Today, in between getting lashed rain on and winding up in my pj’s in bed watching Bob the Builder (what a man, keeping my demon distracted and SILENT for fifteen minutes!), I found myself watching a documentary on women’s relationship with food in Ireland. It was broadcast on RTE this week so I found it on their player, and found myself drawn into it as its something which has been prevalent in my mind of late.
The show went through a lot of the different “fad” diets and showed their potential effects (Hello parenting bloggers, we really don’t talk about poo that much in comparison!), things like juicing, watermelon only, Unislim, gluten and dairy free – the list goes on. All of these are things I’ve already heard of (bar the watermelon, that sounds insane) and had always wondered if my life would be better off if I became one of those people – you know, those who can deny themselves the bag of chips at the end of a night out and not feel like they’re denying themselves, who don’t hear the purple snacks calling them at the coffee counter, who automatically go for things like salad and kale smoothies when all I feel like is a chicken bagel and a diet coke.
I put on about three and a half stone during pregnancy, and have almost all of it gone – but since I was overweight beforehand, I’ve still got a long road to go. I joined Weight Watchers in July about a stone and a half lighter than the day before I had . Within a month, I shed a stone, and felt like Wonder Woman. This was easy, says I. Five pounds in the first week and steady off after that. It’s now November and I’ve not yet hit the next stone. I’ve had many weeks of staying the same, had gains, and my losses, though the usual, have never been as easy, or as plentiful as in the first six weeks. I’ve found it much harder to stay motivated, especially since going back to work. The quick and easy options are never the healthy options – even the low in fat options have mountains of sugar in them. I yearn to become super organised and manage to have all my healthy meals prepared so I never need to stray from the diet, but with an almost 8 month old teething monster and a full time job, I’m finding it hard enough to stay upright and pull myself together enough to throw myself out the door in the morning, so my aspirations are all coming to nothing.
My child eats better than me. By a mile. Despite a start in life on Aptamil and breastmilk, we realised early on that the only thing his stomach was handling properly was Hipp Organic formula, and thus began the spiral into his only eating Organic food – Ella’s Kitchen and Hipp Organic prepared food always seemed to go down a lot better than anything else I tried to give him. At the moment he’s sitting next to me munching on Organix baby banana rice cakes, getting them in his hair but thoroughly enjoying breaking his teeth in on them. It makes me feel better when I see what he’s eating isn’t full of preservatives and sugary crap; this is something that for the moment I can control and ensure to the best of my ability that he’s happy, healthy and well fed. Yet I don’t afford myself the same courtesy – as much as I aspire to Gwyneth Paltrow levels of healthy eating, I’ve not yet become a convert to the kale shakes, and when I’m starving and wrecked after a long day in the office and what feels like an even longer bedtime routine, its far too easy to go for the easier “tasty” option of junk, or at the very least, pre-processed food. It’s no wonder I’ve fallen off the wagon with Weight Watchers, the land of calorie controlled brown bread (not so bad), with none of the good cheeses, butter or even peanut butter and banana allowed as basic foods – all of the above are treats.
That isn’t to say my eating habits haven’t improved, not by a long shot. I’ve become a convert to all things wholewheat, white bread has mostly vanished from my diet and I have noticed an improvement with lowering my sugar intake and white carbs in my general feeling through the day. I’m still a caffeine fiend, but with a crap sleep habit, a young baby and a job where I have to play nice full time I don’t think cutting my caffeine is a good idea for anyone concerned. I’ve become more aware of the food I’m putting into my body, and on the days where I’m not too tired to care I do wind up making healthier choices, homemade soups, stirfries with brown rice, etc.
I think if it was providing a quick fix I’d be less bored with it all – its been 4 months now and yes, while a stone and a half off is fantastic, its just not enough for me for the amount I feel I’ve given up and changed. I can’t tell myself that I’m going to do a major workout to earn the Eclair thats calling me when I walk past the bakery, thanks to a hectic schedule and a dodgy back. I have had to start being honest with myself and it sucks. Honestly, throughout the entire hour long programme I was starting to eye up these other options that offered major pound loss in days and weeks instead of something steady and stable and boring. I know they won’t work long term, that I’ll yo-yo back. I’ve eyed up things like going totally gluten free, cutting out dairy, even the paleo diet, but I don’t think I’ve got the dedication at the moment.
My relationship with food could be better. But same as I have to stop myself from saying things like “Yes, Mammy is a horrible Mammy” when E is having a screaming fit and I can do nothing to stop him, I do have to at some point stop berating myself for the purple snack and can of diet coke from time to time. At the moment I need my moments of sanity, and if they come with pre-packaged sugar and aspartame (yes I know this is a habit I need to kick!) so be it.
Even if Gwynnie would judge me.
