Thursday, December 16, 2010

Making an Attempt

I don't talk about healthy eating much because to be honest, I am not the healthiest eater. I have used the mindset of "I can eat whatever I want because I'm running" for years. It's funny, because that's why I started running. I ran to lose weight. My third child had come along and a year later the weight wasn't just dropping off like it had with the previous two. I was convinced the dryer was shrinking my pants. That is until I stepped on the scale for the first time in years. I was shocked. I honestly thought the scale was wrong. But now I knew why my pants were not feeling so good. I was NOT going to buy a bigger size of pants so I did my first ever diet/exercise plan. It was Body for Life. It was pretty simple but torturous. Really, the workouts were manageable. It was the strict eating that was torture. I didn't even have birthday cake on my child's first birthday. That was day 2.
After 8 weeks I had lost 18 pounds, found a new love of running, and looked great. I really never did sports when I was younger. I didn't consider myself an athlete at all. But now it made me happy. There were so many things I loved about it that the weight loss became 2nd fiddle to how good I felt. I was lean. And I didn't even appreciate it back then. I lost 2 more pounds and people starting asking if I was anorexic. Sad to say that I found that a great compliment.
After that I switched to more of a maintenance program and wasn't as strict on the eating although I continued exercising regularly. I gained back 4 pounds and stayed there for another couple of years. I felt really good. I think that weight/size is the ideal for me. Then along came child number four. I knew I'd be giving up running for a while. I don't have the easiest pregnancies. I'm hospital bed sick for 5 months (although I did manage to still lift weights twice a week during this time) and then I like to start having contractions 3 months early and get to be on bed rest for a while. I get about 2 weeks of good pregnancy time. But I couldn't wait to get back at it afterwards. So 6 weeks after I started running again. At little boy's 6 month appointment I found out he didn't gain any weight. Not good. I was told very gently that if I was trying to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight too quickly I could be affecting my milk supply. I cut WAY back on my exercise and focussed totally on making sure I was taking care of my sweet baby properly. At his year mark and after going through several tests at a Children's Hospital he was declared healthy, just a little underweight. He was to have butter on everything he ate, 2 tablespoons of whipping cream with all the whole milk he drank, and anything he wanted to eat. Apparently you don't have to worry about saturated fats until you're 2 years old. Long story short... he is fine now and I have no idea why he went through that. I don't think it was my exercising, he was just burning off everything he ate, and he ate a ton!
It was during that next year that I trained for my first marathon. It was a great experience and I was hooked even more than before. I gained 5 lbs that first marathon and haven't lost it since.
So now I'm here, 10 lbs from that lowest point and wishing that it wasn't torture to get back there. Since I've done it before, I know what it will take and I'm obviously not willing to be drastic again. So what to do? I want to just slowly lose it by being healthy.
I have one other little consideration that I need to look at whenever I'm unhappy with how I look. I have two daughters. One's 12 and the other's 9. I do not want to make them think about weight loss. I don't want them to self analyze their bodies and be unhappy with them. I want them to appreciate all they can do and how amazing they are. I want, in short, to be a good example of that and have them be healthy and happy.
Here's a few ways that I'm trying to be more healthy and I hope you share any additional ways with me.

Amanda's Holiday Booty Buster: I don't have a problem exercising. But it's in her challenge to eat 7 fruits and veggies a day that is proving to be the most beneficial to me. I am finding that when I fill up on good things, I don't have as much room for junk. It takes a very concentrated effort on my part to plan this out and it's been so good for me. Especially with all the good treats that are around during the holidays, it helps to be full on good stuff. Plus all those vitamins have to be good for me and should make my body run smoother. I'm all about that!

Fresh Eggs: This was really my husband's crazy idea that I just went along with. But it has really been a great thing. We first checked our city ordinance to make sure we could do it and then we took the plunge. We have 6 chickens in our backyard that I know what we feed them and they in turn give us an egg a day. We always have hard boiled eggs in the fridge for snacks and we have breakfast for dinner once a week to use our eggs. We also share with our friends and neighbors.

They were so cute in the beginning!

About 5 months later they started laying eggs.

The kids especially love them.

They all have names and they are like pets. They like my youngest and he carried them all over this summer. They don't like going through the sprinklers though.

Garden Fresh Veggies: This was another husband idea. We are using half of our backyard as a vegetable garden. It is a lot of work, but I slave drive the kids and everyone pitches in to help. Not only do we enjoy fresh tomatoes (my personal favorite) and peppers, but we can and freeze a lot of it to use throughout the winter.

We grew summer squash, cucumbers, broccoli, red and yukon gold potatoes, carrots, corn, tomatoes, peppers, swiss chard, spinach, onions, leeks, and beans along with rosemary, chives, oregano and mint.

Eggs and veggies make super good lunches. And I thought it was pretty cool that I just went out to the backyard and gathered all the ingredients to make it. It doesn't get fresher than that!

