Thursday, 28 July 2011

Sweet Poison

Have you read the book Sweet Poison by David Gillespie?  A few of my friends were raving about it last year, but I've only recently had a chance to read it. David, the author, is the father of six young children (including one set of twins) and was 40 kilos overweight when he set out to investigate why he, like so many in his generation, was fat. He researched the latest medical findings on diet and weight gain and argues that not only does sugar make us fat, but it is also poisoning us, and is responsible for many of the illnesses in our society such as diabetes, heat disease, stroke, and probably has a strong role in other illnesses such as cancer. 

His argument is pretty convincing (at least to me, I'm not sure if someone with a medical background would find flaws in his argument).

I decided that I would like to give it a go. Not only for the health benefits that he argues, but also because over the last year a couple of kilos have crept on. A couple when I started studying Law, a couple more from the stress of moving interstate, and now a couple from a cold winter and finally finishing breastfeeding. I know that if I don't do something now, then it will become a bigger problem that will be much harder to tackle later. I can still fit into my clothes, but they are feeling tight, and I can't afford to buy a new wardrobe and will find it depressing if I have to buy in a bigger size. 

I haven't figured out all the details of my 'no sugar' challenge for myself, but I haven't had anything with obvious sugar in it since Monday. My little children have been sick this week, which has made it even harder. I have felt very stressed and immediately wanted to reach for a block  piece of chocolate or a slice of cake. Instead, I have been trying to be mindful, and listening to my body and telling myself that it isn't hunger but anxiety. When I have been mindful and paying attention to my body, I can feel the anxiety (and it is very much a physical feeling, tightening) across my upper chest and shoulders. I have been trying to observe this feeling, and letting it be, beathing, and trying to let it go. It isn't perfect, but it helps. If I still feel the need to eat, then I have a cup of tea, or a handful of almonds. Monday was really hard, Tuesday wasn't too bad, Wednesday was the hardest. Today has been ok so far, but afternoons and evenings are the time when I usually indulge. 

One reason why I am finding it particularly difficult is that these little sugary treats (particularly chocolate) is my little bit of luxury in my day, the time for me all by myself. Long days at home as a SAHM can be very trying, and I see this as my reward. I know that it will be hard to change, as it is a form of addiction, and if I am going to break it, then I need to find replacements. I really want to do this. 

Do you eat much sugar? Do you think of it as a great evil, or something to be had in moderation?
Have you ever quit an addiction? What did you find helped you do it?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Mindful Eating - part 2

I haven't done quite as well as I would have liked with the mindful eating in the past couple of days - I have done it once. I have been more aware of what I eat, but have only done proper mindful eating once. It was yesterday, I had made dinner, the boys were sick (therefore not hungry), and Papa Bear decided to take Molly May for a walk before dinner. I was starving, so I grabbed a bowl of soup and, excited by the prospect of 10 mins uninterupted, I automatically headed for the computer to read a couple of blogs and check my email. Then I stopped myself, and realised that this was a rare opportunity to eat mindfully, so I reluctantly did. I sat at the table, facing out to the garden where it was softly sprinkly rain and the sky was grey. I listened to the sounds around me, inhaled my food, lingered over the taste and creamy texture of my hot fennel and leek soup. As I consumed it, I felt consumed by the experience. It was wonderful.

Taking time out to eat as a mum can be hard enough, let along getting a bit of peace to try and do it mindfully. Have you had the chance to try it yet?
* Just came across Diary of a SAHM's new IBOT link through My Big Nutshell, so am joining in

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mindfulness when eating

Mindfully (?) eating beetroot for first time

I've just been reading a couple of Diminishing Lucy's posts, and realising that I have to face the fact that my jeans are becoming uncomfortably tight. I would like to try and ignore it, but I think the consequences of me doing that are fairly predictable. Instead, I am going to try and eat mindfully. Eating is pretty automatic, so how do we eat mindfully? Well, the main thing is to make sure that when you eat, that is all you do. In other words, don't try and multi task. Don't eat at the computer, or in front of the tv. 

With mindfulness, (when it comes to eating, or anything else), not only is it important to make sure that that is the only thing you are doing, but also to involve and concentrate on all your senses. That is, really looking at the food, smelling it, lingering over the taste, the feel, the chewing, the swallowing, all the sensations of eating. Have you ever really eaten like this? I would have thought I had, until I had to do an exercise where we had to eat a single raisin, but took about 5 minutes to do it. I really thought this was the most stupid time-wasting exercise that couldn't possible achieve anything. It was about half way through the exercise, after I had managed to empty my head of all the 'this is stupid and pointless' thoughts, and the anxiety had started subsiding, that I truly tasted the raisin, and thought 'oh, my god this is SO SWEET! Raisins can't possibly be this sweet!!'. I realised then that I had never come close to eating mindfully. 