How do you do it? I’m interested in hearing from others who manage to get it all together and balance everything else in life while the sweets are calling – leave your tips or stories in the comments below!
Lisa, I can feel you calling to me!
I feel for you. Having a baby and needing to look after yourself as well is tough on every mum.
Okay. I’ve sorted my diet. I eat uber healthily. But I did it a step at a time.
Albeit I did cut out a lot in one go at the start. But I had a little lung issue that needed attention and I sorted that within 3 weeks with diet change. (no wheat, cow’s diary, refined sugars.)
I’ve done all the research. I know how to replace bad with good.
Ask me anything you need on my blog. Or here. Or on my Facebook page.
And take a look at my blog for fermented food and drink. It helps reduce cravings. I create low sugar sweet recipes (could you give half an hour to making a batch of sweets that would last you a few weeks in the freezer and satisfy your chocolate cravings?)
Could you whizz past a health shop while you’re stocking up (or buy online) and make a healthy but ridiculously yummy pancake that made you feel like you’re a good mammy? (While you’re eating something that tastes superbly naughty? 😉
Here’s a healthy salad for you. I know. Salad. But honestly? Make the dressing for a week (it’ll take you 5 minutes.)
Keep these types of ingredients in all the time and you can throw a delicious salad together in 5 minutes. I PROMISE you that’s how long it takes when you have everything to hand.
I LOVE FOOD.
Did I say that loud enough? 😉
I HAVE to eat food I love. It HAS to taste good. It HAS so satisfy my craving for deliciousness. I can’t eat junk and be satisfied. I’d rather starve.
So I buy the stuff that’s easy to throw together and I make everything from scratch that takes time in large batches and freeze. If a tray of bread takes 1/2 hr. 3 trays will take an hour. I make a month’s supply in 1 hour.
Stick with me kid. I’ll show you how. 😉
Salad *My dins tonight: (All bought in local supermarket and health shop. If you don’t need organic, you can get all of this in your supermarket)
Bed of rocket
Flat leaf parsley
Dressing: Olive oil – 5 tbspns/apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp/basil – to taste, fresh or dried/garlic – to taste /Himalayan pink salt – to taste/ drop of honey – add this at the end, after stirring and use it to balance all the flavours.
Times the above ingredients by 5. Buy some large plastic cups with lids (no handles) and fill it up. It will last you 1-2 weeks and service all your salads.
Salads not winter foods? I think they are. Have a lovely pot of hot fruity or mint tea straight after your meal and it will keep you warmed and lovely.
Raw food will help your digestion generally. Add some cooked chicken to it if you need/like meat. Sooooo good.
Hope this helps you kick start an easier and less stressful time. MWAH X
Isn’t awareness of what you are or are not eating half the battle?
I don’t think you have to be the person who ALWAYS denies themselves the chips at the end of the night, nothing is that black and white. It’s about finding a balance. You need to be able to trust yourself to make the good decision MOST of the time. Not all the time. God knows I don’t eat paleo every single day, but I do know that I MOSTLY feed myself good stuff. And Brendan too. When I met him he had a packet of Rennie’s permanently in his pocket for chronic indigestion. He thought he ate well but it was low-fat and grain-based and he looked pale and had dark circles under his eyes. Once I changed my diet (and subsequently his) he lost weight and now looks better and brighter than he did when was in his twenties. And God knows he still drinks beer and eats sandwiches when I’m not looking, but because most of what he eats is good stuff, he gets away with it.
People come in different shapes and sizes – yes that’s a cliche and I’m sorry – but it’s not about looking a certain way, it’s about nourishment. It’s about health. Another cliche, Christ. But you know what I mean. I think that what people need to do is love themselves a bit more, feed themselves for nutrition. Not for the skinny jeans. And you need to give yourself a break. Nobody makes the “right” food decisions all the time. Those who do are either neurotic or lying. If you aim for nourishing yourself the best way 80% of the time, that’ll be enough. And then you can have the chips every now and then and not beat yourself up about it.
I hope that, at the very least, that programme last night told you how bad the low-fat thing is. I’m not saying you need to go paleo, but if you can get try to get away from processed foods and ready-meals you’d be doing yourself a huge favour. And yes, that means you need to learn how to cook. But just try doing one new recipe every few weeks and soon enough you’ll have a stack of them to choose from. I couldn’t cook for shite until I turned 30 – you’ll be way ahead of me if you start trying now. You need to get good with salt, herbs and spices – that’s the key. And use real fats (butter, olive oil, coconut oil etc) and that will help your food taste better.
You said it yourself about how you feed E. You give him decent stuff. Organic foods. Whole foods. You just need to love your own body as much as you love his. Apply the same rules and you’re halfway there.
Jaysus, that’s a rant. But anyway. Yeah. Ok. I’ll stop now. Sorry 🙂
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