Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 21

This weekend was quite a struggle for me. Not tv related, but sugar related.

The five of us went to a friend/colleague's home in LaPorte, IN for dinner on Saturday night. She had ice cream cones for dessert and I had made Rice Krispie treats - one of my favorites if they're done right. I wanted one (or two... okay, three) really badly.

On Sunday we were invited to Cornbread's aunt and uncle's for a birthday celebration and a chance to hang out and catch up with our cousins that live on either side of the country (Oregon and Virginia). There was cake. There was ice cream. There was pie. There was Uncle Bryce's awesome coffee. And. there. were. Scotcheroos. Sitting on the counter smelling as good as anything could possibly smell. They were killing me. Seriously. I wanted to abandon all sense of etiquette and take the whole pan to the car and have at it. It was very, very hard. There is something about the combination of chocolate and butterscotch that is very delightful to me.

I reiterate: No option has been much better for me than trying to be good and have only one - only one of the several choices offered and only one of that specific choice. I couldn't have passed on the pie and multiple scotcheroos. I'm just being honest. I wouldn't have been able to do it. Not only because I love pie and coffee and would cut my arm off for a scotcheroo, but because of the festivity of the situation - it just feels even more celebratory to join in with the desserts. So not giving myself the option to choose even one has been much better for me.

Still not missing the tv. We're removing the tv from our bedroom forever - I was never an advocate of tv in the bedroom. In fact, I was adamantly opposed to it. And then we had Nora and she was early and wouldn't nurse and I pumped. My pump was in the bedroom and it took a while, so naturally the tv ended up in there and has never come out until now. I suspect I will begin to miss the tv once my favorite shows premier and people are using the funny lines from them on their facebook statuses and whatnot. Does The Office premier this week? Thats really the only show I'm dying to see again.

In addition, we have decided to make an exception for the presidential and vice presidential debates. However, we have no clue when they will be on - can anyone help me out on that? If they are on in September we will bring a tv out for that. Too important to not watch.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day Seventeen

By half of a month into this tv and sugar fast I am feeling like this is just the way of life, rather than a struggle or anything that I need to consciously think about foregoing. That is a good thing.

The tv continues to not be an issue. I don't feel like I'm missing anything. I don't miss any shows - I recognize that it might be because there are no new shows on right now. And as I was telling BFWW yesterday morning, I needed to do something... after several years of not watching them, I was beginning to watch soaps again. Just flipping them on here and there and then suddenly it was a daily thing. I hate soaps. They draw me in and I don't know why. It was a good time to do something drastic like this.

I am also not missing sugar. And after losing a couple of pounds I have new-found motivation to continue my sugar fast after this month is over. I am not missing it or craving it in any way. I still want to eat just one m&m when I hand out potty treats - I smell them and get the urge - but I just put them away and out of sight. I must have been eating things out of want, not out of satisfying a craving. I reiterate that it is very helpful - for me - to not have the option rather than trying to do it in moderation.

It may be too early to make this decision, but I would like to continue my sugar fast for as long as possible. I would like to be someone who just doesn't eat sugar or desserts - Cornbread has a cousin like that (cousin is a boy) - says that it makes him ill... he is the one male member of Cornbread's extended family who doesn't have a weight problem (of course he is only 24, too... the beer may catch up to him eventually lol!) Ultimately I would like to allow myself to indulge in only certain things that are worth indulging in: homemade chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, Thanksgiving dessert for example. Is it really worth indulging in store-bought anything?

Over the last few days I have been considering the question of Why? in regards to tv and sugar for me. Giving these things up has clearly been a beneficial thing for me, personally, and for our family. So the important question is: Why do I struggle with these two issues? Why am I unable to do them in moderation? Why is it so hard for me to eat one slice of dessert at a party? Why is it difficult for me to limit my television watching to just a few shows each week? What am I self-medicating with either of these things? Boredom? I'm not sure. It is a question that I will continue to consider.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 14

The end of last week presented many tempting issues, but I didn't want to write about them as they were happening. Cornbread was out of town - I didn't want to post that for the world to read, so I refrained from writing anything.

He left on Wednesday night and came home Friday night after the girls went to bed. I missed him:)

The fact that he was gone, though, made the no tv thing more of a struggle. I don't like it when he's out of town, however, I have always enjoyed at least one night of getting the girls to bed somewhat early, making my dinner and plopping on the couch to eat and watch my favorite shows in silence. That wasn't an option this time... So I read at the table and then moved to the couch... and then to the bed. It wasn't very exciting and I'm sure I didn't miss a whole lot, but it was still a change from the way I normally do things when he's gone and felt a little weird at first.

Other than the initial "what am I going to do while he's gone" feeling, it was fine.

