Ditching Bad Habits

Bad Habits

So my bad habits start at the kitchen bench with a quick snack to tide me over until dinner but deep down I know that once the savoy biscuits box and cheese have been opened there is no stopping me. I am amazingly ambidextrous at this point of my day eating snacks with my left hand and drinking a gin and tonic with my right. A habit started so innocently and ending up as hedonistic debauchery.

Like a robot both hands work in unison at a speed that requires no extra thought control or energy input. Snacking is often the way I consume most of my daily calories and has become my comfort my entertainment and a long-standing bad habit. Not great for the belly but in the moment who cares. There is no denying the emotional release and for that perfect moment I am in bliss!!

Squeezed for time

So how did I get here, well juggling two jobs for a start generates more work that one person should commit to or could ever possibly complete in a day which means I am wound up tighter than a spring. My neck constantly cracks when I move my head which is both a pleasure and a worry. To make it through my “must do” list I either forget to eat, eat like a maniac or postpone eating until the jobs are done. After 8pm I am just too tired to eat.

Late afternoon hunger pangs occasional hit hard. When I am not prepared with a healthy snack to tide me over until dinner, I become a maniac searching for a quick energy hit. On such occasions chocolate bars will tide me over but when I get home the bar is open for service. Alcoholic beverages are my go-to solution because they are quick to make satisfy the need for calories are flavour bombs that are easy to consume while working on the computer.

Just Surviving

This has been my routine since I launched my business (side hustle) AND returned to the workplace at the end of 2021. For anyone who doesn’t live in Melbourne this was the end of covid lockdown or “lockins”.

After work I literally race the school traffic to get home before my partner so I can have a peaceful hour to myself. To assist in my unravelling from another busy school day I raid the fridge for comfort food then jump into the recliner to watch one episode of Survivor on 10 play before I am back to work clocking into my second job and spending more hours on the computer!

But the reality is that after a couple of drinks my day is done. The older I get the happier I am to sit for more hours than is healthy. I lament for the days of having energy for a gym class. My desire to go for a walk or even do some much-needed stretches waxes and wanes.

Slow Burn

As a woman over 50 my metabolic engine has reset itself down to barely burning. This fact together with my self-discipline falling short and hormones running amok it was inevitable that my body was going to move slower and grow wider and start looking more like an apple than a pear if I didn’t take care. From Isagenix shakes to Spartans fitness class I haven’t shed a scrap of extra padding.

As my new year’s resolution, I purchased the Simple app which encourages me to stay hydrated log my food and go on intermittent fasting. Great idea but  6 months in I have successfully avoided the distracting notifications which means its not going so well. Simple knows that I am not making good choices about when and where I eat and how much. Ok I don’t drink enough…water but when I am on the clock do I really care?

The Real Problem

The answer is YES! but the problem for me is not being able to stop or give myself permission to take a break until the jobs on my list are done. This compulsion is the reason for my “bad habit” This need to finish has got me into trouble plenty of times. Like the time I wouldn’t (couldn’t) stop furiously cleaning up the messy entrance downstairs. Meanwhile while my partner was upstairs washed changed and calmly pouring us drinks. Even though I was exhausted I had to finish the job because I am a little OCD and ended up breaking an expensive mirror. Now if there is any luck going around, I never seem to get any of it.

Google says that bad habits are unwanted behaviours that a person can pick up due to stress and other factors. They help us deal with stressful situations The good news is that bad habits can be broken with adequate care and ideal circumstances. Bad news is that from experience I am not good at modifying my behaviours let alone my bad habits, even when I know I should.

Gin has proven track record of keeping me calm and has been one of my crutches in tough times.  I honestly love the taste of gin and drinking a moderate amount of alcohol frees my mind and clears the soul for another day. I also like myself better when I drink because I give myself permission to relax!

Sounds like I need to get some help! A health retreat or walking another Camino in Spain to clear the mind and free the body of built-up stress sounds good but outside my budget, so I have settled on a simpler circuit braker to crack this nut.

Feb Fast to Dry July

Who hasn’t written down at least one New Years resolution which included either cutting out junk food or alcohol. I can identify with the flawed but lovable character Bridget Jones who wrote in her diary about her daily excesses as she struggled to curb her emotional crutches (smoking and drinking). The book (and movie) Bridget Jones Diary is one of my favourites because it is so relatable. But I don’t have the patience to write, cry and make mistakes.

I am at the business end of this road, and I know the one true way to reducing alcohol consumption is to join other people trying to do the same thing.

Jumping on the back of Feb Fast I started cutting down the booze. I swapped out corn chips for celery and gin for shrubs. I am still trying to master the art of drinking mindfully and am happy to report and consuming more fibre by adding fruit into my Fizzy Lizzy mocktails has been a healthy change which keeps me satiated and hydrated.

Every time I sit down to relax, I have learnt how to trick my hedonistic side and am slowly taking back control… Of course I have lapsed multiple times since I started writing this blog 6 months ago but am now set up with a range of delicious shrubs to fully embrace dry July.

For me good drinks mean finding the balance of flavours when mixing a drink. By choosing a fruit shrub flavour that you enjoy, drinking stays fun and social but has the added advantage of being healthier. More than ever, I love using our Lime Simple Syrup to mix up delicious mocktails for me and my partner. Our favourite drink right now is a Virgin Mule.

Fruit shrubs are set to become my new healthy treat. I love the taste of our Blueberry shrub flavoured with anise myrtle. Blueberry needs only to be mixed with water to remind me of drinking a colourful Pastis liquor in France.

Heading into winter our Cinnamon and Ginger and Strawberry shrubs made with apple cider vinegar are excellent non-alcoholic replacements for your next social gathering. Even though I like myself better when I drink gin it’s time to take a break from alcohol. Don’t worry darling gin I still love you.

Cheers to Dry July!!

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