The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Logic and Healthy Changes vs.... Me

Do you ever feel like your life would be so much different if your pure logic always beat out your personal appetites?

If logic won every time, I would get up at 5:30a.m. and hit the gym every morning. But sleep wins that battle pretty much every time.

 If logic won every time, we would eat nothing but healthy, low fat, low calorie, organic food, all of the time. But my desire to spend less than $300 a month on groceries wins the battle to shop solely organic most of the time (I buy it when the price difference is less than a buck, and I always buy organic milk), even though I am 100% aware of what genetically modified, anti-bacterialized,  pesticide sprayed food is probably doing to our bodies. And my perfectly human desire to consume Del Taco chili cheese fries somewhat regularly often beats out my knowledge of what they are doing to my waistline.

If logic won every time, I would rush through my laundry to play with my kids and think less about my to-do list and more about being a good playmate while playing with my kids. But the to-do list wins a lot of the time.

But I am trying to win the battles one at a time. It is just so... darn... hard.

Like the tv...

During the school year, we had a system down for Vinny with television. He is allowed to watch television in the time between waking up and leaving for school and in the time between returning home from school and dinner, if there is any time. We had a fairly strict "no tv after dinner" rule that was in effect during the week but not weekends. This overall was easily accepted. We occasionally stretched rules, but for the most part, we were consistent.

Then two things happened... I pulled Vinny out of preschool to spend time with me during my short summer break (I only get 5 weeks) and he also learned how to use the remote controls. This was somehow a cosmically bad combination that resulted in a tv addict, demonstrating warning signs of becoming a full on couch potato. So the ban began.

I think this was a healthy change.  Today, he asked once if he could watch a show, and when I reminded him there was no tv this week, he just said, "Oh yeah, I forgot," and headed into his room to get his remote control car. He bought the car with his piggy bank savings last week. He spent much of the day racing it all around the house.

With the ban on television in effect, he also happily learned how to make a peanut butter sandwich by himself,  spent a rather long time playing with his sister in a baby pool, walked around pretending to take pictures, and even baked me an imaginary birthday cake, which he decorate with a real candle and served to me on real plates after singing me "Happy Birthday."

Unfortunately, because Tiana is only old enough to be of so much companionship, and Daddy was busy doing some volunteer work all day, that meant mommy was the constant companion. I do enjoy all this time with him, but I did want to get some of my own stuff done too, which was difficult without a television to keep his attention.

I may have made a mistake in combining two healthy changes at once. I went on a "non-water" beverage fast this week too... meaning I am only drinking water. Ok, with a couple of exceptions... a cup of coffee in the morning (to save my sanity) and an occasional glass of wine. This came about after reading about a rather convincing study that seems to link diet soda to weight gain.  It made a lot of sense. I started thinking that, if I am going to drink soda, I should just stick to the all naturals, like Hansen's and Trader Joe's, which are made with real sugar. However, if I am trying to lose the baby weight, I really cannot be consuming all those extra liquid calories. Sigh.

Moderation is really the key here. A soda every now and then is decidedly not that bad. But I am bad at moderation in this area. It is my one true weakness. I am the type of person who feels like I need to be drinking something pretty much all the time. And soda makes me happy... so soda is what I choose more often than I should.

But losing the baby bulge would make me happy too. And I have been really consistent about the gym, and eating about as healthy as is realistic for me, so there has to be some other change if I want to really get over his plateau that I am stuck on weight wise. So drinks have to go. If cutting out the liquid calories and turning to water for my thirst doesn't push me over this plateau, I don't know what will.

However... I forgot what it is like to cut so much caffeine out of my diet at once. The one cup of coffee is nothing compared to the 3-5 sodas I normally consume a day. The afternoon caffeine headaches have been intense. I try to overcome them with ibuprofen, excessive amounts of water, and good distractions, but they are exacerbated by having to hear, "Mommy.... Mommy.... Mommy... Mommy.... all day long."

At least I have a busy week to keep my mind off of it all. Healthier me... here I come.

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