Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Wind of Change?

A new wind swept into town today and blew a door shut (or maybe pushed one open?) Was it because I finally shared the blog with a few friends? And lo and behold, I received a comment from the friend of a friend… (I LOVED hearing from you Elaine – of course I remember you!) Wonderfully, the blog is starting to take on a life of its own! Gotta be more “accountable” now; can’t just start this and let it falter. And strangely, almost effortlessly, I made a change.

For the first time in months - maybe even in a year or more, I ate well. And now, at the end of this good (and very bad – turns out it wasn’t so simple, as you’ll soon see) day, I feel fine, not hungry. I finally downloaded that calorie counter (I’ll post it in my links section) and used it to record every single thing I ate. By virtue of knowing I was going to do that, I ate three uncharacteristically healthy meals: granola and blueberries for breakfast, pasta with tomato sauce (without the usual hill of freshly grated parmigiano cheese – normally added to help entice the kids), salad, and cranberries for lunch, wheat crackers and a carrot for a snack, and broccoli, salmon, and a kiwi for dinner. Since it was a Saturday, I was even able to go to a Pilates class at the YMCA while Mr. Nutella-buyer watched the kids for an hour. All this added up to 1326 calories (unless I’ve made some terrible mistake with that counter!) A highlight of the day was watching both my 18mo old and 3yr old happily munching, or should I say “gnawing” on the carrots with me. No Heimlich needed! It goes without saying that if I ate healthier, I’m certainly going to be a better role model for them. Come on, how can a kid be expected to finish his broccoli when mom is inhaling Nutella?

This was also the first day in months in which I did not snack compulsively, although I thought about popping something into my mouth every time I opened the fridge. I would be getting something for the kids and I’d see cheese, sweetened ice tea, muffins, you name it – and would want to eat it, even though I wasn’t hungry. Once that door was open, my eyes would search for something tasty. This made me realize I’ve just gotten into this CRAZY pattern in which, because I’m a stay-at-home-mom and in the kitchen all the time, I eat almost constantly. With the glaring exception of the Nutella (and the cookie binges), the stuff I tend to munch on isn’t bad per se, but my oh my does it add up. You see one of my brother’s previous comments about having just one oreo cookie a day can add up to over 5lbs a year. Funny: one of the things that prevented me from eating extras was thinking that I had to input whatever into the calorie counter (already a pain… and how could I record the numerous bits and bites of all that is edible in my house?), so it wasn't worth it. That calorie counter made me think about every single thing I placed into my mouth... In a way it is a pity I didn't record this past weekend of bad eating, just to see what excess gluttony looks like from a calorie perspective: all sorts of leftover kids' food, snacks, and then spoonfuls of Nutella, extremely generous use of olive oil in absolutely everything, pieces of bread here and there... and all this on top of whatever meals I ate!!! I'm sure the calorie intake was EASILY three times more than that of today... or more. In fact, I can't really believe how fine I feel for how little (a relative term) I ate today. The great thing about that calorie counter is it shows if you're lacking in carbs or fats or fiber or protein as the day progresses. Before dinner I saw that I had eaten my fill of carbs (must’ve been the granola and pasta), but that I was still low on fiber and protein. That helped me to plan on having fish and veggies for dinner, and no carb (as I would have normally had with such a meal). In fact, I left out the carbs for the kids too… and after much resistance from my son (“I wanted gnocchi!”), he finally ended up eating some of the salmon and tons of fresh fruit afterward.

A little digression here: my son is only 3 and doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him. Having married an Italian has somehow turned me into a big fat Italian mamma and I’m always trying to get my son to eat more, but I’m learning that he has an AMAZING ability to self-regulate. For one meal he could eat a hefty man-sized portion of pasta, then he may eat less the next day and then eat a ton of meat the following day. Because I can’t help but want him to eat, I’m always offering him literally a buffet of healthy foods. From that “buffet” I’ve noticed that if he hasn’t had much fruit in the past days, he chooses more fruit; if he hasn’t had meat in a while, he digs into that. It is pretty fascinating to watch – if only I ate like him… I’ve actually offered him Nutella in the past and he seems to like it and has a spoonful’s worth on a piece of bread, but after that he is done…when I offer him a bit more, he says “no Mamma, no more Nuteya”. Is this kid my son??? I’ve jokingly thought I should model myself after him… his little innocent system has not yet been corrupted and he simply eats what he needs and then is done. Now my daughter with the world’s chubbiest legs, SHE is a different story… suffice to say that even at 18mo, she’s already (unfortunately for her) much like me…and worse, I catch her watching me! She sees Mamma scarfing down that spoonful of liquid chocolate -- by god, if Mamma has it, I’ll scream until I get some too.

