Thursday, February 5, 2009

Are You Eating Well?

This is a question I would usually answer with a very emphatic YES! However, I've recently discovered I haven't been eating as well as I thought. How in the hell is that even possible I keep wondering?? I'm a pretty observant person and I'm particularly observant when it comes to my own body, so the revelation of not knowing what I had been eating was a big one for me. Let's go back a minute though.
I'm a pretty amazonian type of mama. I'm nearly 6' tall, my bones are huge, and I look like I can kick your butt. (Just for the record, I like to think I can too!! That's what is fun about us Mama Bears) So, I've never been someone who would EVER be considered petite or delicate. Then I got pregnant with my first son. As so happens to many first-time moms I gained a LOT of weight! Wow, being pregnant in fall ~ how could you not?? Mashed potatoes, god I love those, rolls, turkey, sweet potatoes, fried chicken, and then all the sweets that go along with that time of year. Yummy! There is a reason we gain weight! Then, I found out the harsh reality like new moms: just because the baby needs all that extra food and nutrition doesn't mean the little bugger will take it with him when he leaves you!! Apparently, so I've been told by much wiser moms, this will be a theme for later in life when they go to college and get a place of their own. I lost most of the weight I had gained and when I got pregnant with our second son I only gained 18 pounds which came off quickly.
Now we're up to Justin having a full-time job and me staying home with the boys. I have time, usually, to cook, and time to shop for good ingredients. We also have our home and our gardens, along with the Farmer's Market in walking distance. Life is good, but still our budget is short and tight. This is something I've managed quite well, I must admit, but I was very saddened when it wasn't really helping my waist-line. Which brings us back to the beginning of: but I eat healthy!!
Yes, I eat do eat healthy. I have a good knowledge of what foods are good and truly healthy for you, and try to eat as organically as possible. And, I don't eat very much. So I talked with my acupuncturist and he recommended that I keep a daily food journal. He told me how some foods, EVEN IF they're healthy foods in and of themselves can be inappropriate foods for an individual. He ALSO told me how a food "reaction" can take up to 72 hours to show up ~ as someone who has to deal with migraines, any connection between food and reactions in an important one!!
I began on New Year's Eve ~ might as well start when we're still in full celebrating mode and be honest about it! Here is what I found out: I don't eat appropriately! I don't eat breakfast and I often don't each lunch, unless I have a bowl of leftovers or a handful of cheese-crackers (our packaged food indulgence ~ the kids do love them as snacks!). I eat dinner which is often a casserole or one dish that is easy to prepare when the kids are around. I drink tea, both iced and warm, during the day ~ the iced is unsweetened.
It is really amazing when you begin to take the time to honestly document the food you eat. You can begin to see patterns form. You can realize the food groups you might be missing altogether. You can also find out about portions. Having grown up in the hey-day of "Super Size It!" I can admit that the notion of eating only a 1/2 cup of something is almost impossible for me to accept ~ probably as impossible as it would be for our grandparents and great-grandparents to imagine trying to eat a "large" or "Super Sized" fry!!
So now I have a new mission: to make sure that I get to eat some of these yummy and healthy foods I buy for my kids. To be able to say "this is Mommy's to eat, you eat yours" when my kids try to eat something I'm eating ~ this has always been the reason I don't fix myself food early in the day, we don't eat the same thing! To make sure I actually DO eat during the day, not just grab a quick handful of cheese crackers in between making bread, doing laundry, and the variety of other chores that make up my day.
If you're wondering about your waistline, or just your over-all health ~ go buy a little notebook and begin writing down what you eat. Don't judge yourself and don't lie! This was a little hard as I was finishing up my Christmas candy of Andes Mints and I hated having to acknowledge each time I snuck a couple. I don't feel guilty about them. Treating yourself is good from time to time. So be honest. When I say don't judge yourself I mean don't turn to self-hate, -shame and -blame, which is so easy for women to do. Acknowledge what your eating patterns are. Acknowledge that sometimes you just really need __X__ as a treat. Then, once a good month has gone past, you will start to see patterns, the more time goes by the more you'll really see it. You'll be able to see what is ok and what isn't. Remember, just because something is healthy doesn't mean it is appropriate for YOU. If you still want some help figuring out which way to go, take your journal to your doctor, your acupuncturist (Dancing Crane in Salem is my place and I love them!!! I highly recommend checking them out if you're ever wanting some acupuncture in Salem, VA!!!), or a nutritionist. They can see patterns and will know more about how foods can interact with bodies.
Whatever you do though: try and keep a positive attitude and try to focus on being healthy and eating appropriately for you. This will make all the difference

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