Honestly I have struggled with how to approach this. I try to keep my content light and happy or entertaining (I hope!) and not go too personal, but every time I sat down, this post got personal. I have used every excuse in the book to begin this series of posts, including “I don’t have any pretty pictures to include.” Yes, I know L-A-M-E! This post is long...you have been warned.
Have you seen the Slimquick commercials? You know the ones where the husband quits drinking soda and drops 10 lbs....that is my house. My hubby who considered potatoes to be his vegetable source, started eating salads and dropped white flour from his diet and lost a ton of weight without exercising in a matter of months. I however workout everyday, eat lots of veggies and NADA! Complete frustration. I began talking to my friend Renee, a Holistic Health and NLP Practitioner, AADP, about what the heck to do.
Here is the back story…I have a love/hate relationship with food and it is probably safe to say a mild (to severe) addiction to sugar. In my very early 20’s I would exercise and then justify eating ½ gallon of Thrifty Mint Chip ice cream. Then I met a much older man (who I thought was also much wiser) and we dated. He suggested I eat healthier…duh (for now we shall leave alone the idea that he just wanted to date a really hot 20-something chick)! Additionally, I was moving out on my own at the time and had no idea how to cook. So the timing was perfect, he suggested a book and a way of eating that I loved and embraced for 4 years – no dairy, no meat, no oil, no sugar, no salt – Vegetarian+. I looked H-O-T and felt great. Eventually we broke up, I started dating future-hubby (who never met a meat or potato he didn’t like) and I fell off the wagon…just a little.
Fast forward…I battled with 5-10 pounds after this. Good or bad, I am tall, 5’11”, and can hide the extra pounds so that it doesn’t seem like so much. Then I got pregnant. And I ate and ate…chocolate chip pancakes…more mint chip ice cream…and pickled green beans (yum). I gained a staggering amount of weight. I was really appalled and surprised – I just didn’t think for a second it was that bad…until it was that bad. Over the course of the next few years I yo-yo’ed with my weight.
I have been to Weight Watchers, I have seen a nutritionist, I have the South Beach Diet book (never used it), the Atkins Book (NEVER used it), and the Six Week Body Makeover system (sort of used it). I also have just about every BeachBody exercise system (Yoga Booty Ballet, Power 90, Slim in Six) – and I have used them all, Winsor Pilates, The Firm – do you see a pattern…I used to stay up late watching infomercials…just fascinated by them!
I eventually got to within 10 pounds of pre-baby weight…and then I was “knocked on my butt”…we moved from So Cal (I am a native So Cal girl…boo-hoo!). I compensated for the move, the lack of friends, and the 55 straight days of foggy weather that summer with a lot of wine and chocolate chip cookies and gained back some weight.
I got pregnant again and vowed I would not do to my body what I did the first time…and I didn’t. I walked 3-4 times a week…long walks, and ate really well, and only gained 15 pounds. So technically, I have lost the second baby weight, but still have the first baby weight. And, I have not been able to make real and lasting dent in the number on the scale since….but I refuse to accept this.
Fast forward again to 2009…it is high school reunion time and I reconnect with Renee on Facebook. She talks about nutrition and has a way of approaching and accepting food that I understand, that I want to be able to adopt fully. We talk a lot about body image and I realize that even when I was thinner, I was still self-conscious…so while losing weight is important, so is fixing the negative body image issues, not just for me, but so that they are not passed on to my kiddos. I also have an “A-ha!” moment…
I was at the beach with Joe. A friend and her daughter joined us. Joe just wanted to play in the water, but no one wanted to do it with him. I had my bathing suit on, but not really for that purpose…more for necessity (like in case I had to rescue him from the sea). He kept asking and he was sad…and bored. And finally it hit me…how do I want my kids to remember me…the mom sitting on the beach who won’t get in the water (of course they don’t know the reasons…yet) or as the mom who was willing to jump in and play. I chose the “play.” A HUGE step for me, and the moment when I realized what I needed to do for me and for my kids.
All of this leads me to asking Renee to come visit for the weekend and talk to a group of ladies that have similar concerns. I was not really sure what to expect, and the evening turned out to be quite emotional. I, in fact, was emotional for weeks after. I was finally realizing some of my issues and preparing to tackle them.
One of the most important things I realized is that, as a mom I am responsible for the little nuggets of wisdom I put into the kiddos heads. They also pick up on everything I do – how I act and react, what I say and how I say it. To be a good mom, I need to be happy with me. I need to be able to take some time for me…even if it is just 20 minutes here and there. I need to sleep. I need to move and exercise and be a positive example. It is true, when I am sleeping, eating better, working out and taking time to “work on me,” I am happier and a better, more patient mom.
These are some other thoughts I walked away with that night. I KNEW MOST OF THEM, JUST NEEDED TO HEAR THEM AGAIN. I will elaborate on them in future posts (if anyone is still reading after this long-winded one).
1. Food is not the enemy. It is a source of nutrition, energy, and power…if it is the right food.
2. Pure, natural (organic, if possible) food in it’s original state is the best source of nutrition.
3. There is a physiological and emotional connection to food and always will be. It is about learning how to tame it.
4. You do not have to give anything up (except for health reasons), but you must realize when it is OK to have a smaller serving of that special thing and make sure it is not frequently eaten.
5. Stay away from low-fat and non-fat processed foods.
6. We need the right kind of fats in our diet – olive oil, avocado, etc.
7. Good carbs are not the enemy.
IN CONCLUSION:My family already eats pretty healthy...of course, there is always room for improvement, but for the most part, I would give us an A-. I know what is good and bad for me...for us. I know how to cook it. Now I just need to find that "something" that is missing to make me really get the connection.
Now, of course I also realize there are many ways of thinking and many ways to approach a healthier lifestyle. Each person has to find that approach that works for them. This is what I am hoping will work for me and my family. I am open to hearing ideas and learning more. In the coming weeks I will be sharing some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G recipes that are healthy and delicious.
Do you have any issue that you feel like sharing? A story? Something that has worked for you? An "A-Ha" moment?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or food expert. I am simply sharing my thoughts and ideas. A doctor should check you out before you begin a new eating or lifestyle plan.