I Am That Girl Now

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

This sleep thing sucks.

I have slept like shit for three nights in a row now, and I'm officially sick of it. Grr. I really hate having "you're kidding, it's morning?" as the first thought of my day, over and over and over. I have had nothing caffinated since Sunday morning. I even took a sleeping pill last night, in desperation. I breathed slowly and did all the relaxation exercises I know. I still ended up having regular moments of perfect wakefulness, about five minutes out of every half hour. Strangely, I seem to crash in and out of them very swiftly and don't, to my knowledge, dream in between, so it's like I'm time-traveling. For instance, I was awake to see my Hub get out of bed to go to the bathroom, around midnight; I was not awake for his return, however, so from my point of view he magically reappeared a moment later when I rolled over.

No noticable REM sleep = bad. Apparently I fell asleep on the train hard yesterday, snoozing through a crowded, herky-jerky train trip in which (according to my Hub) a large and very smelly man was being smelly about a foot from my head. When I woke up, my right leg was sore. "I'm not surprised," my Hub told me, "it's been twitching like mad the whole time you were asleep." Weird. Very weird.

On the up side, things are going swimmingly on the diet front. Having discovered that I cannot be trusted to keep to correct portion sizes on BFL, and since even when I was doing the correct portion sizes I couldn't drop weight to save my life, I have followed the Hussman advice and am tracking calories along with the 40/40/20 protein/carb/fat ratios. I'm trying out this week at 1200 calories per day; if that works, I'll do the same next week and then try moving things up to 1300 for my third week. And in spite of sleeping like utter ass all week, I have still hauled myself out of bed and exercised every morning. (Exercise is an easier habit to maintain, for me, than eating well. I have no idea why.)

I almost gave up yesterday morning. I got up, put on my weight-lifting togs, then was so tired that I re-set the alarm clock and crawled back into bed. I was there for about a minute before I realized that a) I was definitely not going to get to sleep again very soon, b) I'd only manage to get another 40 minutes of sleep, tops, if I fell asleep RIGHT THAT MOMENT, and c) 40 minutes of sleep-- or, more likely, 20-- was not worth it to have to go through the whole agonizing wake-up process a second time. Got back up, put on my shoes, exercised. Sometimes old lessons come back to smack you upside the head, and that was one of those times: I figured out way back at the beginning of 2004 that the first five minutes of my waking day will always suck, so I might as well go through it at 5:20 AM and get it over with. The "I am NOT going through this twice in one morning!" thing is new, I'll admit; it's a rare day indeed that I crawl back into bed. It's a good addition, though, and another good thing to tell myself when I'm standing in the dark by the alarm clock going "oooooghhhh."

I continue to be a cooking phenomenon. Both the beef stew and chicken soup from Sunday came out fantastically (I mean, DAMN, they're good, DAMN) in spite of the fact that I futzed with both recipes to get the nutrition to balance right and to get the calorie total within acceptable levels. My Hub loves the beef stew. He also loves the chicken soup, but won't eat it again because he was still hungry after he ate it the first time. (Did he eat something with it? No. Have I explained in the past that he'll have to supplement his meals because he weighs 60 pounds more than I do? Yes. Does he listen? No. At least he's eating breakfast now.)

Last night, I made chicken salad with apples & mandarin oranges, and a batch of tuna cassarole (stovetop version, sadly; too hot to run the oven). Cleaned up after myself and made four sugar-free Jell-O cups, too. Not bad at all, considering that I had to scale down my original plan of going to the store to fetch things.

I am weaning myself off junk again. I have some of those 100-calorie packs, the Ritz snack mix kind, and a six-pack of Mike's Light (76 calories, 1 carb, thankyouverymuch), and I packed my candy calendar with mini Snickers bars. Since the last time I weaned myself off junk I then fell completely off the wagon and head-first into Vast Amounts Of Sugar, Carbs And Fat, I am not going cold turkey and don't plan on doing so any time soon. Apparently I must be regularly innoculated with small amounts of candy, snack mix, and alcohol in order to keep from completely losing my mind over it when I encounter it in the real world.

Yeah, this is so not traditional BFL, and I feel kind of bad about it. I've canned the free day idea; I abused it relentlessly and it just went haywire. I need to strive for moderation, because every single time I don't, the binge monster comes back and kicks my ass. Lack of moderation leaves me vulnerable to stress. Anyway, the point being that now I'm doing a combination of BFL and my traditional calorie-counting thing, in which I work in small amounts of bad-for-me stuff. I'm doing the weight-lifting and HIIT by the book, but I'm beefing up the HIIT with ten minutes of LISS afterward and, today at least, a 5-minute cooldown at 3.5 mph. I'm almost back up to 40 minutes on the ol' treadmill, without TV-- egad. Three months back I couldn't imagine such a thing was possible, but I do better with music. I think I need to download some more techno dance tunes; I do best with a good solid beat.

Actually, I'm finally weaned off the TV for both cardio and weights. That was one of the main problems (besides money, time, and transportation) about joining a gym... so hey, one less problem is good.

