Can’t help myself… bad habits

My life saved by a stamp, contact and some blu-tack

Inevitably, with modern life being the tricky thing that it is, parts of our lives fall into ruts and nasty little habits emerge. They evolve slowly and sometimes it can take a while before we notice that they’re there.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a little ‘perspective’ fairy hovering in the background, ready to tap me on the shoulder and give me a bit of rude truth from time to time. She could let me know how many nights I’ve missed readers this week, point out that there’s a pile of unopened mail under the kitchen table and possibly even let me know if my current love of leggings is unsuitable for a lady of my age.

Tough gig though, being a perspective fairy. No one likes to realise they’ve been doing a bad job of anything. She’d need to be a fast flier to avoid the swats and insect knock down spray.

So it takes a little courage to take a step back from time to time and reassess how life is going – and look for the little (or big) signs that are telling you when it’s time to have a think and take steps to make adjustments and repairs wherever needed in order to obtain better outcomes.

For me recently, I’ve needed a big overhaul of my discipline system to accommodate my growing kids. Old parenting techniques weren’t working and most days I was just being the house shrew. “Gee your throat must be sore after all that yelling” said Mr Meat & Potatoes (AKA the perspective fairy).

So I’ve pulled my socks up and we’ve got a new star chart in place. Elegantly executed by the ever industrious Miss F (who individually contacted 40 star stamped pieces of paper), we’ve got a new system where stars are pretty easy to earn and can be transferred into either 5 minutes of iPad time or 25c. Took a bit of effort to get it going but it has totally turned the dynamics around from me yelling and them ignoring, to them looking for ways to be good.

On the food front I noticed that my own breakfast routine had come unstuck. I used to be a muesli girl, but I’d tired of my favourite brands and started buying other cereals that are on the healthy scale, but are still outrageously sweet.

My second perspective fairy was Rosemary Stanton (she specialises in Rude Truth, doesn’t she?!). I’m reading her “Choice Guide to Food” (which is really practical and great) and she pointed out that even those of us who read the product labels are possibly being duped. Instead of admitting to a cereal being 50% sugar, many manufacturers use two or three sources of sugar, so that each percentage is lower and they can appear further down the ingredient list. She offered such an easy fix that I feel stupid for being lazy and buying the boxed stuff. MAKE YOUR OWN. It’s cheaper. Yummier. Healthier.

This morning I tucked into my homemade muesli and it was so yum, that the extra 10 minutes it took to make the huge batch seemed entirely worthwhile.

Toast some bits (like nuts, oats & coconut) to increase the flavour and it’s delicious.

Toasted muesli

Use whatever grain, seeds, nuts and dried fruits you like.

Rolled oats
Flaked almonds
Pecans, roughly chopped
Shredded coconut
Pumpkin seeds
Oat bran
All bran

Spread the oats on a tray and bake at 180C – stir once or twice until golden.

Repeat with the almonds, pecans and coconut (stay near – they burn quickly). Toss together in a container with the other ingredients and you’re done.

PS. Did you know that most cereal serving sizes are ½ cup? Might be worth measuring your cereal out into a bowl to see just how much that is – I’ve been having waaaaaay more.

17 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Sarah said,

    MMmm! I love homemade muesli. I normally toast the oats, seeds, nuts with a little bit of maple syrup and olive oil. I always measure out my cereal now too, I had to when I had gestational diabetes and the habit has stuck.

  2. 3

    Sam Lewers said,

    Totally agree on the whole breakfast issue. I’ve abolished anything in ‘boxes’ and it is amazing what other options you can come up with. This time of year we are tucking into all sorts of variations of porridge.

    The ‘perspective fairy’ is certainly something we all need from time to time but we also need to be brave enough to listen and take action. Good on you 🙂

  3. 4

    Belinda said,

    I made a HUGE batch of muesli yesterday, after going without for sometime too. It’s such a wonderful thing to wake up to, especially with blueberries (which we pick in January and freeze) and yoghurt.
    I measure half a cup out everyday. After losing 30kg with Weight Watchers, I know it stops me from indulging!

    I think the star chart might be something we might try too, my throat is hoarse!

    • 5

      wendyblume said,

      well done on 30kgs! that’s an amazing achievement. I noticed already today that I wasn’t hungry at 9am like I’ve been recently. Gotta love low-GI. What were the other big changes you had to make to lose so much weight?

      • 6

        Belinda said,

        We have always eaten healthy food, but my weight crept up especially when I’d finish the kids meals…and my own portions were the same as my husbands.

        Now I have a list next to the stove that reminds to *stay focused, *move more, *portion control, *plan ahead and *organise my surroundings!! x

      • 7

        wendyblume said,

        Well done you! Fantastic, practical advice. Let me know if you want to do a guest post – sounds like you’ve got some great ideas and a bunch of personal strength.

  4. 8

    Ali said,

    The perspective fairy desperately needs a loud speaker here!

    My mum used to make her own muesli and it was delish, will definitely have to make my own back in the comfort of my own home in Aus. I have discovered a rather tasty and healthy breakie option here in France, yoghurt with raspberry puree and raw rolled oats. Oats by themselves or with milk are rather bland, but with the extra pep of the yoghurt it is very tasty, even the kids are asking for it! Topped off with a nice jasmine green tea (for me, not the kids), it helps me to focus more on what the perspective fairy is saying!

  5. 11

    Barbara Good said,

    I too banned the boxes when I realised how chock full of sugar and salt they were. I make a toasted granola with rolled oats, shredded coconut and a combination of honey and coconut oil which is heated a little to melt the coconut oil and then stirred through the oats and toasted in the oven, Then I add some nuts, seeds and dried fruit. The only problem is that Mr Good insisted that cereal has not have ‘flakes’, so now I’m making bran flakes as well – it gets a little time consuming now. And annoyingly Miss Three outright refuses to even taste it!

    The perspective fairy made a visit here over our meal time antics and told me to get tougher! No yelling, but also no caving.

    • 12

      wendyblume said,

      You make bran flakes? How do you even do that? I think the perspective fairy (pesky as she is), might pop by your place and give you a lecture about overachieving 😉

      • 13

        Barbara Good said,

        I found a recipe on another blog actually and they’re very, very easy, though a tad time consuming. Though I’m not sure making bran flakes qualifies as over-achieving. I was toying with the idea of starting my Masters, now that really would require a perspective fairy lecture!

  6. 14

    Re the leggings, are we talking Van Halen style?

    • 15

      wendyblume said,

      what with skulls and stuff? Nah, just the plain coloured ones that I can pretend are stylish, but are really just trackies in disguise. 🙂

      • 16

        Polly said,

        Ha! “trackies in disguise”. I have the same addiction. My problem is that after not having a waist band all winter now we are into summer my shorts are much too snug. Leggings are too forgiving and give no feedback (especially in black!!)

      • 17

        wendyblume said,

        i’m not sure how much feedback I want my pants to give me! 🙂

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