After quickly eyeballing my previous posts I am happy to report that the enjoyment of down time has greatly increased both in quality and in duration. The two weeks that my kids got off school helped quite a bit, for there was no rushed morning routine, no yelling and ‘pushing’ them into their afternoon classes, homework, chores, etc.
As every year, when Christmas time approaches, I bake Blondies (See Recipes link above for actual step by step recipe) for my close friends, kids’ teachers and some relatives. This December I completed just under 20 batches. Some with dark chocolate, with white chocolate (if you can call that chocolate), with nuts, without nuts… For almost three weeks, my house was impregnated with a sweet smell of Maple and butter. Pure torture; specially for the kids, but we all survived the baking season with some extra pounds under our belts….ok under my belt.
Following the heavy baking season, I found myself tired of the long hours of standing in the kitchen and frustrated with the excess muffin top around my pants- so I am feeling fully motivated to exercise and cut down severely on sweets, breads, pasta, rice, and all that fun stuff. Like I mentioned before, around Thanksgiving time, I was resolved to attend the gym more often. So far, so good.
This morning I decided to print out a calendar and a chart to record my weight weekly as well as my attendance to L.A. Fitness. That should definitely bring awareness to my days. I have a specific goal – date and weight- and although they say after 40 our metabolism slows down some and weight loss becomes more challenging, I am feeling very optimistic. The only huge obstacle I for see in my near future is to resist the temptation to… CHOCOLATE. My dear friend Chocolate, the one who is always there (in my secret cupboard), the one who always makes me feel better, uplifted and cheerful, unlike any other remedy. But I can do this, I know I can.
I assigned my daughter with the duty of “Resolution Patrol”. She has been instructed that if she ever sees me eating sweets, she is to say “Mom, resolution warning!”.
Last night my husband brought home the most delicious apple pie I have ever tried (before, not this weekend)-with lattice top and the whole 9 yards- I did not touch it, not once. It wasn’t so hard to resist, until it was time to clear dishes and leftovers, and I got too dangerously close to it. There it was, the Apple Pie, staring at me, all beautifully crusted in top, sugar sprinkled and glistening, uncovered, and the smell of apples and cinnamon, oh someone help me! Resolution Patrol immediately took action; she said ….”Mom, breath through your mouth! Just breathe through your mouth!” She covered the pie with a cloth and removed it from the kitchen. How adorable is that! I have a coach now.
I taught her that trick when she was just 4 or 5 and there was a bad smell on the road. “Breath through your mouths kids! You won’t smell a thing!”
Later that night, browsing channels before going to bed, I found a (bad) infommertial : “How to get rid of your belly fat!” In the midst of the resolution, and the Apple Pie crisis, I couldn’t help but watch. Inside my head, I expected some pills -tested in rats but not FDA approved of course-, some diet, some magical 10 minute work out, but what I saw, was the most un-sexy, grandma looking “slimming” underwear , probably so tight-fitting that it would make it an accomplishment to breathe in. So that is how you get rid of your fat? By squishing it tight under rubber looking undies?
Ten seconds later, discouraged with the proposed solution, I pressed my CHANNEL button once more, just to hear the McDonalds new commercial, proudly announcing their New Triple Burger! How’s that for irony within a 15 second window.
Deep down, (the truth is found deeper in some people than in others), we all know that a balanced diet and regular exercise is what will provide us a with healthier lifestyle and if we work even harder, some nice muscle definition is thrown in the benefit package.
Why is it so hard to follow our common sense and make healthy choices all the time? Why is the smell of a fresh baked pizza or a steak grilling so incredibly good and the smell of broccoli streaming not so great? Why do we sometimes choose a sugary cereal instead of a hearty warm bowl of oatmeal? Why is it so easy to fall into temptation? I say “we” and not “I” because I know some readers will relate.
It amazes me how the whole economic and cultural system I live in, which makes it unaffordable and insensible to have live-in help, has implications to the point of: what to eat. I know, without a doubt, that if I had full-time help, I would not hesitate to plan healthier and more complex meals if someone else would prepare and clean up. It is a no brainer! But I will do my best with the tools and time I have. I have to. We have to.
The next day, I watched Ellen Degeneres interviewing a guy, Noah Galloway, that fought in one of the most recent wars, the result of which was losing 2 limbs (an arm and a leg). After going through a bad depression, a lot of drinking and isolation, he was resolved to get out of his self pity and to work out and make the best use of his body. Admirable. With the assistance of a prosthetic leg, he now runs, lifts weights, etc and is in extraordinary shape. On top of it, he raises funds for a non profit organization called No Excuses Charitable Fund.
Feeling extremely motivated that morning, I went to the gym with all the enthusiasm I could muster, no time restrictions, lots of water to drink and a 600-page book to read while doing Cardio. (The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair- highly recommended)
Giving great thought to the Blondies I ate all through December, the box of See’s Dark Chocolate Candy that I gave myself for Christmas (and ate mostly by myself) I jumped on the Elliptical machine. I warmed up and some 15 minutes later I was at full speed at the beat of Boys of Summer by Don Henley. My heart was pounding and about to pop out of my chest, but I thought about Noah Gallaway and kept at it, until it was over (its a long darn song!). Then, 38 Special came to the rescue with Hang on Loosely and I was able to breath normally again. I realized that I could not meet my goal in an hour at the gym; that it takes some pacing to accomplish -slowly but surely- what we intend.
It’s more rewarding for me to get to the top, if it requires steady disciplined steps than a quick drastic change in my lifestyle, because very likely I will succumb into my old ways: chocolate for breakfast, dessert, lunch and dinner.
There are priorities in my life, and I frequently have to remind myself of what they are and what order they are in. That helps me keep perspective when guilt clouds my head about a Mac and Cheese dinner, or when I feel too tired to deal with the kids arguments, or when I am running out of patience to play a game with them or to read to them at night.
Today I watched my kids go up and down the escalator at the mall about 12 times in a row, they were following a sticker that was travelling with them on the handrail. That is how they had fun today. I was starving, I was tired, but I enjoyed watching them laugh every time they found the sticker. It made me realize I needed to add a little “something” to my resolution, and this “something’ should last more than 2015: to enjoy those little moments of pure fun, pure innocence and adorable company of my children, who -still- ask to be tucked in at night.