Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Social Suicide

I ask all of my nutrition clients a series of questions to help me get a better understanding of who they are and how they approach food, fitness, and life. My two most important questions are, 'what are your goals?' and 'why have you not met them yet?' Nine times out of ten the main goal is to lose weight/get in shape/be healthy. Sound like anyone you know??? But the most fascinating part comes next...the why have you not achieved your goal. Initially the answer is typically busy schedule or lack of motivation. Those reasons are very valid but not typically the actual cause. We then create a 30 day plan that works with budget, schedule, personality and my client leaves feeling excited, overwhelmed, and maybe a little concerned that the government is out to poison us. And then I sit back and wait. I wait for those food journal entries. Boy are they telling! I have one gym member who I can always tell had to be in traffic too long based on his food journal. There is one thing that always catches people by surprise...it is the social aspect of their new way of choosing food as fuel. So here it is...day one. Breakfast...you totally have this. Eggs, BACON, and a spinach salad. Okay so the husband won't eat the spinach salad but he is loving the bacon so he doesn't make too much of a stink. Pack kiddos lunches....hmmmmmmm....what to pack for kiddo's lunches....can't do sandwiches, or chips, or cookies, or crackers, or cheese, or juice...so air. The kids are going to eat air. That's just great. You are officially starving your kids. So you look at that list of cold lunch ideas I sent to you and you are pretty sure your kids will not eat one bite of any of it but at least you aren't packing air! So in goes the raw carrots, caulihummus (that they most definitely won't eat just based on the texture), boiled eggs, sliced apples and pears and some raw almonds. Oh dear lord your kids are definitely going to starve! So you throw some of those really yummy and "healthy" gluten free pretzels into a baggie but first you must eat one or four handfuls. But they are gluten free so that is practically the same thing as eating an apple right? So there it is...mistake number one. It isn't a huge issue. Totally not a big deal but let's continue on. You get to work. Drink that disgusting black coffee or make the mistake of trying bullet proof coffee without blending it. You realize this is going to be a LONG 30 days. It is 10am and you usually have a granola bar at this time. But not today!!!! You don't eat soy anymore or grains or sugar or processed foods. And you are trying to stick to three meals a day. But breakfast wasn't really enough now that you think about it because it kind of freaked you out to eat that much cholesterol filled food so you just kinda nibbled on the bacon and just ate the whites of your two sad little eggs. Those calories are really hard to stop restricting. So you drink 16 oz of water. That helps long enough for you to become distracted again. Now it's time for lunch...with co-workers. Now let me stop for just a second here and climb up on my soapbox. I don't know why this is but for some crazy reason, if you are trying to be healthy and make wise food choices, it somehow bothers everyone else around you. It doesn't matter that you aren't force feeding them kale or even making any mention as to what they eat. The sheer fact that you are not eating the same crap that they are choosing to eat for some reason pisses them off and will now make it their mission to bully you, tease you and guilt you into eating those very foods you KNOW hurt your body. This seriously gets me in all kinds of a tizzy!!! I haven't quite figured it out yet but I have a notion that they feel guilty about their food choices and they don't like you reminding them that they are choosing poorly. So you cave. It sucks being teased. You have only 6 chips and salsa and only one tortilla with your fajitas. That seemed to make everyone leave you alone so it was worth it. Mistake number 2. Back at work and someone has a birthday cake in the break room. That's okay. You are just not going to go in there. But every single person that walks by your desk is either holding a piece of cake, telling you there is cake in the break room or offering to get you a piece so you don't have to get off of your already widening rear to get it yourself. Cake cake cake cake cake...NO! You are staying strong. Until some sweet soul brings you a piece and ever so quietly lays it on your desk. Well crap! You HAVE to eat it now! But just a couple of bites....well you at least left one bite...what is one little bite gonna hurt anyways, might as well eat that too. Whew! So glad that plate is empty now so you can throw it away! Mistake number 3. After picking up the kids from school and letting them tell you just how disgusting their thoughtfully packed lunch was you find the note from the teacher politely admonishing you for not feeding your children foods they will eat and therefore she had to give some of