Wednesday, July 1, 2015

YOU, not them

I've been a health nut more or less for the past 12 years. My children translate that as the food nazi. The killer of all joy. It means that when they ask for pancakes, what they get is not the Bisquick and Mrs. Butterworth's  of their dreams, but a sprouted wheat concoction made with mashed bananas instead of sugar, coconut oil instead of butter, and nut milk instead of dairy topped with unsweetened plain yogurt and chopped walnuts. This hilarious video gives a good idea of life in our home.


                               

All these years, I have been quietly resentful that I had to go to such great lengths to prepare this healthy food in order to save my children from the evils of a fallen society. I mean it would be super easy to just purchase all that processed food, but I was working SO HARD to provide healthy food and they didn't appreciate it at all! Then there was my husband. He kept a not-so-secret stash of Ben and Jerry's in the extra freezer behind the organic side of beef and a drawer full of Caramel Ho-Ho's in his desk at work. No wonder the kids always wanted to go "visit him" at the office. It makes my normally low blood pressure rise just thinking about it. I was sure that if I could just get my husband and my children truly invested in a healthy lifestyle, everything would fall into place.  My health goals would be so much easier to achieve if I just had their support.

Then, my sister gave us this crazy idea of participating in something called the "Whole 30". If you haven't read up on it, you should. It is the ultimate healthy eating plan. I offered my family a hefty prize if they would join me in this super cleanse for a period of 30 days.They hemmed and hawed, but ultimately agreed. And they did an awesome job. They passed on Pizza, and cookies, and candy, and ice cream. Usually multiple times per day. We were shocked at how much junk food is pushed by well meaning church workers, school teachers, and neighborhood moms.  I felt righteously indignant.

It was all good for the first week. Then, on about day 15, I really just wanted a piece of Sees candy. A dark chocolate bordeaux to be exact. I resisted the craving for nearly a week, but then it was more than I could bear. I cheated. I. The mom. The health nut. I broke the Whole 30. And the kids persevered. It was a downward spiral from there. I felt so liberated by the Sees Candy that I really didn't want to go back on Whole 30 at all. I wanted to enjoy birthday cake and tortillas and popcorn again. I talked the kids into quitting. We all abandoned it at 27 days. 


Why do I share this story? Why bare my moment of weakness and humiliation? Because I learned some really valuable lessons that may be helpful for you.

Lesson 1- It really never was about the kids or my husband. Sure, it's annoying to hear them complain about healthy food, but I alway held the power. I always held the power to shape the food choices in our home, and more importantly I had control over what I put in my body.

Lesson 2- Moderation in all things really is the way to go. I thought that ridding our lives completely of sugar, grains, dairy, and (gasp) blended up food would lead to bliss, but really it just led to some serious backlash. Ive managed to eat pretty darn healthy and work out 5 days per week for over 10 years, but my desire to become totally perfect for 30 days sent my whole healthy lifestyle into the crapper. And I'm still recovering. You don't always have to push yourself in every area. Its okay to be pretty good.

Lesson 3- It really is all about YOU, not them. If you want to change your family, start with yourself. I wonder how much energy we as mother's expend in the interest of "helping" our families.  I propose that the most powerful thing we can do for our families is to show them what it looks like to be a happy, healthy, successful adult. Children don't do what we TELL them to, they do what they see US do. Babies walk and talk because they see us walk and talk. So, forget about your kids, forget about your husband, and focus on yourself-in every area where you want to see improvement. If you want to lose weight, start eating better. If you want to be stronger, start working out. If you want to be smarter, study every day. If you want to build your bank account, start a business. If you think people should spend less time on screens, put your laptop away. If Facebook is taking over your life, delete YOUR account. If you want to improve your family's health- HEAL MOM FIRST.