I have had a couple of bad days over the weekend. What I mean is, I’ve had those days where you constantly feel fat and then in order to cure this you don’t do any exercise and eat everything in sight. The reason for this i’m pretty sure is that my sleeping pattern is all over the place. I finished nightshift last week but I knew I was also coming down with a virus. On the first post-nightshift day I made the schoolboy error of sleeping too much because a. i felt unwell and b. i was tired. It then meant however, that I struggled to sleep well at night and so the cycle has continued. I got into the routine of having a nap in the afternoon, going to bed at midnight and getting up at five. I felt awful, and had no energy to exercise.
To make the situation even worse I had a birthday night to attend on Friday. I know what i’m like but I never learn – if i’m even slightly unwell all it takes is for 1-2 glasses of wine to make me really unwell. The thing is though that I had been looking forward to this night for a while because i’m sad and I haven’t been out this year (this was my first weekend off of 2017) and I have had any drinks to celebrate the new year. So I was stubborn and decided to ignore my body and went along. It was a good night, but the wine made my cold even worse.
Despite it being my first weekend off I also had to go into work to do some practice for an exam I’ve got in a weeks time. So I had to get myself up and out – no rest for the wicked! I was so shattered by the time Sunday came that I only left the flat to go to mass at 8am because i was up to early AGAIN!
I had lots of thoughts on Sunday – primarily negative. I was very harsh on myself and then I began thinking about how nasty I was being to myself about not going to the gym and eating chocolate. The bottom line was that actually, I’ve worked really hard over Christmas and New year, I’ve been on all sorts of shifts, I hadn’t had a decent sleep in a week so no wonder I had picked up a cold. I had no energy to exercise but also it was probably wise not to while I was sick. I had so many negative thoughts that I began to think about all the crash diets I could go on to sort myself out this week – stupid! I finally got myself together and thought about how I can tackle these days in the future because it certainly wasn’t the first day that I’ve felt like that and it certainly won’t be the last. I need to find a strategy to combat these negative thoughts.
My Do’s and Dont’s
1.Do listen to your body. If you are sick and your body is telling you you need to just sit on the couch and watch t.v then do it! You will get over whatever the illness is quicker. Even if you are not sick – if your body is telling you you need rest then it is important to listen to prevent injury.
2. Do practice Intuitive eating. If you are having one of those days where calories and carbs and fat grams are out the window then forget them. Don’t be harsh on yourself. Try to eat intuitively – by that I mean eat what you want but only if you are hungry. Don’t deprive yourself on days like this because it will only lead to binging and then more negative feelings. Eat chocolate if you want chocolate but try to let yourself feel hungry before eating again.
3. Do drink plenty of water. I feel better about myself if I am well hydrated. In addition, a lot of those “snacky” feelings can sometimes be due to dehydration.
4. Do drink herbal teas. I don’t know if there is any science behind this at all but again I generally feel better and refreshed when I drink herbal teas. They are also a good alternative to standard tea and coffee which often are associated with eating biscuits and sweet things.
5. Do try to get out the house – at least once. Don’t hide away because you think you are “man mountain”. I’m very guilty of this. I find that it really helps my mood if i even just take a quick trip out to the supermarket or go for a walk or church or whatever you feel like doing. You don’t need to be going out for a run but getting fresh air somehow I find lifts my mood.
6. Do get dressed! This goes hand in hand with the one above. I have been known to have pyjama days when I feel rotten and I feel like none of my clothes will fit me. It is completely insane. Again it really helps to get up, get showered and get dressed for the day.
7. Do not practice restrictive behaviours. What i mean by this is if you have eaten a lot of rubbish throughout the day, do not start planning just to eat soup for dinner or nothing at all – practice intuitive eating as mentioned above.
8. Do not plan to go on a crash diet the next day. In my experience, this never works. I’ve had days in the past where I have binged and then I’ve said to myself ” i may aswell eat all the chocolate in the house because from tomorrow i’m just going to eat fruit”. Generally that lasts for about a day and then I feel bad about myself because I’ve not managed to stick to it.
9. Do not plan to binge on exercise. This will only exhaust you and then you will associate negative thoughts with exercise and it will just be a vicious cycle. It actually takes quite a long time to burn a decent amount of calories. What is more important is to be consistently active for 30 mins to an hour a few days a week rather than spending several hours in the gym one day and then not having the energy to go the next day.
And that’s it I think. I tried this yesterday and I think it helped. I ended up going out for dinner last night which initially I really didn’t want to do because I felt like nothing fitted me etc etc but then I tried to remind myself of some of these ideas above and it actually made me feel better. I went out ate what I want then found that actually I was too full for dessert – because I had no restrictive thoughts and knew I wasn’t going to deprive myself in the coming days I didn’t feel the need to order dessert despite not being hungry for it. I’m taking that as a success and a small step towards being a happier and healthier person.
These are just things that have helped me – 0ther people might have alternative pieces of advice and i’d like to hear them!