Although I’ve been thinking about this for what seems like eons, I was particularly disturbed tonight.
I was sitting on the side of the bed filing my nails for three minutes before the next round of “Mommy? Me have water. [May I please have some water?]” Thanks to the 1980s, my closet doors are donned with giant mirrors, as in they are mirrors. (I’ll get these replaced as soon as I get rid of my hand-me-down couches and pink Formica countertops. Yeah, I said pink.) …So I’m sitting on the side of my bed and as the 3,000th call for water comes drifting from my son’s doorway, I turned my head catch a glimpse of – my tube top. As in I look like I have an inner tube under my top.
I’ve been having these moments for months now. Those moments you read about in “I lost ___ pounds!” articles, ads, books. The moments that are supposed to be your “That’s IT!! I will never eat another candy bar again!!” wake-up-calls. This was just another in a long line of non-motivating, non-life-changing moments.
Except this time I’m writing about it. Because god dammit, I’m sick of them. Maybe it isn’t seeing myself from that angle, but that I’m just getting tired of feeling bad. I realized this a week or so ago when I ate “healthy” (okay, slightly more healthy) for three days in a row. Every morning in the shower (it’s the only time I’m really alone with my thoughts!), I feel guilty about not working out, not eating fruit (seriously), being fat. I’ve never felt this gross. And I got sick of thinking about it. So I ate healthier for a day, and the next morning when I was gearing up for the self-bashing routine, I realized I felt pretty damn good about the choices I had made the day before. (I saw this meme on Facebook the other day, the point of it being that you see a totally different reflection in the mirror when you work out versus when you don’t. That’s exactly me. I ate healthy for one day and I was already thinner!)
I don’t run, but same idea. (from Workout Memes on Facebook)
So what happened? Why did it last only three days (okay, two and a half – for dinner on the third day my healthy choice was not eating onion rings and a milkshake)?
First of all, I could use some support. My family loves to eat. We use it to celebrate. The problem with this is: we celebrate everything. We say things to each other like, “You should celebrate [by having this 1,000 calorie dessert]! It’s [fill in the blank:] Friday! …your last day with students! …raining!” What?? This is the mentality I’ve grown up with. My mom, by the way, is petite, maybe 110 pounds soaking wet. Why couldn’t I have inherited those genes? My adoring husband doesn’t want me to lose said ba-donk-a-donk and has no interest in eating healthier. Honestly. None.
Secondly, I spend every second of every day doing things for other people (except for the seconds I steal to eat some chocolate or make a milkshake. I really have developed a problem with milkshakes). Parents know what I mean (right?). I am choosing my kids over working out (which obviously has nothing to do with what I’m eating). And I really don’t think that’s an excuse! Having kids is a legitimate reason (two, actually). This is what I keep telling myself. Here’s an excuse for you, just to demonstrate the difference: my kids drive me to eat junk food daily…
I feel like I should apologize, but to whom? To myself? To the people who have to look at my “baby” fat? To the skinny my-body-bounced-back moms you see on TV?
After I had just given birth to my son, I saw these pretty blond twins on “The Doctors”. They had just had babies (practically together, of course). They were in great shape and made some asinine comment like, “If you don’t lose your pregnancy weight within six months, you’re using pregnancy as an excuse.” I don’t have a transcript of the show or anything, but I’m pretty damn close here.
I was temporarily traumatized. In order to preserve some semblance of ego, I thought of all the things that those of us who live in reality (vs. celebritidom) know: “I don’t have live-in nannies who watch my kids 24 hours a day so that I can go work out whenever I please.” “Phew – I’m not six months post-partum yet!” “Who the hell do you think you are?” “We can’t all afford personal trainers.” And so on. (Now I see: that trauma wasn’t temporary. My son is over two years old. Shit.)
I honestly don’t put much stock into wanna-be health shows like “The Doctors”. (Aren’t they really just trying to sell you a bunch of crap?) Or anything the media has to say about body image, for that matter. I firmly believe that very little of what we see on TV or in magazines, etc., is real. (See this informative article on deception in the media and what one mom is doing to help counteract its effects. I also love this site in general!) So I’m not one of those women who is constantly comparing herself to celebrities or trying to live up to society’s ideas about what I should be or what I should look like.
I just want to be happy and comfortable with myself. And right now – I’m not. At all.
I’ve always been overweight, but now that some of that extra weight is where I can see it, it gots to go.
I’m going to have some time to devote to myself since summer is finally here. (1. I’d apologize, but… nah! This is one of the few rewards you get as a teacher. Honestly. 2. No one ever believes me, but if teachers didn’t get summers off, someone would get seriously injured. Not your kid though, so it’s okay. Probably our significant others. You know we can’t take that shit out on our students.) In light of said vacation, I’m going to be making some healthier choices (which probably should start with making sure I eat at least one serving of fruit every day).
1. Eat some effing fruit. Seriously, woman.
2. Say “no” to milkshakes (even those disguised as chai tea at my favorite cafe) at least every other outing. As I mentioned, it’s becoming a problem.
3. Limit fried food to once a week. I love, love, LOVE fried food. It doesn’t matter what it is. Fry it and I’ll try it. (That’s not totally true. I will not eat a fried chocolate-covered grasshopper. Even with both chocolate and fried goodness, that’s disgusting. But I have been dying to try one of those deep-fried candy bars you see at fairs. Just kidding…?)
4. Stop pretending homemade guacamole is healthy. It is probably not when you eat half a bag of greasy, deliciously salty tortilla chips with it.
This could totally be me. It isn’t. But it could be.
In order to keep this realistic, I’m going to make a separate list of more challenging goals:
Move. Somehow. Somewhere. Yoga, walking, zumba, something. At least every other day.
Meditate. Why couldn’t I do this every day? If you’ve never tried it, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Three words: peace and quiet. It takes some practice to wander back to peace and quiet from your thoughts, but it is well worth the effort. Meditating helps me remember that I am nothing. As in, nothing is that big of a deal. Including me. This is not about self-esteem, but about not becoming a “world” of self, i.e., not being self-centered.
Read. Read things that motivate me to reach my goals. I have accumulated several titles to serve this very purpose that need to be dusted off and cracked open. Also read some shit that just makes me laugh. (For example, Sammiches & Psych Meds. OMG. So much laughing.)
Make good choices about what and how much goes into my mouth. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) Seriously, though, one choice at a time. Let go of the weight of wondering how long until I get my next fried food fix. I need to re-train my brain in this aspect. Why do I want those onion rings so badly? Do I even really want them? If so, will one do?
I have a theory about being a healthy parent with preschoolers. It’s nearly impossible. Every healthy mom I know has school-aged children, usually a little older. And I think I know why: those moms have a little more independence. They can squeeze in a workout here, a workout there. And it frustrates me. It frustrates me that I don’t personally know someone who maintains a healthy lifestyle with young children. Because I know it’s possible… but I’m not sure how. (I’ll let you know when I have it all figured out… but don’t hold your breath!)
That is my challenge this summer; call it my eight week challenge. (They all have to have a number, right?) Create a healthy lifestyle that does not take anything away from my children. One that will actually give them something: a healthier, happier mom and role model.
I welcome you to join me for my 8-week challenge or tell me about your experience. Any and all positive comments are welcome. I would especially love to hear from any parents who have figured out how to be healthy with young kiddos. How do you do it?? And if you don’t know how they do it, either, I’d love some company. 🙂