Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Food Issues

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Most people, to look at me, wouldn't think I have food issues.  I'm average-sized, and I'm getting pretty good at dressing to hide my problem areas.   For most of my life, I had a healthy relationship with food.  Sure, I'd gain 5lbs each fall/winter.  But by spending a few weeks paying better attention to portion sizes, I could take care of that with very little effort.  That's not to say that I loved my body at the time.  In fact, I've always hated my abdomen, since I was 10 years old and asked my mom, "Why does my tummy stick out?"  She replied, "Well, you have to hold it in."  And my arms need work, and my leg muscles need definition, etc...

But food and me, we were ok.  Then I had kids.  The first pregnancy was relatively easy, and I made it through without too much weight to lose.  In fact all by seven pounds of it melted off in 2 weeks.  Second pregnancy: Not so easy.  I was ill, and had migraines nearly all the time, and suddenly my preference for sugary snacks became cravings.  I was huge, eventually weighing more than my husband for the last couple of weeks, and oh so uncomfortable.

No surprise that the kid resulting from that pregnancy is a little sugar-loving boy. One thing that no one tells you about pregnancy cravings is that they are dangerous!  I'm convinced that I now have a full-blown addiction to sugar.

So that's the back story.

Now, for the past two years, I've tried to curb this addiction.  I had great success with The Game On! Diet, and kept it up for quite a while.  But always, when the four weeks of the game ended, I'd completely crash for a good week and undo most of my hard work.  I was within 5 lbs of my goal weight when I got diet burn-out and quit.  I've had numerous other starts and stops, but honestly I can't keep up any restrictive food plan or diet or detox for more than about 3 days.  My last attempt was only a 3-day detox and I only made it 2.5 days.  Rather pathetic.

But in all this, I've learned something about myself: I can't handle temporary.  I can't handle restrictive.  But what I can handle is gradual.

So, for the past month or so (except for that one failed detox weekend), I've been slowly making changes.

  1. I try to eat something healthy for breakfast.  I still have my cup of tea (with no sweetener...the only good habit I kept from The Game), but instead of skipping breakfast, or snacking on something inappropriately sugary, I bought a big bag of grapefruit and a couple of grapefruit spoons.  It's the easiest thing to cut a grapefruit in half and grab a spoon.
  2. I grab my water bottle a lot more frequently.  It's nowhere near the 3 litres of water I drank while playing the game, but it's been enough to make me stop and think, "Am I really hungry?  Is there something that would satisfy me better than that cookie dough in the freezer?
  3. I've avoided baking as much as possible.  Yes, I love to bake.  But I can't handle having sweet stuff in the house.  So the only thing I've baked for a while is a weekly batch of peanut-butter oatmeal chocolate-chip cookies as requested by my husband.  And since they are "his" cookies, I don't quite feel free to eat them all as I would if I had baked my own preference.  For Monday night's bible study, instead of baking something like I normally would, I brought some grapes, a few kinds of crackers, and a block of cream cheese topped with red pepper jelly.  At this point in my life, I think I'd rather be healthy than be June Cleaver.  It is a pity though, since I've finally learned how to bake bread.
  4. I've stopped using my Wii Fit to weigh myself.  It's too precise.  It would be, "yay, I'm down 0.2 kg! I can splurge!", or "darn, I'm up 0.2 kg, gimme some sugar!"  I forgot that the number on the scale is not my goal.  My goal is to feel healthy.  To stop feeling painfully bloated every evening, to stop getting carb-induced migraines, to feel comfortable wearing jeans again, and to stop feeling exhausted every afternoon.  I'm only 29, I should not feel like I'm 79!  So instead, for the couple times per week I weigh myself, I use our horribly imprecise analog scale.  I have no idea of the exact number, but if I'm lucky, over the long term I'll see a general downward trend.

I have to say, it is rather nice to be free of the pressure to figure out exactly which kind of diet or food plan would actually work for me.  I hope to keep adding more healthy choices to my life, slowly.  Like maybe exercise?  That might be a good idea.

PS: Thank you to all the readers of The Feathered Nest who have been attempting to help me in my quest to find that house plan in their old Victoria magazines.  We've managed to rule out the two issues I thought it was in!  I'm sure I"ll find it eventually. (And thanks to my sweet friend Christine who emailed Dawn of The Feathered Nest about my quest)

PPS: Thanks to everyone who responded to my informal reader survey.  I love to hear back from everyone! I promise I'll have more project-type posts up soon.  It's a little difficult to get things done with an extra kid running around/napping, etc.  Or at least that's the excuse I've been using.


  1. I didn't think I had a problem with food until my second pregnancy... or just after, rather. I only gained twenty pounds (like my first pregnancy) and I lost it right away, but the stress of having two kids and a jobless husband and a move made me turn to food for comfort. I gained that twenty pounds back again. I've actually been doing better since getting pregnant again (though I've gained about thirty pounds this pregnancy, instead of just twenty) as somehow, my food cravings have gone away. I think dealing with a lot of the stress helped. Oh, and not baking as much as I used to, like you suggest. :) If the cookies aren't in the house, then I can't eat them... :)

  2. Oh, and a friend of mine was recently telling my mom's group how she lost several pounds just by getting moving for fifteen or twenty minutes a day. She has a quick pilates routine that she does some days, one zumba video she does other days... but she said both were short, maybe twenty minutes, so they didn't take long, but they did burn calories. That encouraged me (for a way to exercise after baby arrives), as other workouts I've seen are 30-60 minutes and that's hard to do with 2 or more kids running around wanting attention... but they'd probably do zumba with me for fifteen or twenty minutes! :)

  3. My mom always told me that the extra "padding" around my middle was what God gave me to protect my babies. Honestly, Pilates (REAL Pilates!) has been the best tummy flattener for me. I haven't been doing it in the new year, and BOY, is it obvious.

  4. Food and me have been on the battle field since I was a little girl. Sometimes with me winning and others it having the upper-hand. I am learning that I need to surrender it and not fight it. I am learning to hand it over to God because it is too big for me on my own. One day while dealing the inner criticism I face daily God lead me to a bible verse that reminded me of what true beauty means to him and not the world: 2Peter 3:3-4
    Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourself instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
    This is not to say not to take care of myself but to put it into its proper place.
    Thanks for the post.


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