This seems like a lost cause in the most fundamental way.
I made a goal in May of 2013 that I would change the way I ate and add exercise to my regular routine. Over the last few years I had seen the numbers on the scale increase by about 5 lbs. annually and I knew the trend would continue if I didn’t make some changes. These are the changes I implemented:
Breakfast would consist of some form of protein. Eggs with a little salsa or Greek Yogurt, for example.
Lunch would be a combination of fruits and veggies spun into a green drink.
Dinner was whatever the family was eating.
I would not eat after 9:00 p.m.
I would exercise 25 minutes a day, five days a week. (I would run about 20 minutes and then do 200 bicycles and 60 pushups [broken up through the day at first])
I would only eat homemade sweets.
This was the plan. I kept to it pretty well too. I started to see about a pound a week drop off. Just 2 weeks into this new lifestyle I reached my hands up to wipe my face and was amazed by the softness of my skin. These changes were making a real difference.
When I had lost 20 lbs. I strapped those 20 lbs on my back, Biggest Loser style, for my evening run. The change was dramatic and after my first lap around my neighborhood (about 2/3 mile) I was so happy take that 20 lbs off again. When I had lost about 22 pounds I had hit what I deemed my ideal weight and slacked off a little on the eating late thing and I started to add some granola to my greek yogurt.
This was a great, doable, lifestyle change for me to reach my desired weight. However, when the 6 month goal was over I dropped off the entire lifestyle and indulged in the deliciousness of the holiday season. My skin is a testament to the nutrition I have begun to withhold. It is scaly and dull. My energy levels have plummeted and I feel sluggish.
Enter the husband.
I am married to a perpetual 20-something. He is 4 years my senior, but his genetics has proven that he has no risk of becoming obese. People always told him, “Just wait until you’re married, then you’ll put on a few pounds.” We’ve been married 14 years and still no gain. “Just wait until you have children, then you’ll get a gut,” they said. Nope. “Just wait until you’re 40. That’ll get ya,” they say. He’s a mere 37 so we’ll just have to wait and see, but I am holding out little chance for this. He heard of an opportunity to join a movie project which needed extras that looked “emaciated” (really that’s what they asked for). He sent in his picture with his application. He got the part.
My guy is like a lot of others I talk to. They all just want their ice cream and white spaghetti noodles and sugar and to eat whatever is yummy.
At the same time I hear holistic messages that tell me that sugar feeds cancer. I hear about the antioxidants in certain fruits and veggies and their amazing restorative powers. I learn about the nutritional value of quinoa. Brown rice over white rice. Romaine over iceberg. Fresh over canned. So many little choices that constitute the bricks by which we build our bodies, our immune system, our lives.
Having had cancer I feel an extra responsibility to eat well and to use my position as mother to build my children’s bodies on good things. I have started making green drinks with less veggies and more fruit – so that the kids will drink it. They do with little fuss. I feel fulfilled, knowing that I’m giving their bodies the nutrients they need as they grow. Sometimes I alternate whole wheat and white noodles in a lasagna to sneak in a little extra fiber. Sometimes I shread zucchini and layer it in the lasagna too.
Enter the husband.
“I am happy to each spinach, you don’t have to ruin a perfectly good smoothie by putting it in there”
“Whole wheat bread doesn’t really have the peanut-butter and jellyish taste . . .”
I get it. I like yummy things too. I can appreciate that enjoying the full texture and creaminess of a twinkie would be sabotaged if it were a wheat twinkie. I have tastebuds too. I enjoy comfort foods and my palate likes salt and sugar like the rest of the American trained palates. But . . .
What is a woman to do? With your husband and children craving the delicious processed foods, which come to the table with such great ease . . . it is so easy to just buy the box, cook it up, and enjoy the praise. But something in the back of our minds whispers, “Can’t this be a little better?” So we add a bag of baby carrots and a bottle of Ranch to the table to quiet the nag in our conscience. Then we see a post online that looks like a fabulous recipe that incorporates all kinds of wonderful nutritious foods . . . quinoa, zucchini, olive oil, peppers, lemon oil, tomatoes . . . we imagine the satisfaction of this wonderful food nourishing our family.
Enter the husband.
Dad doesn’t like the taste of quinoa, the kids feel the vibe and steer away from the nutrient rich salad and they eat a bowl of cereal with dad before bed.
Exit the motivation.
But, just because our family doesn’t immediately embrace the foreign (husband suggests I replace the word “foreign” with the word “dirt”) flavors and textures doesn’t mean we give up. Try again folks!