Time to Change – Day Fifty-Three

Before I talk about my day, I just want to say a massive thank you to all the people that take the time to read this blog, comment, like and basically just show their support.  I’ve hit four big milestones all at once: 500 likes, 100 followers, 100 blog posts and 1000 views.  All within the last three days.  I know that doesn’t seem like much compared to other people’s blogs, but keep in mind I only started this three months ago.  I think that’s pretty awesome!  So thanks guys.  Your support means a lot to me!

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Anyway, today went better than yesterday in pretty much every way.  Although I struggled to get out of bed (the struggle seems to get worse every morning!), I managed to get into the car by 8, and thankfully the traffic was pretty good today, unlike yesterday where it was the worst it’s been in a couple of weeks.  I rocked up at 8.45, and despite being rostered to start at that time, I took the time to google ‘is it better to eat an unhealthy breakfast or none at all?’, the verdict being unhealthy trumps none.  So I took another five minutes to grab an apple and cinnamon muffin from the closest coffee shop, then headed into work.  As expected, nobody even noticed I was technically five minutes late (I put this down to the fact that I’m not on their roster so they just trust that I’m rocking up and leaving when I’m supposed to).  The day wasn’t crazy busy like yesterday, so I felt more relaxed and got everything done I needed to, plus I learnt a few things I hadn’t managed to touch on yet.  That always makes me feel like the day was worth it, as I know soon enough I’ll be chucked into the deep end when I start at my “real” store.

I ate healthy at lunch, aside from a Coke Zero.  I’ve only had two soft drinks in the past two weeks, and while I know they’re bad, I think me going almost cold turkey on them is pretty impressive.  Six months ago, I would have Diet Coke at least once a day, sometimes more.  While I never felt addicted, I know when I initially stopped, I began getting migraines a lot more frequently.  I guess I was kind of addicted.  Since starting this diet journey, I’ve cut back a lot and honestly, I don’t miss it much.  I mean, I still love the taste and occasionally I crave them (like today), but mostly drinking water or milk satisfies me and I don’t really think about it.  The only reason I really craved it today was because two people at work got bottles at lunch and I was staring at them while I was on break.  Like I’ve spoken about previously, advertising is a lot more powerful than I realized.  All it takes is for me to see a logo at the wrong time and I really struggle.  I’m definitely getting better at fighting it and breaking habits though.  Every day I’m feeling stronger and fighting it is becoming easier.

As I left work, I was thinking about the advertising thing again.  As I walked through the carpark to my car, I could smell take away.  It smelt exactly like McDonalds (though I’m pretty sure it was actually coming from the Red Rooster nearby) and all I wanted right then and there was McNuggets and fries.  As I’d just been thinking about the whole advertising thing as this happened, I knew exactly why I’d been struggling so much these past few weeks.  I’m sure subconsciously each night after work I was smelling that smell and my brain suddenly wanted nothing more than my favourite junk food.  That alone wouldn’t matter, however the drive home requires me to drive past my usual Maccas pitstop, and it’s extremely difficult for me to control myself.  Tonight though, I did.  Tonight, despite having wicked cravings, I refused to give into them.  I knew breaking the habit required me to overcome this pattern, and I knew it had to start now.  And you know what?  Once I drove past, it quickly left my mind.  Despite knowing that there are Maccas everywhere – including 3kms from my house – once I went past my usual store, I no longer craved it.  It is all about habits, and I am starting to break this one.  I was extremely happy with myself.  Diet, 1, Junk Food, 0 (not counting the Coke at lunch…if it’s an constellation, it’s zero calories?  I know, I know, it’s still terrible for you.  But gimme a break).

