Monday, January 10, 2011

Times Change But Apparently I Haven't

After having my boys home for three weeks, once again, I wonder...could I have done this - lost all of this weight - when they were living here all the time? Two years ago I wrote a similarly-themed post - and it seems some things haven't changed.

Saturday afternoon I made a grocery list and sent Jeff and the boys off, with the instructions to get something for dinner...what, I didn't really care, as I was pretty beat from my 10 mile run. Normally on a day like this, Jeff and I would have whatever was in the house for dinner, but since they boys are here they seem to expect meals. Weird, right?

Anyway, they came home with said items from my list, plus dinner. Chopped brisket that you just heat up, white flour sandwich rolls, a can of baked sweet beans, and a can of corn. I'm embarrassed to admit that we used to eat like this. Again, how did I get fat?

While I was secretly gratified that they didn't like the dinner as much as they might have five or ten years ago, at the same time I was ashamed that this was the norm for our meals for so long. This is what they grew up eating - a lot of carby, sugary, pre-packaged meals that didn't have much nutritional value. Well, that and a hell of a lot of fast food. This is what I taught them.

The interesting thing about my kids is that although they weren't raised with having balanced dinners every evening, they pretty much like all vegetables, and they know how to put together a healthy meal. However, when they come home for the semester break, or "decompression time" as I like to put it, their desire to eat right goes on vacation. Which makes it hard for me. Not only is my house in a state of upheaval, what with the nerdery set up in my family room (aka computer central), the mounds of laundry, and the constant stack of dishes rotating from the nerdery to the sink to the dishwasher to the cupboards, but my eating has been all over the place. I'm not laying any blame on my kids, and you all know how much I enjoy having them home (I've gotten more ab workouts from deep belly laughs than from a thousand crunches), but I sure have gotten a lesson in how hard eating right is when the entire family is around.

So, is it a coincidence that I was finally able to lose the weight once I was no longer responsible for feeding my kids? Did the fact that I only had to deny myself the fast food, and not deny them (and listen to them complain...oh, and have to cook real meals), help? What about not having a bunch of snacky-type junk food in the house? Because I tell you what - on Saturday, when they found a tub of foil-wrapped chocolate coins at the grocery store on clearance for a dollar and (naturally) brought them home, I ate some. Several. Many. I don't buy things like that (M&M December being the exception), because I don't want to have to struggle against temptation in my own home. Thankfully the amount of miles I've been running is pretty much off-setting any caloric damage I'm doing, but I'm not comfortable with how I've been eating. And I wonder...when will the changes I've made over the last two and a half years become permanent enough to get me through changes in my routine?


  1. so many thoughts (shocking I realize and the first one is that Ive lost the email from the road id people. I sucketh. Im so sorry! do you still have?!)

    and this:
    they didn't like the dinner as much as they might have five or ten years ago


    youve made such tremendous strides for you and for them.

    and the chocolate coins? meh. be me. (I know some days that might be alluring. many it is NOT :))

    Ive found I really do learn so much more about myself and my path and how to stay ON during the times I deviate and leap off of it into the trees.

    thats the most challenging time(s) yet when I learn the most.

    and I have more thoughts too if you want em.

    have you readskimmed 4 hour body?
    he's say your eating a lotta stuff you dont normally eat is a good SHAKE THE BOD UP AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GAIN WT thing.
    email me if you wanna :)

  2. Rouitne. I crave it. I am successful when I have one.

    You are a great example for your family. Big strides.

    I am not happy with my eating either. Again....routine.

  3. Shelley,

    Fantastic post, my Texas friend.

    You've identified a point that continues to plague many (most?) of us in the U.S. ~ our ongoing relationship with food ~ a very real and complicated relationship, to be sure.

    I've been thinking a lot about the food relationship thing lately, as I've had a pretty major setback the past few months that began with serious family issues last summer. Since then, it's been 10 extra lbs and eating a whole lot of 'that stuff' and 'in a way' that I KNOW is unhealthy... def not good for anyone, especially a diabetic...all the while hearing the inner voice saying, "What the hell are you doing, Robin?!?"

    Food is simple, but just like we do to people, we attach value and emotions to it. We treat food irresponsibly. And just like when relationships w/ people go bad, we wake up one day and say, "What happened? I never saw it coming." Really? I beg to differ.

    Thanks for the 'food for thought' to start a new week, which is by the way, National Pizza Week (LOL...just thought I'd throw that out there!). I wrote about it on my food blog, Eating Good Stuff, my venue for keeping my relationship with food REAL. :-)

    *hugs* from Orlando!!