Constantly, daily, I’m preparing beautiful healthy meals for the kids, but by the time I’m done feeding them and cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, the then cold food strewn about the table looks much less appetizing. I’ll eat up their leftovers, but it feels so unsatisfying that I’ll then (I’m an idiot!) follow that with some fast/easy carb… something far less yummy, and far less good for me. Even just writing this, I’m thinking, why? WHY? I’m so fortunate to even be able to have healthy food to eat… Why am I such an idiot? But back to that wind which swept in … another difference today: I prepared foods just for me. I made a conscious effort to have breakfast (having been inspired by my brother’s blog). I made my lunch after the kids had eaten. My little girl was driving me nuts, trying to climb in my lap while I ate (what does Mamma have?? I gotta get me some!), I tried in vain to hide from her and ended up letting her make a disaster of papers and markers on the patio so I could eat in relative calm. These must be the type of situations many stay-at-home moms face daily, so why does it seem so challenging for me? And if I get started on this woe-is-me path of thinking, that’ll be the fastest route to me eating a cookie… in fact, a cookie is almost sounding good now. But nope, I don’t have any to taunt me (thank goodness) and after writing all this, I can’t let you (me!) down, can I?

So it is now 11:30pm and I’m genuinely pleased with the results of the day. But wasn’t there some bad stuff? Yes. I said I wouldn’t let this blog devolve into ranting about Mr. Nutella-buyer, but since I stuck to the “diet” (a term which, by the way, I think I won’t use… I’ll call this, whatever THIS is, something about a healthy path to the future – well, that sounds like a campaign slogan – but I’ll come up with something other than “diet”…Hey, I could be like Hillary and poll my readers for a new slogan…) so since I stuck to this “thing” today, I’ll break a different promise not having to do with food and say that I am very, very, very angry at Mr. Nutella-buyer. After dinner, when I was searching through the garbage to get the label off the salmon package (to calculate the serving size, etc), I got a funny “what the heck are you DOING?” sort of look from him. I told him flat out, “Listen if you want to help me you should know that this was the first day in almost a year (or maybe more) in which I ate well the entire day and even did a bit of exercise. I think it has to do in large part with the Michel/Lane blog idea and with the Calorie counter. I know you think I look silly digging out labels from the garbage and spending time on the computer for this, but it has really helped, albeit for one day, so I want you to support me in this. You can make fun of me, that is okay and I don’t mind, but just support me with this. It has just been one day, but at least this is a good beginning.”

He appeared to nod in agreement but it only took several minutes before he launched into a diatribe about how some silly ladies where he works are obsessed with counting the calories on their candy bars and what a waste of time for me to be inputting the food into the computer and why don’t I just “eat healthy, exercise and sleep more.” Yeah, why don’t I? You @#$%^@#$@#$% (think “The Sopranos” here, after Carmela catches Tony sneaking home early in the morning) @#$#$#$%%^&#$%^ AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I actually grabbed the cheeks of his face between my fingers (like I do with my son when I am super mad and trying to get him to look at me in the eye) and told him to stop, stop, stop, and asked him why couldn’t he simply support me here, in the one thing I had specifically asked him to support me in. In his world, “support” translates to “criticize”… he thinks he’s helping me by showing me all the ways in which I am stupid. I’ve told him a thousand times, NO ONE knows better than I do how stupid I am. Help me with real actions, with something tangible but not with criticisms.

Why don’t I just “eat healthy, exercise and sleep more.” ?????? OH MY GOD THE FREAKING NERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And this from the guy who has gone mtn biking a zillion times while I stay home with the kids… I would LOVE to exercise! It would be a DREAM! I have been on my bike ONCE in the last three years. If only I had the tiniest bit of help with the kids! (and help that I can TRUST, Mr. Let Daphne Cry! – in case you ever read this blog in the future, which I highly doubt but then again, it did rain here in July for the first time ever since recorded weather… so ya never know!) I’m using all my willpower (I DO in fact have some) to prevent myself from swearing silly here… it just doesn’t seem like a nice way to start out a blog… I may just have to start a separate anger-filled blog for other topics…ha!

The fantastic thing about this format is that I already feel better! This could be the most cathartic thing I have done in a long time! A few final thoughts... I do plan on posting my actual weight once I get a decent scale. It would be amazing to see the numbers decrease. Once long ago we made a weight loss chart for my husband, myself, and our cat. Kitty did pretty well at first and it was so fun connecting the dots and seeing the line move downward, but unfortunately (the classic diet story) she gained all the weight back plus more. And don’t worry, I’m not going to start other blogs… who has the time? I should be sleeping now as it is… so goodnight and we’ll see what tomorrow brings…

1 comment:

Lane said...

Congratulations on having a great day, Annette! It was really amazing to me, too, how much I was eating before and how much I really NEED to eat. No wonder I gained weight! But balancing it out really makes a difference. Good for you, taking time to take care of yourself!