Even though I learnt this lesson, that I found really powerful, I don't eat mindfully on a day to day basis. More often, as a mum, I am grabbing something in a hurry, eating it quickly so that I can get onto the next job/errand/etc, or trying to multi task so that I can justify a bit of blogging, or watching taped Offspring in the middle of the day. 
This week, I am going to try and eat mindfully. I know that it will be hard, so I am going to try and be kind to myself, but I at least want to eat 1 meal and day mindfully, or at least a cup of tea.

Is eating mindfully something you do or have done?
I challenge you to eat a raisin (or sultana, currant, or whatEVER!) truly mindfully.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

I'm grateful for... a quiet mind.

This week I am grateful for a quiet mind. I've been thinking a lot about mindfulness recently, something that helped me get through a really unpleasant part of my life a few years ago after my second baby was born. I don't always have a quiet mind now, but is isn't the destructive centre of chaos that it was a few years ago. I am really grateful for the skills that I learnt during that time, and I want to practise them more to try and find more harmony in my life - and to try and get rid of headaches!!

* Playing along with a grateful post with BabyMac

Anxiety and Mindfulness

About 6 and a half years ago after I had my second baby I started experiencing severe anxiety. It was all consuming, and terrifying. Absolutely constant. I tried to alleviate the feelings I was experiencing by running away from it. I found that the only time I didn't experience the symptoms as much was when I was busy, so I started going to as many playgroups and other similar activities that I could, and spend most of the rest of the time walking around shopping centres. It seemed that as long as I was out and about I was OK, but when I was at home with nothing to distract me, I was a wreck. I couldn't sleep, because as soon as everyone else was in bed, was the only time in the day that my mind was alone, so it seemed to go out of control with all the terrible thoughts that I had tried to escape during the day. Most of my anxiety revolved around something happening to my family. We were struggling on one income living in Sydney, so I didn't think I could afford to see a psychologist, but I happened to come across an advertisement that Macquarie University was running a study to test how different therapies worked on people with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I signed up straight away, and once properly diagnosed I was assigned to the Mindfulness Group. Despite having done a degree in Psychology, I hadn't heard much about Mindfulness and was intrigued. It was my one hope, so I tried as hard as I could in this course, and at the end of it I felt as close to cured as possible. In the years since, in times of stress, I have felt the black cloud of anxiety loom, but I have felt that I had a weapon to fight it with.

At the same time I was also experiencing really bad headaches. I had had migraines since early adolescence, and could cope (ish) with them, but these were a type of headache that I hadn't experienced before and were in addition to the migraines. I felt it was too much for me to take. I saw a doctor who very gently asked if I had also been experiencing any anxiety. I was surprised by this question, as it hadn't occurred to me that the two were connected in any way. I told her how I had enrolled in the study, and she thought this was a good idea.

At the end of the mindfulness course, not only had the anxiety subsided, but the new headaches that the doctor thought were related to anxiety were gone, AND miraculously the migraines also disappeared almost completely.

Last week I wrote about my allergies which have really been getting me down. One of the symptoms is a virtually continuous headache. I have decided to go over my mindfulness notes from my course, and see if practising the techniques, and see if it helps. So, I have decided to help keep me motivated I am going to share it with you, and try and write a bit each week (daily would be better, but I am not sure I can promise that!) about mindfulness. Mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in many things apart from Anxiety, such as depression, weightloss, stress, and just generally good for you regardless, so I really encourage you to read along and give some of the techniques a go. Like anything, it is about starting small and building up - practice! And most importantly, be kind to yourself!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Photo - joining in with Heidi's Hump Day Hollah

I have just come across Heidi's blog, and she is doing a phography meme, so I thought I would join in.

heidi has a hobby

Lost Kitten

Molly and Kitten - photo by Papa Bear
Monday morning was going to be rushed anyway seeing as it was the first day back at school after the break, but we had a surprise lost kitten thrown into the mix. The little people in the house were SUPER excited and of course wanted to keep it, but unfortunately a toddler, a puppy and a kitten just didn't seem to mix, so we took it down to the vet and said goodbye. The vet re-homes cats, and said that they would fatten her up and then put her up for adoption. She was a sweet and friendly kitten and we were all sad to see her go.

