Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Zzzzzz.

Ok. Here’s the thing. Last night when I was updating my food and exercise journals I thought, “hmmm, maybe I should start keeping a sleep journal too.” Now, I’m not talking about the kind of journal where I record my dreams and then consult books designed to help me unlock the keys to my subconscious. No… I was thinking more along the lines of a place where I could record the number of hours I sleep each night. Believe me, I know how silly that sounds and I know too that the last thing I need is *another* written chronicle of this journey to have to keep up with. On the other hand, one of the patterns that has emerged from keeping records of what I eat and when I exercise, is that I simply do so much better on days that are preceded by a full night’s sleep.

Again… stating the obvious, right? Maybe, but the thing is, I used to *never* sleep a full 8 hours in a night. Never. In fact, for years I was convinced that I was just the type of person who only needed 5-6 hours tops and that I could easily make due on 3-4. However, let me just tell you that if that were ever truly the case, it’s simply not so anymore; recently, my internal body clock has definitely started reaching for the snooze button. This got me thinking a little bit about why that might be. Of course, the fact is, I’m getting older. I’m closer to 40 now than I am to 30 and it could just be that, as much as I hate to admit it, my body is slowing down. But then I wonder too if being terribly fat has anything to do with it, and if so, then, it becomes something of a chicken vs. egg proposition, doesn’t it? Do I sleep more because my sad and sluggish body simply needs more rest OR has a lack of rest over the last couple of decades diminished my capacity to make good choices such that, over time, I’ve turned into a sad and sluggish sleep deprived cow?

But the bigger question for me really has to do with what one does with these patterns once they have emerged. The obvious answer, of course, is that you learn from them. After the light bulb has gone on over your head, you say to your self, “Self… you need 8 hours of sleep each night in order to stick to your diet guns the next day, so… go out there and make me proud!” And to a certain extent I’m doing that… but I can also see where discovering such patterns could be used as a crutch or an excuse *not* to do what I’m supposed to do. For example, Wednesday night was a terribly long night for me. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was nearly 2am when I last looked at the clock and the alarm went off 4 hours later at quarter to 6am. As a result, I spent much of Thursday in a yawny daze… and while I didn’t really overeat, I also found myself too tired at the end of the day to exercise — at least that’s what I told myself. The truth is, I probably could have gotten out there and walked, if not all, at least half of the 2-3 miles that I try to walk each night, but instead I told myself that it was “okay” to take the night off because I hadn’t slept well the night before, which maybe it was, but I could see where this could become a habit and I worry that, without serious reflection, instead of using my new found power for good, I’ll it for evil!

Maybe the real pattern that I’ve uncovered here isn’t that I need at least 8 hours of sleep each night in order to be most successful at living the healthy life that I’ve committed myself to, (although I think that’s certainly true). Perhaps the real truth I’ve discovered about myself is that, if given the chance, I’ll do just about anything to justify *not* doing the right thing. Maybe the really important thing that I need to understand about myself is that, when push comes to shove, I’m just looking for reasons to give myself permission to do the wrong thing:

“It’s okay not to exercise tonight because I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“It’s okay to have an extra helping of _____ because someone said something mean to me.”

“It’s okay to eat this double-fudge brownie topped with hot caramel and homemade whipped cream because I had a bad day at work.” (Not that, that’s really happened, of course).

You get the picture.

Again. Maybe this is all just a long rambling statement of the obvious, but if that’s really the case, why haven’t I done more to change it? The truth is, I don’t know if G.I. Joe was right when he said that “knowing is half the battle.” I don’t know if simply recognizing these things about myself will give me the strength to do something about them. But I do know that once you know something, you can’t unknow it. And if nothing else, perhaps the residual guilt still left in me from being a former catholic school girl will, if not motivate me to do the right thing, at least, every once in awhile, keep me from doing the wrong thing. Let’s hope so anyway.

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January 11, 2008 - Posted by | exercise, health, losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. I agree with you but I think it is more about doing what is in your comfort zone and things you have always done.,.. it is new to say hey I am not going to have 8 cookies today.. it is new to not allow yourself to give in.. so I think sometimes that just by old habit we tend to go in that direction.. but I do believe that once you acknowledge an issue you can handle it better.

    Comment by HONI | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. It’s not silly at all that you want to track the number of hours you sleep – in fact, on Sparkpeople, there is a lifestyle scale that requires that you put in the number of hours you’ve slept to determine how healthy a day you’ve had. I’ve had days where I’ve drunk heaps of water, eaten well, exercised, but have slept only a couple of hours and the lifestyle scale has said, “What the HELL do you think you’re doing to yourself?!” Though also I think you can take note of how ‘well’ you slept along with the length of time. I’ve had days where I’ve bounced out of bed at 5am because my sleep has been fantastic, and have had other days where I’ve had trouble dragging myself out several hours later. (Quality over Quantity issue).

    I… have no idea how to wind this comment up in a well rounded fashion, so I’ll just stop typing now :-)

    Comment by Marshmallow | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  3. Honi: You’re certainly right about good habits being difficult to make and bad habits being difficult to break… I’m not sure it’s as simple as “practice makes perfect” (not that, that is what you suggested), but there is something to the notion of repetition being an important part of developing certain behaviors as part of your routine. That said, thanks bunches for your thoughts.

    Marshmallow: You’re very right on both counts. I’ve been saying “what the HELL do you think you’re doing to yourself!? for years, but I’ve really only started to listen. :)

    Speaking of sleep… I think I’ll get some now. G’night!

    j

    Comment by justoofat | January 11, 2008 | Reply

  4. Yikes, I didn’t mean my full name to go up there would u mind deleting (if you can) cheers:) Comment duplicated below

    Good morning, hope you had a good nights kip. I enjoyed the post and have had a similar problem this week. I’d have to agree with Marshmallow on the quality Vs quantity.

    I ran into a sleep problem a couple of years ago when I was working from home, staying awake into the early hours and waking up late, until eventually my nights and day reversed.

    Since then I’m mindful of good sleep hygeine and try not to sleep during the day. Lately, and I think as a consequence of the being watchful about regular sleep, rather than a couple of hours in the day I nap and after 15 mins can wake completely refreshed – a guess it’s why they call them power naps.

    Oh yes, busy thoughts, watch out for all that late night blogging.

    Comment by Jennifer | January 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. jennifer: there you go! last name removed. :) Yes. Sleep is vital…. but unfortunately, I am not a good napper. I always wake up feeling groggy and wobbly. My husband, on the other hand, can nap for thirty minutes in the afternoon, be energized for the rest of the evening and then fall asleep right away at bedtime. If I nap, I usually have a hard time sleeping when bedtime arrives. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for your comment. Be well!

    Cheers!
    j

    Comment by justoofat | January 12, 2008 | Reply

  6. Phew, thanks for that. How silly of me I’m new to commenting and didn’t realise it defaulted. Thanks

    Comment by Jennifer | January 13, 2008 | Reply


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