You Amaze Me!

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  We’ve had a good celebration of her, cause it’s her day and I hope that it has been a great day for her. But I have my own private tradition on my kids’ birthdays. Each birthday I take a little time to remember their birth. The whole thing. I replay it in my mind. Keep the memory alive. Because, yes, it’s her birthday, but it’s also the anniversary of when I gave birth to a child. And survived. And, amazingly, just kept on with life as if not much had happened. 

It’s a bit odd, but in our culture (at least here in the South), talking about giving birth in mixed company is kind of taboo. Even talking about it with other women, we usually make sure that everyone in the circle has already given birth or is just about to. Maybe it’s too personal? Too gory? Too special? 

I’m not sure what the reasoning is. All I know is that one of the greatest accomplishments me and my body have ever undertaken is something that is never talked about. My body grew another human being and then pushed that human being out. We just use these gentle little phrases, I gave birth or We had a baby. It sounds so passive. Sweet. Words that keep everyone comfortable. 

How about, I labored to bring a baby out of my body. I agonized, crossed all reasonable thresholds of pain, but didn’t die, and somehow managed to get a baby from point A to point B without ripping my body in half. 

How about, I entered the zone of pain where the world disappeared, logical thought disappeared, and the only thing my brain was aware of was how to get this baby out so the pain would stop. 

How about, I disciplined my breathing and counting in my head to such an amazing level that I was able to withstand contractions that were literally stretching my body open from zero to ten centimeters. And I only yelled a little. 

Why, in our culture, do we not see a mom with a new baby and immediately start clapping. WOW!! YOU DID IT!! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE IT! 

So, I know there are a lot of moms out there who didn’t give birth to their babies. They adopted, fostered, took over care from a family member. This is not a put down on you. The fact of the matter is you need your own cheering squad and standing ovation. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST MADE A DECISION TO LOVE THIS CHILD AND THEN YOU DID! Just like that! And now you’ve given your entire life to taking care of this child, just like that! YOU ARE AMAZING!! 

Ok, not everyone is a mom. But everyone does amazing things. This one is for my husband and all the other hard working breadwinners out there. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU GET UP EVERY SINGLE MORNING AND GO TO WORK!! EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! AND YOU KEEP FIXING THE CARS AND MAKING THEM RUN! AND YOU KEEP READING BEDTIME STORIES AND TUCKING KIDS INTO BED! AND YOU KEEP PLANNING YOUR TIME AROUND YOUR FAMILY AND PUTTING THEM FIRST!! You are amazing. 

We don’t spend enough time recognizing the struggles and triumphs of our fellow man and woman. I think if we spent more time being amazed by each other, it would help in the respect and kindness department. 

Just a thought. 

Fat Fridays: Climbing Back on the Wagon

If you’ve read my previous blog, you’ll know that I had a pretty rough week. On Monday there was a shooting in my daughter’s highschool and it was a very chaotic, stressful afternoon. It was also one of my younger daughter’s birthdays. Fortunately, we had a birthday party on the weekend, so she had been fully celebrated before Monday. I still wanted to make the day special for her and I had plans to make spaghetti for her and then serve the rest of the birthday cake left over from the party. I had made lentils at lunch time, and I was planning on eating lentils and vegetables for supper while everyone else had spaghetti. 

Then, just when school was going to be let out, craziness erupted. School lockdowns, police, sirens, helicopters… After finally getting all my kids home, I sat in my room, listening to the live news reports, scanning other news sites, fielding calls and texts from people who were worried about our family. 

In the middle of all this my husband suddenly asked, Do you want me to just order some pizza for supper? What? No! I’m supposed to make spaghetti. Then I looked at the time. It was already six o’clock and I hadn’t even started the meal. Oops. I pondered whether I had the energy to just do a speed-cooking session and make it happen anyway. No. I did not have the energy. Ok. Order pizza. 

When the pizza showed up I was in an I-don’t-care mode. I helped myself to two slices. They tasted great. I served up cake and served myself a piece too, though I did scrape off all the icing (just cause I’m not an icing fan, not because I was counting calories). The cake didn’t taste as good. In fact, the rest of the evening I felt full and bloated. Not the best feeling, but it didn’t stop me from grabbing one more piece of pizza later, when I stayed up late to watch a movie. 