On Sunday, though, he brought the tv upstairs so he could watch the Bears game with his parents. They were in town for a Dykstra celebration and had planned to bring the girls to Kiddieland, but Ike put a damper on those plans. Cornbread really misses watching the Bears with his dad and felt that it would be inhospitable to have them over and not be able to watch the game (uh huh) so he brought it up. And we turned it off as soon as the game was over.

As for sugar - I am SO happy I've given it up entirely. I cannot believe how much easier it is to not have the option vs. having the option and struggling to say no. At the Dykstra party on Saturday I wasn't able to have a piece of Apple Slice (never he\ard of it before, but it looked darn good) - but I also didn't sit at the table and finish Georgia's or hem and haw in my mind about whether to have a second piece: "I really shouldn't." "But its so good." No argument with myself. No obsessing over it in my mind. No feeling bad about it later in the evening. It just wasn't an option.

Sunday when I went to the grocery store to grab a bag of chips I didn't stand in front of the ice cream freezer and fight with myself and my will-power over whether I should buy some ice cream or a different dessert. I'm not sure I can explain the struggle that is involved in those kinds of situations for me... I bought dessert for the girls and my in-laws because I knew they would like something after pizza, but it wasn't a stressful, internal struggle for me. I wish I could explain this better, but ultimately, the important feeling is that not having the option of eating the sugary stuff is very liberating and freeing and I'm loving it.

Pages read (since Wednesday): 200
Total: 727

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day Nine

I called Comcast to cancel my television service yesterday afternoon. After a semi-frustrating hour on the phone with 3 different people, they got my monthly bill down to $75 for cable, internet and phone service - it was $130! That saves us probably around $45 - $50 each month (because of taxes and fees). I had no intention of keeping cable service, but when they shocked me by getting all three down to the same price that AT&T was going to give me just internet and phone, I agreed. Maybe I will think about calling back to cancel the cable to save an extra $20/month, but we'll have to discuss it.

I was very excited about that - cancelling cable would have saved us only $30/month if we had stayed with Comcast (which we were planning to do because with AT&T we would have had to buy a new modem for $90, which would have eaten up any savings we would have had).

As exciting as that is, it brings up the idea of what do we do when September is over? I know it is only Sepetmber 10th, but Cornbread and I have discussed how we both like not having TV and then it ultimately leads to the conversation of possibly phasing it back into our lives. How in the world do we go about doing that without it getting out of control? The same question applies to sugar. It may be September 10th, but it is definitely worth thinking about now and I don't have any ideas or answers.

I don't want to go back to life as it was. I feel like I'm living life more intentionally right now rather than following along with whatever is happening at the moment. I'm getting more stuff done around the house. I'm motivated to do more. I don't feel like the candy in the cupboard is calling to me now that it simply is not an option. The house is quiet a lot more than it used to be - there is more of a peace about things and about myself, I suppose. So in a way, I wish that I hadn't been able to keep the cable and still get the cheaper price - if it had been cancelled we would have no options when September was over. I know, though, that Cornbread would like to have the tv back after this month and he was happy to hear that we still have cable... but he's not home all day, he apparently doesn't struggle with this as much as I do. So after September is over my self-discipline is going to be tested in a big way.

Pages read: 25
Total: 527

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Day Eight

I am shocked at how considerably easier this is than I thought it would be. Neither TV nor sugar has been incredibly difficult to give up - so far.

Today will be a test, though.

I have to iron. A lot. Like 15 - 20 shirts. And what am I going to watch or do while I iron? I can't watch tv in order to alleviate the boredom (even thought I LOVE to iron, it is still boring). So this afternoon/evening will be a test.

Ryann keeps asking me how many days we have until the tv comes back. I'm not sure she misses it as much as she likes the count down. I told the girls, though, that when the tv comes back our channel options will be severely limited due to our no longer having cable and having to watch whatever channels we can get via rabbit ears. They are very upset that they will no longer have Animal Planet. But it won't be for forever... if it is, we'll be in much more dire straits than we currently are;)

I will admit that I missed the tv last night. We finished dinner, the girls went to bed and I thought, "okay, I guess I can read - again." It didn't excite me (possibly because I just started my new Harry Potter book instead of being toward the end where it gets exciting). But I love how much I've been reading in the last week so far!

I also miss watching baseball. I enjoy listening to it on the radio, but I miss watching it, too. What if the White Sox go to the world series? Will they be on the channels that we can get with rabbit ears or will we have to watch at someone else's house? This could be an issue.

Cornbread watched the Bears opener at our friend's house on Sunday night. Three of them together made for a whole lot more fun for everyone involved (including me, the girls and the Woof who did not have to endure the tension and yelling that comes along with every Bears game). A definite bonus to not having a tv in our house and having to watch at someone else's house is that in order to do that, we also have the opportunity and an excuse to hang out with our friends - so you could say that not having a tv is a definite social/relationship bonus.

