This is How Kids Sabotage our Efforts to Eat Healthy
Welcome to On My Shelf.
Today I’m talking about how our kids sabotageour efforts to eat healthy.
In the last six months, Husband and I haveshifted our lifestyle to include six days where we eat only complex carbs, and veryfew of them at that, and absolutely no sugar.
One day a week, we allow ourselves to splurge,which usually ends in one or both of us feeling pretty sick, because chocolate is so hardto parcel out in small doses.
At the beginning of the year, we, like manyof our friends and family and acquaintances, made it our goal to tighten up the healthyeating even more.
Husband said he wasn’t going to allow sugaruntil he’d reached his ideal weight, which, honestly, will probably take the whole year.
I decided to underachieve and just do a 30-dayjump start.
That 30-day jump start only lasted seven days.
Let me tell you why.
This is actually a very unusual thing forme.
I’m a pretty self-motivated person.
I think the scientific term is gritty.
When I say I’m going to do something, Ido it.
I persevere, almost to a fault.
But I could not do this.
Why? Because of my children.
When I was in college, about to marry Husband,I spent a whole year avoiding sugar.
It was easy at the time.
I just told myself I wasn’t going to eatsugar, and I didn’t.
The only variable that has changed in thoseyears, besides getting older, is children.
I recently finished a book about the powerof habits, and in it was an example about how people who choose to make a habit of workingout also choose to eat healthier.
This has been studied by science, with MRIsof people’s brains to prove that habits are strong and mighty.
The problem, as I see it, is that the adultswhose brains were imaged were not specifically parents.
Parents have an almost impossible task beforethem if they want to suddenly change their diets in drastic ways.
Let’s go over some of the challenges.
Kids have ravenous appetites.
Which means, if we’re trying to keep carbsoff the table, the only thing that will fill our children’s belly in a way they deemsatisfactory is carbs.
Otherwise they’ll eat twelve turkey burgersand be hugging the toilet at night.
We’ve tried stuffing their faces with stalksof celery, two pounds of salad, fifteen carrots, but they are always still hungry.
Healthy meals are unattractive.
We drizzled some olive oil and artichoke oversome chicken the other night, tossed a bit of arugula on the side, and our kids complainedlike the sky was falling on top of them.
We’ve eaten this meal before.
For several years now.
But my kids have an almost unconscious aversionto anything that looks weird.
Most of the meals I cook look weird.
I’m not a Top Chef contestant.
Parents don’t get to eat normal meals.
When we place dinner on the table, that’sonly the beginning.
There are a thousand other things that haveto happen before we can actually sit down and eat, and by the time we do sit down, ourmeal is already cold, and the kids are asking for seconds.
So we end up cramming asparagus into our mouthbefore someone gets down from the table without being excused and destroys the whole placein a matter of seconds.
There’s so little to look forward to ina day.
Why not look forward to chocolate.
You’ve just wrestled a day with children.
Might as well reward yourself for it, right.
All humor aside, I did have to reevaluatewhy I was putting stricter parameters around my eating.
I’ve always struggled with body image andconfidence, and what it boiled down to, for me, was that I wanted to look good.
That’s not a good enough reason.
Life’s too short to deny yourself simplepleasures just because you want to reach an practically impossible ideal (I have had sixkids, after all).
So I’m back to six days on, one day off.
Which reminds me—today is my splurge day.
Please excuse me while I go pop a few peanutbutter cups and revel in the bliss that is chocolate.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this inside look atmy life and diet choices sabotaged by children.
Com for more of my memoirand humor writings and to snag some free books from my starter libraries.
I’m Rachel Toalson.
And this is On My Shelf.