Wednesday, 2 January 2019

{ sugar after 8pm and other poor life choices }

Now that I'm in my later thirties, I've realised there are some days where my poor life choices cannot be as easily blanked out with a long sleep, two panadol, and half a litre of water as they used to.

It's the first week of January, and we're all feeling slightly unwell, bloated with chocolate, booze, rich food, and lack of sleep. So, don't mistake me here, I'm not going to berate you with all that new-years-resolution rubbish, but we could probably all take a moment to assess our priorities. You know, begin as we mean to go along, as it were. 

We haven't had a good list for a while and you know what a fan I am of those. Lest you think this is another list on how to be a grown-up because, well, we are's that too, but it's also a list of flip-sides; things you can do instead that will make your previous choices fade away... Or at least slightly less stupid...


Sugar after 8pm (of course) 
For the better part of three weeks, our diets have all deteriorated into socially-acceptable breakfast treats, socially-acceptable lunch treats, then dinner treats.

Yours truly gave up the ghost entirely around the 15th December. I'd have a bowl of cornflakes with a coffee at breakfast, and there would be the last legitimately identifiable foodstuffs I'd eat for the day.

Caramel snows for elevenses matched with a fat chai latte, ham at lunch with Lindt, xmas nog and rocky-road for afternoon tea. Corn chips and cheese at 'dinner', followed by a gin cocktail and some pudding. Rinse, repeat. For weeks.

Now, I can barely look sideways at anything even vaguely dairy-related without feeling mildly queasy, so the next part is pretty easy for me. But, for those of you of the *never quit, ra-ra!* attitude and a constitution that takes just that little bit longer to drop off, you might want to consider your health now and get on the bandwagon, before your gut and your intestines band together and stage a revolt (think IBS and gastro - unpleasant and unattractive).

I can easily go cold-turkey, mainly due to aforementioned over-saturation at an early stage, but again, for the rest of you, start slow; stop eating sugar at night this week. Next week, stop eating it after 3pm, and the week after that stop at midday. And so on.

You will gurgle, you will feel bloated, you will be starving. A lot. However, by February, you'll be eating real food, less often, and, I kid you not, even enjoying it. Promise.


Drink enough water
This one seems pretty obvious, but flies right out the window from the first xmas party you are invited to, right up until you come back to work, find the coffee machine hasn't been refilled yet, and the only option really is just cold water.

To be fair, most of us do pretty well with this. The regular workday means you fill up your little drink bottle and sip sparingly but consistently throughout the day, only throwing caution to the wind when you pop off to the pub for drinks or out for dinner.

That being said, by the last week of work, where every second invite is a lunch meeting to connect with your colleagues or friends personally rather than just professionally, you're necking wine and spritzers like prohibition is coming back.

It's time to start the re-hydration routine, people. Not just because your liver will cry with relief or your skin will suddenly regain that glow not seen since sometime back in November. A lot because January is the most humid, vile month, and can suck the moisture out of a stone. You're already a festive desiccated husk as it is from all the booze, don't add insult to injury.


Sleeping and/or not sleeping
Some of us already have insomnia, so the holiday season is not a great time to mess with our sleep patterns, and as much as this one owes some credit to daylight savings (not a fan, personally), no one thing should get all the blame. 

By the second-last week of the year, you're staying up until 11 or later, waking up at 5, rolling over, waking up again at 8, then alternatively sleeping more or finally loafing out of bed. You're tired, but it's not the six chocolate frogs you ate last night, or the two margaritas with dinner (not helping though, just quietly).

It's because this is the third time you've done it this week, and your body is tired. Like, proper tired. Because the last time it had 6+ hours of consistent, restful sleep wasn't a few days ago, it was over a week ago. Maybe longer.  

Go to bed at 9pm. Read a book, listen to some chillout tunes, whatever. But, along with not scoffing the last of the Favourites in bed, stop dragging your bedtime out like you're still on holidays. 

We still have 'weekends' remember, it's not all goody-two-shoes all the time. 


Firstly, this is not about xmas presents. This is a special time of the year where you get to splurge and buy people whatever takes your fancy. Admittedly, this should probably still be within your means, but hopefully you've budgeted to go a bit nuts and can spoil your loved ones accordingly.

If, like me, you have OCD and bills got paid before the date stamp on the email changed from Today to a date, you've no worries. All expenses got covered and if you picked up something at the shops literally every time you walked past, you're sorted. Maybe curb that takeout impulse, but that's more to do with health than finance. 

For the rest of you, let's be clear; takeout and drinks three times a week isn't sustainable. New clothes, new shoes, hair appointments, spa treatments, and 'adventure' weekends only happen during the holidays for a reason. If it doesn't work for the other eleven months of the year, you might want to wonder why.  

If you can't top up your Opal, buy shampoo, or pay your phone bill, you're broke. Take the $600 shoes back to the store and make like a grown-up. 


Last, but by no means least, cleaning. All the cleaning. Seriously.

I'm lucky in this regard, as lá mama has instilled the houseproud gene in me, meaning I clean up after myself, but also clean-as-you-go, and various seasonal cleanings (Spring etc.).

That being said, holidays + heat + treats making me sluggish = so much laziness. I can't be bothered making my bed, let alone doing washing. It doesn't fall off the edge entirely, but it stutters throughout the season, with no real pattern.

Apart from being a bit gross, this is also bad for your health. Between not cleaning your house, to not cleaning yourself, we all need to get a grip. Bugs like it when you get lazy; let's stop being lazy!

Sweep some floors, wipe some benches, change some sheets. If you've been spreading out your hair washes to weekly, give it up. There's no sea breeze in the office, so it's not going to hold anyway. Clean out the fridge already; eating leftovers is counter-productive to the process, and if you can't quite recall what it is, you shouldn't be ingesting it anyway.

Quite apart from the physical benefits of a good clean, the mental benefits can't be ignored either. A clean house, a clean body, a clean slate; they all give you that warm and fuzzy feeling of achievement, no matter how tenuous, that kick-starts motivation.

We may not be able to muster the ra-ra, go-getter attitude of an end-of-financial year party, but we can certainly give it a red-hot go.


Totally understand we're all still on beach-time, in holiday mode, and barely able to function at the moment, but we're good at this - we've been doing it for years. 

So, in the spirit of good faith and knowing we are all in this together - pick up that water bottle. Put down that Ferrero Rocher. Smile like the thought of 6am and a salad is actually brilliant, and adulting is fun. 

And just remember, if all else fails, as this age, we're waaay better at the old fake it until you make it. Just ask me in February.