Perhaps dieting and cutting back on my computer use simultaneously aren't good for my family life


#1

I have a couple of crutches: food and computer. When I feel stress, I reach for one or both. It usually helps. Most days, I cope rather well. When I am not feeling stressed, both are habits that I enjoy while recognizing the need for moderation.

A few weeks ago, I began a weight loss diet. I want to loose fifteen pounds more. Loosing weight (and keeping it off) means that I can’t reach for food everytime I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. As long as I was working to better myself, I also made effort to cut back on the computer. This is not working as well as I had hoped. I’m grumpier without my little crutches. I need some sort of little get away or retreat to re-charge myself on a daily basis, and I’m not finding it. I yelled at the kids too much yesterday and I simply can not continue to do that. Instead of improving myself, I feel like I’m becoming a worse person.

Without staring at a computer screen, my eyes and ears can see and hear various things around the house that I’d rather ignore. Such as: The trash can is overflowing and the person on trash duty has already been reminded of this* twice*. Little scraps of paper, crayons, and various other tidbits clutter the carpet that I recently vacuumed. The piano needs tuning, (and why did the piano teacher assign *that *song?) Everyone plays the tv too loud. The windows are covered with little fingerprints. You get the picture. I live with seven children in the house and all the various little annoyances of everyday family life annoy me all the more right now.

I can’t pick up a book or magazine and block out the world around me the way I can with the computer. Inevitably, someone calls me away for something and when I come back, I can’t find my place because my toddler closes my book, tears the magazine, and/or spills my coffee. Or else, when mom’s reading a book in a comfy chair, someone will climb on my lap or interupt my reading tell me something that they think is interesting, or whatever. Sometimes I can’t even finish reading a full sentence!

Apparently, I need at least one crutch. Perhaps even just a cane will do.


#2

It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate. I go completely bonkers sometimes, and I only have two kids-I can’t imagine seven! We all need ways to destress. Magazines work for some, others prefer exercise, others the TV, etc. Don’t try to cut out too much all at once. If you see the computer use as something of a bad habit, it will take time to change it. You’re already changing your food habits. Give yourself some time to adjust to the way you’re handling food now before making yourself crazy over the computer. As long as your computer use is not excessive and you’re not looking at questionable material, I think it’s fine to have that as youe escape right now. Don’t take on too much at one time-it will just add to your stress, making staying away from both food and the computer that much more difficult. Good luck with your weight loss! You’ll feel so much better once that is back under your control.


#3

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:2, topic:227712"]
It sounds like you've got a lot on your plate. I go completely bonkers sometimes, and I only have two kids-I can't imagine seven! We all need ways to destress. Magazines work for some, others prefer exercise, others the TV, etc. Don't try to cut out too much all at once. If you see the computer use as something of a bad habit, it will take time to change it. You're already changing your food habits. Give yourself some time to adjust to the way you're handling food now before making yourself crazy over the computer. As long as your computer use is not excessive and you're not looking at questionable material, I think it's fine to have that as youe escape right now. Don't take on too much at one time-it will just add to your stress, making staying away from both food and the computer that much more difficult. Good luck with your weight loss! You'll feel so much better once that is back under your control.

[/quote]

Thank you for your reply. I believe you are correct that I was trying to cut out too much at once.

Part of the trouble is that I don't know how to define "excessive" computer use. If someone spent as much time as I spend on the computer watching tv instead, I wouldn't consider that "excessive" tv watching. I don't watch much tv, and trading my computer time (where I mostly read and write) for the television hardly sounds like a lifestyle improvement. I don't view questionable material, (unless you think places like CAF are questionable.:)) It's mostly news and a few favorite websites like this one, with managing a few household tasks thrown into the mix.

I do enjoy magazines, but I haven't read them much since my toddler started tearing them apart. I know it's a stage that will pass, but I think my toddler is trying to drive me crazy! :whacky: BTW, I have eight children, but my oldest is grown and out of the house now. He used to interupt my magazine reading too. At some point this stage will pass.


#4

Bless your heart! I have been feeling guilty over my eating habits and my computer use here lately - making resolutions to cut down, then breaking them. I’m glad you started this thread. :yup:

I don’t have any kids or husband, just a pet and it’s hard for me to try to declutter! When I look around, I see lots of mess - that I created all by myself without even any kids to help, LOL. It is embarrassing to have to admit that I :o have let the house get this out of control.

So yeah, I’d say conquer one thing at a time.:thumbsup: I think we do have to sometimes not try to build Rome in a day. Hang in there!

