Fighting the Zs with Better Habits

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Plenty of SleepSometimes that morning coffee just doesn’t do it for you. We’ve all had days where we are just dragging, whether we are low on sleep, overworked, or just plain worn out. But if you’re having a hard time shaking sluggishness in general you might need to make some changes.

Some people can’t recall the last time they didn’t feel somewhat tired, which may be a sign that something is a little off. Chronic sleep problems could be a symptom of something other than stress. Constant fatigue is also a potential sign of depression. These are things to look into if you think there may be a serious cause.

But before you go running off to the doctor you might want to try out some simple fixes. Your diet can have a major impact on your energy levels as well as your level of activity. Incorporating exercise and healthy eating could not only boost energy but help you sleep better. Also, some people react differently to caffeine. That soda with dinner may not be much but it could be keeping you up at night.

If you find yourself fighting exhaustion all the time try to figure out why. A few changes to your day could have you feeling healthy, energized and ready when the sun rises.

Weight Loss and Better Health

My Reasons!

I will be 40 next year. That’s a good 20 years of being a grown up, and one thing that has plagued me through my entire adult life is my weight.

Ew.

Even talking about it makes me cringe and want to run away. But, I’ve committed – to myself more than anyone else – to taking my struggle out of the dark shadows and facing it head on.

I’m one of those emotional eaters. I have been for all of my adult life. In junior high and high school I was targeted by and victimized by a teacher (who is still in prison) and while that’s a whole different story, the emotional baggage that came from that experience expressed itself through eating.

When I was cooperating with the prosecution to make sure the teacher went to prison, I ate.

When I had to testify at his parole hearing, I ate.

When my first husband told me on our one-month anniversary that he wasn’t sure he loved me, I ate.

When I found out my mom had cancer (while I was living 3000 miles away), I ate.

When I was happy, I ate. When I was sad, I ate. When I was stressed, I ate. When I was bored…well, you get the picture. Food was a major focus in my life.

No surprise, then, that my wonderful husband Dave has had the habit of picking up my favorite treat, whether it was ice cream or candy or chips and salsa, as a way to show affection. We fell into the habit of nightly snacking in front of the TV, exhausted after long days with five kids. He fell into the habit of showing his love with food.

Dave, however, gets on the treadmill every day. He still wears the same size jeans he wore in high school, the poo head.

I don’t think I could fit half of me in a pair of high school jeans.

So with my 40th birthday peaking at me from around the corner, and after a long, late night conversation with my darling husband to seek his help and support in facing this demon the way he’s helped me face all others, I’m making the effort to put food back where it belongs: in the role of sustenance, not entertainment; sustenance, not solace.

I want to be a good mom, a good role model for my kids. Most of all, I want to keep being here for them. So I’m committing (publicly, even) to better health, better eating habits, and better choices.

Note: I held off on publishing this for a couple of weeks, because this is a difficult topic for me, but I’m proud to say that I have been successful (with my husband’s help, since he does all the cooking) at making some major changes – changes that have already resulted in feeling better, having more energy, and a loss of 8 pounds. It’s not much, but it’s a start.