Friday, 24 February 2017

Our Friend Guilt

Happy Friday :)
All aboard!
When you board the train to parent town, enthusiasm, excitement and happiness are making so much noise (think last train home) you don't notice guilt quietly take it's seat beside you. Unfortunately guilt has a valid, unrestricted ticket for the entire journey. Unlike it's more fanciable counterparts enthusiasm, excitement and happiness that disembark from time to time. Further more your new 'friend' isn't the best travel companion. Guilt has no redeeming qualities. Is highly annoying, extremely frustrating and enjoys ruining as much as possible. Gatecrashing good times, highlighting failures, punishing downfalls and tainting achievements. Generally making life feel a little harder and a little shitter.
Before your new bundle of joy even arrives guilt starts warming up. For those who didn't immediately know they were with child guilt takes great pleasure reminding us of all the things we did whilst oblivious to the tiny human taking shape inside us. Yep, those calculations are right. You were pregnant whilst you gorged on duck pate, devoured seafood paella and drank your body weight in red wine.

I ate a PRAWN!!!!!
When your baby arrives guilt has to share the limelight with many more visitors. Depression and loneliness stop by while excitement and happiness dance around until worn out where they join tiredness on the setee. Meanwhile vulnerability and inexperience introduce guilt to their ally, Google. Between them they team up to totally and utterly undermine and confuse you. Breast v bottle. Home cooked v shop bought food. Baby led v routine based. Working v stay at home mum. Childminder v school nursery etc. etc. The three of them are in their element. That is until confidence and experience decide to make an appearance. Ding Dong.

Does it count as greens if it's in a cup?
With time, confidence and experience start showing up more often and much to guilt's annoyance you prefer their company. They're much more fun and guilt starts to visit less and less. Feeling left out guilt decides to play it's trump card and asks "Are you only having one child?" Ta Dah.. Have one child and you feel guilty that you should have another. Have two children and you feel guilty that number one feels left out but also that number two doesn't have the same level of attention that you gave number one and so on for those that dare go past two! Guilt-1 You-0.

Going from one to two children guilt had the time of it's life with me. I struggled (and sometimes still do) with not spending as much time as I wanted with my eldest. Seizing the opportunity guilt took back centre stage. Poking and whispering sweet nothings in my ear; Wow, your eldest must miss his mum doing his bedtime... Goodness all this attention you're giving your youngest... Let's hope your eldest doesn't resent his brother... Guilt was enjoying this one and going nowhere. I just had to ride this one out.
The three musketeers. You lose guilt, we're a team. 
Guilt doesn't visit so often now (confidence and experience gave him a battering once so he doesn't come round as much) but when he has the chance he still loves to wind me up. This half term I decided to take the week off work but as normal send the littlest to nursery, Monday to Wednesday. Guilt had a go at taking the little ones side. Over and over each morning my youngest quizzed me where his brother was going and when I lied (yes lied) and said I was going to work he replied "You not"  With the help of experience I quickly brushed guilt's attempts aside and got to spend three fab, exclusive days with my eldest. Heaping all my time and attention on him. We got to do all the things which aren't ideal for a two year old. Visit to the cinema, walking round a lake, eating out and general chilling. He got to enjoy his favourite things without the irritation of his baby brother scribbling on his latest master piece, destroying his newly built lego creation and stealing my attention.
Enjoying one on one silly time with my eldest
I've come to realise over a glass (or two) of wine with my favourite companions, confidence and experience that guilt is a pain but isn't all bad. It's intensions are good even though the way it goes about it sucks. Guilt shows that you're a great parent, who cares. Wants the best for your kids and isn't selfish. The trick is to keep it in check. So next time it comes knocking keep your best mates confidence and experience close. Listen, empathise then with a smile show it the door.
Yes Guilt, I am out and enjoying myself.

Friday, 3 February 2017

The road to a better me

Happy Friday :)

It's been exactly one month since the start of my 2017 challenges and an interesting five weeks. There have been high moments and low moments. I've been on the wagon, off the wagon and straddling the wagon. At the moment I feel accomplished, happy and four bags of sugar lighter. Here's how the journey to get to that went.

Week 1: Monday 2nd January 
The final day of the Christmas holidays and even my lounging clothes were feeling a little snug. Anyone would be forgiven in thinking I was in the early stages of pregnancy. Our recycle bin looked like all the street were using it and my overall feeling was 'urrgghhhh'. Lacking self control I decided I couldn't trust myself to cut down slowly so went completely cold turkey. I got through four days of sweats, headaches, mood swings and cravings until I fell off the food wagon and stuffed my face with Christmas cake.
Not sure why I thought this festive overload was a good idea

Week 2: Monday 9th January
This week I started exercising. May be when I'm better at it I might like it, more. To be honest I feel like such a prat and I'm not entirely sure it's even worth the effort. My achievement? 8 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking. This equates to burning 138 calories, that's nearly a glass of wine or half a Mars Bar, great. I fell off the no alcohol wagon (Thursday night) which then led to falling off the healthy food wagon. After not fitting into my biggest jeans I decided it would be helpful to get weighed and was horrified to learn that I was nearly 6 guinea pigs (6lb) heavier than I'd estimated. After reading the below article I decided a clear, easy to follow plan was exactly what I needed. I opted for plan number two which claimed I could lose half a stone in two weeks, result!
I most certainly didn't consume this toddler sized bag of popcorn

Week 3: Monday 16th January
This is the week where it all felt good. Fuelled by the thought of living in jogging bottoms I embraced the hunger and exercise. Purchasing the Lean in 15 cook book played a massive part in staying on track. Simple, healthy, scrumptious recipes. Minimal preparation and cooking time with normal everyday ingredients. This week I also started a food calendar to help with my food amnesia and shame myself. Funnily enough there's something about having to write down that you ate a plate of grated cheese and salad cream (twice) that actually makes you not do it.
lost 5lb

Week 4: Monday 23rd
This wasn't a good week. Only one day in and I was on the slippery slope. I blame working from home. Easy access to the biscuit cupboard with no one to see is not helpful. A two day work conference left me at the mercy of a full English breakfast, two buffet lunches, one five course evening meal and a pick and mix sweetie station. Add on to that no exercise. The only highlight was pushing my will power to the max by not drinking on a girlie afternoon of lunch & cocktails. That was hard. God knows how I managed to lose anything but I did!!!!
lost 1lb

Repeat after me 'alcohol is not needed to have a good time'

Week 5: Monday 30th
This is the week where I'm not so hungry. I think my body has adapted to my new eating pattern and isn't yearning the bad stuff, as much! Managing to stick to the new routine has made me even more determined to continue. It's tough both physically and mentally to teach your body and yourself new habits. Hopefully I'll stick to it. Now I know that I can have my cake and eat it, but only on a Friday.
lost 3 lb
Just a little pic of me in todays morning yoga pose (KIDDING!!!)

As Mr Springer would say, here are my final thoughts:
  • It's all about planning; meals and time to exercise
  • There's nothing wrong with feeling hungry
  • It's ok to have the not so good stuff if you're mainly having the so good stuff