I suppose I’d better log off and get something done! :wink:


#5

One thing at a time! ;) :D


#6

I find it easier to take 'my' time before the kids are up or after they go to bed. My addiction is the TV. I try as hard as I can to be as visible to my kids as possible. Of course, I am not with them all day.


#7

I can totally relate.

Sometimes the sheer sensory input in daily life is overwhelming. And it makes it confusing to know where to start in order to accomplish something.

How about locking yourself in the bathroom to pray? Hopefully no one would be rude enough to inquire as to what you’re doing in there so long. :slight_smile:


#8

:rotfl:
That one made me laugh… and I only have 3 kids. :stuck_out_tongue:
Bathroom time is NEVER peaceful with kids around… I have to go to work to have 5 minutes alone in the bathroom! :cool:


#9

Actually, good point!

My kids are 19 and 20, sometimes I forget what it’s like when they’re little.

One time, (when my kids were about 5 and 6) I was going to have a bath. I filled the bathtub and went to get whatever I needed (bath salts, towels, book, whatever) and when I went into the bathroom, there was my boy. Enjoying a bath!!! He said, “oh, I thought this was for me”. :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="grasscutter, post:9, topic:227712"]
Actually, good point!

My kids are 19 and 20, sometimes I forget what it's like when they're little.

One time, (when my kids were about 5 and 6) I was going to have a bath. I filled the bathtub and went to get whatever I needed (bath salts, towels, book, whatever) and when I went into the bathroom, there was my boy. Enjoying a bath!!! He said, "oh, I thought this was for me". :)

[/quote]

That is priceless! :D Didn't have to nag him even! LOL! :thumbsup: What a good kid!


#11

I’ve lost 70 pounds in the last 14 months. So I can relate to you.

My suggestion is easy does it. I agree with the poster who said “one thing at a time.”

Make very small changes gradually. Don’t try to change your whole life in a few weeks. That will create massive stress, and you will revert back to your old habits and then you’ll be even more stressed over your failure and you’ll eat more and spend more time escaping into the computer.

Let me break my weight loss down for you. 70 pounds in 14 months–that’s five pounds a month, or one pound and a little more a week.

That’s about 3500 calories less each week, or 500 calories a day less than I used to eat.

That’s the equivalent of one 20-oz Mountain Dew and one candy bar a day.

That’s not too much, is it? No drastic reductions in my food intake. No huge adjustments in my diet. Just cutting back a little.

I would be kicked out of the Biggest Loser ranch in the first week with such a small weight loss! But who cares?! I’m going to KEEP my weight loss.

Now to be honest, I have been making other adjustments, but gradually, one at a time, and carefully and slowly. I work with a dietician, and when we first started working together fourteen months ago, the first 'adjustment" she suggested was cutting back my Mountain Dews to THREE a day (20 oz each) instead of 5-6 a day. That was hard for me, but I did it. Then we worked down to two, and eventually after a couple of months, we were down to one a day, and that’s where it stands right now. I drink one 20-oz Mt. Dew (full sugar) a day.

And all the diet pop I can fit into my body! It will be a looooooong time before I can even think about giving up soda. I’ll probably be buried with a Diet Pepsi in my hands (along with that Rosary!).

And there have been other adjustments. Learning to eat smaller portions. More fruits and veges. Less white bread, white pasta, and white rice. Less salt.

And exercise. I started out doing 5 minutes on a recumbent bike. That’s all I could manage because my knees and ankles hurt so much. Now I do 40 minutes on the bike, and I can do 25 minutes on a standing elliptical.

But all gradually. Easy does it.

And I’ve lost weight slowly but surely. And I’ve never really felt deprived or depressed. I’ve even cheated, frequently (daily).

So again, I suggest that you take everything slowly. Change one thing, and keep the change going for a few weeks. Then if you’re doing OK, add another change.

One thing I’ve discovered is that when you take away something, you HAVE to replace it with something or you will feel deprived and get depressed. In my case, I have been able to replace much of my food lust with other things, e.g., walking outdoors (for several years, I was unable to do this because of knee pain). I’ve been having more parties and dinners at my house, which I enjoy. I’m doing more volunteering, which I enjoy.

So don’t just deprive yourself. Add something to your life everytime you take something away.

BTW, I have another 35 pounds to go. This week is probably not going to be the week to lose anything, between the blizzard (and my disrupted routines) and my daughter’s huge skating competition. Oh, well. I’ve learned over the last 14 months that a few days of overindulgence does not mean that I have to stop losing weight and gain everything back. I’ll just keep plugging along and I’ll get there–slowly.


