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Last challenge I was focused on Charles Duhigg's "The Power of Habit," identifying critical "inflection points," circumstances where I was likely to face a significant moment of weakness, and crafting small habits using the cue-routine-reward formula to get myself through those circumstances. I found some ways in which this was really helpful.

 

Below I'll post a standard run-down of my goals for this challenge, and after that I'll analyze moments where I'm most likely to fail at these goals and craft myself habits for how to get though those moments successfully.

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Quest: Take care of my arthritic knee, making present decisions to benefit my long term freedom of movement.

 

 

Goal 1: Lose 30 lbs between May 28th and December 23rd, 2017, five pounds per challenge.

 

Method: Counting calories. I lost seven pounds last challenge by maintaining a running average of 1800-1900 calories a day, which is not terribly restrictive. Then I went on an extended camping trip with my family last week and participated in the full array of social and recreational eating, but I should still be able to get myself down to a total of ten pounds lost by the end of this, the second challenge, without any unhealthy restrictions.

 

For my previous challenge, I developed a whole series of habits using the “cue, routine, reward” paradigm to help me get through moments when I anticipated it would be very difficult to stick to my goals, but I found it really wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d been thinking. The habits that supported my goal the most were:

 

Eating good quality food and frequently reminding myself of the quality of the food I was eating and the fact that this really was *all* the food I needed and wanted until my next scheduled meal.

 

Reducing exposure to temptations and becoming patient with unsatisfied appetites. I read a humorous remark to the effect that having a prominent appetite is like having an overbearing mother: you don’t have to do everything they say, and you don’t have to get upset about it. You can tolerate the onslaught patiently, with compassion, without judgment, and without changing your plans.

 

My biggest challenge in this regard for the next few weeks is going to be that my fiancé will be coming home after spending almost a month living in California working as the lead stunt choreographer for a small movie. I know there’s going to be dinners out and picnics and wine and... I’m not going to be able to say no to all of it. I wouldn’t want to; he’s my lovie. My solution to this situation is mainly to leave some wiggle room in my calorie budget for spontaneity, eating a bit lighter than my goal outside of such bonding moments and, ensuring that I’m getting nothing but healthy, nutrient-dense foods for my regular meals. My saving grace here is that he’s as interested in being healthy as I am, and a romantic presentation of vegetables and lean meats is something I know he’ll welcome.

 

Goal 2: Exercise (physical therapy and more) before breakfast.

 

I’m going to be starting a new job on July 10th, and it’s on a regular afternoon shift. My plan is to get up around 8 or 9 am, have a gradual wake-up followed by a good workout, and then a hearty breakfast, and then walk to work. (Yay, I’m close enough I get to walk to work! I love it when that happens!!)

 

This involves not eating the second I role out of bed. Also not eating in the bathtub while I wake up. It also involves actually getting started on the exercise. Once my morning workout is rolling, I typically enjoy it a lot and breeze right through it, but sometimes there can be an energistic hurtle to getting started.

 

A further problem here is making sure I get out the door on time. I can be pretty bad at this, especially if my routine is anything other than: wake up, do your duties, and GTFO. A little self-indulgence and my mental clock turns itself right off.

 

Goal 3: Sleep, meditate, relax.

 

Get to bed on time to get a good night’s sleep every night. Meditate for at least two, and preferably ten, minutes a day. Snuggle up with my lovie. Watch movies, read, unwind together.

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What does the Oracle of Doom say about this list of goals?

 

Indulging a little without overindulging is harder than not indulging at all.

 

and

 

That’s a complicated morning routine, liable to derail at multiple junctures.

 

(Habits to cope with these difficulties: COMING SOON!)

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The great news is I got my fiance on board with eating healthier with me.

 

The less great news is my new, very different work schedule is confounding my regular eating schedule more than I predicted.

 

I had a great first day at work today after a full pre-breakfast morning workout.

 

The next couple weeks may continue to be a work in progress, but I know it'll all get ironed out.

