dinner after this, which often means a 9-10pm dinner. I overeat at dinner and go to bed full and uncomfortable.

The logical answer is to eat earlier (and less, but that’s a whole other matter). #nobrainer

I’ve talked a lot before about my bath time ritual. The time between 5pm-7.30pm is the only time of day I feel tetchy. Many years ago I saw a shrink who talked about the fact I ‘needed’ the transition time – from arriving home at 6-6.30pm and before ‘being’ home. The time I spent in the bath literally washed away my day and allowed me to start my evening – fresh and free.

However, now I only work part-time I realise it’s possibly the only time of day I feel alone and vulnerable. I’m not ready to plant myself in front of the TV but I’m ready to leave my desk.

The bath and book routine provides me a nourishment I don’t get elsewhere and I find myself clinging to this routine like a baby blanket.

So – conscious of that resistance – I’m looking at a few options and will try each, or a combination, to see if any of them work:

1. The most sensible approach (and my long-term goal) is to cook, taped watch TV and eat early in the evening. I can then head to the bath with my book AFTER dinner for as long as required. (Resisting any temptation to remain in there all night!)

2. I’ll try to be more conscious about time spent in the bath and attempt to force myself out earlier.

3. I’ll consider dinner options which take less time to cook and have meals on hand which can be heated quickly for those occasions when I still get out of the bath at / after 8pm.

I don’t know (and hopefully don’t care?!) if this makes any difference to my weight, but it will feel better not to go to bed with a full stomach for a change and hopefully help my insomnia. Of course, any other positive side effects will be greatly appreciated.

Any other eating-earlier suggestions?
Where do you stand on the motivation vs habit thing?

I’m (belatedly) flogging my blog With Some Grace today.

** This post is not sponsored, but if you’re interested in Your Best Year Yet it’s available in various formats. **

22 Comments
  • Jo
    February 6, 2015

    It’s an interesting take. I love the small habits thing- am trying to do it myself, but wrote only this morning about how I’m struggling with how to place a full stop under the day that doesn’t involve alcohol. The bath could be the answer…with a mineral water, of course!

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      I’ve actually cut down my alcohol intake a lot in the last little while Jo – but I think it’s coincided with increased meal sizes. I feel so full I can’t drink anything!

  • Kelly Exeter (@kellyexeter)
    February 6, 2015

    Hey you! I love this post so much. I love that you told your trainer you’re not going to track your weight any more. I love that you’re putting your trust in the process and leaving it to the process/system to do the job rather than always looking towards the goals (my friend Sam wrote about this recently, I think you’ll like what she found: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/processes/systems-1-goals-0

    and I love that you’ve created processes that, if followed (not to the letter … just 80/20) then, they will reap great results for you Deb xx

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      Thanks so much Kelly! Will check out Sam’s post.

  • Trish MLDB
    February 6, 2015

    I’d like to read this book too.
    Just take it Day at a time. If one day doesn’t go to plan , try again and forgive and forget yesterdays not quite nailed plans.
    Habits are hard to break – making yourself accountable I think helps with the motivation.

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      Yes, good idea Trish.

      All I can do is try my best and of course I’ll know if that’s the case or not. But I will also aim to check in here on a regular basis (on the accountability front!).

      Deb

  • yinyangmother
    February 6, 2015

    With kids it is a bit chaotic (our daughter dances 4 nights during the week for a start) and habits can be hard to form. I also struggled to give up the ‘5.30pm drink/s at the end of the day, but I’m going well, mostly thanks to doing yoga in the afternoon/evening whenever I can. Hubby does take the load with dropping/picking up with our daughters dance, we share cooking and I get organised on Sunday with some meals ready to go during the week. The other thing I used to do but you could try is a walk after dinner – so earlier dinner, then walk, then bath and book before bed.

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      My PT suggests a post-dinner walk, though I’m not too sure. However, I do need to take your lead and make up more meals en masse. I sometimes try for bulk but then just eat more… I could probably make them at a time other than dinner however. 🙁

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    February 6, 2015

    I think the bath AFTER dinner is a good idea. Set a timer. You do make it sound comforting though. I can’t sleep too soon after eating a big meal because it gives me reflux. I’ve been cutting down alcohol in small steps so I agree with Kelly on that one for sure.