I have developed a plan regarding the gym. We're moving in May-- this is SO our last year in this drafty old closet-less apartment-- and I'm going to try my damndest to get a better apartment for less money. Hoping for at least $100 less per month. That would mean that I could have a gym membership without so much guilt. Granted, I will always think that there are better things to do with "extra" money than spend it on myself like that, but I'm trying to learn.

I'm eyeing our budget in many ways. I want to be able to throw more at debt; I want to be able to throw more into savings; I want to be able to spend more. Clearly, these three things do not go together unless I make a hell of a lot more money. Grrr. Going by little improvements in the meantime. Perhaps miracles will occur. There are really no words for how much I hate our finances; it's like being punished in spite of virtue. I must be doing something wrong. I'm kind of scared to go back to the financial advisors on Friday; I'm positive that they'll say, "You're doing it all wrong!" and scold us for our horrible ways. Ack.

Honestly, I think the thing we really need to cut down on is eating out. I'd like to get it back down to once a week, like it used to be. It's easier to do that when it's cool, though (and REALLY easy when it's cold out and we'd have to walk). I like to cook in batches so we don't have to cook at all during the week, but every time I do that my Hub starts turning up his nose at it. "It's not that it's not good," he says, "I'm just not in the mood for it right now." Frankly, neither am I. I'm in the mood for fresh bao and eight-vegetable salad, or roast duck and wilted greens, or some sort of decadent pasta dish. I don't have those, though, and I generally don't feel like cooking when I get home, so I will eat what we've got. Yeesh.

Some things are going right, at least. He's been eating breakfast when we get to work, every day, since Memorial Day. In that time his traditional "I'm so hungry but I don't want to go downstairs and buy a snack" midmorning gripe has disappeared. I asked him a few days ago if that meant that breakfast had become okay in his books, and he just shrugged; he hadn't thought about it. That's my boy; introspection is for other people.

We haven't purchased Lean Cuisine or any other microwaveable container lunches since May. Also very good. That means more balanced nutrition, a lot less sodium, and more room for real food in the grocery budget. I like it. I also like that I've been able to stick to it this long. I've slowly managed to get us set up with proper lunch-toting gear, too-- several of those cold-packs, an insulated bag that can fit two lunches, and of course the utter ton of 16-oz freezable/microwavable/dishwaswher safe containers-- which helps. We still have the grab-and-go thing going on, just grabbing containers of food out of the fridge and throwing 'em in. I think I just need to get some more of those little half-cup Gladware containers so I can make more than two days' worth of sugar-free Jell-O at a shot.

Still learning to balance. Yeesh, but it's a pain.


  • Sounds like you're doing really well, figuring out a balance of what works and what doesn't. It's great that the exercise bit is easy (I too struggle with the diet side, but the exercise side is ingrained). Be thankful for that - it's hard for so many people. I totally understand how the BFLifestyle could trigger binges in people prone to them.

    Could you post your recipes (chicken soup, in particular)?

    By Anonymous tszuj, at 12:07 PM  

  • Hey Meg (I introduced myself a few posts ago, just in case you don't remember).

    I have heard a lot of people say that they can't control themselves on their free days on BFL, so they only do 1 or 2 free meals, or none at all. Personally, my first attempt at BFL was derailed by free day (I liberally interpreted it as free weekend, which turned into free week then free month, etc). This time, I'm planning on doing 1 or 2 free meals on one day and still keeping track of calories, and maybe having a full free day once in a great while.

    Sounds like you are doing pretty well though, especially with working out, so way to go! :)

    By Anonymous Laura, at 1:26 PM  

  • Oh Meg! I am so sorry to hear about your sleep troubles. If you've been reading along, you know I have been having sleep problems for four years, and they've just begun to get worse (again - it goes through phases). So I really feel for you. I understand - completely - the feelings you describe about not getting enough sleep. I hope you are able to figure it out soon... maybe some chamomile tea at night? That often soothes me, though admittedly little actually helps me sleep better.

    As for the rest, it sounds as though you have some great plans in place. That's wonderful. It's also nice when you can go back, look at things and see the changes you've made.

    Good for you :) !

    By Anonymous Mae, at 9:38 PM  

  • Hi there Meg, I'm Nicky and I've been reading your blog for a while now so I thought I'd better say hello and thanks, I find it really thought provoking.

    Sorry to hear about your sleeping problems, I have been experiencing something similar myself recently so I thought I would share a few things that have helped me:

    - Drink of warm milk with nutmeg and cinnamon before bed.
    - Warm bath before bed.
    - Pen and paper beside my bed so that if there are things whizzing about in my head I can write them down to think about tomorrow and stop worrying about them now.
    - Blackout blind installed so it's totally dark in the bedroom.
    - Ear plugs - ever since I have had them sitting on the bedside table ready for use I have not needed them!
    - Make boyfriend sleep in the spare room! Joke! Kinda... I have to say I sleep better when he is away though...

    Good luck, I know it's hard and the more you think about it the harder it gets - has the weather cooled down yet with you, that's probably not helping.

    Take care.

    Nicky (Hertfordshire, UK)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 AM  

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