  4. I think that's really common for families to go back to comfort food habits when they get back together; you will notice that it wasn't YOU who bought the comfort food, it was them. And they don't eat like that when they are in their own homes, do they? So maybe you guys should discuss it next time, see if maybe you want to not treat their visit as a return to old times, but to approach your meals the new, healthier way that you all do separately already.

    But if you don't, I think having meals like that now and again -- when they are treated like the out-of-the-ordinary events that they are now -- is perfectly healthy, both emotionally and physically. It's called comfort food for a reason. :)

  5. Maybe the boys were looking for the comfort of the familiar being "home" it doesn't mean you were a bad mom so don't beat yourself up over this.
    Next time they come for a visit like the others have said talk to them about eating in a more normal pattern.
    I so understand how once you get started eating junky its hard to get back to eating right again.
    Weight problems are managed but not cured it is a on going thing even for me after almost 14 years of fitness and working out regularly.

  6. I don't know the answer to your questions, but I do know that even though it may have taken having them out of the house for you to do it, you've consistently kept it off through their breaks home off and on and that's something to celebrate, always.

  7. First of all, you're human. You're a human mom who made mistakes with her kids while they were growing up - GASP! (Not.)

    What stood out to me:
    1. They didn't enjoy the food as much as they used to.

    2. You said they act like they're on vacation when they come home.
    Guess what? They ARE on vacation. Your house is not their home base anymore so just like you and I can slip into vacation mentality, so do they.

    3. You're not comfortable. Which means you are not completely throwing your hands up and giving up. You ate some chocolate coins. So what. I agree with Miz... some days they ARE appealing, some days not so much. So your discomfort will get you back on the straight and narrow and you'll be feeling much better about this in a few days.

    Also, did it ever occur to you that you are such a GREAT example to those boys now? Believe me, you are!

    Maybe in the future you could prep some "real" meals (as you call them) and stick them in the freezer. That way you'd have some better options that you would all enjoy.

    Want me to come to the TX? We could have a cook-a-thon!

  8. I definitely think once the boys left, you could finally put yourself first, which is hard for any mother to do.

    I wouldn't worry too much about some extra things being in your house this time of year - but I do wonder with you - when do healthy changes stay permanent, if ever?

    Have a great Monday!

  9. The nerdery comment cracked me up. LOL

    I understand this and I betcha a lot of your readers do too. You don't want the kids to be deprived or deal with the nagging but you also are trying to make good decisions.

    Honestly, I think you're doing fantastic. For one, you're an exercising fiend. But you also recognize when the eating has gotten off and know exactly what you need to do. Before you thought that eating that way was ok. That was the norm. It is NOT the norm anymore. It's the exception. So I think you're where you need to be in your eats. One meal does not break you. :)

    This post should be a great reminder of how far you've come. You recognize when things are not good for you. Before, a prepackaged meal with all carbs was fine. Not now. But eating it once won't wreck everything. Plus you were tired. No biggy.

    You can ship chocolate coins here if you need them out of the house. :P On second thought.....

    PS did you get an email from Armadillo Dash this morning? Something about going to HEB and you can get 20% off registration.

  10. Hi Shelley!!!I don't have much new to add--agreed with Kristen that you and the boys just revert to old comfortable family habits.

    And, Loved Helen's idea about having the frozen meals ready for when they arrive. LIke having good tv dinners available (tv dinners were a staple comfort food in our house.)

    It is a little distressing to get off track. But doesn't it feel great that we can and do get right back on because we want to. It does give me some confidence.

  11. I'm just blown away that you run TEN MILES. I cannot ever ever imagine being able to do that. Ever. Were you always able to do this? I am just blown away.

    And your comments about feeding your boys hit home. My 11 year old boy is an athletic kid and is always hungry. And I work full time (playing hooky at home this morning - but I am the boss so I'll yell at myself later) and by the time we all get home from work or school or what have you, everyone is tired and starving and then it's Wendy's calling.

    I just saw some of your pictures and am just amazed.

    Don't beat yourself up for those chocolate coins or even for the way you fed the boys early on. They have the Best Example in the World in front of them: YOU!

    thanks for being inspirational to me today.
    xox GP

  12. Funny how when I get together with my family, we revert to terrible eating habits - and we all seem to do much better on our own (case in point this last weekend).

    Don't feel bad. You can't change the past and how things were. That's just how it was. A lot of families were like that, especially when you have multiple tastebuds to satisfy.

  13. I can't say it much better than Helen does.

    It isn't so bad if you have 3 weeks in a year when you're not eating so healthy, especially now you're running so much, you'll burn the extra calories.

