Friday, 1 February 2013

Healthy new lifestyle starting in 5, 4, 3, 2...

I did a little test over at  You spend 10 minutes answering questions and it tells you how healthy you are by giving you a score out of 100.  It works like the baby centile growth charts that you ignored followed faithfully in their red books for the first year of your child's life in that it ranks you in an imaginary queue of people with 0 being very poor health and 100 being excellent health.

Nobody was more surprised than me when I ranked at number 78.  Get me.  However, the site informs me that there is definite room for improvement and has provided me with an action plan to improve my health over the next few months.  I can set myself goals and update my info as I go along so I can see how much my health has improved.  Handy.

On to the grim reality of what was wrong then:  Basically it appears that stress is a major problem for me - the only major problem with my health at all actually.  This is followed by two minor issues which are more 'room for improvement' than 'cause for concern' and these are my diet and my weight.  I'm fairly fit, exercise a fair amount and am only a size 12, but I am about 1 point over the BMI ideal range for my height and my clothes are tighter than I'd like, so it's no great surprise to me that this needs addressing.  Astoundingly, my alcohol intake is exemplary.  I make no secret of the fact that I like a drink, but I've been so stressed recently that I feel too sick to drink it, hence the good score.

Anyway, in order to start making changes I need to take a good hard look at myself.  Here's where it all tends to go wrong:

Typical Weekday:

6am - Up for a run, home before 7, shower, get dressed, whizz up some soya milk, a banana and some spinach for breakfast, drink lots of water, basking in smugness.

8am - Wave husband off to work, give Rory some breakfast, check emails while he's engrossed in the TV.  Nothing needs actioning.  All good.

9am - Clean bathroom, put washing in washing machine, do ironing.  Still smug.

10am - Take Rory into town to post stuff and go to the library.  He asks the woman in the post office why her face is so grumpy and does a runner during Story Time.  Would not mind but did not even want to go to Story Time, what with Norovirus doing the rounds and everything.  Bump into Local Smug Mummy who only feeds her child wholefoods as I am purchasing a Choc Dip to keep Rory quiet.  We smile fakely at each other for five excruciating minutes as she explains to me that she's on a diet because her size 8 jeans are a smidge too tight as she's been eating too many raisins.  Silently grind inner axe.

12pm - Return from town.  How did I not notice that the apocalypse had hit my living room before I went out earlier?  Attempt to scrape dried on Coco Pops off the table before giving it up as a bad job because Rory's whining about being hungry.  Kitchen in similar state of devastation.  Why do I not learn to clean it before I go out anywhere?  Knock up cheese sandwich for child. Eat mainly his sandwich crusts and cheese for lunch. Mull over encounter with Local Smug Mummy and come to the conclusion that at least it was better than the time I bumped into her whilst stuffing a Big Mac into my face with epic hangover, still stinking of vodka when Rich and Rory were visiting my inlaws for a few days. She told me that she couldn't bear to let her child go anywhere without her as she loves him too much. And she gave my Big Mac a dirty look.  Make mental note to start buying brown rice and lentils.

1pm - Check emails again.  Shit.  Everyone has emailed me at once, I have three deadlines looming, at least one of which I'd forgotten about and a to do list that takes up nearly two sides of A4.

1.10pm - Survey to do list.  Panic a bit.  Ignore it and play Solitaire.

1.20pm - Feel guilty for playing Solitaire while I should be working.  Feel guilty for working while I should be playing with my son.  Hide in the kitchen eating crisps.

1.30pm - Feel guilty for eating crisps.  Rummage in cupboards and eat Rory's Jelly Tots, chocolate stash and a quarter of a block of cheddar instead of doing work or playing with child.  BAD, FAT PARENT.

1.35pm - Play cars with Rory to cancel out the guilt of not doing any work and eating the kitchen and everything in it.

2:00pm - Really must do some work.  Right after I've emptied the washing machine.  Oh, washing machine broken again.  Really should phone someone about that. When I've done some work. And eaten this Kit Kat.

2:30pm - Doing some work.  Don't know what I was being so dramatic about.  Is perfectly easy to write an article whilst son plays quietly with lego in the other room. Tinkly music much like Murder She Wrote theme tune playing blissfully in head as I type.

2:40pm -Voice of Rory from the other room:  "And NOW for my latest insperiment.  You poooooouuur the water into the shoe..." MOTHER OF CHRIST, IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO ANY WORK WITH 3 YEAR OLD IN THE HOUSE.

2:45pm - Is OK. It's not my shoe.  Will leave him to it.

3:20pm - Read article through.  That will have to do, will edit it later.  Foolishly google latest Norovirus statistics.  Not that I'm obsessed or anything.  Panic quietly and resolve to douse Rory in antibacterial hand gel every time he's been anywhere.  Google antibacterial hand gel. Apparently it doesn't work on Norovirus.  Panic a bit more.  Survey unsupervised child related carnage.  Step gingerly over bunch of grapes that have been involved in a sticklebrick squashing incident.  Empty water and floating grapes from shoe.  Gather up plethora of clothing, cushion covers etc that now need washing due to child being left unsupervised for half an hour.

