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Katy England Katy England
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New habits die hard

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Things get surreal when you're pregnant. I can hardly even remember it, and I have an even harder time wrapping my head around the craziness of it all. And though my pregnancy was a doozy as far as high-risk goes, it all ended well.

Things change in weird ways. I learned about gestational diabetes (managed to skirt by it) and how there is a vein that runs down the right side of your body, so you should sleep on your left to help blood flow. Weird and yet cool stuff.

I also learned that flossing sucks when you're pregnant. So I stopped, which, it turns out, was dumb. I knew it was dumb and I did it anyway. I justified it by having enough other weird things going on in my life that inviting death by bleeding out through my gums seemed silly.

But after the kids were born, I had to visit my dentist.

Confession time: When I was young, I didn't take the greatest care of my teeth. Between having braces at a young age and the foolish notion that they'd be able to fix my teeth with technology later in life, I let things slide. Several dozen cavities and a root canal later, you learn that you are stupid as a child.

Well, I made some attempts to clean up my act (flossing every day - that alone makes for a better dental visit). But based on my last visit, it wasn't cutting the mustard. And, with the patient help of my awesome dentist, I realized I needed to look at what I was doing. Really look at it.

You see, back before children, I only had one rather ample cup of coffee. Between breast feedings and a crash course with sleep deprivation, that number went up considerably and it hasn't really gone down much despite the kids sleeping through the night.

My second issue was that during breast feeding I was hungry pretty much all the time. I'm not talking about simply snacking between meals, I mean having meals between meals. I'd get up in the morning and eat breakfast: cereal, juice, toast. Then around 10 a.m. I'd have second breakfast: a huge bowl of oatmeal (stuffed with yogurt, raisins, nuts or frozen fruit if it was handy). Then lunch. Then a 'snack,' followed by an ample dinner that consisted of a casserole or hearty soup of some kind. Then I'd have to eat before I went to bed or I'd be starving. If I missed any of these meals, I'd get wobbly.

I don't eat six meals a day anymore, but I'm probably snacking a bit too much. And snacking between meals isn't just bad for your teeth, it's also bad for staying healthy overall.

And really, now that the kids are sleeping through the night, I should be able to cut back from three or four cups a day to something saner, like two. I'm also restricting my beer intake: If I have a beer, it must be along with meals instead of as an independent snack. If you don't know what a snack beer is, you're probably healthier than I am.

So those are my goals. And so far, outside of a couple minor caffeine-free headaches, it's going well. And hopefully fewer cavities will follow.

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