Sugar was not difficult yesterday. Although I'm finding myself continually confronted with the questions of "Would this be included in the "sugar/sweet" category?" For example, Bran Muffins. Are bran muffins really something that I need to give up? Pumpkin Raisen muffins? Did I really need to choose the sugar free jelly at breakfast on Sunday? Did I need to skip the syrup? I'm not sure what the answers are - I've chosen no on all of those things, but I don't necessarily feel like I needed to do so.

I'm not trying to torture myself... what is the point of giving up sugar for me? Back to the beginning - What is keeping me from being the person that I most want to be? Sugar is definitely high on the list. But is it SUGAR or is it sweets? Those could be definted differently, I suppose, but for this month, at least, I'm saying no to all of it.

Pages read: 51
Total: 502

Monday, September 08, 2008

Day Seven

The first weekend of no tv and no sugar... as I suspected, this was a bit tougher than during the week.

Actually, going without tv has not been bad at all. I haven't missed it as much as I thought I would and the girls don't seem to miss it either. They have been playing really nicely together and fighting less than usual. It is nice to not have the option for them to watch it. And we're going to keep it this way and cancel cable altogether... If, after the end of the month, we can get a signal with rabbit ears, then we'll just do that, if not, then we'll go without. (This decision, by the way, is more financially motivated than anything else. Its coming to the point where we need to cut out anything and everything that is not the least bit necessary).

I knew the weekend would be tougher in terms of sugar. I normally use the weekend to satisfy my sugar cravings. I allow myself some chocolate here and there, perhaps a bowl of sugary cereal, a few cookies and definitely a big bowl of ice cream on Sunday night. None of that was an option for me this weekend... and when I went out for breakfast with Nora I used sugar free jelly on my toast (I didn't even bother on the second piece - ick).

I am amazed... while being intentional about NOT eating sugar, I have woken up to how much of it I normally eat and don't think about. Its pretty incredible, actually, to realize how much I justified while just living life.

Pages read (F-S): 266
Total: 451

Friday, September 05, 2008

Day Four

Yesterday was largely uneventful in terms of sugar and tv temptations.


*I am taking notice of how often I touch or see some kind of sugary/sweet food. I was amazed yesterday at how often I must unknowingly grab an m&m or two while giving potty treats out because the urge to do so was incredible - not necessarily tempting, just this kind of natural instinct to grab one or two for myself.

* Nora came home from school with a mostly uneaten granola bar. It was some kind of trail mix bar with chocolate chips, raisens, etc. Ryann and Georgia immediately asked for it and out of habit I almost took a bite before breaking it in half and giving it to them.

* At the end of the night I had several points left because my dinner was very low points. I searched and searched my house for something to eat that wasn't a meal. I really had no options other than ice cream sandwiches or granola bars. I opted for popcorn.

* I need to come to a decision on how to handle the whole Sugar Free situation. Am I giving up sugar or sweets? Are my sugar free popsicles okay? What about sugar free candy? For right now, I'm okay with the popsicles and am not going to touch the sugar free candy - its a slippery slope that I live on;)

TV -
Yesterday was very rainy and dreary. These days are normally declared lounge around and watch as much tv as you want days in my life. I did not have a hard time with it yesterday at all - in fact I didn't even realize that I was missing out on that until late in the afternoon.

The girls are handling this exceptionally well. I think the decision to physically remove the tv from the room helps a lot. When they ask to watch a show or a movie I can say "We don't have a tv" and they understand. If the tv was staring them in the face and I told them, "No. We are not watching tv" it doesn't quite register as well with them.

I love the quietness of the house in the afternoon while Nora and Ryann are at school and Georgia is taking her 2 1/2 hour nap (yes she does).

I don't feel like I watched a whole lot of tv during the day before, but somehow I am getting a lot more done without it around. I must have been watching more than I realized.

Pages read: 91
Total: 185

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Day three

Yesterday's sugar temptation was:

Snickerdoodles. One of my favorites. They are probably the only store bought cookie that tastes good, in my opinion. And there they were... just sitting there enticing me to have just one bite. But one thing I'm finding from giving sugar up entirely and not just saying that I'm trying to eat healthier - there is no option. There is no "just one bite" or "a small taste". There just is none. I think I function a little better that way. I am a taster - I just LOVE the taste and texture of things and when I really like the taste and texture of something, I want to have it again and again - even if I'm full and ready to explode (perhaps this is the reason I eat the same foods every day). So my one little bite or small taste turns into 2 or 3 whole cookies by the end of the night. Because I want to taste it and feel it again.

