Monday, January 8

The Big O

A new experience is making such a big difference for me:


(Heh. I bet you thought this was about something else.)

I've had a real challenge while on low carb, especially the last 2 months, with a variety of factors, including:
How many of us work our butts off for someone else, but... only "hope to get around to" the things we want to do?

* remembering to eat
* remembering to weigh myself
* remembering to take my supplements at all, let alone 3x a day
* being able to drink water consistently through the day so that I can get a gallon in by the end of the day
* not eating frequently enough (rather than only once or twice a day, or meals separated by 6 hours)
* not preparing properly so when I go to eat, there is something lowcarb available that does not take me 30 minutes to pull together (if at all)

...All of which combines to other side effects, like not getting nearly enough protein each day, and more.

Yeah I know. After reading that you're thinking, "You can't remember to eat?! You have no brain!"

Yes, there is that...

But seriously, I wake up in the morning and I'm into the "get kid to school mode" and then I move on to the "I work from home mode" and that's that. I'm used to putting the kid, the job, in fact everything, before "me" on my priority list.

I'm very focused. When I'm doing thing X, I am totally doing it. I'm busy, and I don't remember to do stuff until usually late afternoon, when I realized I've blown it yet again -- I didn't eat frequently, I didn't drink water, weigh myself, take supplements, get stuff ready that I needed, etc. 15+ years of eating one meal a day and tuning out the world while I obsessed on work is a hard habit to break.

How many people are unusually competent as mothers or church planners or business people but feel like they're constantly a day late, a dollar short, and behind the 8-ball in their personal life?

So my friend was telling me, "Set your alarm!" and I said well then I'd have to reset it a zillion times a day. I heard myself say that and thought to myself, "My gosh, am I the laziest human alive?! You know, I think I might be!" Talk about making excuses. But it got me thinking about it.

I had prepared a ton of chili verde, in the fridge and the freezer, in those little Glad plastic 4oz (1/2 cup) containers. I had baked some Cocoa Muffincakes v1.8 which began a healthy muffin and turned into a sweet treat by the time I was done with it. So for the first time in awhile, I had actually prepared food in advance that I could eat as needed. Plus I have a variety of stuff right now that I could munch on if I chose.

So the day BEFORE today, I sat down, considering what I had in my fridge and pre-pared, and worked out what I should eat today that would bring my nutrition numbers to my ideal.

Why did I never think of doing this before? Planning my food in advance? As if I have to be so undisciplined that I require spontaneity for food or something, how silly -- it's not like I don't know what I like. (Surely, until recently, humans were usually very carefully planning food in advance and/or eating whatever had to be eaten before it spoiled.)

I put the info in my spreadsheet that I use as a food journal, with set times. Every so many minutes or hours, I was due to do something, usually combined with eating. I would eat X, or Y; I would weigh myself; and I made a point that each time I needed to eat, I would grab my 1/2 gallon water bottle, drink 8 long gulps, and then go do whatever I was doing. After I finished eating I would try to drink 8-16 more gulps, which when you are eating meat is not that hard because it makes you thirsty.

I set my alarm. And when it went off I would instantly re-set it for the next time (90 minutes later), do my thing, and come back to work. It didn't take hardly any time, contrary to my expectation that getting up so many times a day would be too time consuming.

The result is:

* Today was by far my most ideal nutrition counts in the four months I've been lowcarbing.
* I drank a full gallon of water today and never did I really feel like I was waterlogging myself, because it was very gradual and consistent.
* I had many separate eating times of very small amounts throughout the day. I never felt hungry, I never felt full. The more protein your weight requires you get in, the more you need multiple meals, since taking massive protein/fat in one meal isn't really ideal.
* Since my food's planned ahead I never reached the middle of a prep only to discover we are now out of something I need, or it has gone bad.
* I got far more movement in my day since I had to get up every 90 minutes.
* I went to the bathroom every 90 minutes (remember that gallon of water!) but it wasn't like being 'constantly interrupted' for it, because I was already up doing my thing anyway, so it just became a routine.
* I actually felt like I was accomplishing something!

Now attach praying, stretching, weighing, taking vitamins, etc. to some of those 'timed events' and you have a very constructive day.

I knew it was going to be a successful day. How could it not be? I had a plan!

And importantly, it's never much. It's never like some gigantic effort, like making a big meal or doing an hour of exercise or drinking a whole quart of water or something else that's a real pain no fun. Every 90 minutes, I drop what I'm doing and do what I should -- and it usually doesn't take longer than 5-10 minutes max. And by the end of the day, I find that I have accomplished a LOT -- all in tiny little pieces.


