Friday, October 31, 2008

The problems of having an "empty nest"

Have I mentioned that my 19 year old “baby” has moved out of the house?

Yes, I am officially an “empty nester”.

Except that the nest is far from empty – somehow, they never seem to take everything with them. My daughter has been moved out for 5 years – I just emptied “her” closet and have two boxes of things to take to her because I do not feel right throwing things out that belong to someone else. Then, who knows how many BOXES of things in the basement belong to my kids?

Of course, the most obvious thing my kids have left behind are their dogs. (Except for Michael – his dog lives with him). But Robert, Kathryn, Daniel and even Jim have all left their dogs behind (not that they’ve abandoned them, but they are not in pet-friendly circumstances.) So my nest is certainly not exactly empty.

I am working on getting rid of all extraneous “stuff” in my house, (decluttering) but that is taking time and is another story.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you may have noticed that my husband is not always home. He works in Wyoming (we live in Alberta) so is not home every night for supper. The rotation he works is the best we’ve ever had since he started this career 8 1/2 years ago – he works 2 weeks and has 2 weeks off. That means, with travel time, he is home for about 12 days every month – all at once.

The rest of the month, I live alone. Really alone, now that Danny has moved to town. I don’t mind being alone and seldom get lonely, but I have discovered a pitfall of these living conditions – for me, at least.....

For the last 4 years or so, Daniel has been the only “kid” at home (except for temporary situations when Vinjelu and Kathryn have lived with us). When Daniel would go to camp for a week every summer, I looked at that time of being alone as a holiday. That is, I did not have to think about anyone else but me….didn’t have to answer him, consider him, cook for him, etc. Anyone who has lived with a teenage boy will know that they are sometimes ……shall we say…..difficult to live with. So, the week he was away, I went to bed when I wanted, got up when I wanted, ate when and whatever I wanted, and did whatever my little heart desired. (usually I chose a rather large project.... like reorganizing the office - I somehow always got more work done when he was away).

Well, Danny has been gone for almost a month now. He moved about a week before Jim came home for his 2 weeks off, and now I have been all alone again for 10 days.

You are probably wondering by now “what the heck is her point?!” I’m getting there…..

The day before Jim left I was at 216.6 lbs. In the week and a half following, I have bounced as low as 215.0 to as high as 217.0. Not a big fluctuation, it is true, but I don’t like bouncing around over a one week period. Since I weigh daily, I expect some ups and downs from day to day, but from week to week, there should be a steady downward trend.

I sat back the other day to think about what is going on in my life, how it is affecting my eating habits and lifestyle, and therefore my weight loss efforts. This is what I discovered:

I have been behaving the way I have always acted when Dan was gone for any length of time….as if I’m on a holiday. (Except this is not a holiday) I’ve not been disciplined in when I go to bed or when I get up and I have not been disciplined to remember to think ahead about supper. In fact, I’ve not even been disciplined enough to notice that it is suppertime (or lunch time) until I am so hungry I am shaking. Then, because I need to eat NOW, I do not have a proper meal.

Things could be a lot worse…..I could be eating junk. I’m not. The food itself is healthy, but usually my daily intake ends up being unbalanced.

Anyway, along with this lack of discipline I have been drinking more diet pop than normal (sweetened with Splenda) so then I am not drinking enough water .

Also, I have been feeling hungry all the time. Well, not really hungry, because I know I can’t be hungry right after I’ve eaten….more like “the munchies” – just a desire to eat for the sake of eating. I have not given in to this feeling more than once or twice, but it is annoying to have to deal with it.

None of these things are terrible, but put together, the general lack of discipline has me bouncing between 215 and 217 for over a week.

Wednesday of this week is when I realized what I had been doing. So I watched the clock Wednesday night and was in bed by midnight. I was up by 8 am, had my breakfast, and took out a steak for supper (planning ahead). I watched the time during the day, had my snack midmorning, had lunch at around 1, midafternoon snack was at about 3 (instead of 7 pm) and supper was cooked, eaten, and cleaned up by 7 pm. I had steak and steamed vegetables as well as some baked squash.

Surprise, surprise! I did not have “the munchies” after supper.

And, this morning I was DOWN .8 lbs. Of course, it could be just another bounce. Guess we’ll see tomorrow if having some discipline and order in my life will get me going on a continual (albeit gradual) downward trend.

Today, I’ve had my granddaughters over. They make sure mealtimes (and snack times) happen at the right times. As in…. “Grandma, Mom gives us a snack at 3:00 in the afternoon…’s 10 minutes after 3.” Funny, no one is coming in here and telling me it is 40 minutes past BEDtime! LOL. It is nice to hear little girl voices playing happily….I’ll probably not send them to bed before 9 which still gives me lots of time before MY bedtime.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for updating, you are showing us that we really need to assess our pattern of eating. Carol

Loving My Creator said...

My I crash when I realize that I am messing up, or do I do as you are doing and slap my butt back up onto the path...Well a little butt slap is stimulating enough to give me my own attention and realize big deal...I just need to see the forest for the trees or I needed to see the change my life took...sometimes that "seeing" takes us going off the path a little...should I feel bad and crash? Why would I do that.

You have reached a point Karyn in you "walk" where you are now using your "off-path" experiences for building an even stronger foundation.

Good Work...the reeping of rewards is going to be more than you could have imagine.

By the way, whatcha doin' Wednesday night? Wyoming will be shippin' me North through the snow storm.

spunkysuzi said...

It's definitely good to have a routine! And at least you recognize what works for you ;) My last baby is moving to holland in two weeks and my other baby is in Alberta ;) And yep then mine will be all gone :(

~TMcGee~ said...

I've been pondering some of the comments you've left for me about enjoying our little ones because the next thing I know, I'll be experiencing an empty nest too.

I get the "munchies" too when I don't have proper meals and healthy snacks, it's like my stomach becomes the bottomless pit and really for me, it's just mindless eating.
Good for you for recognizing what's going on only a few days in and fixing it.

Keep up the good work. :-)


Lyn said...

I am scared to DEATH of having an empty nest!! In 5-6 years I *would* be facing that with my older kids, but I am so thankful I have my little 3 year old daughter to keep my company for the next 15 years!!

You're doing great to actually *see* what you are doing and what's driving it, and take action to remedy it. WTG. I need to be more like that!

Vicki said...

I loved this post. You're right, empty nests can have down sides, but they also have up sides too. Have a great week.