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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.