#12

Good post, Cat! :thumbsup: Success breeds success, you started out with some small, doable things and then as you saw positive results, I bet it was downright exciting to think of more small changes to make.

I got a gift membership to a gym and started seeing this too. It’s easy to backslide - I’ve done a bit of that - but I will persevere. Reading your post is even helping me get more in that mindset again. Thanks! :slight_smile:


#13

If you are too fat, you need to lose weight. Quit the computer and use the time for long walks. You’ll be out of the house and away from those innanities you percieve and youi’ll be walking off both stress and weight, which is another stressor and which builds up just sitting at a computer. Then, maybe you’ll fell better about a whole lot of other things. The computer you recognise as a ‘crutch’, but it probably goes hand in hand with the weight. Don’t use either as an escape from the world, particularly the world which is your own family. Interrupted reading, spilt drinks, mindless chatter, well, that’s life. Join in and enjoy it. Ignoring it causes even more stress and regrets later on.

Another thing to remember. Little kids doing little kid things is one of the great joys of life. You will remember all those times with a great deal of satisfaction and humour in years to come - if you let yourself enjoy them now. I have had pages ripped out of books I was reading and couldn’t even get the whole story! A standing joke in our family is that it has taken nearly fifteen years for me to be able to enjoy the froth on the top of a cappucino. All the kids wanted their taste and pretty soon the horse bolted and the froth became a ‘right’ of the kids. Now, I challenge you, try to share the froth off one little cappucino amongst five little mouths without starting a fight over who got how much!! :smiley:


#14

Thanks for sharing your success story, Cat! Great work! :thumbsup:

I understand what you wrote about weight loss dieting, but I was missing the part I highlighted. I need to find some suitable replacements for food and computer. Yelling at my kids is not a suitable replacement. :o

I really need to find more “alone” time somehow, some way. Maybe I can walk to Em’s place of employment and use their restroom for an occassional five minute rest.:smiley:


#15

If I were you, I wouldn’t start with trying to change TWO major crutches in your life.

I would pick one. Which one is up to you.

If your weight is so dangerously high that you are in imminent danger of some kind of health catastrophe, or if your weight is making it painful for you to walk, do everyday tasks, make love, take care of your children, etc.–then I would probably start with the weight. Keep the computer as a crutch to help you get through the struggle of losing weight. Give yourself two years to lose the weight, and don’t even think about giving up the computer until the weight problem is gone.

You will find as you lose weight that you are able to do many things that you couldn’t do before–walk, daily tasks, etc. That “joy of mobility” will be your “replacement” for food, along with better health (lower cholesterol, lower BP, etc.).

OTOH, if you are merely unfashionably heavy, but you still have lots of mobility, your blood pressure is fine, you are not pre-diabetic or diabetic, etc., then I would start with the computer habit. If you spend less time on the computer, you will have more time for walks, playing with your children, taking your children on “adventures” (which could be as cheap and simple as a walk around the neighborhood, or more expensive like a trip to the local children’s museum or ice skating rink). You will also have more personal time for things like reading good novels, doing various projects in your home or yard, doing a workout (which could be at home in front of the TV), watching good television shows, cooking good meals, etc.

Which one you work on first is up to you. You know best.

But working on two things at once is extremely stressful and I guarantee that you will crash and burn. Some people, and perhaps John21652 is one of these people, are more disciplined than others, and have an easier time breaking habits or not forming those habits to begin with. Good for them.

But then there are the people like me and perhaps you, who tend to pick up habits and then have an extremely difficult time breaking those habits. Own up to this. Accept WHO you are and don’t fret because you’re not “disciplined” like so many thin, organized people who never even remember to check their email!

And like I said in my other post, start small. If you are giving up food, here’s something that really worked for me. Make a list of all the “healthy” foods that you really like. I’m guessing that there are quite a few of them. E.g., I wrote down “cottage cheese, oatmeal, fresh veges, fresh fruit, whole grain breads, lean meat”–in other words, all the foods we are supposed to eat more of! (One healthy food that isn’t on my “like” list is yogurt–I just hate the stuff! It makes me gag. But maybe you like it.)

Then write down the list of “unhealthy” foods that you love, and rate that list and decide which “unhealthy” things you could probably give up or cut back on without feeling too bad. E.g., I will NEVER give up soda. I will NOT give up Peeps. But believe it or not, chocolate is not something that I must have. Same for french fries–I really don’t like them that much at all.