Its good for me to not even have the option - better for me, actually. Me and my dad - one in the same;)

As for the tv...
I did not miss it during the day, although I find myself kind of wandering around the house at times wondering what I should do. I don't feel like cleaning, I don't have laundry to do. I've already played WordTwist and pulverized my sister;) I don't have enough time to read a chapter in my book. I eventually find something to do, but I feel a bit spacey at times.

I am definitely crossing more things off of my to-do list than I had been over the summer, which is very encouraging. I feel useful and productive and like things are running smoother around here and I'm more prepared for the hours ahead.

I did want to see Sarah Palin's speech last night, considering it seems as if she should be running for president rather than McCain with how ga-ga people are over her, but I read about it in the newspaper this morning instead. Cornbread and I have agreed that the no tv thing is just in our house - we are getting rid of the tv in our house, but we can watch elsewhere if we want (this was really the only way I could get him on board with the impending start of Bears season). So if I had wanted to watch it badly enough, I could have.

The quiet is really nice, though.

Pages read: 27
Total: 94

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day Two

Day two without tv and sugar... Two observations:
1. It is really quiet after the girls go to bed
2. Now that I've committed to not eating sugar it is everywhere I turn.

Yesterday I ran to the grocery store to grab some quick lunch itmes for Nora. And I turn around and am staring at Jelly Belly's. Only my absolute favorite candy in the whole world. And looking at this photo makes my mouth water.

Throughout the day as Georgia goes potty, she gets potty treats - our potty treats are M&M's. Normally, I do not crave these things - I've turned into a dark chocolate girl. But now that I can't have them, they look extremely appealing.
And then there is my evening treat. For many months I have ended the night with an ice cream sandwich. Aldi has a version of the Skinny Cow sandwiches that are the same number of points, but different and better flavors. My favorite was the Orange Dream - Orange sherbet, Vanilla ice cream swirl between two vanilla wafer cookies. Mmmm. No more ice cream sandwiches for me, though. These might be the most difficult thing for me to give up - not necessarily the ice cream sandwich itself, just the nightly ritual. And we still have a package of them in the freezer that Cornbread is going to have to eat on his own (out of my presence:)

Day two of no tv was not terrible. Again, it is more the routine that I miss than the actual tv. Cornbread and I have been watching an episode of According to Jim every night before bed and I miss that. But other than that, I feel like I got a lot of stuff done yesterday because I didn't spend 45 minutes watching tv here and 30 minutes there. I didn't have the tv to distract me while I was folding laundry and it went much quicker. And there was no ballgame on after the girls went to bed... so I read instead. I got a lot more pages read yesterday than I usually do.

The girls didn't even notice that the tv was gone until late in the afternoon, which makes me happy. When Nora asked me how we were going to watch tv, I told her that we wouldn't be watching tv for a month and she didn't seem to care - and she is my biggest tv watcher. So we'll see how this goes with her... give it a few days and she may be changing her tune. However, the girls played differently yesterday without the option of watching tv - they haven't been watching a whole lot for the last several months, but the option to ask for it was always there. Last night they played playdough and even made up their own game called "Chase the Cookie". I love witnessing their creativity and imagination. This is going to be good.

Pages read: 67

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day One

This is where our tv used to be:

Here is our newly improved family room:
Today is Day 1. Day one of no tv in our house for one month. Day one of no sugar for me for one month. It is going to be an interesting month.

Why? Why put the tv in the crawl space? Why give up sugar?

What is keeping me from being the person I want to be: TV and sugar. Those aren't the only things, but they are two big ones in my life. I don't watch an extraordinary amount of tv, but it does fill up a few hours of my day that it doesn't need to fill. And I don't eat a ton of sugar, but I do have problems resisting it when it is around and I am very proficient at rationalizing my nightly indulgence and my overindulgence on the weekends.

So they are going.

I see it this way... I want to read more books. I want to be intentional in my life. I want to be a runner. I want to help Nora with her homework and be present for the girls. I want to be a better friend. I want to work on puzzles. I want to be organized and have a cleaner house. I want to have lower cholesterol. I want to drink more water. I want to weigh 10-15 lbs less than I do right now. Am I going to achieve any of those things with the tv around and while rationalizing my indulgences? The answer, simply, is no. The answer for ME is no.

So they are going.

It is going to be an interesting month. I LOVE sugar. And I love a certain few shows and I'm going to miss their season premiers. But I'm going to read more pages this month than I usually do. And I'm going to eat healthier than I normally do. And I'm going to miss out on all of the election garbage for the next month. And I'm going to miss out on the overly dramatic media coverage of anything and everything. And I'm going to miss out on feeling bloated every Monday morning. And I'm going to miss out on feeling like a slug every Sunday night before bed. And I'm going to learn something about myself and my family in the process.

Day one begins today.

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