So, the question is, what do you do the next day, when you’ve ditched your diet? That is always a dangerous time for me. I’ve broken the rules once, why can’t I break them again? Fortunately, I had some encouragement from my trainer and from my mom and it helped me get out of the anything-goes mentality and remember that my diet is still important to me, even when I am extremely stressed. 

The rest of this week has gone well as far as diet and exercise are concerned. I have been clinging to my exercise routines as a balm for my nerves and trying to make good choices with my food. 

Life is crazy. There are going to be moments where eating a careful diet just isn’t an option, either physically, or mentally. And for me, the part I have to work on, is getting back on track after swerving off for a moment. Part of what has also helped me this week is just remembering why I am doing this. Good blood sugar, energy, health, fitness. I especially need these things when I am going through a stressful moment in life. I just have to keep reminding myself. I forget so quickly. 

Fat Fridays: Week 17 Navigating Birthdays and Restaurants

Hi all. How’s everyone’s week been? Mine has been busy. Our family has three birthdays within 8 days of each other and then Easter is also right in the middle of that. Plus, the weather has definitely warmed up and so I have had to do the seasonal clothes-switch-over. Throw in choir practices for our church’s Easter program and my son’s theater performance and I feel a bit like I’ve been running a marathon. April is one of our busiest months. It’s always like that. With my son graduating high school next month, May is also going to be really busy.

So, what does all this have to do with diet. Well, I would say one of the challenges I have been facing is how to keep on track when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to food-prep, and also how to deal with events like birthdays and eating out. My daughter wanted pizza and cake for her birthday. I love pizza. Her birthday was on a Friday and Friday Night Pizza is a pretty standard treat around here. I knew that the pizza was going to be a really big temptation for me. So, before it came, I ate a big meal of vegetables and beans and plantains. Filled myself up. And then I gave myself permission ahead of time to have some pizza crust. (I am one of those weird ones who thinks the crust is the best part of the pizza. It works well in my family since most of them don’t like the crust. Kind of a symbiotic relationship.) Right now my diet is vegan and grain-free. But I don’t plan on staying grain-free. I’m going through a three month course of pills to try and reduce the candida in my system and get my digestive tract back in shape, I do plan on eventually eating small amounts of whole-grains every day. So, I don’t feel too bad about cheating with grain.

The plan worked well. I ate a pizza crust and then realized that actually, it didn’t give me that rush of “feel good” that I used to get from eating my favorite foods. It actually made me feel a bit yucky and I didn’t feel tempted to eat any more. Yay.

In the past week I also have eaten out twice. I went out to a Mexican restaurant with my girl friends, a place we regularly visit, and I came prepared! You know that in Mexican restaurants they always place this giant bowl of fresh hot chips and salsa in front of you. And you sit there and munch and talk and munch and talk and it’s only hours later that you realize you’ve eaten an amazing amount of chips and salsa. This time I came with a bag of plantain chips and I planned ahead what vegan food I would order. It worked pretty well, though I’ll admit that at the very end of the evening, I did grab a couple chips. Cause they were just sitting there. Looking really good. Again, it was grain, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

Then my husband and I went out with another couple to a Thai restaurant. I chose the restaurant because I knew that I could get a good vegan meal at a Thai restaurant. I decided ahead of time that I was going to eat rice with the meal, so I didn’t feel like I was cheating or caving in on the spot. I got Prik Poa Pork, without the pork, and it was amazing! I foresee eating a lot of Thai food in the future as their menu has an option to substitute vegetables for any meat. And I love Thai food anyway. 🙂

I guess the biggest lesson I’m learning is to think ahead. When I know I’m going to be in a different setting than my own kitchen, I can plan which foods I’m going to allow myself to eat and which ones are definitely a NO. Bring alternative food when necessary. Fill up ahead of time so I’m not as tempted to cheat. I think these are lifelong skills that are going to prove to be very beneficial to me.

Ok. Exercise update. I got on the elliptical three times this week. Yay me. I would like it to be more like five times a week, but it’s good progress. (And this blogging accountability thing really worked! I was like, there is NO WAY I’m going to tell everyone that I didn’t exercise again, so I just did it!)

Goals for the week: Somehow navigate the Easter Candy thing and Easter Dinner. NO SUGAR! I will not give in! Keep exercising. Stick to the diet.

 

Have a good week everyone!