So in addition to my "lowcarb lifestyle", I have other things that are important to me, from prayer to getting my kid to karate. My friend pointed out that for 20 bucks there is a great electronic scheduler with alarm at Amazon. You can schedule any number of "appointments" -- every Thursday at 5:30 for example, to get ready for karate, or weekdays, or one-time things -- or, a regular "eating+" schedule that is consistent and happens in many segments throughout the day.

I could do this on my computer now -- but I'm not always at my computer, so that's not convenient. Something small that could be clipped on a purse, belt, backpack, tossed in the car to travel with you, could combine work and personal AND even your "plan of discipline" sounds fabulous to me. I ordered it, so when I get it later this week I'll let you know what I think.

Meanwhile, I actually made nearly 200g of protein today, a full gallon of water, at 20 carbs and 2200 calories -- and everything I ate was fabulous. I wasn't stressed or rushing. I wasn't trying to do math in my head and guess about my food or 'forage' in a hurry for lunch. I got my prayers and stretching and other things taken care of. And from the beginning of my day, here's the kicker:


How could it not be? I had a plan!
I had everything all worked out ahead of time.

It was easy, it was fast, and it got done.

Think about it. We plan our work days, our meetings, our lesson plans, our grocery lists. Those of us who do jobs like project management for a living, plan the 'flow' of things so there are no surprises (we hope), no panicking rush, no running out of resources, no bottleneck vs. desert of workflow for vendors and contractors, etc. We plan it, we document it, we report on it.

Funny most of us don't put as much "Organization" into the rest of our lives, isn't it? Why NOT pre-plan and schedule your food/water and minor activities? It's not like you can't change your mind if you need to. Isn't LIFE at least as important as the job? Isn't being competent and feeling good about what we accomplish in many areas just as important personally as professionally?

I'm used to putting the kid, the job, in fact everything, before "me" on my priority list.

Why not "get my act together" by sitting down and making a plan for shopping, for pre-cooking/storing, eating, and all the little things I must do? Why not set an alarm or organizer-reminder so that we get it all done regularly, unhurriedly, gradually -- and perfectly?

Many years ago in Los Angeles as an independent contractor (troubleshooting, mfg. line process, software training, etc.) my business card said, "Organizing Your Organization." Why not organize my own life? How many of us work our butts off for someone else, but then for ourselves, only "hope to get around to" the things we want to do?

How many people are unusually competent as mothers or church planners or business people but feel like they're constantly a day late, a dollar short, and behind the 8-ball in their personal life? Maybe it's because we aren't used to making the same kind of effort on behalf of ourselves that we do for others.

The Big O is now underway. I'm making plans. I'm following plans. And it's pretty amazing, frankly, how with a minimum of effort, I am accomplishing more than ever.


Alex said...

I have kitchen timer that goes up to 90 minutes and I use it all day. I have been using it since my kids were born. Potty training the kids and the dog - kitchen timer. Every hour it beeps and someone goes potty! I work from home and I use it for me to. I set it for 60 minutes and I get up and walk around the house let the dog in or out. On nice days I let her stay outside every other hour with the timer. My kids use one when they are playing a game where they have to take turns. They set it for 15-20 minutes and when it beeps they switch. When the boys were little we lived 2 hours from my family. We would get in the car set the timer and no one was allowed to ask are we there yet until the timer went off. We set it for 60 minutes and they know we will stop when it beeps. Then another 60 minutes and we would be pulling into my mothers drive way. I have driven to Florida several times just me and two boys. Set the timer for 90 minutes and we stop when it beeps. 24 hours of drive time...but it goes by fast when you break it up into 90 minute intervals. I have a small digital timer about the size of a pedometer and I carry it in my pocket if I am moving around so I know I hear it...the dog is counting on me!!

Carol Bardelli said...

I loved your Big O article!

I tagged you for the Five Little Known Things About Me Meme at my blog.

You're it!

Have fun! Carol at Kudos For Low Carb

Kate Welch said...

I love the timer method. I first started using it for writing, telling myself I would write for 15 mins and setting the timer. It really helped to break my day down into manageable chunks of time.

I think it's a great idea to apply it to food. A lot of dieters are so used to NOT listening to their body (quashing hunger pangs, banishing natural cravings) that we tune out all signals, even the useful ones like "I'm THIRSTY!"

Thanks for sharing your tips!

Kate at The Steaks Are High

Big Daddy D said...

We haven't seen any posts in over three weeks! I've not seen anyone lose 100 pounds as fast as you have. I wonder if this has impacted your gall bladder at all? Please give us an update so that we know you are okay. By the way, I love the blog. Keep up the good work.