A blog to share about Adrenal insufficiency, Addison's Disease, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, Music, Inspiration, Scrapbooking and other elements viewed through the lens of my life. I'm hoping that others who are traveling this journey may find some commonality, and maybe some information and inspiration.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Forming a New Habit

Today I'm starting to focus on a new habit. According to Leo Babauta at Zen Habits these are the keys to developing a new habit. I think they make sense, so this is where I'm starting. Here's a clip from that blog post:

The Nutshell Principles

So what are the principles that changed my life, repeatedly?
If you read the brief stories above, you already know:
1. Start very small.
2. Do only one change at a time.
3. Be present and enjoy the activity (don’t focus on results).
4. Be grateful for every step you take.
In programming, this is called an algorithm. It’s a series of steps that you can apply to make any change, no matter what your situation.
It works. This is the Zen Habits method, the Change Your Life App, in four lines. I hope it helps.

Back to me now: So what is my new habit? It's increasing the time I spend fasting each day. We all fast daily. For many of us, it just the time we are asleep. Hello, see me raising my hand? Why do I want to do this? because I'm about 50 pounds over my healthy weight. 50 pounds! It keeps sneaking upward, even though I eat a healthy diet, in reasonable amounts. So obviously, something isn't working. In my defense, I've got dysautonomia, which currently prevents me from doing much in the way of exercise. I'm working on that, but it is likely to be a long time before I can spend much energy in the exercise department, so the idea of losing weight by getting in great shape isn't anything that's going to happen any time in the forseeable future. 

So I'm returning to a lifestyle that I once practiced with success. According to Bert Herring, MD, author of "The Fast-5 Diet and the Fast-5 Lifestyle",  increasing the time spent in the fasting state is a great, scientifically sound way to lose weight. The goal is to eat only in a 5 hour window each day. It sounds difficult, but I've done it before. It worked. But then I got lazy about it and went back to eating pretty much any time I'm awake, whenever the mood strikes. 

Notice I said mood, not hunger. I realized the other day that when I get the urge to eat, it often is not actual hunger. And I remembered this program. And I remembered that it was successful in terms of taking off the weight and keeping it off. And I realized that I have no idea when/where/why I actually stopped this. 

So today is the first day of my new habit. Dr. Herring calls it the Adjustment Period. Rather than jumping in with both feet and trying to hit the maximum fasting period today, now (which is what I'd really like to be able to do), I'm pushing back breakfast an hour. Since I'm on a late schedule and I work at home (starting work at 10:00 most days), I normally eat around 9:00AM. This morning is a more flexible day, so I'm eating breakfast at 10:00. I'm hoping tomorrow to make it till noon. I really have to since I'll be working with students between 10:00AM and 12:00PM. We'll see how it goes after that in terms of how quickly I can step back breaking my fast. 

Things I remember from this lifestyle plan before: It wasn't too hard to do once you're used to the idea. I liked not having to think about food at all for a good chunk of the day! The focus during the fasting period, for me, is on staying hydrated, so my blood pressure stays OK. (I tend to have blood pressure on the low side). I remember that having a lot of carbs makes it harder the next day. Somehow that kicks in the desire to eat more frequently. One thing I'll have to change is having cream in my coffee. That will mean either going back to drinking it black or not having it until I have breakfast, at whatever hour that is. I'm glad I like my tea unsweetened and without milk. That's an easy alternative.

I'm hoping by writing about it publicly, and reporting on my progress or lack thereof will help keep me on track with this one habit. I'm starting small - pushing back breakfast according to my ability do manage it. It's the one change I'm making in my eating. The being present and enjoying the activity part is tougher, especially during the fasting time. But it's an idea worth exploring. Being present and enjoying the eating time is much easier! Be grateful for every step: Grateful is my One Little Word this year, so I'll start out by being grateful that I remembered this way of eating and grateful that there is something that I know has worked for me in the past. This is a lifestyle habit I want to form - not a temporary diet plan. Because I know that if it's temporary, those pounds will come back on uninvited. And now, it's time for breakfast!

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