The Sleep Correlation

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It’s a miracle! Seriously, a fricken miracle occurred this morning when I woke up and realized that my two-year-old slept through the night without waking up. She’s never really been a bad sleeper, but last Wednesday night she learned how to escape her crib. We considered ourself lucky that she’s made it this long staying in her crib, but now we need to transition into a toddler bed. We haven’t changed the bed yet, but for the past few nights she’s woken up at 1 a.m. like clockwork.

My husband and I have always maintained a strict no-kid-in-the-bed policy so instead of letter her escape her crib and crawl in with us like she wants, we take her back to her room and end up sitting on the floor waiting for her to fall asleep. It’s exhausting! And with this newly-found exhaustion comes all sorts of pains and ailments and bad habits in the daylight hours. Being more tired than normal in the morning makes me want to reach for a Coca-cola for a caffeine fix (I’ve never been a coffee drinker), and that leads to wanting an Egg McMuffin or a bagel sandwich. It took every ounce of restraint in my body to stick with having fruit and cereal each of those mornings and not giving in to the indulgences I was craving. Random fact: IF I would have gone to McDonalds and grabbed an Egg McMuffin meal, it would have cost me 16 points, just under half of my daily allowance.

These last few days have really made me take a closer look at the true correlation between eating habits (and by extension exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits) and sleep. On days that I wake up after getting a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep, I feel motivated and easily stick to the goals and plan that I’ve created for myself. Whether it’s breakfast or dinner, the whole day just seems to be easier when it comes to eating and passing on indulgences. In comparison, these last few days have been nothing but difficult for me on many fronts. I’ve wanted to eat junk and avoid cooking. I’ve wanted to nap for hours instead of staying active. And, most noticeably, my overall mood has just been sluggish and short. 

So this realization (not revelation because none of this information is truly new or outstanding) then begs the question, on days when my overnight sleep is less than stellar, what can I do in the morning or throughout the day to help me stay active and on track? Can I eat superfoods during breakfast to increase my chances of staying energized? Should I take a power nap after lunch to re-energize myself? Is it best to just call in sick for the day? Are vitamins the answer? These are all questions racing through my mind because I know the struggles of having a toddler will be around for quite awhile. Every day for my daughter is new and is part of her overall transition from baby to young girl, and that means sleeping issues, varying eating habits, tantrums and mood swings. I’m definitely ready to help her during this period, but I’m not as ready to help myself stay on track while I put so much focus on her. 

I won’t lie, I’m worried about weighing myself tomorrow for my weekly weigh-in. Although I didn’t go crazy a single day in the last week, I’ve just been feeling really sluggish. I certainly don’t think I’ve gained a pound, but I have a feeling I didn’t lose any weight either. Now is that the end of the road for my journey – a week without weight loss? Absolutely not, but it is a bit discouraging during a long weight-loss journey. I guess speculating won’t make it any easier either so it’s best to just wait and see what the scale says in the morning. As for the issue at hand … I was lucky to sleep through the night last night so I’m keep up hope that we have another good sleeper tonight. Fingers crossed!

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Tuesday Test Day

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I thought it was hard going to work and being on a diet. When you sit at a desk and stare at a computer all day long, one way to pass the time is to snack. That’s part of how I let myself get into this mess. On top of the boredom-eating there’s the perpetual treat table and celebrating of everything from birthdays and new hires to major sporting events and springtime. Now don’t get me wrong, my company shows how much they care and appreciate their employees to no end. I’ve never worked for a company before that gave so much back on all levels, and I am truly appreciative, but oftentimes that giving back is in the form of food!

For example, yesterday while I was sorting through my emails (as we all do on Monday mornings), I read through an email that congratulated our department for collecting the most items in a fundraiser. For doing the best (in a quad-state, thousands of employees company) we get “gourmet sub sandwiches,” sodas and brownies this Friday. Now, what exactly will make these sandwiches gourmet? I’m not sure, but I know it’s not on my Weight Watchers plan. Last Friday as I was leaving work an email blast was sent out stating that pizza was available on the other side of the floor because they “grotesquely over-ordered.” The extra food is everywhere! I skipped the pizza on Friday and went home to have dinner with my family. This coming Friday I’m planning on bringing my lunch and snacks, like I have been the past couple of weeks, and praying my self-control stays strong!

