I would say I’ve been tipping the scales more than I prefer, but I’m convinced my scale is a liar. I’m not even sure why I still have it except that maybe I could use it for target practice one day. Instead, I’ve noticed clothes becoming tighter. And I just can’t afford to buy new clothes. And not that I would want to. “Well, just a-” Nope. Not even that.
Me: I had this brilliant plan. Eat all the fruits and vegetables I could, and then I could eat the desserts and baking I wanted.
Friend: No, I’m sure that’s running five miles. You can eat anything you want if you ran five miles every day.
Me: Yeah. I’m never going to do that. Like ever.
Friend: Then you have to cool down on the sweets.
Damn. I love to bake. And you can’t bake unless you’re tasting all the way through for quality. And then everything is so good. It’s a problem. Hence why I have stretched out the M&M cookies my mom made when I was out of town. I can forgo those. I have a much harder time with my desserts.
Another Friend: Well, I heard you shouldn’t eat too many fruits because that’s not natural.
We just looked at her.
Me: Ok. Tha’t um possible.
Not that I’m going to stop. God, next they’re going to tell me corn isn’t a vegetable. I need it to be a vegetable. Or else my kids eat only three vegetables.
And there’s the rub. The boys. I can’t do some crazy diet. I can’t eat ultra healthy. I have to feed them. I have to eat with them. And they’re always watching. They’re always listening.
Sean: Oh, I can’t eat that! It’s not on my diet!
I turned to look at the boys playing in the toy kitchen, and Sean was refusing a toy fortune cookie.
I know exactly who to blame. And since he’s playing vegan for the moment, it’s even more pronounced.
“Daddy can’t eat that. I have to lose some weight because . . .” (Insert lecture that gives me the strong urge to pretend to fall asleep and wake up or use my hand like a puppet. Maybe because I’m childish. Maybe because I’m annoyed. Maybe because he could go to the doctor and find out if he has the problems he thinks he does but instead guesses. Maybe because it reminds me of my childhood listening to my mom, my aunt, and my grandma competing over weight loss for the week as they drank grapefruit juice.) “. . . So I can’t eat that. It’s not on my diet.”
And that, people, is the beginning with a person’s issues with food. I don’t want my boys to have issues with food. I don’t want them to feel a secret lust for a type of food or a despise it all because they are “good” or “bad.” I don’t want them to have issues with their bodies. I don’t want them to wish they were thinner or bigger or taller or stronger. I want them to enjoy their food, enjoy being healthy, enjoy their bodies. I want them to be happy.
So while I would love to eat a giant salad as the boys eat hot dogs, I know they’re watching and wondering. If I don’t eat the pasta or bread, they notice. If we go out for doughnuts or ice cream, I can’t just not order something. They’ll ask about it. I can’t bring myself to say, “I can’t eat that.” Why? Because they will ask why and I’m honest.
In order to regain a healthy weight, I started modifying my diet. I sneak in fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I always have a smoothie. At dinner, my plate is half filled with vegetables. Perhaps I’ll add a salad. It’s become a little harder without watermelon and strawberries, but I’m figuring out other fruits and vegetables.
And the boys are watching and noticing. They’re trying and eating more vegetables. (What happen to your spinach? It didn’t drop it on the ground?) Now after months of refusing my smoothies, they’re asking for some, even sneaking sips out of mine. (Hey, dude! That’s mine! Go drink some water!) I can’t eat my salad without a “uh-uh” and pointing and mouths open. (You know, I did make this for me.) At the salad bar, the boys don’t argue when I ask them to pick out their vegetable, and Sean prefers a bake potato over pizza. (Zucchini? Garbanzo beans? Green peppers? Who are these kids?) While they expect something sweet after every meal, they try everything in front of them and are liking more and more.
Now with the holidays looming, I’ve had to take more drastic measures and start drinking those diet drinks, which I used to loath and I know they aren’t a real solution. I drink them when the boys aren’t looking, and often on weekends, I forgo them at lunch because the boys want to eat with me. But those shakes are a real time saver. Like I said, not a permanent solution.
Parenting makes everything more complicated. It makes you realize that everything you do has an effect. I really ought to try crappy parenting. I bet it’s a lot less work and stress.