Monday, 18 July 2011


I came across a site for mum's that is doing a Summer photography series. I did a photography course recently, and am keen to keep going, so I am joining in with it. My photos at the beach were set on AP (aperture priority) because the children were moving so fast most of the time I wanted a fast shutter speed to get their movement, but occasionally I changed to the TV (shutter speed) setting so that I could have a lower shutter speed, as there was plenty of light around.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Allergies suck

We have now lived in this lovely city for a tad over 7 months. There is so much to love about the glorious town of Melbourne, the shops, the food, so many things to see and do. There is just one thing getting me down; my sinuses. My sinuses and Melbourne are not a happy match. There have been a couple of months over winter that I have been symptom-free, but a couple of weeks ago when the weather changed to being wetter and windier, the headaches and fatigue returned. I find it SO frustrating, as there are so many things I want to get done, but for a good part of the day I feel like I just need to curl up and sleep, and feel that the cold patch of cement on the path looks pretty comfortable, or the steering wheel, or wherever I happen to be at the time. Zander has been having his own issues with it, although his main symptom is sneezing. At around the same time that my symptoms retreated, Zander's sneezing did as well, but unfortunately for my little darling it was replaced by an Asthmatic cough that has lingered for several months. He wants to move. Where? ANYWHERE!!! he says. Just not here. On days when my sinuses are particularly bad, I'm tempted to agree.

Have you experienced allergies or hayfever? How much does it impact your life?
Does anyone have a miracle cure? (That doesn't involve moving states?)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Parenting Etiquette

It is school holidays here and we have mostly been at home inside due to bad weather, and also a long hard term that has meant that we all just want to spend some time at home and relax a bit. However, today I thought it was time to get out. Well, it was actually yesterday that I had this thought, but when I made the suggestion it was met with quite a lot of resistance from Rocket (aged 6) who seems to need extra time to get used to ideas at the moment. So we had our outing today.

We went to the Aquarium, which was beautiful as always. At the end of the Aquarium is a kids space and Molly May aged 2 wanted to go on one of the $2 rides (you know the ones they have in shopping centres?). Mostly she is happy just sitting on it without it actually going, but it was one with 3 spots (carousel - type) and the boys had hopped on as well, so I seized the moment and shoved some money in. Zander soon hopped off because he feels too grown up for that sort of thing, and then the Rocket decided that he would hop off too because Zander did. I didn't mind, Molly May was going round and round and happy as anything, waving at me each time. Next thing I know a couple of kids came screaming along, one jumped on and the mother shouted at the other child to hop on too. Not cool as far as I am concerned. Molly May gets shy around people, and while she was happy for her brothers to ride with her, she didn't want to ride with strangers.  As soon as she noticed she attempted to climb off, and although I tried to tell her it was ok to stay on, the ride was ruined for her and I helped her get off. I have been in the position when other people with similar rides have offered for my children to ride with theirs when there is spare room, which I think is really nice if the child is ok with it, but I really don't think it is ok to just jump on.

What do you think the etiquette should be with a ride someone else has paid for?
Have you had any experiences when you feel that acceptable parenting etiquette has been breached?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

What on earth could be better than blogging?!?!

I've dropped off the radar somewhat. I just don't have time for everything, and although I would like to give up sleep, when I try to sleep less I also find that I seem to function much less well. So it seems that I just can't get everything done. I have been visiting the Fly Lady's site to try and learn how to get my house tidy. It still isn't tidy, but I definitely feel better doing something, and I guess that in truth that has meant that I don't feel the need to procrastinate quite so much (eg; blogging).

However, the real thing is that I just can't get enough of photography at the moment. I think I may have mentioned that I did a course recently on Photography. Since then, I have borrowed every book I can from the library on Photography and Photoshop (the next big step for me), and have them piled beside my bed and I am trying to inhale them as quickly as possible. I have also spent quite a bit of time playing with photoshop and trying to learn the basics. It is all making me really happy.

The photo above is from yesterday. I bought some black fabric at the Lincraft sale as a back drop, and used Zander's Ikea lamp as my light (not quite good enough, I might need to buy another) and set up a makeshift portrait studio. My children humored me and let me take pictures of them (molly may wasnt very keen, but stayed still enough for me to get this one). Now I just need to buy a better light and I can have some more fun. Or maybe save up to buy some real lights!

Is there something you do in your spare time that makes you really happy?
Do you have spare time?

* Edit - just re-reading this, and obviously I think my children are better than blogging also, they are the centre of my universe, and nothing can compete with that.