Parents’ relationship with food as compared to their children’s – Part 2: How we are having it wrong

We all know what we should do in order to keep in good shape – eat healthy, eat less, exercise more. So, why all the endless volumes of books on dieting, weight management plans, exerciseless-miracle-machines that would create a perfect body with almost no effort, blah-balh-blah? My answer is - because we are all human, that’s why.

It is not only that we are lazy, which is a fact; or that we do not love/like/respect ourselves the way we should. We are also too busy and too stressed out. (This one might sound like my favorite excuse ever, always at hand, but it is so true). And most of us might not have established good friendship with moving more and taking pleasure in it….

Any stressful period (and I have an impressively long strings of such periods) shakes me off any healthy trend of living I have been through. And I generously let it do that to me. Do I feel better when taking care of myself?  Yes, definitely. Do I feel better walking by the creek with my dog, watching the ducks and enjoying the beautiful Colorado sun? Yes, yes, yes. Is it that difficult to find some time during the day for that one hour of walking? – Well, sometimes yes but ….not actually.  I could do that, too. So, what is it, then?

Well, it is me.

I love myself now; then, I hate myself. When I love myself, I am eager to take good care of my inner and outer me. More or less, we have always eaten healthier food at our home. We eat wholegrain bread, lots of vegetables, chicken, fish.  Our children love eating even salmon and asparagus – and these are foods that kids are not particularly fond of. They also love the homemade spaghetti dish that George makes. We all have fresh salad with almost every meal. We would rather have smoked salmon on a Wasa bread for a snack than a pepperoni pizza. Our grocery store most of the time is Whole Foods.

What is our problem, then?

The usual suspects: love for carbs and wrong portion size. Plus stopping the working out or walking every time when being too busy or too stressed (excuses, excuses….).  So, let me include our excuses as an item to the list as well. The list of reasons is so predictable and familiar; everybody has a version of this same one.

Our kids have developed the priceless habit to stop eating the second they feel they have had enough. George and I have never been able to do that. We always would like just one bite more because “it is sooo delicious”. Or several bites more. We would always eat that tiny last piece in the plate. We are carb-lovers  – pasta, potato dishes, rice, pastry, sweets and homemade cakes have always been among the list of our favorites.
Another reason that comes to my mind: we are also social eaters. This is a good one. I hate it but I always do it. We can eat at any time, no matter hungry or not. If our hosts insist, we can eat some more just to make them happy and reassure them we liked their food. Polite? – probably.  Stupid? – definitely.

About ten years ago, we met a homeopathic doctor, an enthusiastic young lady who wanted to help us deal with our “food issues”. She created some special profiles for George and me, and then advised us to eat according to these profiles. Our profiles had some specific moments for each of us but generally they both followed the pattern of eating more proteins, less carbs, more fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, having more sleep, avoiding cold food, being less agitated about work… Sounds familiar? It seems like the world-wide general profile.

Nevertheless, we kind of switched for a while to the profile plan of eating wisely and sleeping more. Needless to say, the results were astonishing – as long as we were sticking to this model. For a couple of months we were in great physical shape and state of mind.  We could climb mountains and could conquer the world. Of course, we were certain we would live like that for long time to come…

Then, something happened, some problems in our business, someone got sick, and before we knew –  we had some chocolaty pastry to make us happy. Also, some French fries and a glass of beer for dinner were exactly what we needed in those times of stress. Yup, that was the end of our profile-eating…

Then, my problems with my second pregnancy came. Preeclampsia caused my blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels as early as the fifth month of pregnancy, and I was taken to hospital for monitoring and eventual termination of the pregnancy. I strongly disagreed with the latter, as my inner voice told me both baby and I were going to be ok. The doctors thought otherwise and were deaf to hearing my inner voices, but anyway agreed to play around a bit more before performing a life-saving abortion. My health problems kept piling up – swelling, renal problems, breathing problems, and on top of it all an incredibly painful infection in my right knee that needed extraction of some nasty thick fluid from the inside, and even an operation was scheduled to happen several days after the baby is “extracted”...

The treatment for my condition was either abortion or delivery. So, when the moment of delaying was beyond acceptance – I found myself on the surgery table for an urgent C-section in the 31-week of my pregnancy, with the impressive hypertension of 250/165. Well, we got lucky and we are both alive today – my sweet daughter and me. We were told that the fact that she was a girl helped her survive – women are the stronger sex, after all. She was “born” smaller than a toy, having the face of an embryo (she was very much an embryo at that point), 14.5 inches “tall” (or maybe – “short”) and weighing two and half pound. An elegant young lady…

So, after spending three weeks in intensive care ward and bringing back home Trayana after 45 days in the hospital ward for premature babies, I had some serious health issues to face. I did not even have time to address my weight issues at that point. So, after two months spent on dozens of medications, I decided to try to first detoxify my body step by step.

I did a doctor-supervised fruitarian diet. That was something that I had not done before. The diet was notoriously controversial as it consisted of just a whole (not-very-sweet) fruit three times a day and several cups of herbal tea with some honey in it. That much for eating…. But I had not felt better for quite some time. That fruitarian (or whatever it is) plan took about 25 days, followed by a strict plan of getting-back to food again. Tiny portions of food were introduced back in a special food plan.

That detoxifying program was having lots of opponents but it worked wonders for many people. In my case, it helped me not only lose some weight but also reduce the number of medications I had to take -from total of 13 down to just 4. That seemed like an impressive result for my doctor. I did my best to stick to a healthy diet for the next three years, slowly shed off about 50 pounds and felt just wonderful.

Then stress crept back again. Or, rather: more stress, as we have always had stressful way of living and working. So, we started dining out with friends to “let the stress go”. Here comes the list of reasons I mentioned a while ago: the carbs, the portions, the social eating ….remember?

Several months of fried fish and French fries, steaks and a glass of beer or wine now and then, plus the usual desserts “that make you feel sooo wonderful” – well, quite a few pounds crawled back on.  Then I tried to lose them again and I did. Then they crept on again. Then off again. This is why they call it “yo-yo”…

What has always worked with me (and anybody else around the world, actually) is just one plain thing - the old, old diet plan: eat less, move more. Smaller portions, less carbs, walking every day. Oh, yes, also no glasses of soda, beer or wine. Each time I have the discipline to follow that simple plan of all - the results are amazing. But not for long. The next stressful situation is just lurking around the corner. Up and down, up and down...