I’ve been working a lot this fortnight and finding it a bit hard to find some mental energy for blogging, so I know I’m a little behind! A review of my last blogged challenge is pending. This post will be about the challenge I set myself (but didn’t blog about!) last week.
Last week I dropped chocolate.
Generally, I try very hard to eat well – which is quite hard for someone who only likes about three vegetables! In recent years, though, I have found it impossible to really beat my chocolate habit. On the back of the previous week’s challenge of having an eating behaviour journal, I realised fully how much chocolate is the one thing I really need to work on. I’ve also realised how simply dropping chocolate doesn’t ever work for me.
So, last week, I tried a strategy that worked once before, many years ago. I replaced chocolate with lollies. Before your brain melts with the ridiculousness of replacing one naughty food with an equally naughty food, let me reassure you! This is not about having a healthier week, it’s about weaning myself off an addiction and changing my behaviour. I don’t seem to get sugar cravings, and I never enjoy lollies nearly as much as chocolate. My idea was that I could eat lollies whenever I wanted but not chocolate. So, whenever I felt like I had needed something sweet or a treat, I would have lollies instead.
I have been completely surprised by the success of strategy! I have been off chocolate for almost two weeks now and it’s seemed easy. I spent most of the week munching away on fruit sticks (which are just like musk sticks, but with fruity flavours), but have not needed any chocolate. What has really shocked me is how quickly my shopping self-restraint has returned. I have found it almost impossible to walk past any price special for chocolate bars or blocks. Since I started this challenged, I have even wandered up and down the confectionary aisle looking for lollies and and have rarely been bothered by the chocolate on display.
It was yesterday when I really knew this was working. I was out doing various shopping chores and developed a migraine. This is one of the key danger times for me. Migraines make me feel tired, they make me feel depressed, and they make me feel hungry. I often find my resistance to chocolate goes completely under these circumstances and I turn to chocolate for a treat and with the (fairly unfounded) hope that it will improve my migraine. Walking through the shops, surrounded by chocolate opportunities, I managed to avoid them all. I did pick up some lollies at the supermarket at the very end of my trip, but this is fine. It only takes one chocolate bar to make me fall off the wagon. I’m just so pleased that I’m not feeling like having chocolate all the time!
Last week I added a formal schedule.
There is always the possibility that I will get last-minute work for my two casual jobs (especially the relief teaching) and this makes planning my activities for the week really difficult. I often feel that I don’t know exactly what I’ll do with my time and so find it hard to really get going and do the things I most need to do. Last week, I knew that I was teaching for the first three days, so I created a schedule based around that. I kept it simple and blocked in going for a walk after work and doing stretches or yoga before bed.
My schedule was fairly successful! I found it did two important things: It made me decide prioritise my fitness health and it allowed me to plan around the events I’d scheduled. So, rather than saying to myself that I would go for a walk if I had the energy, if I’d finished something else first, if I’d prepared dinner already, I was able to plan those other things around the walk.
I did struggle a little once my work days became less certain again and I have let my schedule drop this week, so these are two issues I still need to figure out to really make this work. I’d never really liked the idea of schedulling in exercise because I’m usually afraid I’ll not achieve what I’ve committed to (even if it’s just because of unexpected events) and then I’ll just feel worse than if I’d left it to chance. Leaving it to chance is a silly strategy because, of course, I’ll find other things to do and then feel bad about that! I really liked the way that knowing I was going for a walk no matter what helped me to plan my day around it. I think I shall go and make up a schedule for the rest of this week!!