Bleurgh

That’s how I feel. I’ve had four days of eating a load of sugar and I feel awful. My skin looks awful. My stomach looks like I’ve put on a kilo. I probably have.

My period is imminent. Work is crazy and life is so busy. There’s nothing wrong with any of it, but at the moment I feel like it all just sucks. All of it. Too much, too overwhelming, too everything.

I was doing so well.

It’s the SUGAR. It derails every other plan and system I put in place. It is a true addiction and I have got to break it.

I’m going to try again tomorrow. Get back up, dust myself down. Don’t lose three weeks of hard work over this.

1. Eat three meals a day
2. Stay away from sugary food
3. Drink water earlier in the day
4. Get enough sleep
5. Move my body

It’s not rocket science. It’s not a punishing health/fitness regime. It’s not anti-social, restrictive or weird.

It’s all I need to do to feel a million times better than I do now.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I am going to tell sugar we’re over. There’s no room in my life for you anymore. It’s been fun, but you are not good for me and you make me feel bad about myself. We really are done.

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Struggling

I’ve been at this point many, many times. Several weeks in, feeling better, eating better.

And then I just stop doing it all.

I’ve had a dreadful week of sleep, it’s a few days until my period, work has been busier than it has for a while and the kids have been especially challenging. I feel exhausted by the effort of daily life.

I’ve stopped taking my supplements, and I’ve started eating sugar again. I have a big spot on my face as a reward.

I feel defeated. This is the point where I always slip back to old habits and stay there until I feel so horrible I make another “fresh start”.

Mentally I have given up. I don’t know why this always happens and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve been here so many times and I am so disappointed in myself.

Why do I not have the skillset to maintain a decision once made?

Money

(Just before I start, I’ve had wine today and Tues, but none on Mon and Weds, so not quite cut it out in the week, but it’s better than drinking every night.)

Money was bound to come up sooner or later with the mental decluttering I’m doing.

I’m trying to stay conscious of my emotional state and work through things as they cause me problems, and today’s issue is definitely money. I sat down and did a long overdue bank reconciliation and my financial situation is dire. Really dire. I am £6611 in debt. I do a tiny bit of freelancing on the side, which brings in the odd few hundred, but I haven’t worked in earnest since I left my job in Feb 2013, over four years ago.

I was so depressed at this figure today, and then I found myself stuck in the common thought of Why am I such a financial failure when I am educated and reasonably intelligent? which always makes me feel utterly crap.

I have changed jobs about as many times as people change underpants and have always found sticking to one thing to be tremendously difficult. I was also (hindsight tells me), not very good in the workplace at establishing boundaries, being heard, and standing up for myself. I allowed people to treat me as a friend, the nice girl, the confidant, the co-conspirator and the one who always had a joke to tell. I didn’t have leadership qualities, even though I had leadership aspirations. I always felt like a bit of an imposter – never as grown up as all the other grown-ups I worked with. I acted like the new girl for most of my 20 year work history (all because I wanted people to like me. People-pleasing is a destructive force for sure).

Sigh.

And of course, I went to a not very good university to get a masters in my late twenties, which cost me quite a lot. No one ever really explained the value of cost-benefit analysis to me, but I’ve spent the afternoon thinking maybe I didn’t get back the value I invested in getting a masters from a not very good university.

Let’s find out.

At the time I returned to uni I was earning £19,000.

I worked part time during my degree and earned £4,660.

I borrowed £9,000 to support myself for the year. So the year I was at uni cost me:

£9000 loan + £14340 in lost earnings + loan interest estimated at £2,000 = £25,340

Assuming my wages would have risen with inflation, my old wage (had I not been promoted or anything), my actual earnings post-degree, the difference, and the time to pay off my year out must be something like this:

Years after degree - original earnings, actual earnings, difference, reducing cost of degree
1 - 19311, 19642, 331, -25009
2 - 19681, 23466, 3785, -21224
3 - 20265, 30780, 10515, -10709
4 - 20694, 30199, 9505, -1204
5 - 21337, 31658, 10321, +9117

So, four years down the line I was almost paid off, and five years down the line I was in credit to the tune of £9k. I basically raised my annual wages by 10k.

Hmm. So actually I think my very basic cost-benefit analysis shows that it was financially worth it. There is the factor of potential promotions had I stayed in the same line of work for five years. But I just can’t know that – and given my promotion history it may never have happened.