Once I got home, I had to decide which Lite n Easy meal I was going to make.  This is a tough choice for someone so indecisive!  I finally landed on the “tortilla stack”, mostly out of curiosity.  I mean, I knew what they were, but this was one of my riskier choices as Mexican food is full of so many things I’m not generally a fan of.  My mind wasn’t put at ease once I’d zapped it microwave and pulled it out.  There were three kinds of beans, and some green vegetables that I didn’t recognise.  The old me probably would have said “nope!” and make spaghetti instead.  The new me said “fuck it, let’s do this” and I didn’t regret it.  It was delicious!  The beans didn’t have much taste (even the chickpeas were okay and I usually detest the yellow devils) and the sauce/salsa was awesome.  Plus, I really felt like I was eating healthy food.  I mean, I know that’s the whole idea behind LnE, but I could see the beans and veggies.  Needless to say, after five meals so far, I’m extremely impressed with the quality of the food this program offers.  For microwave food, it’s actually really great, and the variety is second to none.  Living by myself, I’d alternate between about four different dishes and that’s it.  There are only so many options that don’t require a lot of cooking (that results in leftovers for days) or crappy microwave meals.  While I know LnE is slightly more expensive than making dinner at home (okay, a fair bit more), I’m okay with the price knowing it’s healthy, it’s quick, it tastes great and it’s convenient.  And no, I’m not sponsored by them.  I wish I was.  Then I’d get it for free and I’d love that.  No such luck though!

After dinner, I spent a whole hour cleaning the house.  That is a long time for me, but I was in a good headspace tonight so it actually felt kind of good.  I vacuumed, and was amazed (as usual) at the amount of dog hair I got up.  Retrievers sure know how to drop hair!  I also cleaned up the backyard, wiped down the windows, cleaned the benches, put away the dishes and took out the rubbish.  I’m so domesticated!

Ha, not really.  But the house is looking pretty damn good.  I think the inspection should go okay tomorrow.  If it doesn’t, I’m not too concerned.  They can’t do very much…nothing is actually damaged, and given that, I’m sure if they find anything I can fix it up.

I’m in the city tomorrow for training.  My third round of this.  I did a whole day on the topic three weeks ago at induction, a refresh last week and now I have another whole day on it.  I’m all for learning new things, but I think a third day on the same stuff is a little overkill.  Oh well, nothing much I can do about it.  At least I’ll know all the answers!

I probably should wrap it up here.  It’s getting late and I have a few more things I tidy up before I leave tomorrow…and because I’m in the city, I have to leave earlier than usual.  I feel a long day coming on.  At least my step count will be higher thanks to public transport!

Have a great day tomorrow 🙂

-JD

Time to Change – Day Forty-Nine

I’m writing this in my car, pulled into a random side street a few kilometres from my house, waiting for my dad go come and save me.  My car is playing up big time and stalled on me while I was crossing a 4-lane Freeway.  Luckily I had a green light, luckily it was rolling just quick enough for me to get into the street before the lights changed, luckily there wasn’t anyone behind me.  Still, despite all that, I’m not feeling really lucky.  It’s times like this I wish I knew more about cars.  It’ll never happen though because to know about them you have to have at least a basic interest or passion in them and honestly, I don’t.  I can’t even pretend to.  When guys talk about cars my eyes glaze over and my mind starts to do this:

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This is why I either over react about things that don’t matter (like when my car was leaking oil and I dragged my dad 40 mins away to my house for him to say they probably just over filled it during the service it had just had) or I completely under react and assume if I just keep driving, the problem will fix itself (which is basically what happened in this instance…only it did not fix itself).  This is also why I asked my dad to come and look at the car today and not use roadside assist.  It’s one thing for dad to roll his eyes and tell me it’s nothing, it’s different if a professional comes out and has to point out you’ve overlooked something dumb (it’s happened before).

