Saturday, August 15, 2015

Successful Changes and Other Goings-On

The short version of this post is as follows:
Me, me, me, and me. My life, me, my life, me, and me. Me, more me, even more me, and but wait, there's more me. And oh, by the way, me. Me!

Yeah, this post is almost entirely about me. You might want to skip it... unless you're having a bout of insomnia; in which case, this post is electronic Ambien. :P

The long version (Don't say I didn't warn you.) is as follows:
I have been making some changes to my lifestyle over the last three months. I hadn't been very successful with small or gradual changes in the past, so I decided to try a more abrupt approach this time. Instead of weaning myself off something, I would go with a reverse Nike: just don't do it. This tactic is working surprisingly well for me.

I stopped eating fast food. This turned out to be easier than I expected, in part because of the summer heat. Get in the blazing hot oven car to go for food at lunchtime? I think not. No fast food is worth that kind of lunatic behavior. ;) And after work, I just want to go straight home to the blessed air conditioning - do not pass Go, do not collect Taco Bell.

I stopped drinking soda. I expected much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this one. I thought I'd be haunted by fizzy voices calling "Drink us! Drink us!" from the beverage cooler at work. To my great astonishment, breaking my soda habit was quite easy. I switched to flavored water and tea, and soon I didn't miss soda at all. (I still love you, Coke Zero; I just don't need you anymore.)

I started taking better care with my appearance - styling my hair, painting my nails, being consistent with skin care, putting some thought into clothes. I'm not trying to impress anyone (I work mostly with men, who wouldn't notice anyway); I just feel more confident when I make myself presentable. Complacency about my appearance was a sure sign that I was feeling depressed.

I started making healthier food choices. Firstly, eating more fruits and vegetables. This one has been pretty easy as I like veggies and fruits and they're simple to cook or eat raw. I have even started craving healthier foods when I'm hungry. French cut green beans are little green slivers of joy, and black-eyed peas are the legume of the gods.
with Snaps!  :D
Secondly, eating less sugar. I won't lie - this one has been tough. I am a sugar and carb fiend. I love cakes, pastries, waffles, croissants, muffins... all kinds of sweet baked goods, really. But I'm doing my best to stick to it, and I find myself craving sugary foods less often.

One unexpected effect has been that my perpetual nasal congestion has improved dramatically. I'm not sure if it's due to the sugar or to the milk that I would drink with sugary foods, but what a difference! I was taking a decongestant almost daily, but now I haven't needed one for a month or more. I had no idea my nose could serve any useful purpose other than holding my glasses up... but I can actually breathe through the thing! :o

I stopped recreational eating. This was made easy by (and timed to coincide with) starting Invisalign treatment to straighten my teeth. I can't eat while wearing the aligners, and I need to wear them 20-22 hours a day for a good result. Lunch at work involves walking with my little toiletries kit to the bathroom, taking the aligners out (which requires a bit of effort as they fit VERY tightly on my teeth), and cleaning them. After I eat, it's another trip to the bathroom to thoroughly brush my teeth and put the aligners back in. When I feel the urge to snack, I have to decide whether it's worth all that trouble. Usually it's not. Even for black-eyed peas.

In case anyone's curious about Invisalign... I've had my aligners for about 10 days now, and it's okay so far. My teeth ached slightly the first two or three days, but it was only discomfort, nothing I'd call pain. My tongue and the inside of my bottom lip did not fare so well. The bottom aligner cut into them painfully. :( I smoothed the edges with an emery board, and left the aligners out for a day so my mouth could heal. Those first few days, I was salivating like a Mastiff (okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad); thankfully, that subsided. I started to get a sore throat but that went away after I disinfected the aligners in a hydrogen peroxide solution. I'll move to the second set of aligners in a few days. Before I put them in, I'll file the edges and give them a soak, and hopefully avoid any problems.

I tried to stop sitting around on the sofa watching TV, but failed. I think it's partly due to the summer heat, which saps my energy and makes me reluctant to move. I run freakishly hot (the lab tech has to wear oven mitts when handling vials of my magma blood), and even with air conditioning, I start to overheat with the slightest exertion. But, hey, at least I'm sitting around eating green beans instead of cake. ;) I'll give the sofa-free lifestyle another go when the weather starts to cool down a bit.

