Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Internal Dialogue of the Insomniac, or, Why I Don't Sleep

I have had insomnia all my life.  It comes and goes in waves - sometimes I sleep ok, sometimes I go days on end without sleeping more than a few hours.  Sometimes, when I get up in the morning exhausted, there's an obvious reason.

One of the kids was sick and I spent the night alternately cleaning up puke and trying to sleep with a child in my bed who never stops moving.

One of the kids had a nightmare and climbed into bed with me and wouldn't stop moving.

One of the kids has a horrible cough that, even though they somehow seem to actually sleep through it, keeps me awake all night.

One of the kids...you get it.

But most of the time, there is no obvious reason why I didn't get any sleep last night, and it will send me into convulsions of annoyance if I am asked why I didn't get any sleep.  So, in the interest of explaining - without really explaining, since it doesn't truly make sense in the end - I've given an example of the sequence of mental events that results in one very tired and one very cranky mom at 6 am.  This will be presented in the form of a dialogue between two voices in my head.  For the record, there aren't really voices in my head.  Well, not much.

Voice 1: Ok, lights out!  So tired, time for sleep!
Voice 2: Did you make the lunches, set the coffee maker, gather the library books, and turn off the oven?
Voice 1: Yes.
Voice 2: Are you sure?
Voice 1: Yes.
Voice 2: ARE YOU SURE?
Voice 1: no.  (get up and check)

Voice 1: Ah, all taken care of, now to sleep!
Voice 2: Hey, remember that incident from two years ago that you were really upset about and spent a long time trying to get over?  Remember that?  Let's think about that and go over everything that happened in minute detail.
Voice 1: This is pointless, let's stop thinking about it and go to sleep.
Voice 2: You know what awesome thing you could have said that would have made you feel so much better about the whole situation?  (several really awesome comebacks)
Voice 1: Sigh.

Voice 1: Ok, ok, I've been in bed for over an hour, I really need to get some sleep.
Voice 2: OR - let's think about extremely improbable ways in which the kids could get maimed or killed, creating such awful images that there's no way you can fall asleep until they are cleared from recent memory.
Voice 1: What can I think about to get those images out of my head?
Voice 2: I have some ideas!

Voice 1: Why is the bed suddenly so uncomfortable?
Voice 2: Try lying on your left.
Voice 2: Ok try your right.
Voice 2: Try your back.
Voice 1: Ok, now I'm kind of comfortable (foot starts itching unbearably)  Well, now it's not comfortable anymore.
Voice 2: Try lying on your stomach.

Voice 1: If I fall asleep now I can still get 4 hours of sleep.
Voice 2: Ok, ok.

Voice 2: Did you hear that?
Voice 1: Hear what?
Voice 2: That weird noise!
Voice 1: It was the dog.
Voice 2: Maybe.  Or maybe there is a vicious intruder in the house about to come up the stairs and murder everyone.  (stare at open doorway for a while, alternately dozing off and waking up to stare again just in case)

Voice 2: Are you asleep???
Voice 1: Well I was close.
Voice 2: I just wanted to share my concerns regarding that conversation you had with *random person* yesterday.  It's very possible you said something stupid.
Voice 1: Oh god, you're right.  I should go over that whole conversation for the fifth time to be sure.

Voice 1: If I fall asleep now, I can still get 3 hours of sleep.
Voice 2: Tomorrow is going to suck.
Voice 1: I'm wide awake.
Voice 2: Is that the dog snoring?

ALARM RINGS
Voice 1: Mumbles incoherently.
Voice 2: I bet someone is going to ask why you didn't sleep last night.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 30, Reason 30: Loving Myself is the Reason, Not the Goal

So this is it.  30 days without my scale, and my final reason for eating right and exercise that has nothing to do with how I look.  I have a lot of thoughts to work out about what I really learned during this month - and it wasn't what I thought or hoped I would learn.

At any rate, I must post one final reason.  It's been pretty challenging these last few days, and I have felt like I just can't come up with one more.  Then this morning, my final reason came to me.

I have to eat right and exercise because I love myself.

What does that mean?  Mainly that I have always seen losing weight as the key to seeing myself in such a way that I could love myself.  I stare at myself in the mirror and tell myself how much I hate my belly and thighs, my stretch marks, the little bit of fat hanging over my bra.  I hate the flap under my triceps and the way I get a double chin in some pictures.  And I think if I just lose that weight, if I just look better, then I will love myself.  How sad is that?  And yet I know I am not alone.  I know many, if not most, women think they'll love themselves more if they can just fix those flaws, whatever they may be.

