Also, I think back to my own childhood. I was never fat, but I was not skinny either and I was aware of how I felt bigger than some of the other kids. My daughter is at that age, going in to 6th grade next year, where she is starting to care about her appearance. I want her to feel confident that I am giving her the tools to take care of herself. It goes beyond food too-she is learning the importance of brushing her hair in the morning and washing her face and hands and wearing clothes that properly fit. If she had her way, she'd go to school with dreadlocks and her favorite t-shirt from when she was 5, which is not just a little bit too tight! I, on the other hand, did not learn how to use a hair dryer until I was 25.
That's a sensitive subject for many, but I feel the best approach is to be open about being diet conscious without being obsessive. So I'll never say "I'm fat" or anything that could be perceived as derrogatory towards myself, but I will say I am not eating dessert tonight because I am watching my weight.
Unfortunately I do not get to eat dinner with my kids most nights because I get home from work so late, however, when I do cook for them, it's the same as always. Like you, I am not generally an unhealthy eater. However, when it comes to snack time, which kicks into high gear the minute I get home, I am not allowing them to eat junk. I let them have a treat now and again, but we would never keep soda in the house, for instance. So although they still have their share of sweets, I am making them more aware of their decisions to choose those treats. I hate to have to do it at such an early age, but if my kids had their way, they would eat ice cream until they fell asleep every night.
Have your kids noticed a difference in how you are cooking or eating? I always eat pretty healthily so there hasn't been a huge difference, but my 13 year old daughter has noticed some changes - like the appearance of Skinny Cow ice cream bars in the freezer, and I have been measuring some of my portions of rice, pasta, etc. She asked if I am on a diet and I wasn't sure how to address it. I don't want her to think about dieting. Talking about how eating well (ie fruits and veggies, trying to limit snacks, no fast food, only certain somewhat healthy "junk foods") helps your body to grow, function, your brain to learn, etc. is nothing new in my house, so I just told her I was trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and cut down on junk and sugar so I would feel better. Have you addressed dieting with your kids - especially your daughter?
I like your tips and especially love the one about drinking water. I have tried to give up all other beverages, although yesterday I squeeze a bunch of lemons, limes and oranges into a pitcher with a touch of vanilla and stevia, then filled it to the top with water. It was sort of like a multi-citrus "ade." Instead of just lemon, I tried adding the other fruits which made it even sweeter and less tart. My whole family enjoyed it. I know that citrus is supposed to be really good for your liver and your skin. My only advice is-try drinking with a straw as the highly acidic lemon juice can wear off your tooth enamel. They say that you should drink half of your pound weight in ounces of water a day-so if you weigh 120 pounds, that's 60 ounces of water, or 7 1/2 8-ounce glasses. It's hard to do sometimes, but it really helps keep everything running smoothly.
LML, I too have decided to get real and finally try to lose those few extra pounds that have crept up on me. I went to my annual OBGYN visit in February and asked my doctor if I had gained 5 pounds since last year's visit - she said no, I had only gained 3, but I had gained 8 pounds in the last 3 years, which is actually worse. A slow and steady weight gain usually means a permanent weight gain. I wrote a blog a few years ago on this basically saying fad diets don't work - it's all about counting calories and moving more - but funny how I don't always take my own sound advice.
Anyway, thanks to your suggestion, I too am doing ww and finally feel like I am ready to stick to it. I have lost 4 pounds in the last week thanks to carefully monitoring what I eat and tracking it. I feel better eating healthier foods. I realize while I was healthily, mostly at home, and never fast food - my so called "healthy choices" - like a handful of cranberries on my morning not-so-good for granola - really add up. I am better off swapping in fresh rasperries and Go Lean cereal.
My challenges are very different from yours- I work from home and could basically eat all day. I love to bake and actually run a baking business from my house. I have to make a family dinner that everyone will enjoy - no "diet meals" for my growing kids.
A few things I have learned this week:
-Snacks that I now love: Skinny cow frozen fudge bars and pop secret 100-calorie snack bags (loving the kettle corn flavor)
-Some dinners my kids love - grilled pizzas on tortillas with chicken sausage, grilled pork tenderloin with arugula sald
-Drinking two glasses of water before every meal helps me to eat less.
