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!