But that's looking at it entirely wrong.  Loving myself should be the reason to exercise and eat right, and not the goal.  I shouldn't do it so I will love myself, but because I love myself.  Because I deserve to be healthy and the people who love me deserve for me to be healthy.

So that brings me to the all-important question: do I love myself?  Do I love myself as I am?  Will I love myself no matter what the scale says tomorrow?

I don't know the answer to that.  But I do know that if I can't love myself as I am then there is no amount of exercise that is going to make me love myself any more.  I have to love myself first, and I have to treat my body as something that deserves love.  Otherwise, how can I ever expect to look in the mirror and be happy, no matter what I see?

Day 30, Reason 30: Loving myself first.

So here it is. The end of the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 29, Reason 29: Comaraderie

Anyone who has ever gotten seriously into fitness - any type of fitness - knows that one of the things that is most enjoyable about it is the sense of camaraderie you get with other people who are also into fitness.  Sometimes this can go a bit too far and become cliqueish - yes crossfitters, I'm looking at you - but mostly it's just a nice thing to share and talk about with friends.

I work out entirely at home, so I don't go to classes where I make friends, but even so I get a sense of connection with other people who are also dedicated to workouts.  It's a great topic of conversations, and it's something you can connect with other people on even when you don't know them well.  It's something people like to brag about a little, something they are proud of, so it gives people a chance to talk about themselves, and to share experiences and tips.

I always feel a little outside the circle when I am not working out regularly, and I really do like being on the inside.

Day 29, Reason 29: The sense of connection with others who are dedicated to workouts.

Only ONE DAY LEFT of the 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 28, Reason 28: I Can Wear What I Want

If you know me, it's no secret I love shoes. I love high heels, but I don't love how much my feet hurt when I have my weight on my feet in those shoes all day long.  And that gets worse the heavier I am.  So, the better I eat, the more I exercise, the less I weigh, the more I can wear the gorgeous shoes I own without super sore feet.

I don't feel that needs further explanation.

Day 28, Reason 28: I can wear awesome heels.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 27, Reason 27: It Forces Me to Try New Things

I have a confession to make.  I'm a really picky eater.  And by that I mean I think most vegetables are disgusting, and I won't eat anything with a weird or slimy texture, or that sounds in any way unappealing to me.  So you can imagine that it's a challenge for me to convince my kids to eat foods that I won't eat.

Doing my best to eat healthy, clean foods forces me to overcome my anti-vegetable predisposition.  It forces me to find ways to cook the foods that gross me out in ways that make them more palatable to me.  Since I first tried to eat on a Primal diet, I have managed to find ways to make myself eat cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, and multiple leafy greens I otherwise wouldn't touch.  Broccoli is still a challenge for me, but I find that I can eat broccoli slaw, which I never would have discovered if I hadn't forced myself to try new things.

I'm a much better eater now that I was 5 or 10 years ago, and I am still trying to find new ways to get more, different healthy foods into my diet that I never would have tried years ago.  And I'm discovering all kinds of ways of cooking that make it easier to stay healthy.

Day 27, Reason 27: Expanding my culinary horizons.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge is almost over!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 26, Reason 26: All Kinds of Little Problems Go Away

I've mostly been focusing on big reasons for exercising and eating right, but there are a bunch of little ones that all add up.  When I eat good, clean food, and I stick to my exercise routine, all kinds of little issues get better.

My always-present sinus pressure eases.  My skin feels healthier, less dry, less itchy.  My nails break less.  I don't have as many headaches.  It's little things, that add up to a big reason to keep being a healthier person.

Everyone has little issues that annoy them throughout the day, the chronic things we just get used to and eventually don't notice as much - until they are gone.  When they are, life improves in small ways that make us feel better overall.  And that's how I feel when I stick to healthy eating and exercise: better in a hundred small ways.

Day 26, Reason 26: The little things that add up to big things.

Side note: I only have to find 3 more reasons!!

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 25, Reason 25: Easing the Pain

It may sound counterintuitive, but working out actually does take away a lot of my pain.  Since my kids were born, I have had a lot of hip and lower back pain.  The more regularly I exercise, the less I suffer from those aches and pains.

Granted, there is pain associated with working out too, but it's not the same as those nagging aches and shooting pains I get as a result of having two children.  And it passes, the more I work out.  So the more I push myself, the less my body hurts in the long run.

Exercise can make things hurt, yes, but they make other things stop hurting - and I will take the good pain over the chronic pain any day.

Day 25, Reason 25: It takes away my chronic pain.

The 30 Days, 30 Reasons, No-Scale Challenge!