Thursday, July 31, 2014

I don't actually like cake

I worked from home today. I was freakishly productive and got all ahead of myself, so I'm using my commute time to write a quick post!

I love the feeling of being productive and knocking things off the list. I wish the appeal of that feeling motivated me to be this way everyday, but laziness does tend to set in.

So. Remember how I was all gung ho about calorie counting and fit-bitting and trying to lose 10 pounds? I quit. It was crazy making, and without any pressing health reason to quickly lose that weight, I had no incentive to deal with that level of anxiety. It just didn't feel natural and started twisting my generally healthy mindset towards diet and exercise into a weird, calorie deficit focused one.  I would go on super long runs and then try to eat as little as possible so I could see that huge negative calorie recording on my log. I would go get the kids after work (which means leaving work a little bit early), not because I wanted to see them, but because I wanted the calorie deficit that came from the 3 additional miles of walking.

Also, counting calories for every single morsel I put in my mouth took a fair amount of time and brain space. If you really are actively trying to lose a lot of weight, then maybe your brain is already focused on that, and this can be a great tool---particularly for the many people who have NO IDEA how many calories they are eating on a daily basis (that includes myself). It was helpful to get a sense of how many calories are in the foods I generally eat, and to know how full I feel after various caloric intakes---it helps me plan better what to eat for what level of hunger or activity. I made a few small changes based on my charting---eliminating foods I don't really care for that I was eating for ease and happened to have loads more calories than I suspected (wheat crackers & peanut butter are the two I remember), and eating more of things that I love that had less calories than I thought (certain fruits & veggies, hummus, corn tortillas/taco shells).

I still wear my fitbit, though I stopped (just this week, and initially by accident) wearing it when I run or exercise. The point was to try to increase the steps I get in daily activity, so seeing the steps pile up from a morning run (and then stay at the same level all day) was deceiving. I sit most of the day at work and I want to try to change that by motivating myself to get up every hour or so---seeing the lower step count is more likely to do that.

What I really want isn't to maximize calorie deficit so I can lose weight over the next two months. What I want is to make healthy choices...for life. I want it to be intuitive, and easy, and a good model for my kids---not stopping during dinner to obsessively check & record. To move throughout the day, not pace in my room at night so I can reach some arbitrarily set goal (really, where did the 10K steps come from? I'm too lazy to look it up right now, I'm sure there were studies). I want to get to this state (great post by nicoleandmaggie and even better comments) where I know I'm doing what makes me feel the best.

Of course I don't always make the right choices. My body occasionally (more often than I want to admit...) tells me it wants a metric ton of cheese or Pirate's booty and sometimes, I listen. All in moderation, I guess.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alas, more cake

G brought home a suspicious white box yesterday. Leftover cake that his supervisor brought for him and was shared at their weekly meeting. The kids, for once, didn't whine for a treat after dinner, so we didn't offer it to them. I asked G what I should do with it, and he thought the boys might have it the  next day. Expect I already told B he was "NOT getting a treat tomorrow", so we each ate a bit (I didn't like it) and threw the rest out.

That brings me to the real point of this post. I was prodding B to put away his paints and start getting ready for bed, so he hit me and said "you're stupid". I lost it and grabbed anything I could out of the air, thus the "NOT getting a treat...".

Both boys have been driving us crazy lately with two major issues: 1) aggression---hitting/scratching/biting/kicking either each other or me & throwing things (forks, paintbrushes, toys) and 2) constant whining and demanding of "treats" (desserts, movies, stories, new toys, "a surprise"). 

I realize that the bad outcomes come from a combination of their behavior and our response, which is based on lots of underlying factors. We have discussed, identified, and actively work to reduce & avoid the "triggers" that usually result in yelling & such. But sometimes it really is the kids fault. I'm sort of joking, but what I mean is that sometimes their behavior is THAT atrocious that anyone would agree it needs to be redirected, and we do NOT have a good strategy for how to productively discipline them.