Now that you have those two lists, make a decision that in the future, you will not eat the foods on your “unhealthy” list that you don’t truly love and adore. Instead, you will substitute one of the “healthy” foods that you really like.

Here’s how this worked practically for me. When I go to a fast food restaurant and get the “basket meal,” I don’t automatically take fries as the side. Instead, I ask for a salad, or the apple slices, or the steamed veges (one of the restaurants in our city serves steamed brocolli as a side in their baskets), or cottage cheese (Steak and Shake offers this), or the orange slices (Wendys) or the hot soup (Culvers).

Since I eat out a lot, this “trick” has saved me tons of calories, and I don’t feel deprived or stressed or depressed at all, since I am eating things that I really like (remember my “like” list). I hope this will work for you.


#16

I agree that losing weight and breaking the computer habit at the same time is tough. I’ve been on a diet for 5 months now. It gets easier with time, especially once you see results. I’m now mentally preparing myself for using the internet a bit less. The thought of it scares me but it really needs to happen. I will do something for lent, use it an hour a day, something like that. Baby steps.
It’s great you’re making these changes but make sure that you find something relaxing to do, to substitute computer time and emotional eating. And do it gradually so you don’t freak out and take it out on the kids.


#17

I completely relate to the reading v. computer problem. I only have 2 little ones, but I can surf here or blogs and still, nurse the baby and watch the toddler. But if I even so much look at my law textbooks, all hell breaks lose. The toddler tries to "read" my texts, and doesn't think I read fast enough, so turns the pages for me, steals my pens or pencils and runs away with notebooks and folders. Reading just takes more concentration than being on the computer, and little ones also take concentration and prevent one from fully concentrating on other tasks like reading. I haven't figured out a solution to this, except to do my reading while the toddler is sleeping and the baby is relatively happy.


#18

[quote="jilly4ski, post:17, topic:227712"]
I completely relate to the reading v. computer problem. I only have 2 little ones, but I can surf here or blogs and still, nurse the baby and watch the toddler. But if I even so much look at my law textbooks, all hell breaks lose. The toddler tries to "read" my texts, and doesn't think I read fast enough, so turns the pages for me, steals my pens or pencils and runs away with notebooks and folders. Reading just takes more concentration than being on the computer, and little ones also take concentration and prevent one from fully concentrating on other tasks like reading. I haven't figured out a solution to this, except to do my reading while the toddler is sleeping and the baby is relatively happy.

[/quote]

:rotfl: That brings back memories of me trying to study for finals with an energetic toddler nearby. Nap time was one of the only things I could do as well. Sometimes I could sit my toddler in the high chair with some cheerios, which would buy me 10-15 minutes of reading time.


#19

I just want to put a random thought out there- but did you ever think of the possibility that you may be depressed or have anxiety? Depressed and anxious people often use food as to make themselves feel better, as you say you do. Also, depression and anxiety also make one irritable- and that may be why the little things your children are doing annoy you so much. It also may be why when you don’t indulge in food or computer time, you start noticing all the little details that suddenly loom larger than life- messy carpet, fingerprints on the wall, etc. When you get rid of the crutch, you are ridding yourself of the way you cope without understanding why you turned to it in the first place, or replacing it with ‘good’ habits. And I suppose the computer can indeed be harmful if 1) it is interfering with your daily duties 2) interfering in the time with your children (taking into account that you already have a set ‘me’ time established) and 3) you can’t seem to stop being on it or control the amount of time you spend on it- ie, it is ‘addictive’.
I am NOT diagnosing you or saying that you are depressed or anxious- I just wanted to put that out there as food for thought. God Bless!:slight_smile:


#20

Actually, I think this is a great point. I didn’t really know I was a depressed eater. Never before. Actually more of a BORED eater.

The internet has served as a connection to the outside world. There was a time it was very hard to leave the house with twin babies. Or I was up for hours at night… One needs adult conversation, or we lose our words. I’m grateful to be able to form full sentances. And sadly, my spelling, as I’m sure often evident, is HORRIFYING!

And when you’re on constant demand with kids, it’s easy to walk away from the computer and attend needs. It’s frustating doing that when you mid REAL project or reading or anything important.

Regardless, I read OP’s original post, and thought… Jeez, why don’t you try to quit smoking while you’re at it… LOL!

I’m with others… BABY STEPS… no reason to make yourself go postal and end up on all of front pages… LOL! HUGS TOO!!!


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