With travel (and more coming up), visiting guests, and the great stomach flu of June 2013, I have completely and totally gotten out of the exercise habit I had built up through the winter/spring. Its amazing---it takes so long to build up a good habit, but no time at all to erase it!
My problem now is that I just can't get up early enough to make working out feasible. Also its hot. And humid. And rainy. So many excuses.
I've got a two-fold approach to this problem. 1) Lights out by 10PM every night (at least every week-night). This means going upstairs around 9:30-9:45. This means no TV shows with G unless by some miracle we get the kids to bed and everything clean & ready by 8:30. After a week of solid sleep I will start 2) Set alarm for 5AM. L is still waking up anywhere between 4:45 and 6 (if the former, he can be coaxed back to sleep eventually by bringing him into bed with us---this means one of us is pinned under him in bed until he wakes up again around 7). I have the best chance of working out if I get up BEFORE he does and get going.
I'm motivated by the fact that I am woefully out of shape right now: I have trouble carrying my 21-month-old very far, I notice that people are PASSING ME when I'm walking into work (this never used to happen unless I was pregnant), and I get out of breath chasing L around. I'd also like to lose some portion of the 15 lbs I've gained in the past 5 years. (its a lot on my small frame).
I know exercise isn't going to get all those pounds off, but when I work out I actually feel motivated to eat better so its good all around. Plus when I workout in the morning I am hungry for breakfast. Otherwise I have no appetite in the morning. I've seen a couple of recent studies (one in mice, one in women)* supporting the idea that the majority of one's calories should be eaten in the morning (evening for mice), with a moderate lunch and a light dinner. This is how my kids naturally eat. By 6:30 PM they are done with their day and not needing more energy input.
I tend to eat in the more typical American fashion of skimpy breakfast, moderate lunch, and ginormous dinner. I'd like to change that. My biggest hurdle is that if I get hungry at bedtime I absolutely CANNOT sleep until I've eaten. I've tried to ignore it---it resulted in being up until I finally gave in and came down to the kitchen at 1AM to have some cereal (at that point it was 2 huge bowls of cereal). I guess I need to make gradual changes, so my body doesn't freak out. Bigger breakfast, reasonable lunch, afternoon snack so that I'm not ravenous by dinner time? I actually cut out the snacking because I was eating that in ADDITION TO everything else, and I figured since I wasn't pregnant/nursing anymore I really didn't need it. So I'm wary about that approach.
Anybody successfully change their eating patterns and have any advice?
*The study in women (unpublished abstract) had 2 groups of women with
PCOS eating the same total calories but one group had a heavy breakfast,
the other a heavy dinner. The breakfast-heavy group had improved
glucose metabolism. In mice, both groups received a high-fat diet. One
group had 24-hour access to food. The other was restricted to eating
during their active cycle. The group that ate only during the active
cycle were resistant to the effects of diet-induced obesity (weight
gain, diabetes, etc...). In humans, that would translate to "don't eat
at night". I won't even get into the data on the effects of night-shift working on metabolic health. Glad I worked out like a fiend in medical training or I'm sure it would have been easy to gain weight eating all kinds of crap at all hours.