We are not consistent with any discipline technique, nor have we found one that seems to actually work on any of those behaviors. We have tried the following:

-1-2-3 Magic: doesn't work. I often get to "3", and then what? yeah.
-Time outs: traumatic for everyone, because we have to physically restrain them to get them to stay in the spot. And then they cry constantly and when they get out, lash out even more.
-Consequences: some make sense and work---if they fight over or throw a toy, said toy is taken away until the next day. others are more arbitrary---no ice cream, no movie, no stories if you hit your brother again, etc... And if not immediate (i.e. no treat tomorrow), involves remembering, and both being on the same page. Also brings up yesterday's bad memories into today.
-"Marks": this started two weeks ago, where an infarction earned the kid a "mark" on the white board. 5 marks=some consequence. Again, the consequences are often arbitrary, and not consistent. Sometimes they were in a hitting/hurting frenzy and earned all their marks by 7:15AM. THEN what?
-Talking it out: I've read and re-read "how to talk so your kids will listen..." and I try really hard to work with B with short talks about why what he did might be wrong and hurtful and how to prevent him from reacting that way again. L is too little to get it. I much prefer to go this route, but again, it doesn't WORK necessarily, and shouldn't there be SOME consequence? (maybe not, I really have no idea what I'm doing here)

I hate having to enforce punishments. HATE it. I want the atmosphere in the house to be peaceful and fun, not heavy and stern. But I also do NOT want to be "that parent" who lets their kid run roughshod over them and everyone else with no adverse consequences. It is absolutely not OK for B to hit me or call me stupid, or to shove his little brother onto the ground. How do I get him to think before he reacts? And its annoying when they act like spoiled brats expecting something "special" several times a day every day. How do I get them to show some gratitude and respect?

I know a lot of my readers have younger kids and aren't at this stage. I know at least one whose kids are perfect and thus never had this stage. For the rest of you, what have you found that works in redirecting/preventing the above behaviors?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Less Cake

It happened again. It really is hard to get started when you aren't in the habit, and that goes for just about everything in life. I keep trying to get on a posting schedule but haven't found one that fits.

Have had a very busy past couple of weeks. The past week alone included two weddings (one out of town that I got to travel to---alone!) and G's 40th birthday. Now I'm exhausted from the planning, traveling, revelry and cake. My body just seems to be rebelling from 2 weeks of poor sleep (insomnia + late nights) and I CANNOT get up in the morning. Which means I can't work out. Which means I'm tired and draggy all day. Its a vicious cycle.

I need to re-instate healthy habits. Starting with: sleep, exercise, food/drink (i.e. eat better, drink more water and less booze). Also get on top of the household things that fall to hell when you're busy having fun (laundry, food prep, errands).

Summer is halfway over and we still have done very few of the things on our Summer Fun list. The weekends just go really fast! And to be honest, the kids have been driving us NUTS with their behavior, making the thought of planning & executing outings (in which there is a high possibility of general misery) less enticing. I will write more specifics (and ask for advice) on this matter soon.

This weekend we did the following: Saturday AM swim class (I took both kids while G went to the gym), grandparent Skype sessions, grocery store trip (I went to the store with B on his scooter while G & L did a quick park trip and loooonng nap), about an hour looking up dinosaur and animal facts with B (and Siri, aka "the lady in the phone"), and then water-painting for the boys while G & I prepped for the sitter and barely got ready in time to RUN (literally, it was about a mile way) to the wedding (we had a blast, danced the night evening away!). Sunday I took the boys to the park/spray ground  while G shopped & cooked, we had lunch, and then went to the pool at the Y, getting home just in time for friends to come over for a casual impromptu dinner. 

I have plans to meet a friend early tomorrow at the gym. And there are zero occasions this week involving cake or booze. So I think I'll get back into the swing of things soon. Here's to a new week.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Off season

I think I'm mystified by all this "ode to summer" hoopla going around the internet because summer is not exactly my favorite season. My kids aren't in school yet, granted, so the calendar and schedule is the same for us year-round. Work is, if anything, busier for me in the summer. Grants are due, budgets ending, trainees are new and require additional supervision, and all our conferences happen to occur in May and June.

