Invisalign Update and Doing It!

Two part post:


Invisalign is going okay. I switched to my second tray last Thursday. I was nervous, wondering if I would have five days of horrendous pain again, but it was fine. Some tooth tenderness for the first two days, but no headaches (or crying, ha!).

I am concerned that my teeth are looking really brown. Especially the ones with the attachments on. I drink a couple of cups of decaf tea a day, and have since I was a teenager, so I have two theories:

1. My enamel is more porous from all the cleaning and brushing and is absorbing the stains from tea.

2. The plastic is somehow discolouring my teeth.

Every Invisalign comes with free whitening, which makes me wonder if they don’t know that this happens to a lot of people? I didn’t read about it anywhere. I will ask the dentist when I go in for my checkup on Friday.

Doing it!

I am so fed up of having a post-baby body. I’m 43, so now I have a post-baby, middle-aged and getting-older-rapidly body and it just makes me feel so depressed when I look in the mirror. I know I am comparitively slim, but I am so self-conscious of the flabby tummy and the thighs that are far weightier than they used to be.

It shocks me daily how freaking old and tired I look. I should have started running again by now as I’m running the Great South in October, but the weather has been bloody awful (the daffodils are out and we’ve just had two days of snow – it is insane at time of year for it to be so cold).

It’s time I started. I was also thinking about how I have successfully weathered two and a half weeks of no snacking and hardly any junk food simply because I have braces in, so why don’t I build on that? I don’t have to go through all the crappy withdrawal and cravings at the start like usual – I could dive headfirst into a really healthy eating plan and hopefully see some real changes.

I thought that stopping snacking would see my weight drop a little, but no such luck. My body is clinging on to that fat like nobody’s business, so obviously just cutting out sugar and alcohol isn’t enough (that alone is totally unfair and depressing – sometimes I feel like how far do I have to go to see the changes I want to see?).


I’m waiting for confirmation from my Dad that he can have the kids in 8.5 weeks for a 10k run in his village that I have done before. It’ll mean couch to 10k in 8 weeks and some serious commitment to better eating but I think I am ready to do this. I don’t want to feel and look this way for the rest of my life – and lets face it, it’s only going to get worse.

My plan is something along the lines of:

1. Three super nutritious, balanced meals a day

2. One green juice/smoothie per day

3. Follow a beginners/returners 8 week running plan and include hills on my route

4. Ensure I do some form of strength training at least once a week

5. Set up an 8 week, weekly reward schedule for congratulatory (non-food) treats

6. Join an online bootcamp for support

7. Measure progress weekly

8. Blog weekly for eight weeks to stay accountable (obviously!)

I think, for me, the shorter term the goal is, the more likely I am to achieve it. I get distracted and side-tracked in life so easily. Can I stay focused for 8 weeks I wonder?

If I actually see results it will be easier – that is half the battle for me. I so rarely see any change worth commenting on. I think the only way my body will respond is total immersion, all variables at once. Otherwise the impact is so small so then I give up because it leaves me feeling it’s not worth it, which has happened over and over and over again…

I think I’m going to go for it. All in. See if I can actually see some real changes for once.

Falling Out Of Love With Alcohol

Me and drink have had a long, mostly happy, relationship. I can’t remember when it first started – I suppose I was around 17 or 18, so I was late to the party in some respects, and it was far later than my early stumblings with boys.

I loved alcohol right from the start. Yes, there were a few nights where I drank too much and regretted it, but generally it was a party from the word go. I lived in London until the end of my twenties and drinking was almost a daily thing. Things did take a more sinister turn in my last years in the city – there were more than a few episodes of drinking to excess in a way I hadn’t done before. I partied harder, and felt worse in the mornings, but I managed to reign it back in (there’s only so many times you can go out and vomit horrendously before a) you get fed up of it and b) you start to feel ashamed of your behaviour).

Then in my 30s, drink became something I turned to at home. Going out all the time was getting old, and alcohol was about a thousand times cheaper to buy in a supermarket. Nothing could beat that glugging sound of a fresh bottle of nice wine being poured into a glass after a long day at work.

That carried on until after I was married and got pregnant. But even then, I still drank a little. A glass of shandy now and again was one of the few things that seemed to settle my morning sickness in the beginning, and then later in my first pregnancy as long as only had half a glass of wine I didn’t see the harm in it.

I had a long period of not drinking after my son was born, but I felt so utterly broken and crap and exhausted that I would not have noticed any difference.

Once he started sleeping better I was back to my nightly glass of wine.

This repeated with my second son, and then while I was trying for my daughter I found that not drinking was something I resented. I didn’t drink as regularly as I was afraid it was affecting my fertility, but I never completely stopped. I craved it all the time, and as soon as my period arrived it’d be a nice bottle of wine open and a sigh of relief that I could drink again.