So, that’s not the problem. My degree was totally worth it.

But where did I go wrong and how did I end up almost £7k in debt?

I dug myself out of debt once before (probably around £5k), and maintained that status quo until I went on maternity leave for the first time. It is not easy going from earning a decent full time income to earning statutory maternity pay.

For four years I have spent carelessly. That is how I have ended up almost £7k in debt. The big question is:

Why do I spend carelessly?

Having thought about this, I guess the real reason is that my lifestyle choices are more expensive than the income that I have available to support them.

It’s that simple.

I am living a false life where I think I can buy things I want. I am avoiding reality.

We live in a wealthy area and our kids go to school with kids from wealthy homes. It’s a state school, but it’s a good area. We’re lucky – the kids benefit from a good education for free. But we socialise with people who are relatively better off than we are. They are nice people. We’ve lived here 10 years now and we feel the same as them… but we aren’t. Or at least, I’m not. My husband earns a good wage, but not enough to cover my overspending.

Part of this is about self-acceptance (I’m starting to think almost everything comes back to this most important of concepts). If I accept that I have to budget, even though I mix with people who seemingly don’t, then I will be able to stick within my spending limits.

But if I don’t accept myself and my own financial limitations, I end up like I am now. Debt-ridden and miserable.

So perhaps I need to be more self-aware with my spending. Perhaps I need to ask myself: Can I afford this, or am I just pretending I can afford it?

Because if I can’t afford it, it doesn’t make me any worse or any better. It’s just who I am. And that is perfectly okay.

Day 40

My sleep has been so bad recently. My daughter has a cold and is waking a lot and I’ve had several bouts of insomnia.

It’s hard getting through the constant fog of exhaustion. It makes me want to slip back into comfort foods and drinks.

Then, out of the blue, last night was the most restful night’s sleep I’ve had in ages. It suddenly occured to me that I forgot to take my supplements yesterday.

When I thought about it, I realised I have been taking my supplements later and later in the day and my sleep has been getting worse and worse. I’m pretty sure something I’m taking is making me restless and wide awake at night.

I need to fix this as sleep is vital, and it also probably means that I don’t need the dose I’m getting. My research seems to point in the direction of B vitamins, so the first change I’m making is to stop the evening dose of niacinamide and boswellia. If that doesn’t fix things, I’ll start removing tablets until I sleep better.

The no wine thing is not going overly well. I had none on Monday but some yesterday. Today has been a long, stressful day with tired and poorly kids so I’m thinking about having a glass…

My eating today has been a bit crappy. I had pasta and cheese and a bowl of cereal for lunch. Then I bought a coconut water as a drink this afternoon while out and about and didn’t realise it has 15g sugar in it! 

And – the rash on my breast has been looking better this week. I really thought it was starting to improve, but today (it’s now 7pm), it’s itching like it hasn’t done for days and it’s all red again.

All in all, not a great day. But – where this kind of day would normally see me giving up and eating a ton of chocolate because it all just seemed too hard and bot wirth it, instead I have made a chicken and butternut squash salad for dinner and resolved to be more aware of my food tomorrow.

Small steps, big journey.

Exercise Log: Days 38-44

Not a great week. So tired and sleep deprived. Two takeaways. Caved today and ate a mars bar and drank a hot chocolate after 25 days of no sugar.

But finished strong with a 5k run and an amazingly good dinner on Sunday 🙂.

Mon – 3.9km, 28:21
Tue –
Wed –
Thu –
Fri –
Sat –
Sun – 5k, 34:55

Day 37

My mood has really stabilised after the vortex of sugar withdrawal. I have more patience with the children and I am just happier.

My sleep is suffering still, waking and insomnia are a problem.

My joint pain is so much better. The joints are still horribly tender to touch, but basic movement is now fine, which is mountains better than where I was at the beginning (god, even getting up off the sofa was a total nightmare at the end of the day).

So, changes I’ve successfully made so far:

  1. Cutting out sugar
  2. Restarting exercise
  3. Eating a bit more home cooked food and a few less takeaways
  4. Supplement regime to help my arthritis

Changes I need to focus on, in addition to continuing the above:

  1. Better quality sleep
  2. Some strength exercises
  3. Cutting down the alcohol

Going to try not drinking Mon-Thu. Starts tomorrow.