Last week, Husband sent me an excited, adamant text message mid-way through the day stating that he was done with crappy eating and he was cleaning up his act.
I jumped on his band wagon, eager to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
To provide a bit of background, we’re not really a family of junk food eaters. Yes, we have treats (and sometimes more treats and more often than Husband and I would like), but basically, we eat mostly fresh foods and mostly prepared and served in a balanced manner.
We play outside a lot with the kids. Husband and I both exercise (mostly) regularly. We limit screen time to 90 minutes a day or less. And we’re basically conscious of our health.
But there’s a tropical vacation in our future, and we want to look good in our bathing suits.
I have no illusions of grandeur here. I’m not aiming to be a bikini model. In fact, I’m darn sure that I’ll never step into a bikini again. Having carried and birthed two children, essentially wrecking my stomach, the door is pretty much closed on my bikini-wearing days. So even if I get rid of the spare tire, the tracks have already been left behind and there’s nothing I can do about that. I’ve got a handsome little boy to show for it. (Yes, baby boy, your ginormous birth weight is what ruined the tummy you so love now). I’m OK with that.
Back to the matter of healthy eating. Husband and I have made a pact to eat small, balanced meals 5-6 times a day, and to ramp up the exercise (particularly the weight lifting).
But what happens when life takes over? What if you are too busy to plan your meals the night before and you leave it for the morning when, obviously, you’ll have more time (NOT)? Well, I’ll tell you what happened to me and what I did to fix it.
Pancakes were ordered by the kids for breakfast the other morning. Store-bought pancake mix, the “just add water” kind, was the only kind of pancake batter I could pull together in the 20 minutes we had to cook and eat breakfast. Some of my mommy guilt was assuaged knowing the kids would also fill up on fruit, so I presented them with a giant platter of strawberries, grapes, bananas and apples.
But I had to think of myself, too. I could not eat those white flour, preservative-laden pancakes in good conscience. Even if I added fruit to my plate. I needed something with fiber and protein and a proportionate amount of healthy fat.
But the clock ticked on (as it does). And my son had a spontaneous nosebleed (as he does sometimes). So there I was with four minutes left to clean up the blood, eat my own breakfast (which I hadn’t yet prepared), clear the breakfast dishes and get us upstairs to get ready for school/daycare/work.
I caved. I ate the three remaining pancakes. My only comfort was that I added only a small amount of pure Canadian maple syrup to my pancake stack. (Which does contain some nutrients. Specifically: Maple syrup can be declared a good source of 3 essential elements—calcium, iron and thiamin. More info here.)
But the guilt I felt for not being prepared with proper morning nutrition for myself was almost as bad as the mommy guilt I felt for feeding the pancakes to my kids.
I had to fix the situation. I had fallen off the wagon and it was only day 2. Husband would be so disappointed. I was so disappointed. Being prepared was part of the whole point of this exercise in healthy, purposeful living. And here I was, unprepared!
But wait! There’s no sense in beating myself up. That accomplishes nothing. I must take steps to correct my actions and learn from them.
And so, I did. Once we were all dressed with teeth brushed and faces washed, I rushed back into the kitchen and packed two little containers with dried apricots and almonds. Healthy snacks to munch on in the car and to balance the pancakes. I also loaded my lunch bag with raw carrots, celery and sugar snap peas. The rest of the day, I was determined, would be a healthy one.
Rather than beat myself up for falling down, I got back up and kept going. That in itself was a healthy choice for my mind, heart and soul…and my body thanked me for it!