Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Oh, how quickly routines become a scramble...!

Photo courtesy of J. Ludwick, licensed CC-BY-NC
It's days like this that really test my ability to follow a plan.

People who have been reading my blog might have noticed that I am something of a creature of habit (I am aware of the understatement in that sentence, thank you very much).  I get up between 5 am and 6 am and test my blood pressure and blood sugar, then I work out on the elliptical machine, weigh myself, and get ready for work.  I will eat breakfast either at home or at the office, but I will usually have fruit and yogurt, and then I will eat lunch and dinner at the office.   Lunch and dinner are usually comprised of delicious leftovers courtesy of the Nerd, who pre-packages individual meal sized servings of everything on the weekend, ready for the taking during the following week.  I will get home sometime between 9pm and midnight, and I will fall immediately in to bed, where I will read for a bit on my iPad.  If I am very lucky, I will not fall asleep whilst holding the iPad over my head, as that's a quick route to a shiner (don't ask me how I know this). 

I may be an unpredictable glamourpuss in my mind, but the reality is that I am actually pretty predictable.  And that predictability is comforting as I continue on this journey, because it means that I have a routine I can trust to keep me a) exercising 6x/week; b) eating 3 meals per day; and c) eating a manageable number of calories in the range of 1800-2000 per day. 

Predictability goes out the window when I pull an all-nighter.

Last night I was working on discovery answers and a licensing agreement until 2:30 am, and I didn't get into bed until 3 am.  When my alarm went off at 5:30 am I actually got up and tested my blood sugar, but I did not test my blood pressure, or weigh myself, or get on the elliptical - - I was too tired, and I needed to be in the office for 8:00 am for a practice group meeting this morning.  I made an executive decision to try and get at least 4 hours sleep, and left my house with 35 minutes to spare before the meeting.  I did not work out this morning, because working and getting 4 hours of sleep do not go together when you are recovering from an all-nighter.

Trying to squeeze in extra sleep meant that my morning routine was incredibly rushed and I had no time to waste.  When I am cutting things fine like that, I depend on the provisions set up for the routine, because - - trust me - - I don't have time to prepare from scratch.  It was a relatively quick and easy matter to get my yogurt and berries for breakfast (I ate them in the meeting, which was fine because it was a breakfast meeting).  But the only way I had anything close to a decent lunch and dinner is because the Nerd had prepacked so much stuff on Monday night.  If I did not have a fridge full of leftovers, already organized into perfect servings, I would not have had any time to prepare lunch and dinner, and my eating plan for the day would have been put into jeopardy. 

As it was I am a little low in calories and I am having to fill some of the gap with a skinny cow brand ice cream sandwich tonight.  (It's a tough life, I know...!)

I will need the calories when I get home because I still have to do my elliptical workout this evening (!).  I have not missed a workout in 15 weeks, and I will be damned if I am going to let one little all-nighter cause me to miss one now, no matter how tired I am.  Plus, if I skip today, I will just have to work out Saturday morning to make up the time, and I would prefer to sleep in on the weekend.  

So my schedule went from boring and predictable to wild and chaotic all in the space of one day, simply because of the all-nighter. 

If this had occurred three or four months ago, I would have simply skipped breakfast and ignored the food in my house because I would not have had time to prepare anything.  There certainly would not have been a fridge full of fruit and yogurt and vegetables and other healthy choices, let alone pre-packed meals.  I would have ordered some dinner to be delivered in the evening, but that would have likely put me well below 1200 calories for the day, and probably all the wrong kinds of calories, to boot.

It is easier to succeed once you get on a program of regular exercise and healthy eating.  Just having the good stuff in the house takes a lion's share of the problems out of the equation.  The routine gives structure and predictability, making it easier to plan and execute the plan.  On a day like today, when I had to make snap decisions about food and I had to reschedule exercise, it was my familiarity with the plan that made it possible.  I didn't have to spend 10 minutes staring into the abyss of the fridge, because I knew ahead of time what I was going to eat.

I am not good enough at this whole lifestyle thing, or disciplined enough (yet) to go free range and stop tracking my food.  But this minor all-nighter induced blip in the program has convinced me more than ever that I am on the right track.  If a little sleep deprived.   

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