Even aside from the fact I’m stuck annoyingly-close-but-not-close-enough to my house right now, today hasn’t been the best day.  I woke up feeling pretty good, after falling asleep at 8pm on the couch when my time-of-the-month cramps let up for a little bit, then dragged myself to bed at 9.30.  I slept pretty solidly right  through til about 6.30, then remembered there’s no traffic on Saturdays and fell back asleep.  Woke up with just enough time to get dressed and organised but not to eat breakfast (gahhh) and rushed off to work – the first Saturday I’ve had to work in months.  I was dreading it because I know how crazy my old work was on Saturdays, and my new work was always at least double that on a normal day.

I was greeted by the manager who I hadn’t seen for over a week, and he made me feel a little better about the day, though whole heartedly agreed it was going to be chaos.  Despite that, he was so cheerful that it made me feel good.  We need more people like that, I think.  They’re who you want around on hard-to-get-out-of-bed mornings.

Anyway, the day went okay I guess.  Crazy busy by lunchtime but thankfully the floor manager (aka the conceirge) was on the ball and putting everyone on the list and advising of the long wait time.  I can’t stress enough how wonderful floor managers are.  We had a good one at my old work too, but prior to telco introducing them, it was bedlam on busy days.  Everyone just had to cue up and wait, and they never knew how long they’d be in line for.  They also weren’t acknowledged or greeted or thanked for waiting.  As a staff member at that time you were so focused on getting your customer in and out it just never occurred to you to do any of that as people waited.  Then you’d finally get to the people in line and they were already in filthy moods before the interaction even happened.  Now, with the floor manager greeting everyone who walks in, filtering the customers between one-minute jobs (bill payments, recharges, simple tech issues) and longer issues (contracts, bill disputes, more complex tech problems), it means everyone is spoken to, advised of the appropriate wait time, and allowed to leave and come back.  It makes the customers happy they’re acknowledged, and they love that we aren’t taking up huge chunks of their day making them wait, especially bill payers who would otherwise be stuck behind all sorts of longer issues (personally I don’t understand why anyone under about 60 needs to come into a store to pay a bill these days anyway but that’s beside the point).

Having everyone on a list meant that the franticness and pressure of a weekend shift is lifted a little, as there aren’t dozens of people greedily eyeing you off as you wrap up with your current customer.  It also means everyone can take a lunch break without feeling guilty or people huffing and puffing as you walk out of the store.

So that part of the day went okay.  The store got so hot though.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it previously but oh god, does this store heat up.  My other store did too, but not like this.  Everyone sweats even on cool days, and it’s made worse when it’s busy as there are more bodies (staff and customers) in the space.  It’s horrible.

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So, I got interrupted because my dad arrived.  And just like I’d fully expected, he drove it to the petrol station then the rest of the way to my place without so much as a hint of stalling or issues with getting into gear.  Trust.  My dad knows a bit about cars (he used to race them when he was younger – which explains where I get my lead foot from 😉 – and his brother is a mechanic) but he didn’t really have much to say except maybe I’d just bought cheap dirty fuel and it was causing issues.  As I was on a bit of a budget until now, this is potentially true.  Honestly, I can’t remember what I filled up with last time.  I know I used a gift card so I’d have assumed I’d have put the high quality stuff in, but I may not have in an effort to stretch the voucher.  I know right back when the car was brand new, bad fuel caused issues as well, so I’m not ruling it out.  Dad filled it with premium (which I generally do) and said the whole way home it ran fine.  Honestly, I don’t care what was causing the issue, as long as it doesn’t keep coming back.  Or if it must come back, not temporarily so everyone thinks I’m crazy!

Oh wait.  I just remembered I didn’t fill up at my usual place last time.  I filled up near work.  And I don’t remember what I put in but it very well could have been cheap stuff.  God, I’m so stupid.  I never really trusted that place (though I never had any issues for the years I’ve been going there) so maybe dad is right.  I hope so.  Easy fix if it is, as I won’t be driving past that petrol station much longer anyway!

Anyway, where was I before the interruption?  Right, work.  So, overall the day went about as well as I expected.  Busy, but under control, and really hot and uncomfortable.  I really hope my new store is wonderfully temperature-controlled.  I figure it probably will be since it’s not part of a shopping complex.  Looking forward to that!

