My downfall is snacking late at night. I do not feel that I eat very much during the day; I am active and we tend to eat a light lunch. My focus during the day is on making sure that Joshua eats well and I can sometimes miss breakfast in my rush to give him his porridge and get him dressed, ready to take him to daycare. Often I will get back home from taking him there at 10.30 and wonder why I feel peckish. I never eat breakfast before my early morning walk, I just have a mug of tea before I go walking or swimming in the morning.
My hunger pangs do not really kick in until late afternoon, I could easily miss breakfast and lunch and not really notice. But I tend to snack as I am making Joshua’s tea. If he is hungry before it is ready, he asks for crisps and chocolate to tide himself over and it is easy to partake of his treats at this time or to dunk a few biscuits in my tea while I am in the kitchen. Joshua will have his evening meal about 6ish normally and once he is fed and has a lie down to digest, then it is time to think about cooking tea for me and my husband, so we will eat after 7pm usually.
But the really dangerous time for me is after 10pm : Joshua will be in bed and I come downstairs from settling him and I start to wonder what I can eat, now that I finally have some time to myself. I will often tell myself that I have been ‘good’ during the day so that I deserve a treat. It is a bad habit but I guess it feels like my reward for a busy evening. I will often snack at that time and my husband has always tended to have some supper before bed too, some cereal or something toasted. All of the weight loss books tell you not to eat late in the day, that it interferes with your sleep as your stomach is busy trying to digest what you have just eaten. I am sure that I would lose some weight if I was able to break this snacking habit, or even switch to eating carrot sticks and fruit. While I like carrots and fruit, they never have the appeal or satisfaction of biscuits or crisps for me. But I think I would be more successful if I switched snacks, rather than trying to go full ‘cold turkey’ on nothing to eat in front of the TV during my ‘me time’ before bed. I know that it is a habit, rather than hunger, so I just need to occupy my hands and mind in another way, keeping out of the kitchen I think.
I have never been slim – I was a chubby baby, child and teenager – , so I am not aiming for that unattainable goal. But my goal is to get fitter. I am successfully keeping up my walking that began earlier in the year and peaked with my 120+ miles walked in April for Cancer Research. My Mermaid swims are not especially energetic though I do some swimming, there is a lot of treading water while chatting if I am honest. But I am confident that cold sea water swimming is good for my mental health if not my physical health. I took up jogging last year and I have the shoes now to take it up again, but so far I prefer walking with the dogs, which I am really enjoying and that eats into my early exercise window. Perhaps I could try a short jog at the other end of the day.
As a carer it is easy to neglect our self-care, the day is busy enough without looking after ourselves too. But it is really important that we try to keep fit, so that we are physically able to care for as long as possible. It was Michelle Obama who said:
“ To be a good parent you need to take care of yourself so that you can have the physical and emotional energy to take care of your family”
So now I am heading out on my walk into the sunshine, and today is a new day….