And what about the realm of crafts and home improvement? Well, having finished my office armoire project, I'm now focusing on redoing the bathroom. My weekend plans include beginning a project which has an excellent chance of ending up a dismal failure: attempting to change a boring brown cabinet into something less boring and not at all brown. I suspect my plans are far grander than my skill in making them reality... but we'll see. For me, successful home improvement is less about skill and more about pure stubborn determination to make the stupid thing work. ;) Especially when I start the project with only a pile of boards, several baggies of little metal bits, and a couple of vague ideas.
Some assembly required.
The other pending home improvement project is more concrete. In fact, it's all concrete. I got my annual bonus at work last week, and as a special treat for myself, I'm going to buy a new driveway. :D (Just what every woman wants! Well, that plus power tools and Alchemy Gothic jewelry, of course.) The current driveway has so many vegetation-friendly cracks, I have to use the string trimmer on it. :P I also want to replace my narrow, oddly sized death trap of a front entry. I rarely use the front steps myself, but I always fear for the pizza delivery guy. I give him an extra tip as hazard pay for risking life and limb to bring dinner to my door.

I have several craft and sewing projects I want to work on after I finish the bathroom. I might try another round of The Daily Done for September. It's good motivation, and it feels great to accomplish even a little something each day.

Anyone else making changes in your life? Have you had more success with small gradual changes or with big abrupt ones?

32 comments:

  1. I liked this post a lot! Good to hear changes in your life are happening and you are starting to feel better and better, I hope. :)

    P.S. I accidentally first typed "you ares tarting" in stead of "you are starting" and almost left it there because I found it funny. :D

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    1. Thank you. I am feeling better.

      Ha ha! Too funny! Yep, that's me, tarting around with my ironed hair and my painted nails. ;)

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  2. I started taking better care of myself too and lost some weight! Glad to hear you are doing well!

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  3. That sounds like an amazing success Bane, instrumenting the changes. I hope you have great success. I am finding a nice emotional balance with finding a job. I'm enjoying meeting new people with doing a variety of activities. Wish you all best hun

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    1. Thanks very much. And that's good news; congrats!

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  4. Great news is great. *gives you a gold star*

    cafelastrange.com

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    1. Woo! I shall wear it with pride. :)

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  5. Great post!! I love your writing style; you get your point across, but in the process you are really funny! :-)

    Good luck with the bathroom, the new driveway, and the 'boring brown cabinet'. I hope you're not going to DIY the driveway, though! Get some sexy-looking guys to do it, so you can ogle them while THEY work and YOU sit in the shade with a drink! ;-)

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    1. Thanks! My sense of humor has been making more frequent appearances lately. :)

      Ha ha ha! I'll definitely be hiring out the driveway work. Price, quality of work, and sex appeal of the crew will be my top three criteria for choosing the contractor. ;)

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  6. Glad to hear you're doing well going cold turkey.
    It took me gradual change to stop binge drinking my regular cokes-- I averaged 4 sodas a day... it was an extremely tough habit to break since that is the only other beverage I like drinking besides chai and earl grey tea, and those I only drank in the winter...
    I switched to cold green tea, and drink *maybe* one soda during the week.
    Here's hoping I'll eventually reach none, for the sake of my pancreas! Heh.

    I haven't garnered enough courage to take my hair to the chop shop, yet...
    But I have been putting together a post for cute dos for snoozy gals with long ass hair, hehe.

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    1. Good for you (and your pancreas)! I had a similar issue in that soda was the only beverage I really liked, except for iced sweet tea, which is loaded with sugar. I found flavor packets for water are pretty good, though most have artificial sweetener. I hope I can learn to like plain water. I'm not optimistic. :P

      Ha ha! As a sometimes snoozy gal with somewhat long hair, I look forward to your post. :)

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  7. Wait, noses are for....breathing?

    I am skeptical.

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    1. Hard to believe, right? I'd heard people imply that such a thing was possible -- for example, saying "breathe in through the nose..." -- but dismissed it as an urban myth.

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  8. I love everything about this post especially the part that your annual bonus is being partly used for a new driveway! ;D

    I love reading about what works for others. Usually we read about the gradual removal of this and that but like you it works when I say, "no more". And win-win with the aligners! What a nice side effect of the hassle.

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    1. It's funny how being a homeowner can change one's priorities... twisting and warping them so one chooses a new driveway over a vacation. ;)

      I've read many accounts of people praising slow change, saying it was easy because they didn't even miss this or that. And I was skeptical of people who said things like "I just woke up one day and decided to never do X again." So I tried gradual change... but I couldn't make it work for me. I've had much better success with a quick "snap" to make a clean break of a habit and leave it behind.

