It is after 11. I just ran down my stairs like it was nothing. A month ago you would have thought I was a sixty year old by the way I hobbled down the stairs at the end of the day.
After a good year and a half maintaining a pretty solid victory over food and especially sugar (most days), the past month or two have put me in a tailspin on the self-control department. By tailspin I mean eat a whole one pound bag of sour watermelons. Or a dozen Darcy’s Dinky Donuts THREE times in a week. Or a slice of pizza at Costco AFTER eating a whole dinner at home. It wasn’t pretty folks.
But food makes me feel good. Or at least that is the assumption I was operating under. Even if for a brief moment, it was tasty bliss and I liked it. Like may be an understatement. Love might be a better term.
As I lost my normal “try to eat relatively nourishing and healthy food” paradigm and replaced it with “eat what feels and tastes good” any semblance of self control I was holding on to was vanishing. But I wasn’t vanishing. Oh no, I was increasing and it was the natural outcome of the age old principle of cause and effect which applies to nearly everyone and everything, except my husband because he can live at McDonald’s and look like the high school hottie I married 13 years ago.
I digress. Now, I must give the disclaimer that there were difficult circumstances at hand. But before that settles in too much, aren’t there always? I mean really, there is always, always something tough going on. So if I can’t get a handle on my food choices on a super tough day then when can I? The other factor is that as a home educating, full time mom of five little people, I sometimes deserve a treat. Yes, I do. Problem is when I determine over the course of twelve hours that a ‘treat’ is earned by me merely making it through the day. Is it a treat when I find a reason to indulge in a chocolate covered Haggen Daz bar on the way home from the grocery store and then to have another one after I unpack the groceries? No, I think not. I’m fairly sure that’s called gluttony.
Ew. Gross word. I hate typing it out. But that’s sort of where I feel like my intake was headed. And I felt AWFUL. Tired, completely dependent on loads of coffee and moody. Unpredictable. Crabby and foggy and generally unpleasant. After a few long days of this I decided a major course correction was in order.
I thought I’d try and see if I could spend the same amount of money on my weekly Costco trip but buy at least 75% fruits and veggies. What would I give up? I wasn’t sure but I made my list and gave it my best. Besides the super cute bathing suit that wasn’t in my grocery budget I spent exactly the same and came out with 80% produce. How would we survive seven days without my favorite chips or Darcy’s Dinky Donuts? We would. I committed to no harried fast food runs on the way home, to planning snacks to go and breakfasts so we weren’t starving once we were out and about. And to no sugar, bread, carbs of any kind, sweets, dessert, crackers, etc – for me. For the kids I would go easy and simply cut nearly all sugar (except the fruit popsicles I had stocked up on).
It has been one week. After a very unpleasant day 1 and fairly tough day 2, I have not felt so good in a long time. I have juiced the heck out of loads of vegetables and though they still hate that its green, the kids will drink their glass without complaint. We have snacked on cherries, kiwi, berries, carrots, cucumbers and more. No one has gone hungry.
My whole body hurts exponentially less. My clothes fit a little better. I am more fun to be around (I think). I can get through an afternoon without standing in the pantry for ten minutes looking for something sweet to get me to dinner. I have more time to play and clean and write and all sorts of other stuff when I know what we’re eating for the next meal.
Though I have read and learned a great deal about food over the past few years, this was a great lesson for me. A great reminder that if I put gross stuff not intended to sustain and nourish me into my body, then I can’t expect to feel like I want to. If I put yucky stuff in, I am choosing to feel yucky and act yucky because I feel so……yes, yucky.
Props to my endearing hubby who agreed to go without McDonald’s for one week just because I dared him to (and because I offered to make him lunches). I hope he feels a tiny bit better from giving his (smokin’) body a break from the golden arches.
-reposted with thanks to Karissa Strovas, who is looking ahead to another week without donuts or sour patch kids…