    Just enjoy the company of your boys when they're home. You'll get back to your normal routine soon enough.

  14. Great post! And, comments! I think you being aware of it is HUGE and that you will fall back into your routine. The holidays are notoriously difficult, even for those who have made changes and "know better."

    Winks & Smiles,

  15. Seriously, that's how we all used to eat in the days of yore. Canned everything. Remember creamed corn? Blech.

    Just don't stop running and you can eat crap out of cans. AND foil chocolates.
    They don't call them 'foil' for nuttin.

  16. I would enjoy a photo of the nerdery.
    Laughing at "dishes from the nerdery to the kitchen"
    Ok, that meal sounds gross! I am one big carb fan and not half as healthy an eater as you, but
    1. I don't eat red meat
    2. so done with white flour
    3. baked beans, yuck
    4. can't do canned vegs, only frozen

    Give me some pasta and baked potatoes and I can ride with the best of them!
    In our world, we call chocolate coins "gelt", Yiddush for money, and we get them at Chanukah. I bet they were on the Chanuka sale rack, oh wait, I am SURE you don't have a Chanukah rack down there, now do you?

  17. The fact that you are thinking about and analyzing this means that you have changed and can do this long-term!

  18. Off topic, I've enjoyed reading about your running club so much that I've contacted a club and getting some info. Maybe just maybe I'll be signing up. :D

    Need to sign up for the Dash so I can come see ya. HUGS

  19. Well, I have been on a slightly different journey but with a lot of parallels. Avoiding wheat, then learning other things my body doesn't get along with, and avoiding those things has been challenging. It probably took me a year to stop just eating something with wheat in it just because it was there and it looked good. Honestly, (TMI alert) how many cases of the runs was it going to take for me to learn?

    I did learn, finally, that I don't want to eat things, even if they taste really good AND I am hungry, if they are going to make me sick tomorrow.

    I learned that if I keep things in the house I *can* eat, I am less tempted to eat things I shouldn't. So if I make cookies for the guys, I make some for myself, too. And I put them in the freezer, so they last - that way the guys won't eat them, because they have their own, and mine are frozen.

    I learned that if I plan meals, I eat a lot better, even if I am alone.

    I learned that I am worth feeding well, all by myself. Not just when I have other people around to feed.

    I learned I am okay with eating the same thing two or three meals in a row, so I don't waste the food, and I have something good around I can eat.

    I learned that if I eat enough good food, I crave bad food less.

    I refuse to feel guilty about eating anything. If I decided to eat a whole bag of chocolate coins, I might be punished (with an upset tummy), but I won't feel guilty for eating it. If I think it is wrong to do, I shouldn't do it at all. But mostly, feeling guilty for being hungry is ridiculous. It is a body reponse to a need for nutrients. So, I learned to pay attention to what my body really needed.

    I say meal plan the next time the guys are home - maybe you can try some of their favorites with a healthier twist. What is chopped brisket anyway?

    Finally, I mourn with you that you wasted a perfectly good chocolate binge on low-quality chocolate. You should probably do some penance with a bag of Dove. :) Maybe with a few friends.

  20. This is one of the benefits of living alone. I don't have to consider what anyone else wants in the house to eat. Of course, it can also be a detriment to not have anyone around to deter me from eating obscene amounts of food.

    Everything's got its plusses and minuses, I guess.

  21. I could have totally written this post. The entire thing. Including the assorted nerdery in the family room...laptops, phones, remotes...thank goodness for WIFI - we used to have ethernet cables snaking around too.

    Number 2 son left Sunday to go back to school - Oldest one is still at home for a month or so, but just having one gone has lightened things up a bit. AND we had a blast while they were here.

    One thing - I didn't lose weight as an empty nester - oh yes I did until I tore the m. meniscus in each knee 3 months apart.

  22. Yeah, yikes here, if I sent my hubbie and boys to the supermarket unattended. haha. Danger! I think the meal might be something like yours too. ha One diff, though is that I think they would also have purchased way more things NOT on list than a bag o' coins.

    I get you on the regretting the past thing, (types of meals your kids and mine! grew up on.) but we improve from here. You have been doing so well. We can't turn back the clock and raise those boys again, so we should try really hard not to mourn the ghost of meals past. And as a commenter pointed out, you are now a fantastic example. Oh yeah.

    I think some of the vaca from healthy eating is in part due to the fact that ya'll are celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. I mean those aren't veggie bread houses you guys decorate! We're in festive moods, finals are over, sweet/surgary foods seem like part of the celebration, etc.

    Here's to routine eating & exercise, though!


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