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  9. Nope. No changes for me. I don't like 'em. LOL But when I do, the gradual thing never works for me either. I'm an all or nothing kind of person, I guess. Sounds like you're doing really well with all your changes. I'm glad.

    I did buy one of those soda stream gadgets, and I'm pleased to report I can now actually drink our well water when it's fizzy and has lots of lemon or lime pieces in it. I also learned how to make a simple syrup with fresh ginger pieces and it's almost like drinking homemade ginger ale! Although if you're trying to cut out sugar, maybe ignore that last suggestion. :)

    I'm excited to see what you do with the brown cabinet, dismal failure or not.

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    1. Ha ha! There are some things I would hate to change. Beyond that, I like change when I have some control over it.

      I did a primer coat on the cabinet yesterday. It seems to be sticking, so I think I'm safe to move to phase two and order the accessories...

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  10. OMG Im so happy for you. I kinda want to try the invisaligner things even more now. I have this one tooth thats completely turned around from where its supposed to be due to me mesing with the previous tooth before it fell out. I dont have much money though :-( I'm still working on schooling

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    1. Thanks so much! Yeah... unfortunately, Invisalign isn't cheap. I postponed it for ages because there was always something else (the house) to spend the money on. In the end, the timing was lucky, though -- my new dental insurance is paying for half. :D

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  11. Lovely positive post :)

    I recall having my own braces on, they cut into my top lip because the wire was to thin when first attached. Then it snapped and I had 2 prongs sticking out of my mouth at right angles...!

    I think you have something on the 'just do it' changes, gradual really doesn't work for me (particularly with alcohol I've noticed. I can give it up entirely for a month, but one glass always leads to 2 glasses then inhibition is out of the window, so I designate 2 dry months a year).

    Have fun with the cabinet.

    Jane (Breaking the Angel)

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    1. Yikes! I remember my high school friend was constantly sticking little balls of wax on the sharp wires of her braces. A mouth full of wire is kind of scary.

      I have a similar issue with food/snacks. I hardly think about food all day, but then after dinner, I want to just keep eating everything in sight. Snack momentum. :P

      Thanks!

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  12. What an inspiring post - so much so that I went out and had a salad and some fruit for lunch (instead of the normal cheese laden panini), and skipped having a fizzy drink in favour of some tea.

    Change is good.

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  13. Liek all the others you inspired me as well. I ate a lot of veggies and fruits since you posted, although I only reply know. That is the major draw back from reading posts on my cell phone - I hate typing with it! I hope that you continue with your path to a better you. But don't fell bad if you slip up once or twice...

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    1. Yay! It's a wonderful feeling if I can encourage people, even in some small way. :D That is why I write this type of post even though it feels uncomfortably similar to self-absorbed boasting.

      Typing on a cell phone is annoying, but can lead to some funny autocorrects. Yesterday I got an email that said "... let's rethursday on Thursday." Well, okay, as long as we don't have to remonday. ;)

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  14. Glad to hear you have made some positive changes! I am like you in regards to the summer heat.....it makes me feel so lethargic. I overheat so easily for some reason! GO AWAY SUMMER!!!

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    1. Indeed. I am counting down the days until autumn.

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  15. Sounds like you are doing very well! I am very happy for you! Beans are actually pretty nice and they fill you up too.

    I have a set of aligners that may be similar to yours, I am supposed to wear them at night to keep my teeth in the alignment that the braces put them in. If I leave them out too many nights my bottom teeth move around again! Damn my tiny jaw!

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    1. Thank you! :)

      I'll probably have an appliance of some sort to wear at night after my treatment. Teeth are stubborn little things, always trying to go back to their old positions. :P

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  16. "I'm going to buy a new driveway. :D (Just what every woman wants! Well, that plus power tools and Alchemy Gothic jewelry, of course.)" Hahahaaa! You're awesome Bane!

    That is a lot of change and I applaud you my friend for sticking with it! =D
    I've been trying to deflect other people's negativity. Unfortunately I have a lot of good friend's who are good people, just very negative and often too self-focused. Though they are not directing their negativity in my direction, I am pretty empathic, so I'm trying to learn to deflect and not their emotions effect mine.

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    1. Good for you! You are smart to take it upon yourself to deflect that negativity. Negativity is hard to banish once it has taken hold. Better to deflect it from the start. Good luck!

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