Monday, April 13, 2009
I have three bad habits that I've been working on this week:
I have been taking time to pray and meditate daily since last summer. A worthwhile activity to be sure, but lately I've been slipping into the bad habit of putting all sorts of other things, worthwhile or not, first in my day. This leads to me leaving my prayers until later and later in the evening, right up until bedtime most days.
The two-fold result is thus:
* I go to sleep later and later (another bad habit, see below)
* I give myself the subtle message that everything else (even watching inane programs on television) is more important than my prayers. Not exactly a positive boost to my spiritual life!
This week, spurred on by a challenge, I decided that if my prayers are important to me, my actions need to reflect that. Monday, the day I realized this was an issue, I began my prayers after 11:45 pm! Tuesday, I started earlier at shortly after 10 pm. While at the church for my dd's dance practise on Wednesday, I took the opportunity to spend some time alone with God and it was only 7:30 pm! Throughout the rest of the week, I continued to find chances throughout the DAY to devote to my prayers, reminding myself that that part of my life is important to me!
With nutritious food, sufficient exercise, and time spent for R and R, sleep is an important aspect of healthy living. Without adequate sleep, our bodies cannot function properly: our minds become cloudy, our movements sluggish. In fact, I've heard that our chemical messengers (our hormones) cannot work efficiently and our bodies do not get rid of toxins, fight off disease, or release excess fat as well as it should when we are maintaining a sleep deficit. Hardly the best way to attempt to reach weight-loss goals!
This is often an issue for me. I stay up late yet still presume my body will function with peak efficiency. It decidedly does not! This week, I strove to change this. Monday night I managed just over 5 hours of rest. Tuesday was better with almost 6 hours of sleep. With 7 Wednesday night and 7.5 Thursday, I could tell the difference. More energy, less tendency to snack on unhealthy food, and less irritability were obvious results! Friday night I finally got over 8 hours and felt great! Saturday was a little less at 7.5 hours, but still a vast improvement over the beginning of the week!
Completing my daily prayers near midnight resulting in receiving less than adequate sleep leads to the exacerbation of my third unhelpful habit - after school/work snacking. I'm hungry after work and I eat a snack. This would not be a problem in and of itself. The issue comes when I decide what and how much food I put into my body. Instead of enjoying a piece of fresh fruit, I'll often have fruit and yoghurt and a granola bar with 4 or 5 cookies thrown in for good measure. Definitely not breaking any daily calorie deficit records that way! My response to this unhealthy habit has been 4-pronged:
(1) reducing the amount of unhealthy snacks that are available in my house - I know I find cookies and sweet treats difficult to resist. If they're not around, I'm not tempted.
(2) getting enough sleep to better withstand late afternoon slumps and the tendency to over-indulge at that time
(3) beginning supper immediately upon getting home or having a healthy snack and then exercising. Smelling good food cooking tells me I will soon be eating and I don't feel I need to eat too much at the moment. Exercising gets those fabulous endorphins pumping through my system and short of a nice, tall, cool glass of water, the thought of putting anything else in my body is unappealing.
(4) taking an extra piece of fruit to work and enjoying it right before I leave for home. Without that gnawing feeling in my tummy when I arrive home to my kitchen, I am better able to make better choices!
So, there you have it - three of my bad habits. I feel I have a better handle on them right now. this week will be my phase 2 - continuing with my better choices until my bad habits have been replaced with good ones!
Wish me well!