But I digress, as this isn’t about last week or three days from now, but instead is about how awfully tempting and difficult today has been for me! Today is my first day home from work when it isn’t a normal weekend with family bustling about. Every few weeks each of us in my department works a weekend day and in exchange we get a day off in the middle of the normal workweek. Today is my “comp day” and that means I’m home doing various chores around the house and relaxing. Normally it’s also a day where I splurge on lunch grabbing something that I don’t get too often or I’m craving. Usually it’s a full-length sub worth two days of Weight Watchers Points (of course I wasn’t actually tracking points when I ate them) or a large McDonalds meal or something with another friend if they were off work. On top of that I always snacked while at home whether I’m sitting on the couch watching TV or folding laundry. So today has been my first big test. 

I woke up and got my daughter ready for school and out the door with my husband. From there I had some fruit and felt satisfied. I even thought to myself that today would be a piece of cake. The real temptation came a couple of hours later when I headed out of the house with my dogs for their annual check-ups at the vet. Driving by various fast food restaurants and cafes where I could have easily grabbed a delicious, fattening breakfast sandwich or smoothie (not the healthiest of kinds) was difficult. Although I didn’t have to physically keep myself from turning the steering wheel into one of those restaurant’s parking lots, I did have to consistently remind myself Why I was watching my food intake and How stopping would affect my overall goals. Have no fear, I didn’t stop.

Lunchtime was then approaching after the visit to the vet and my mind swirled with ideas of what I could eat for the midday meal. I thought to myself, “how many points is …” and compared restaurant to restaurant with all of the answers being way higher than reasonable for just one meal for the day. From there my mind went into overdrive putting serious consideration into having a “skip day” each week in my diet plan. I was very intently comparing the pros and cons to having a skip day and thinking about making that skip day Tuesday since it would have served me very well at the moment. Thankfully, I’m a practical and analytical person because once I thought about that I turned that train of consideration into thinking about how irrational it is to choose to have a skip day based solely on wanting a Big Mac, figuratively speaking. Again, I didn’t stop for lunch while out and about running errands. 

Today so far I have kept my snacking to a minimum and have stuck to my Weight Watchers plan. I had the fruit and a bowl of Special Kay Red Berries with soy milk in the morning. For lunch I ate a SmartOnes Weight Watchers meal (quite tasty I might add) and along the way I also ate a serving of Special K Popcorn Chips (seriously addictive). That means I still get to enjoy dinner, no matter what I prepare, because I’ve left plenty of points and stuck to my plan. For that, I have zero regrets about the day. I’m hoping by the time my next day off or day home alone comes around that I’m more used to being on this diet plan and it isn’t quite so hard to stick to the foods I’ve stocked in the house. I have plenty of tasty snacks including fruits and veggies, 100 calorie snack packs, and granola to help keep me going through any day of the week. I just need to remember that I actually really do enjoy all of those things and when actually eating them they are just as satisfying as eating something else I would have splurged on before …. AND I feel way better at the end of the day now than before.  So, I just need to keep trucking on and keep focused on my overall goals. It’s only been a week, but I haven’t broken stride during that week. I know I can do this, no matter how difficult some of these moments seem to get.

By the way, at the prompting of my Weight Watchers iPhone app, I will be weighing in weekly. I really hate seeing alerts on my phone and my WW app had an alert pop up this morning. So, to let me OCD tendancies rest a bit and to get into a good routine, I will be weighing in on Wednesday mornings. I have to qualms about sharing my progress, even if it is a lack of progress on the scale, so I will definitely share with anyone reading how my first weigh-in goes. Last Tuesday (the day I signed up for Weight Watchers), I weight 248 pounds. What do I weigh today? I’m not sure, but if that scale shows even 247 I’ll be an ecstatic camper. Wish me luck!