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      I definitely need to leave it longer between eating and bed. Though usually I probably eat so much it makes me tired!

  • Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    February 6, 2015

    I bought Kelly’s book and it is on my iPad, yet to be read. I have heard fantastic things and your post has just cemented the fact that I really need to get into it.

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      Yes it’s great Karin, enjoy!

      Deb

  • Satu
    February 6, 2015

    I’m so glad you’ve started exercising again. If I don’t exercise, I will become a drained and achy blob in no time at all. 🙂

    Re the superiority thing, I usually suffer more from feelings of inferiority than superiority but I’ve noticed I entertain both mindsets from time to time. I don’t think I’m very overtly superior – or at least I hope I’m not!

    One thing thing that might help with heavy late eating is simply eating a bigger breakfast and lunch.

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      Yes, I also wonder about an afternoon snack Satu. I usually only have afternoon tea when I’m dieting and I’m making an effort to eat some snacks (nuts or something). I know I am prone to get overly hungry at times.

      Deb

  • Jess
    February 6, 2015

    I don’t entirely agree that there is no such thing as motivation, because I certainly know of some people who are generally unmotivated in all aspects and I think for them there is more to it then simply bad habits. I think habit definitely helps motivation and maybe motivation can even become a habit, but now I think I am just over thinking haha.

    I think it is great you told your trainer no more weighing etc and you are happy with where you are at, that is a much better gage of success then the scale anyway.

    Your bath time ritual sounds like bliss so I am not surprised it is hard to change. I like your pre cooking suggestion, although I am not organised enough to do that myself.

    • Debbish
      February 6, 2015

      I didn’t add that my PT is planning on weighing me this coming week. (For his benefit he says!)

      Kelly talks in the book about motivation and willpower. I’ve often pondered how I can be so motivated (desperate) to lose weight but not have the follow through (commitment I say, but willpower I guess) to do it. Maybe I’m being motivated by the wrong things?! (A place of hate perhaps?)

  • Char
    February 7, 2015

    I like option #1. Having your bath later would be a perfect way to prepare to go to bed. Unwinding and relaxing then rolling into bed sounds like it’d be the perfect solution. As for earlier meals – I’m quite partial to my slow cooker for helping me get meals sorted early in the day.

    • Debbish
      February 7, 2015

      Yes, I might look at getting a slow cooker as winter approaches!

  • Lisa @ Read Write Run
    February 7, 2015

    I’m often eating dinner late – but that’s just 7:30 or 8pm. Any later than that and I can’t sleep. Do you eat so late because you’re not hungry? If so, maybe a brisk walk or other exercise in the afternoon might help you feel like eating earlier.
    My other advice is chuck the scales. And if your PT wants to weigh you “for his benefit” let him, but you don’t have to look! 😉
    The motivation vs habit thing is interesting. I think motivation is fleeting, in that you really really really really have to care deeply about something and be very committed to it for it to bring about lasting change. I believe that motivation might get you started, but it’s forming a habit that keeps you going.

    • Debbish
      February 9, 2015

      Completely agree on the habit front Lisa. Before my seachange I used to go to the gym almost every lunch. I’d scheduled it into my diary at work and the reminder popped up and off I’d go. I didn’t ever really think about whether I felt like it or not. It was just what I did. 🙂

  • Grace
    February 10, 2015

    Very insightful. I’ve only heard great things about Kelly’s book. I need to get a copy.
    As for eating habits, I am big on night time snacking. Packet of chips here and there. When I don’t do it, I see a big difference in my weight. But it’s one of those habits that are really hard to break. So, I still cave once in a while but I try not to beat myself up. The reality is it can take ages to break a habit. I just have to keep trying until I get it right. I know I will. Eventually.

    • Debbish
      February 10, 2015

      Ah yes Grace… my trainer keeps worrying about my post-dinner eating. I keep trying to tell him that I don’t do any such thing – eating dinner so late means I’m already full. No room for anything else. (Hmmmm…. perhaps that’s a perk of late-dinners which I hadn’t considered before!) 🙂

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