I’m still on the border of getting my sleep back after the birth of my daughter over two years ago, as she is not a good sleeper, but the wine has gradually crept in regardless.

Last summer I reached a point where I knew it had a hold over me that I didn’t like any more. It was the first time that I’d admitted to myself that I needed that glass of wine at the end of the day to relax. I remember driving with the three kids in the back of the car on the way home from the school run and realising that there was no wine at home. Panic! I drove them all to the shops and took them all in, just so I could pick up a bottle – because the thought of not drinking that evening was terrifying. My life was miserable. I was tired, exhausted, unhappy in my marriage, and it was the one thing that blotted everything out. It made life fuzzier and less arduous.

That was the day when I knew it had to stop. I didn’t want my kids to grow up remembering me as the mum that always had to go and buy wine, and the mum that was always drinking wine in the evenings. It wasn’t the role model I wanted for my kids and it wasn’t making me happy either.

The next morning I tipped away all the alcohol that was in the house. It was the 6th June and I remember it well because I cried. I actually cried in the morning. I never drank to excess at home – it was a glass or on some nights two. Never more. But I couldn’t manage without it – the thought of not having it made me realise that it was probably only time before one glass regularly became two. And three. And then what?

The first two weeks were awful. I had a constant headache and I couldn’t sleep. I was surprised at how much of an effect on me stopping drinking actually had. And the cravings – my god I wanted it so bad between the hours of 5pm and 8pm – the time when I would usually pour my first glass.

And then came anger. I hated alcohol. And I hated the fact that I wanted it still.

And then, slowly, it got easier.

I lasted 28 days before going back to it. At first it was in moderation – not every night. But then my uncle passed away and left a mess of stuff and emotions. And then my mum ended in hospital with psychosis again because she couldn’t cope with the grief. And I drank every night again, as I had done for the best part of 20 years, to make it all easier to bear.

On the 10th September I stopped again. I wasn’t enjoying it like I did when I was younger. It used to be associated with fun, going out, flirting, dancing and generally having a ball. Now it was false comfort for a middle-aged woman who should know better.

I lasted 69 days, and I felt great. The cravings were less, I didn’t get the headaches and the insomnia this time around. But I still missed it.

It was a pub lunch that broke my streak. I had a large glass of white wine and boy was it great. A few days later I bought a bottle for home. And that was it. Christmas was coming and you know what it’s like. I bought Bailey’s, port, wine, beer, the lot. I drank every day and at Christmas I started on the sherry in the morning.

Hurrah for alcohol!

But it made me feel like crap. The mornings were awful and my skin broke out horribly. I decided to do dry January, and got really drunk on New Year’s Eve. Things at home had been difficult and I had partly been drinking to forget about it all. To ignore the big decisions about separation and how badly our marriage had deteriorated. I lasted 6 days and then my husband moved out. So I started drinking again, but it was suddenly different.

After the initial shock of the change in the status quo, I realised that now I was on my own I could really focus on what I was doing and I didn’t really enjoy anything more than the first couple of sips. Everything else just made me feel crappy. I got a mild headache if I had more than a glass, and I slept terribly whenever I drank anything at all.

So on 28th January I stopped again. After 24 days I bought some wine experimentally. It wasn’t that I really wanted it, it was more curiosity. I had a glass for two nights, but it made me feel horrible, so I left it in the fridge. I finished the rest a week later. I decided I was done. And then a client gave me a bottle as a thank you, so I drank that over three nights just because it was nice wine and I am not the kind of person that can keep wine in the house and not drink it. I was glad when I finished it. That last bottle was like a message. It told me that I have finally fallen out of love with alcohol.

Will I drink again? I probably will.

Will I go back to drinking every night? I hope not.

I find my quiet peaceful evenings on my own (when the kids aren’t waking up), to be restorative in a way that alcohol has never been. I’ve had to find alternative ways to relax and reading is something I have started doing at the end of the day. It’s nicer than drinking.

I am surprised to have finally gotten here. What started in June as a desperate attempt to release the hold that it seemed to have over me has taken nine months to get a handle on. And I’m sure there will be more bumps in the road ahead. But for now, I can say that I am really glad to not want to be drinking any more. It was always the longing for it that worried me, not the amount I consumed. It was fun while it lasted, but in the end it wasn’t fun any more.

I sleep better, and feel better, without it.

Invisalign Days 4-5

Day 4

I think I hit rock bottom on day 4.

Day 4 was the day when I actually contemplated going back to the dentist, handing in my braces and asking them to remove all the attachments off my teeth so I could live a normal, pain free life again.