Good luck - keep me posted on your progress and I will do the same!
Plan B Mom, I don't know how you do it, but all of this running around, eating on the run has gotten the better of me. It happened so quickly, but one day I realized I had gained 20 lbs. Now, if you read my blog, you'll know that I went through a ton of very stressful incidents in my life and on top of all that, or maybe because of that, my thyroid slowed down and I am now taking Synthroid for the rest of my life. Needless to say, I need to watch what I eat and lose some of this extra weight that is dragging me down.
I saw a nutritionist who told me I was exercising too much and that my body had no time to repair itself post workout. Hurray, I was so relieved to hear that and I immediately got comfortable taking a few days off a week. Guess what? Bad move! I gained weight and started hating it when I did go to exercise. What was a 20 year routine was really disrupted and I am slowly working my way back up to 5 days a week.
The nutritionist was also focusing so much on what I should and shouldn't eat based on my body's reaction to certain things. Her theory is that we should all eat anti inflammatory foods so our organs work as well as they should and we aren't retaining fluids etc. It's a great idea, and I lost 12 pounds in two weeks, but it was so confusing keeping track of everything that I found it impossible to integrate it into my real life after the two weeks was up.
Last week I started weightwatchers.com. I am down 1.5lbs. Not much, but I really think I can do this. I feel like I am still eating what I want, only less. Who knew handfuls of almonds were maybe a bad idea! I would like to share some of the foods that I have been eating that have really been helping me.
- Lentils. I made this delicious Lentil/tomato/onion dish last night that is very high in fiber and protein and filling and satisfying all at once. It can be made into a sauce over meats or eaten on its own as I did.
- Spice, citrus, vinegars, chiles, pickles, are all my new bffs. These add complex flavors to my foods. I love Rachael's Spice Grinders and Gweneth Paltrow's Pickled Jalapenos. So delicious!
- I am eating more fruits and veggies than ever before because I am not counting any of it and not thinking about it. I keep reminding myself, no one ever got fat eating a carrot!
Plan B Mom, what do you think about all of this?
I am thinking of trying to teach them to cook without me, so I could have dinner waiting when I get home from work and we could eat together. I am not trying to get out of cooking, but last night, for example, they waited for me to eat dinner and it was so late by the time I got home and prepared everything that I felt terrible. Maybe they would take pride in preparing the meal for us?
BTW, I made a delicious meal and it was so easy. I took ground chicken and mixed it with 1 egg, whisked with milk, breadcrumbs and grated cheese, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. I made them into patties and fried them in EVOO and served them inside of pita with a schmear of mashed avocado, lemon, cumin and diced red onion. OMG it was so good and three out of four of us ate it, which I consider a success!
I absolutely have my kids help me with dinner and other chores. My husband has a new job where he is only home for dinner one night per week - so it is just my three kids and me all the time. They take turns setting the table each night, they all clear their plates, and each kid gets one night to help me do dishes and kitchen clean up. I have to say, no complaints, and my life is much easier. Out of the kitchen, I have my 11-year old folding laundry for $1 per load, and she does a fairly decent job (I promised myself no re-folding!). My son drags in the garbage and recycling cans, and my older daughter walks the dog - I have to admit it is all a huge help, and I think the kids like that we are all pitching in to keep the household going.
This thing is working! My son now asks to make us lunch on Sundays and regularly sets the table. Talk about a perfect example of positive reinforcement working! I love it! Do you have your kids help out with the meals? I feel like the more responsibilities I give my kids, the less I feel like the slave around the house and the more I am enabling them to learn how to take care of themselves and others. Little things like clean up your plates after dinner or help me carry in the groceries all make a difference!
My kids never liked to cook as much as I had hoped, until recently when I really made it their responsibility. Instead of saying, "here son, come crack the eggs," I recently gave each of my kids the task of serving a meal beginning to end, totally on their own. They got so into it, my daughter even made menus on the computer and took our orders. It was so cute!