Apple pie filling

Pickle Relish

Spaghetti sauce


Ingredients: I read ingredient labels. While I don't eat clean, I do like to look at the protein and fiber content of foods that I'm buying for me and my family. Some of my favorites are Smith's (Kroger) brand. They are not expensive and are good. Carb control yogurt, instant oatmeal, wild frozen salmon, drink mixes, to name a few.
Limit treats: I know that if I don't have them in the house that I won't eat them. And I know that making fruit into a healthy treat can satisfy my sweet tooth and my kid's as well.
Fast food: This is not really as issue as we don't eat out very often as a family. But there are times when if I'm out shopping that I'll swing in for something quick. Since reading about the poisons that are in the wrapping of fast food, it has just given me one more reason to not eat the junk inside the wrappers. I'd like to make no fast food a goal for 2011 but I know that realistically if we're on vacation somewhere we're likely to eat out a few times while on the road. So limiting it to almost never seems more realistic.
Now this is where I could use your help. What other non drastic tips could you give me for losing 10 lbs over the course of next year? What things have worked for you? Or am I being unrealistic and I'm going to have to be drastic in my approach? Do you worry about your daughters having poor self image? What things do you do to be a good example to them?


Emz said...

You rock.
Those eggs + avocado . . . yum.

I worry daily about my daughter and her relationship with her self[image]. I just make sure I allow her to eat everything, in moderation. I don't believe in NOT having sugar/treats around. As long as we are out doing things together and not sitting on our backsides together. :)

Julie said...

I am loving Amanda's fruit/veggie part of the challenge. It's amazing how full I feel mid day after getting in all my veggies. Dinner doesn't interest me like it used to.

Ewa said...

Talk about taking control over your food. Very impressive.
I would love to have chicken in our back yard for eggs and great fertilizer and so would the foxes we spotted last spring but probably for other reasons.
Home grown tomatoes are best.

katie thompson said...

wow. that is awesome. more people need to think this way!

The Hungry Runner Girl said...

Wow, those eggs look so amazing and I want that meal you made:) I always fall into the I am running so I can eat whatever I want! I LOVE your tips. WIll you come grocery shop with me and help me to eat more clean (Especially limit treats).
I think that as long as you aren't talking about dieting and losing weights and you just do it on your own your daughters will be fine. Honestly, I have a hard time cutting out calories etc because I then just go crazy so I just increase my exercise. I did cut out sugar for 3 months at one time and I lost a few lbs. Keep us updated and I think you look don't need to loose anything but I know the feeling when you know you have room to loose!

zapmamak said...

I'm so jealous of the space you have for your garden!! We used to have a VERY small garden (about 3ft by 6ft), but we turned it into a digging space for my oldest when he turned 1. He's now 6 and my youngest is 3 so I might confiscate the dig spot for garden this year. They're old enough not to pick the tomatoes green (which is what my oldest son did.)

I think portion control is really important. Americans tend to be super-sized eaters. Our family uses the small plates to plate our dinner food so it helps with amounts. I ALWAYS allow myself dessert (I have a serious sweet tooth.) But its usually 2-3 cookies and tea. I don't deprive myself of anything. Just eat less of it and balance it with the good stuff.

Also, never eat straight from the bag. If you put it on a plate its easier to see how much you are eating and when you're done, you're done.

Good luck, beautiful girl!

Michael said...

Sorry Jen, didn't read a word of your post. I just couldn't stop looking at those food pics. Wow. Sure looks yummy. Mike PS Actually I did read the post. Always do. M

Doran & Jody said...

Oh Jen, I am getting left in the dust.
Please make me a menu and cook for me. But don't include that Active yogurt, blech.

Ramblin' Dan said...

Hi Jen,
Great post. Running and diet have long been associated in my mind. And I can attest from personal experience that it is possible to run regularly and still gain weight. Especially now that I'm middle aged. The last few years I have adhered to food writer Michael Pollan's advice, which is "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Probably his ongoing criticism of the food industry along with his wariness of the advice of nutritionists had a part to play in my choosing to run barefoot. If you accept that the food industry is not operating in your best interests, why should you trust the shoe industry?

Anyway, I'm rambling again. Reading your experiences helps me stick to my goals. Much appreciated!

wendy said...

Your garden looks amazing.

My brother's family also raise chickens and their eggs are THE BEST! If we could have chickens, I would. Our HOA will not allow it. :-(

I pretty much feel that my 5 daughters will see how hard I have worked over the last few years to lose weight and how I am turning myself into an athlete and see the positive. They will see that being fit and healthy is possible, if hard work, and the best way to live. I think exercising regularly and eating mostly healthy foods will lead our daughters to emulate. If you starved yourself or talked about how much you needed to lose or were insane about exercise, then your daughters would probably start to wrongly evaluate themselves.

I think if you go about it in a slower, eating healthy foods way, they will not think twice about it. They will just see that mom is taking good care of herself. ;-)