I grew up in the south and pretty much spent my whole life in climates that hit 80 degrees in March and didn't let up until November. "Hot" is not a novelty to me, nor something to get excited about. It is to be tolerated and avoided as much as possible. Oddly, all that living in the heat never really got me acclimated to it, I tend to wilt in the heat, feeling lethargic and headachey. When the temperature gets above 90, I want to be in indoors, lounging somewhere with cold air blowing on my face. I like going to the pool, but its not exactly relaxing or exhilarating to get us all dressed and sun-screened up and trudge over to the pool only for the boys to be tired & hungry 30 minutes later. The mosquitos invade the backyard, and no amount of "reminding" the boys to CLOSE THE DOOR when they go in and out can keep all the flies out of the kitchen.  I wear my cute summer clothes, sweat right through them, and then cover them up when I walk into our frigid building at work.

Its certainly not all bad. I like the late sunsets, I am still delighted as a child over fireflies, thoughts of ice cream & geleto keep me going. I am very much looking forward to our beach trip with my family at the end of summer...I would live at the beach if I could, but so far haven't been able to make that happen (and G is not keen, so its not really in our long-term plan).  A glass of chilled white wine & some fresh grilled vegetables make a perfect summer dinner. 

I'm sure I'll be more positive tomorrow. I'm exhausted today. L started crawling out of his crib a couple of weeks ago so we took the side off and every. single. night. he marches himself into our room at some ungodly hour and pokes & paws at me until he can get himself back to sleep. Last night was one of the worst.

On the cuteness front, B told us that he woke up in the middle of the night and saw that L wasn't in his crib and got really sad that he was gone away forever. So he  went to sleep again, and had a dream that he and L were together again, playing, and he was happy. Then he woke up in the morning, saw L playing with his crayons, and hit him because "I was happy he was there but he's not supposed to touch my things".

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Fun?

No, I don't intend to make this once-a-month posting a habit, but its been a busy few weeks. Also, I realized just how much time I was spending on the internet and decided to take a few days off completely from reading blogs (sorry I haven't been commenting, I've got a huge backlog to get through this weekend!)

I don't usually succumb to FOMO (fear-of-missing-out), but it really hit me after the 4th, seeing on blogs and facebook feeds all the awesome "essence of summer" things people are doing---all the pool time, beach vacays, family reunions, fireworks, picnics, parades. We did...nothing. We stayed in town, skipped the parade because it was drizzly and planning to storm (though it never did), skipped the fireworks because its crazy crowded and the fireworks don't go off until after 11pm, skipped the public pool because I walked by and saw the line outside... Basically we had a very ordinary, but not at all relaxing (because the kids were REALLY something else those 3 days) weekend. Lots of meltdowns, time-outs, yelling, and outings gone awry.

I've been on service all week with brand spanking new fellows (trainees in my subspecialty, straight out of residency) and its been challenging in good & bad ways. I do like clinical work and teaching, but even after a week I get tired of some of the b.s. consults we get and all the nonsense scutwork that is involved (even though I don't have to do the scutwork anymore, it pains me to have to tell the fellows to do it).

After all that calorie counting, I didn't lose a single ounce, but I did make some changes to my diet that hopefully will---over the long run---have positive consequences for my health. I'm still using my FitBit.  I realize that I get 10K steps on very ordinary days when I'm not trying to get more steps. 15K on consults or when I pick up the kids or run in the morning. 20-30K on weekends if I go for long runs and we have some major walking outing---though my lowest count ever was last Sunday when I got 7K because I went nowhere except about a mile to (a very heavy) brunch.

I've been reading a LOT. Maybe I'll do a post about recent books I read.

Hmmm, my work phone has been suspiciously quiet, I better investigate what's going on...