her money so they could buy a few snacks out of the vending machine so they didn't starve. Now you feel like the worst mom in the world. How did that happen? You just went from being super mom who cares about her babies' health to one phone call away from CPS asking why you starve your kids. Dinner with your parents is next...and they want Italian food. Oh boy. Waiter dude doesn't just bring one basket of bread...he brings three so they can be dispersed along the table in an attempt to invade every single one of your senses from every direction. There is no escaping the bread! Your child reaches forward to grab a piece and you gently remind him that bread is not good for him and you are all trying to make healthier choices...remember???? That's when Grandpa steps in and tells you that you are taking this "healthy" thing to the extreme and kids are kids. Okay...a piece of bread probably won't kill your child, 'but only one young man'. (You have to pretend some kind of authority.) Time to order and the breadbearing waiter shines a light in your face and interrogates you about what the kids will be eating for dinner. Ummmmm...chicken and mixed veggies???? Yes, that's it. Grandpa makes a telling clicking sound to make sure you are aware he thinks you have jumped off the deep end. You then order the same for yourself and continue to remind yourself that you feel really bad when you eat pasta. Your husband on the other hand orders fettuchini alfredo and shrugs saying that its all about moderation and he ate healthy for breakfast and lunch...he deserves this meal. Food comes out, kids end up eating most of the remaining bread, some of dad's fettuchini and the free ice cream that came with their kids meal. You are still starving because your chicken and veggies added up to about only 4 oz of food total because the pasta you asked to be removed from your dish was the main event. Everyone else is fat and happy and you feel like a miserable failure. So to counter that disappointing feeling you have a glass of wine when you get home. Make it two. And some chocolate mixed with almond butter and some honey...technically paleo right? Mistake number 4. So there it is. Your healthy day. Just writing that hurt. But none of those situations were made up. I have either experienced them or been told by someone that they had experienced them. Choosing to be healthy is so much harder than anyone realizes going into it. I practically live in a health bubble and I struggle with it!! So here is my point: To those of you who are not ready to make the choice to take control of your health: Keep your comments to yourself. If it makes you feel insecure because someone else is making healthy choices then maybe dig a little deeper into your own issues instead of tearing down your friend or loved one. And shame on anyone for ever making any parent feel guilty for wanting their child to learn that food is fuel and should nourish our bodies not just fill an emotional or habitual want. Spouses...particularly husbands, I don't know what you said in your vows. It probably didn't include some clause to always support the other's decision to go against the grain and eat healthy but if you promised to love this woman for the rest of your life then let her love herself as well. It is not easy to cook meals at home and it is made even more difficult when you require a seperate nonhealthy meal to be made additionally. Be supportive. Pinch your nose and try the zuchinni noodles. I promise you will not die. In fact, quite the opposite. Basically it's time to grow up or grow a pair. To those of you who have made the commitment to change your health and the health of your family: Stay strong. Find support. Be a part of a community that shares your struggles and will encourage you through them. Remind yourself that your body was created for a purpose and you must care for it so that you can tackle whatever comes your way. You may not have met your health goals yet but you are already on the right track just because you have goals...now stick to the plan and remember you are worth it. Here is a yummy treat to add to your kiddo's lunches that is sure to please. I used this recipe with our Core Kids to teach about using natural sweeteners such as honey and dried fruit and the health benefits of raw honey. Use every opportunity to teach your kids about the food they fuel their bodies with.

Grain-free Strawberry Bars

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
10-12 medjool dates
1/2 cup of unsweetened dried cranberries or blueberries
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 1/2 TBSP raw honey
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP coconut butter

Line a bar pan and baking dish with parchment paper (Foil works too)
Add nuts, dates, and cranberries to food processor and blend until coarsely chopped.
In a saucepan cook strawberries, honey, cinnamon, coconut oil, and coconut butter until strawberries are soft and mixture is bubbly.
Pour all ingredients into mixing bowl and combine.
Spread onto pan and freeze for 6 hours.
Cut and serve.