I was naughty on the way home.  I’ve said previously I have very little self-control with food.  I ate well for lunch (after skipping breakfast), but I couldn’t resist Maccas on the way home.  I know, I’m supposed to be dieting.  I am going to eat well all weekend (having very little junk at home, that isn’t going to be too difficult) so I saw it as a cheat meal.  I know my trigger is being in the car, after a long day (and a long week), driving past my regular Maccas.  I know that very soon I won’t have this trigger any more, so this could be one of the last times I let it get the better of me.  As much as I love Maccas, I’m relieved that I won’t have to constantly fight my temptations on the way home every day.  But you’ll be passing Maccas on your way home from your new store!  I hear you cry.  You aren’t wrong.  The difference is, firstly, that’s not part of a bad routine I’ve let myself get into, so the temptation isn’t anywhere near as strong, and secondly, I don’t want to be one of those people eating on the train.  I also don’t want to be the sadcase sitting in a fast food restaurant by myself.  I know there will be times where my workmates want to eat out – and on those occasions I probably will too – but I feel like this isn’t going to be a super regular thing so I’m not too concerned.

I think the first point is the strongest though.  If it isn’t part of a routine or habit, I generally don’t have any issue with it.  A Maccas opened up about 3kms from my house, and you’d think I’d eat there all the time, but I’ve never eaten there.  Although I see it on the way home, I have to go out of my way to get it, which I just wouldn’t do.  I also made a conscious effort to make sure I didn’t eat there so that it didn’t form a habit.  I’m going to try to do that where possible with the places near my work too.  I’m going to bring my lunch each day, and as much as possible, go straight home after work.  The less food I buy there, the better.  I know this is all just talk at the moment, and it’s easier said than done, but I think I can do it.  It’s a chance to have a fresh start.  I built up a lot of bad habits in my five-and-a-half years in this shopping centre and surrounding area, whereas I’ve never worked in the city.

What else is new today?  Well, I woke up with a sore ear (again).  This one I think is self-inflicted.  I have a bad habit (there’s that word again!) of cleaning my ears frequently with cotton buds.  I know, I know, that’s really bad.  That’s why I think it’s self-inflicted.  It happens every now and again, and gets really sore, then clears up within a few days.  You’d think I’d learn but because I’m so used to cleaning them, I find it very hard to stop.  Plus, they get really itchy if I let wax build up.  I need to kick this habit too, but it’s just part of my routine.  Still, if I can shake the fast food addition, I can easily do the same with this!

I’m gonna wrap this up here by saying I’m so glad it’s finally the weekend.  It seems like it was Monday an eternity ago.  I’m getting my nails redone tomorrow, then I have to clean the house as I’ve got an inspection on Thursday.  I hate inspections so much, but at least I started cleaning last weekend so it’s not such a huge job.  It’s still big as I avoid cleaning at all costs normally, just not as big as it often is.  At least the backyard looks nice.  That’s usually the main issue they have, but the grass got mowed on Tuesday so it’s not out of control!

Happy weekend, y’all!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Thirty-One

Sorry I’ve been a bit slack in updating this.  It’s a lot harder to maintain a daily blog after a full work day and a Foxtel box filling fast with TV shows.  I’ve had an okay couple of days.  It’s my first full week back at work that doesn’t involve sitting in a classroom.  I feel like the store doesn’t know how to treat me.  It’s not their fault, I was always going to be in a different league to the normal newbies.  They want to treat me the same but I get bored and zone out.  I put my own contract through almost without help today (three days into the job) and I know they were all really nervous I’d mess up.  I did okay though – no major issues from what I could see.  The only problem with independence is that they then assume I can do everything and while I’m advanced, I’m not that far ahead, purely because I just haven’t shadowed people enough to witness them doing certain things.  So then it’s this awkward “ready but not ready” phase.  I want to serve customers alone, I hate following people and being treated like I don’t know anything…but I also hate it when they try to give me something to do and I have to admit I don’t know.  I’m sure it makes them think I’m not ready and I should be shadowing.  Urgh.  Who’d have thought having experience could make things so complicated?