3:25pm - Washing machine STILL broken.  Why have the magic pixies not fixed it?

3:30pm - Do jigsaw with Rory.  Help him write his name.  Do letters and numbers.  Do colouring in.  Construct tractor out of bog roll tube.  Get playdough out.

4:30pm - Add dried on playdough to the list of things that now need chiseling off the table.  Pick playdough out of seven toy cars with the end of a teaspoon.  Go at sofa with a scrubbing brush to get playdough out of upholstery.  Remember why we never get the playdough out.

4:45pm - Really should check work emails again, but what I really feel I need to be doing right now is perfecting my recipe for self-saucing lemon drizzle cake in a mug.  This is one of those things that those cool bloggers with proper lifestyle blogs write about.  One day, I plan to set up a parallel blog to this one which will feature home decor, style and beauty tips, music, recipes and craft tutorials.  First will need to be able to afford to get my hair cut and buy some clothes that a) look stylish and b) don't have holes in, and will also need to do more than just throw mascara haphazardly at my face every morning, and have food in the cupboards that isn't fish fingers and baked beans and a house that isn't trashed and fix the bathroom and lose a stone in weight as currently look like the before photo in an advert encouraging women to lose that pesky Christmas 9lbs and take the Spiderman theme tune off repeat on the iPod.  THIS WILL BE NEVER.  But on the off-chance that it isn't, you guys had better be ready for my lemon drizzle in a mug recipe because it will take the internet by storm, I assure you.

5:00pm - Verdict: Very nice, but I sense that I will need to perfect the recipe some more at exactly the same time tomorrow afternoon.

5:05pm - Check work emails.  Email from editor changing entire brief of what I've just written.  Respond saying "no problem" whilst really wanting to smash things.

5:30pm - Get Rory's tea.  Nibble disconsolately on a fish finger.  Spend quality 10 minutes fretting about Norovirus.

6:00pm - Remove two thirds of Rory's tea from the floor, where it has been ground in.

6:15pm - Chisel the remaining third of it off the table along with the Coco Pops and Playdough.

6:30pm - Half an hour until Daddy gets home.  Emergency clean up operation. SWEEP, HOOVER, TIDY, SPRAY, DUST, STACK, WIPE.

7:00pm - Arrange face into that of wife delighted to be reunited with her one true love at the end of the working day rather than that of knackered mother desperate to offload child and have a sit down.  Husband walks in, says "I've got a migraine", lies down on the sofa with a cold flannel over his eyes and doesn't move all night.

7:30pm - Put Rory to bed.  Read 3 chapters of the Folk of the Faraway Tree. Likely to give me nightmares later on;  Moonface and the Saucepan Man gallivanting across a land made entirely of spoons and the like.

8:00pm - Husband with migraine doesn't want any dinner. No point in doing proper cooking just for me.  Oven chips it is then.

8:30pm - Rory singing medley of inappropriate punk songs of the late 70s in bed.

9:00pm - Re-do article.  Flump on sofa for a bit.  "You look worried, what are you thinking about?" asks husband.  "Umm, work", I lie.  He threatened to divorce me if I mentioned Norovirus one more time this month.

11:00pm - Go to bed.  Check Rory to see if his head feels hot several times.  Soothe self to sleep in the knowledge that tomorrow is a day that I haven't cocked up yet and I will start it with a saintly run in the morning.

3:00am - Wake up to Rory shouting "COCKLEDOODLEDOO!" Takes 2 hours to get both him and me back to sleep.  Kiss goodbye to morning run.  Could fancy some toast.

See?  All interlinked.  I wouldn't need to worry about my diet or my weight if I wasn't so stressed.

Handily, the website gives me a list of things to help with stress, so I just have to try to apply them to the above scenario and all should be well.  I have to keep a stress diary (done - see above), discuss regular causes of my stress with a close friend or relative (err, maybe will not mention Norovirus to husband though), do deep breathing, plan relaxation time, take time out for me, exercise more and take up a hobby which has no deadlines or pressures associated with it.

OK.  I can do that.  Wish me luck and I'll update you with my progress in a month or so.

Meanwhile, go and register over at and take the health test - let me know how you get on.

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  1. Hahaha... the joys of motherhood! I want your cake recipe. I love cake in a mug recipes.. they save me!!

  2. Hahaha... the joys of motherhood! I want your cake recipe. I love cake in a mug recipes.. they save me!!

  3. I hear you. Good to hear someone else going through same stresses.

  4. Morning run is very impressive! Go you.
    All those recommendations for reducing stress are OK, but when your kids are little life is pretty hectic and stressful, and filled with things you have to do other than you intended (eg oven chips).

  5. You beat me! I got 77.

    Then again 'working out' my hip and waist measurements with string and my pitiful track record of guesstimates may have altered things.

    Yes, that is what I will keep telling myself. There is no way you'd get me out of bed that early- especially for a run!

  6. Damn thing said ideally I should be 9 stone. My PT says he won't train me anymore if my weight drops below 9 stone 4. It also thinks I'm eating lots of carbs and that that is a good thing. Hmmm.