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On 7/2/2017 at 7:41 PM, Nianne said:

Reducing exposure to temptations and becoming patient with unsatisfied appetites. I read a humorous remark to the effect that having a prominent appetite is like having an overbearing mother: you don’t have to do everything they say, and you don’t have to get upset about it. You can tolerate the onslaught patiently, with compassion, without judgment, and without changing your plans.

 

 

Ooooh. That's a great little nugget of wisdom. Great thing to keep in mind when the raccoon brain kicks in and starts demanding all the shiny foods! 

 

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I got a lot of exercise in my first week, and I've been walking to work and back every day, which is awesome.

 

The change in schedule has made a crazy mess of my eating habits. I haven't been where I want to be with that, but I'm pretty sure at least being mindful of my goals has led to less deviation than I would have had otherwise. Like seriously, I could be eating *all the food* pretty much every day right now if I wasn't paying attention to what was going on. Even though I knew the change in routine was coming and tried to get a head start on it, it's still a bit of a behavioral vortex.

 

Having my fiancé on mission has been hit and miss. He tries to be supportive, but he also offers me a lot more food than I need when I come home in what seems like the middle of the night. He's trying to take care of me and make me feel rested and relaxed and comforted when I settle in after work, but I haven't figured out how to make it through a 9+ hour shift and still have enough of the day's calorie allowance left for all the great things he wants to see me enjoy. 

 

I feel like the second week is going better than the first so far, so I may be getting the hang of it a little.

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"It's still a bit of a behavioral vortex" great analogy.

Perhaps the finance can give you a neck rub instead of food? Not sure of the whole situation. A thought.

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I'm glad that being mindful has helped! Work and life, in general, will always try to throw a curveball but mindfulness and meditation help us cope with it better :D . I'm sure you will crush week 2 on all of your goals, keep it up!

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The one truly great thing about working a static swing shift is that I've got plenty of time in the morning to get up, exercise, cook a great breakfast, and walk to work without stress.

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I'm pretty much taking this week as a new "Week One" for the challenge. I feel like I've got some practice at how to deal with the new schedule, and I really want to see my week turn out the way I'd like it to.

 

And to add another twist to my pickle, the fire alarms have been evacuating my building in the middle of the night on a regular basis. Like, four times in the last five days. Some kind of neighborhood dispute that's devolved into setting trash fires in the hallway, as far as I can tell. Totally destroying my sleep schedule.

 

Anyone know how to get back to sleep after a major adrenaline surge?

 

In fact, I may post that question as a new forum topic, just to get as many responses as possible.

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What the what?! That sucks! How do things escalate to the trash fire point? 

 

No real great suggestions on how to get back to sleep, other than read - my DH and I just got jerked out of a dead sleep last night by my dog, who had an explosive bark in his dream that kind of sounded like he'd fallen off the bed. 

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The fire alarms have gone off three more times since my last post, but none of them have been in the middle of the night, so that's a plus. I've got some plans for what I'm going to try next in terms of working myself back into a state of restfulness, but I haven't had the chance to try them out yet.

 

Meanwhile, all the sleep disruptions have completely obliterated my 90-minute pre-breakfast workouts. I love having time for those, but now I often spend that time in a stupor. I figure I'll give myself until the end of this challenge to figure out how to get exercise back into my game despite the disruptions, and if I can't find a gentle method, then my next challenge may be some kind of battle themed exercise-waits-not-for-rest challenge. 

 

 

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On ‎7‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 0:29 PM, Nianne said:

The fire alarms have gone off three more times since my last post, but none of them have been in the middle of the night, so that's a plus. I've got some plans for what I'm going to try next in terms of working myself back into a state of restfulness, but I haven't had the chance to try them out yet.

 

Meanwhile, all the sleep disruptions have completely obliterated my 90-minute pre-breakfast workouts. I love having time for those, but now I often spend that time in a stupor. I figure I'll give myself until the end of this challenge to figure out how to get exercise back into my game despite the disruptions, and if I can't find a gentle method, then my next challenge may be some kind of battle themed exercise-waits-not-for-rest challenge. 

 

 

Hoping they catch the idiots who are setting the fires. 

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