Speaking of experience, my old workmates have finally caught on that I’m back in the centre again.  I accidentally crossed paths with my old manager as I was buying breakfast, and she obviously told the ASM, and the two of them kept walking past all morning.  Seriously, grow up.  Particularly the ASM, as I worked exactly half a shift with her and so doesn’t know me at all.  From what I’ve heard, almost the whole store hates her, and she can think what she wants about me and my actions, but at least I was well-liked when I was there.  I know it shouldn’t bother me that they’re being so immature, but it kind of does.  A little.  I expected it, of course, but I still don’t like it.  I’m trying to move on with my life and they’re there, dragging me back into the drama.  I’m not expecting them to be happy for me, but I also didn’t expect to have to put up with this rubbish.  I just hope they get over it quickly.  I feel like I’m in a zoo or something.

I’ve been eating…okay.  Better than last week but still not great.  I’ve been having banana bread for breakfast (not great), lite apple crumble yoghurt from my favourite place in the centre for lunch (not too bad)…but then by dinner I fall apart.  It’s my fault, I was supposed to have a gameplan lined up but it hasn’t happened.  I’m going to do it properly from next week, after I’ve gone to the shops and collected food to take to work.  I need to eat a better breakfast, that much I know.  I love banana bread but I know it’s really sugary and not at all as healthy as the name suggests.  I also need to go back to healthy dinners.  Tonight I had fish, but last night I had Maccas…not great.  It’s tough being back in my old stomping ground in some respects, because it’s so easy to slip back into old habits, such as take away on the way home.  I’m going to really try not to let that happen again.  My self-control is definitely getting stronger, but it’s still not great.  I think planning meals out will help me stay on track and not get lazy or let my cravings get the better of me.

Although my weight hasn’t changed dramatically on the scales, I definitely feel like I’ve lost weight around my tummy.  It looks smaller in the mirror.  I’m grateful I can see some changes, because I’m a month in and feeling very deflated that my weight isn’t dropping.  I know I’ve had a rough couple of weeks with my diet but I didn’t think it was that bad, save for a few meals scattered throughout.

I haven’t been going on my walks.  My foot isn’t getting any better and I don’t know what to do about it.  Wearing a brace doesn’t seem to help, wearing supportive shoes isn’t helping, resting it doesn’t change anything and exercise makes it worse.  I don’t know whether to just ignore the pain and go out anyway (and risk making it worse), or continue avoiding exercise and risk gaining weight.  Part of me wants to go out and exercise (especially for the dog’s sake) but I’m terrified of doing more damage as I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t stand.  I can’t risk anything that will affect my job.  It’s just so annoying it isn’t getting any better!

It was payday today, my first one at my new job.  I’m super happy as it looks like my hourly rate is higher than my old job – I only worked for two-thirds of a payrun and my pay was only slightly lower than a full cycle at my previous work.  So good!  I need all the extra money I can get as I’m building a house at the moment and I know little things are going to crop up as it happens.  Super excited for it to be done though, I hate renting.  Such a waste of money and you don’t have the freedom to do what you want either.  Unfortunately the land settlement keeps getting pushed further and further back so who knows when the construction will actually start.

I’ve got three days left of the week and I’m already hanging for Saturday so I can nap.  I feel like it doesn’t matter how much I sleep, it’s never enough.  I don’t know why I feel so drained…the job isn’t hard or anything majorly different to what I’ve done for what feels like forever, but I’m more tired every evening than I can remember being in a long time.  I guess it’s just a big adjustment coming from three months of relaxation and unemployment…and it’s stressful being in a new environment surrounded by people and systems you don’t know very well.  I’m sure after a few weeks I’ll get used to everything and maybe I won’t feel so wrecked.  Until then, I’m going to savour my weekends and catch as many z’s as a I can.

