You'll recall my three focuses for these three weeks are calorie counting, sleep, and clearing work email. I gained a pound this week (after losing two last week), but hopefully learned from a rough week. Here's what I learned:
1. Count calories
The first of these days was Friday and frankly, it was just brutal. It was a party where the food and drink was what you'd expect from a Super Bowl party. Unlimited amounts of potato chips, tortilla chips, pretzels, cheese, peanuts, wiener wraps, sugary sodas, and other caloric beverages. I can't really explain my vulnerability to situations like this, but it's like I have a biological need to eat non-stop. The other guys there didn't. Some ate more than they ideally should have, but they stopped. I kept going. I just have to have a way to slow my eating in these situations.
My epiphany is that I have to - HAVE TO - record every calorie in those situations. My
Last night, I went to an Oktoberfest event that's a big fundraiser for my organization. I recorded every calorie (mentally, until I could enter them into My Fitness Pal on my Android smartphone later - so as not to be a total social pariah). I did overeat, but not nearly as badly as I could have. And I only drank water. No "caloric beverages". I was the only person not drinking, aside from one recovering alcoholic I know. I don't necessarily recommend skipping the beer at Oktoberfest, but it's the compromise I made, and I stayed within my maintenance calorie level (although above my weight loss calorie goal). And as a bonus, this clear headed water drinker didn't bid $1500 to have dinner with my boss, as one of my co-workers did!
2. How much sleep you need depends on how tired you are. My week got off track Monday night. After writing the Derek Jeter post, I checked my work email before heading up for bed. And there was a bomb in there. I won't get into the content, but it was something I had to deal with and I typed a response on my phone just after 11:00, the time I had planned to go to bed. I was in bed by 11:20, still in time to get seven hours if I rushed my morning routine a little bit. But that email got me spinning. It took a while to fall asleep, and I slept uncharacteristically poorly.
The next day, I felt as if I'd stayed up until 2:00 AM and gotten four hours of sleep. I just felt terrible and made a Starbucks run for a venti brewed coffee. That day I didn't eat well and I just didn't feel my best.
As sometimes happens, baseball helped me understand. I was doing some mental calculations of the availability of starting pitchers and relievers and it dawned on me that how tired you are affects how much rest you need. Just as starting pitchers (who throw more pitches) need more rest than relievers, I need more sleep after a long, difficult day. It seems blindingly obvious in retrospect, but guidelines on how much sleep you need always go something like, "The average adult needs eight hours, although many need between 7 and 9 hours." They never say something about how tired you are.
The lesson is that in addition to getting seven hours, I need those seven hours to start at a reasonable time, not to stay up past when I feel tired, and to avoid intense topics before bedtime. This is big.
3. When it comes to email, "Just Do It" and "Just Delete It." Sometimes I'll see an email and conclude from the sender and subject line that it's a big deal that will take my full attention to deal with. So I put it off until I can craft a well prepared response. But often, I overestimate the email. Nine times out of ten, it turns out that I inflated the difficulty of doing the email in my head and would have been better off just dealing with it immediately.
Likewise, email punishes hoarders. At about 500 emails per week, my work email is a replenishing resource if there ever was one. You just don't have to keep messages as if they have unique value. Err on the side of deleting. If you really, really, really need it later, searching your deleted archive is actually very easy.
Time to turn learning into application. Have a great week everybody!