Friday, August 23, 2013

"Food", "Diet", and other Four Letter Words...

I couldn't even begin to count how many times I've started a new diet.  Each time saying, "This time it's going to be different.  I'm going to do it."  Only for it to last a week or two; or only to lay out my plans and subconsciously decide it's too much to take on and I will fail anyway.  The number of times I've started a new diet is, unfortunately, equal to the number of times I've given up on a diet and fallen back into bad habits.
So what makes this time different?  Nothing.  Except that I'm not going to tell myself anything.  I have ideas, plans, goals - which I have put down on paper - but I won't lie to myself and say that everything is going to change permanently, instantly.

BUT.  This morning Emily didn't suck down her mandarin oranges.  I'm sure that sentence means nothing to you.  But Emily loves mandarin oranges.  Or, she did.  Usually, I can't get her to eat them slow enough - she's always popping them (with her hands) in her mouth two or three at a time and then gulping down the juice in the cup.  I discovered the last time I went to buy mandarin oranges that the "no sugar added" variety I have been buying said "artificially sweetened."  OK.. So I thought I was doing good by getting something without added sugar, but they just use something other than real sugar to sweeten it.  Awesome.  So I opted for the "in 100% juice" choice.  It was a few cents more expensive, but let's be honest.  Everyone knows eating healthier costs more.  That's why America is so fat.  You can buy a year's supply of Ramen noodles for a quarter, but a carton of strawberries is $6.99.  That makes a lot of sense.  (Kicking soap box out of the way...) Anyway, so Emily has now become so picky that she won't even eat something she has always loved.  Yes, I know toddlers are picky and that their preferences change about as frequently as their diapers (don't get me started...), but fruit - almost any kind of fruit - has always been the one thing I could get her to eat without much of a fight.  
I'm hoping she's just getting bored.  But she won't try anything new.  Pretty soon she's going to run out of things she likes and will just have to start trying new foods.  Right? Right??

All of this, along with the fact that I'm no longer pregnant and STILL heavier than I've ever been (other than when another person and pounds of placenta and fluid were living inside me) makes me hungry for a change (see what I did there?)  Right now, I'm heavier than I ever thought I would be.  When I was in high school I weighed somewhere in the 140s.  And I thought I was fat.  When I was in college I weighed in the 160s...and I thought I was fat.  I am now hovering around 215 and I KNOW I'm fat.  I also KNOW that I will never weigh this much again.  Even if I have to chop off one of my arms (well not really).  I don't mind sharing my weight here because I'm determined that it's not going to be that number ever again.  But aside from the number on the scale, I don't feel good.  I don't feel healthy or energetic.  I don't feel good about myself.  I am completely happy in all other aspects of my life.  I have an amazing, funny and caring husband.  I have two incredibly beautiful and sweet girls.  And those are my top three reasons for wanting a change.  Fitting into a bikini by my 30th (oh god) birthday and buying a hot new wardrobe are numbers 4 and 5.
But back to those top 3.  Not to be overly dramatic, but the choices I make now regarding the girls' nutrition will affect how they view food and how they will make food choices the rest of their life.  I am fully aware that (aside from being a picky toddler) the reason Emily has such bad food habits is because she doesn't see me leading by example.  How can I expect her to eat baby carrots instead of potato chips when she has seen me bury my face in a bag of salt & vinegar 1000 times more often than she has seen me eat a carrot stick?  (I'll save you from doing the math - I've never eaten a carrot stick)  So, how can I constantly tell her to "try new things" when I won't do it myself?  

SOOOO.  I'm not going to go Atkins or Paleo or whatever.  I'm not going to join Weight Watchers (although the two times I have, I was actually successful in losing weight).  No "diet" is going to work.  I have to change my actual diet.  I have to change the way I view food.  Not as a reward.  Not as something quick to fill my stomach.  This is definitely NOT me saying that I'll never have a potato chip again.  But it is me saying that I want to try to cut out as much of the bad stuff as possible.  And learn to "view food as fuel" and learn how to re-train my taste buds and my mind. I don't really have a solid plan yet, but I have some ideas.
We are already eating whole-wheat and whole-grain breads.  The next step is whole-grain pasta, brown rice, more fruits & veggies, less packaged meals and snacks.  More cooking at home and less fast food.  Much more water and MUCH less soda.  Notice I'm not going for "none" of the above.  Because I know that's not realistic.  And it's not something I will stick to.  But the more I cut out, the easier it will be to choose the healthier option when given a choice.  I got used to drinking almost only water during this last pregnancy.  The second I was allowed to have a diet Dr. Pepper, all bets were off.  I have been guzzling diet soda like it was my job.  

I'm not going to make a pledge and I'm not going to set a goal of a certain number of pounds lost by a certain date.  Honestly I don't even care if I'm in a bikini on my 30th birthday.  I will care if I turn 30 and I'm still wearing size 18 jeans, still huffing and puffing up the stairs from doing laundry, and still eating crap.  More importantly, I care that my girls are getting a good foundation in learning how to respect their bodies and make choices that will keep them healthy throughout their lives.  And I care that Jerry and I are taking care of ourselves and each other (through some much needed accountability and tough-love).  

It's going to be hard.  It's going to be more work - especially for a person who hates to cook.  But once we do it for a while, it should get easier to just do it without thinking.  Cooking may even become something that my girls and I like to do together.  And I will try to remember that if we have a bad week, we'll just forget about it and try harder the following week.  

So once we eat up all the crap I just bought at the grocery store... we'll start on this new journey.  Whether the picky toddler (or the picky grown-up) like it much or not!

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