My Four Promises

I stay away from the word resolution because after forty-three years that word accumulates a lot of failure in its connotation. Rather, I started this year dedicating myself to four simple promises:

  1. Eat better
  2. Be more active
  3. Drink more water
  4. Get enough sleep

My feeling was that committing to those four things should feel simple to accomplish and make a difference.

To eat better, I recommitted to Weight Watchers but not just to tracking Points but paying attention to the Good Health Guidelines and making sure I’m getting enough of what my body needs everyday. I could still work in more vegetables and healthy oils, but I am doing well. I had a good weigh-in this week and rarely feel intense cravings for the usual culprits — fried foods, sugar, and all the bread. I am working on “urge surfing” when those feelings do arise. This one is easier for me than it is for a lot of people because my husband does all of the cooking and packs my breakfast, lunch and snacks everyday. Left to my own devices I would fall back on my old pattern of falling in love with a particular food or dish and having it for every meal until I tire of it (and I don’t tire of certain things easily — Caesar Salad, Roast Beef on Rye with Lots of Mayo, Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil, I could go on).

To be more active I joined DH in using the Fit in Six program on our Playstation that I’ve talked about before. A couple of months in and it’s still working for me. I feel slimmer and stronger. I’m going to see a tailor later in the week about having some of my clothes taken in to better suit me. I’m not sure anything can be done with the absolutely enormous (Extra Small! Petite, even!) white Oxford button down I bought from LL Bean last year, but it’s worth a try!

Drink more water — why oh why is this often the hardest one to fulfill? Well, I may not always meet the WW quota every day but at least I have cut WAY back on my soda intake. I generally drink a few cups of black coffee every morning, then water as much as I remember throughout the day, sometimes switching one serving up for hot tea when the office gets too cold, and occasionally a cup of skim milk with dinner. On the weekends, I usually grab a 20-ounce Sprite Zero to have with whatever dinner the theatre is bringing in for the actors (two-show Saturdays, you know), and often have one can of ginger ale on Sundays. I just love ginger ale. When I think about how much Coca-Cola I used to consume on a daily basis I get nauseated.

The one that is killing me just now is get enough sleep. My sleep dysfunction used to manifest as straightforward insomnia, a total inability to fall to sleep. I made some deliberate changes in my life to remedy this: stopped drinking caffeine after 11:00 am, starting going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, working out in the evenings, and not reading in bed anymore. I had to train my body that bed was for sleeping (and sex, of course, but that wasn’t making me not be able to fall asleep). All this stuff eventually worked, but then I started having the other problem — waking up for whatever reason at whatever time and just not being able to get back to sleep. Once my brain turns on, it’s on, apparently, and wants to figure out what we’re going to do at work that day, or what we’re going to wear, or whether I need to apologize to so-and-so for such-and-such, and on and on, ad infinitum. This is where I’ve been lately, and desperate to find a way to get at least six and a half straight hours, at least a few nights a week.

It helped when I gave up directing, but I seem to have plateaued. It’s not that I feel super sleepy all the time, either, but I just don’t feel quite right – and I mean, like, ever. I suppose medication is an option but that doesn’t sit well with me. Heh — you know maybe if I look back into that mindfulness business I can find a way to still my active mind at 3:30 in the morning…something to consider.

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