Steve took the children out and I just went back to bed. I wasn’t tired enough to sleep, so I lay there for two hours feeling the aching in my teeth and feeling utterly, ridiculously sorry for myself. The fact that I couldn’t console myself with a trip to Costa or a large bar of chocolate was probably more difficult to deal with than the pain to be honest. I had not realised how much my entire day revolves around food and drink. I am a constant grazer. I lurch from cup of tea, to snack, to cup of tea, to snack, all day long. Since taking my aligners in and out hurts, and brushing and flossing my teeth takes longer than eating a chocolate bar in the first place, it just isn’t worth it to snack any more and that has left me totally bereft of my number one daily activity: eating.

In the end, I did drag myself out of bed, and I did some housework, and I felt a little bit better. But not much. Day 4 was horrible.

Day 5

Thankfully, I seem to have bounced a little bit from the hard landing yesterday. Today I have felt a bit more positive and my teeth have finally not hurt quite as much. Taking the braces in and out is now fiddly and uncomfortable rather than something that makes me cry. The not snacking has settled into something very challenging rather than the be all and end all. I got loads of work done today and had a reasonable amount of patience with the children, so things are really on the up.

I am getting the most horrendous headaches between meals, but I actually think this is nothing to do with Invisalign and much more to do with the fact that I’m not eating anything sweet. I find it quite amusing that straightening my teeth has inadvertently been the thing, after trying everything else, that has forced me to give up my dreadful eating habits and actually consume three normal meals a day. Who would have guessed? I swear, if I’d known, I’d have done this years ago.

It’s the oddest thing. I eat breakfast, and then there is a gap of 5 hours ahead of me where I don’t need to think about food and drink (I only drink water with them in). 5 hours! I used to think all my time was taken up with the children, but you know I think 50% of it was taken up with making tea, drinking tea, thinking about making tea, thinking about eating chocolate or a biscuit, eating chocolate and biscuits and making biscuits.

No wonder I never got anything done.

Invisalign Day 3

I will probably drop the daily updates for Invisalign after today and switch to summaries.

Today was better. I only really had discomfort until lunchtime. For some reason, once I put them back in after lunch the pain got so much worse – more like yesterday. I did manage on one set of painkillers today though, so things are looking up.

I’m kind of getting the hang of removing the top brace, but the bottom one is a bastard to remove. It inevitably ends up with me bent over the kitchen counter (like gravity is going to help), drooling heavily onto a sheet of kitchen towel, mouth wide open, fingers inside, with the brace semi-detached while I cringe with pain and struggle to get the front part to release my teeth.

Anyway! Here’s a pic of how they look in all their glory:

Top and bottom, whipping those toothy-pegs into shape in no time, apparently. I still can’t quite believe that my teeth are going to move when they have looked this way for so many years…

Invisalign Day 2

Another snow day with all the children at home today. By 9am we’d already spent an hour in the garden having a snowball fight and playing. The rest of the day was pretty hellish.

Not being able to ease the strain of parenting with constant snacking, chocolate and cups of tea is tough. Plus, my teeth hurt. They really hurt. The first thing I did on waking was take two paracetamol. I’ve had four more since. The last time I took 6 painkillers in one day I was in labour.

And today’s removal and replacement for breakfast, lunch and dinner made me cry, literally. It actually feels like my teeth are going to come out when I take out my aligners. Putting them back in is just pain and more pain. Once they have snapped on or off the pain eases, but it’s just awful during. And eating hurts because my teeth are so tender I can’t chew properly. And my bite has already gone all skewed so my teeth don’t seem to meet properly at the moment.

Moan, moan, moan.

It’s not all bad

On the plus side, I am drinking loads of water (to ease the dry mouth), and eating three sustaining and balanced meals so that (god forbid!) I don’t need to snack on anything. I’ve tried to work out if I can manage on two meals a day, but I don’t think I can last that long without food. Invisalign may actually help me lose the last few kilos of baby weight. I’m super paranoid about consuming anything sugary and it eating away my teeth under the brace if I don’t manage to clean it all away, so sweets and treats have been totally out of the question.

My mouth doesn’t feel so full today. I have noticed that my speech is slightly affected now and again, but probably not enough that anyone would notice.

Attachment crazy

I counted my attachments – I have 18. Nine on top and nine on the bottom. Why I have so many I don’t know.

I haven’t had much trouble with rubbing/scratching. There are a couple of spots I keep putting wax on, but nothing unmanageable.

All in all it’s really just the sore teeth that are bothering me today. And the gum around one of my back molars hurts when I brush my teeth – not sure if this is from bacteria/infection or the aligners. I’ve used mouthwash and brushed it carefully.

I am really tired. Looking after the three kiddos has been so tough whilst in pain and not eating or drinking as usual. I’m really just looking forward to bedtime. Sorry for a dry, rambling post, I’ll try and inject some more enthusiasm into the next one.