-JD

Time to Change – Day Five

Today was an okay day.  Not fantastic but I feel better than I did yesterday and the day before.  I have kept up on my healthy eating.  I know I’m not even a week into it, but for me to have lasted this long and only having one small hit of actual sugary goodness is pretty impressive.  Part of the reason (a large part, probably) that my previous attempts at dieting failed was because I’d reward myself with food.  It’d tell myself “hey, you ate well yesterday, it’s only one bad meal, it’s fine”…and I’d be right if for the whole rest of the week I kept eating healthy.  But no, the next day would come and I’d go out to lunch with a friend and say “well, I’m out to lunch, may as well enjoy it” and again, I would eat unhealthy.  The worst part was, I didn’t even think twice about it.  Oh sure, there was that annoying little voice in the back of my head squealing “you’re supposed to be dieting!” but over the years I’ve become accustomed to tuning it out.

Tying into that, I also used MyFitnessPal…wrong.  I’d track my meals and exercise (what little of that there was).  The thing with that app though, is that if you don’t eat all day then binge on Maccas for dinner, you can still stay under your calorie limit.  Obviously, that’s not what the app is aiming for and yeah, you don’t meet your protein needs by doing that, but it’s easy to tell yourself “the app says it’s fine!”.  I have also used Noom to track meals, and overall I believe it is a better app as it breaks foods down into “red, yellow and green” and tells you how much you can eat of each.  This actually taught me a lot about nutrition that MFP never could.  My main issue with that app (keeping in mind it may have had updates since I last used it) was that it didn’t link up to fitness trackers such as my Jawbone wristband, which I was using last time I tried dieting.  This was a major drawback as it was a real pain trying to correlate your step count with your diet manually.  This is why I’ve gone back to MFP – I have an Apple watch and it links up beautifully, taking into account my steps and working out an overall picture of how my day has gone.  This time around, though, I’m being careful not to cheat.  Just because the app allows for it, doesn’t mean it’s right!

Anyway, I digress.  What was I talking about again?  Oh right, rewarding myself with food treats.  This time around, that ain’t happening.  I’m not having “cheat meals”, which seem to be all the rage and part of every diet plan these days.  I’m not saying I’ll never eat unhealthy, because that’s ridiculous, but I’m making a rule that the only time I’m going to eat unhealthy is when I’m eating out.  Given I’m unemployed and my social life is hardly what anyone would consider raging at the best of times, I think this will work out okay.

I’m still feeling hungry most of the day but it’s considerably less so than yesterday. It’s there but it’s not in the forefront of my mind continuously like it was.  I’m also trying to snack more instead of having big meals, which is probably helping a little.  The cravings are still there, but it’s mostly when it’s bought to my attention – through ads on the TV (“what I wouldn’t give to have those Maccas chips in my hand right now”) and emails (“Oh, Dominos have a promotion, I’ll just have a quick look!”).  I never realized just how successful advertising was.  I mean, I knew it had some success over both me and the general public (otherwise they wouldn’t waste big bucks doing it), but I didn’t fully comprehend to what extend.  It really only takes an image of some of my favourite foods for my mind to jump from the healthy eating train to the junk food wagon.  Luckily, I haven’t let myself give in.  I can eat a pizza now and fall off the diet and stay fat forever, or I can push it out of my mind, snack on something healthy and stay on this journey.  I know which option I’ll be thanking myself later for, and it ain’t pizza.

I’ve been keeping up with exercising, taking the dog for a long walk each day.  Surprisingly, I’m already finding the walks easier each time.  I knew eventually they’d make me fitter, I just didn’t think I’d feel the change so quickly.  Each day I’m doing the track faster, and feeling less horrible at the end.  Another sign that everything I’m doing is working!

-JD