Friday, April 10, 2009

The Easter Excuse

I'm a little worried about Easter. All the candy and yummy food choices that traditionally surround the holiday are swimming in my head. And getting back on track after days of sickness has been a little hard. Not *too* hard, but not easy, either. I'd been eating pretty low carb for two weeks... doing South Beach Phase 1 (tweaked for my own preferences) and had dropped nine pounds. It was not difficult and I was enjoying it. After a few days, my cravings were gone. I hadn't eaten ANY sugar, flour, grains, crackers, bread, cereal, etc in those two weeks but I wasn't missing it. But after days of puking my guts out repeatedly with the flu, my stomach was *very* sensitive. For a day, all I could take was liquids: chicken broth, a bit of juice, and 7-up over ice. Ahhh... sugar.

The next day I ate a few saltines. "Bland diet" for GI recovery is basically carb city: plain toast, crackers, cream of rice, stuff like that. Dairy is off limits (because of "intestinal upset" issues) and the thought of trying to digest anything fibrous like fruits or veggies made my stomach hurt. And meat? Perish the thought.

So for a couple of days I was trying to get my stomach to accept ANY foods without rebellion. I had success with the crackers, bits of toast, and noodles. All those refined carbs were quite easy on the stomach, but sort of screwed up my whole mode of low carb eating I had going for me. And yesterday, the first day that I felt well enough to eat more normal foods (but still not many vegetables), I had a couple slices of cheese pizza, a turkey sandwich on focaccia bread with tomato and avocado, and then... after dinner... 3 little chocolate eggs!!

Yes, the Easter monster reared its ugly head. It wasn't nearly as bad as in past years. There was a time in my life... a few years of binge misery... when I looked at Easter as an excuse to indulge in foods that I couldn't normally find in stores or wouldn't usually cook. I was a single (divorced) Mom, so there weren't any other adults to keep me in check. I'd go to the store a month before Easter and buy just about every "special" Easter candy imaginable: Peeps, chocolate bunnies, Reeses eggs, malt ball eggs, even jelly beans, which I don't even like! I'd hide them in the closet "for the kids," and then every day after they went to school and when they were in bed, I'd eat some of the stash. After a week, it would be almost gone, and I'd "have" to shop for more. I'd get all the things I'd missed the first time: marshmallow bunnies, coconut eggs, foil-wrapped eggs. And I'd repeat... eating them during the week. Later, when I'd "replace" the stash again, I'd admit to myself that I was buying for ME. I'd replace all the junk for the kids, but I'd add some "special" stuff: Lindt bunnies, Russell Stover Eggs, and truffley things. I'd buy Easter cookies and cakes and buns. I'd buy potato chips and Doritos and Coke. Because the Easter stuff wasn't enough, and of course I had to have some salty stuff to counter all the sweet.

By Easter, you'd think I was done, but no. I'd dutifully dole out ALL the candy to my kids' baskets. I'd watch them eat. The cute little darlings would offer me some of their candy and I'd say thank you and take it. And after they were asleep, I would tiptoe in their rooms, dig quietly under the Easter grass, and steal a couple more candies.

I am SO not going there again!! EVER!!

But yesterday I got into some kind of Easter frenzy at the store. I hadn't gotten anything yet for Easter, with being sick all week and being gone the week before, so I had ONE HOUR when my daughter could go into the store's supervised play area and I could do all my Easter shopping. I walked alone down the aisles filled with gloriously colored boxes and bags of candy, and I started to go into some weird zone. I wasn't *craving* anything. It was like auto pilot was trying to take over and I had to stop my arm from reaching out and putting one of EVERYTHING into my cart. As it was, I started grabbing way too much. I was spending a lot of time standing there staring at the candy and fighting with myself about whether to buy it or not, and people were probably wondering what the heck I was doing. I was still feeling slightly ill and tired and I didn't really have a plan set into place ahead of time. (I was *going to* make a list of non-candy items to get for each of my kids' baskets, plus a few of their favorite candies... but being sick screwed up that plan). I was going around the store throwing things in my cart willy nilly: "this looks good, that looks good..." and I was *wanting* sugar because I had been eating nothing but refined carbs for 3 days. I told myself I could choose 3 small treats for myself, for Easter day. That I would not eat any other candy or junk until then or after then but I'd "let myself" have a couple of special treats. Before I knew it, I had grabbed a coconut egg, a 4-pack of truffle eggs, a mini Toblerone bar, and a chocolate bunny for myself. Along with that, I had thrown in some bags of mini eggs, mini Reeses cups in cute pastel foils, jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies for the kids. But that wasn't enough. I was on a roll. I grabbed regular candy bars for their baskets, too... and chocolate covered cherries. And a box of Little Debbies cakes. And some Moon Pies (one for me!). And the bakery had chocolate covered cake eggs so I grabbed those too.

Then I stopped and looked at my cart and it was like I had an out-of-body experience. The body, standing there with a cart full of junk because it was "tradition" (habit), and the healthier, new me floating over myself saying, "What the hell?????" I saw the junk and I was saying stuff like, "What about some toys instead for the kids?? The kids do NOT NEED all that crap! They will inhale it all and feel sick! YOU DO NOT NEED A MOON PIE! Little Debbies are disgusting... what are you doing?" And I stood there taking it all in and realized I only had 10 minutes left to shop, and I didn't know what to do.

I know some people read this and make a judgement. Maybe you have kids who you have always raised without junk. Maybe your teens eat healthy stuff all the time and only get a candy once in a blue moon. Maybe you don't have any kids but you "know" you would never give your children junk. Or you have a toddler and a 6 year old who have never had a bite of candy in their lives. Hey, more power to you. That's your life. This is mine.

Mine was shaped from a past where my mother fed me chocolate ice cream for breakfast from the time I was 2. Where an after-school snack was a bowl of potato chips and dip, and dinner was Pizza Hut. My life was shaped by never seeing a fruit or a vegetable in my refrigerator as a child, and having not even the most basic understanding of nutrition and food choices. I improved on that when I had kids of my own, nearly 19 years ago, although my husband *did* used to feed Ramen to our oldest when he was a baby.

With each child, I learned more. I wanted to do better for my children. I began to study nutrition, and by the time our oldest was 3, I had figured it out. We started growing a garden and I made all of my third child's baby food from scratch. My little ones ate carrots and corn and green beans straight from the garden. We didn't buy junk... if we wanted a cake or cookies, I made it from scratch. I went out and cut the rhubarb off the bush and picked the strawberries out of the garden with my little ones shoving them into their mouths the whole time, and came inside and rolled out some homemade pie crust and made a strawberry rhubarb pie. It was still sugar, but at least it was homegrown, homemade, and a special treat. But as I've shared before, once we moved to the city and I got divorced, all bets were off. Working for minimum wage and trying to feed four kids from the food bank is a nutritional nightmare. And sadly, my older kids grew up eating a lot of the very cheapest foods (Ramen, corn dogs, frozen burritos, bologna) supplemented by Food Bank donuts and day-old cakes.

They have a taste for junk, but they're getting better. Candy doesn't come in this house very often anymore, and neither do chips or other junk food. (You'd be appalled at the crap they get served in school lunches, though). My youngest, who is 3, has never had a soda and if she tastes sugar, her eyes get really big and it is a very unique experience for her. Five M&M's a couple times a year is a very big deal to her.

So why was I in the store buying all this crap??

I put a few things back on the shelves, grabbed some Silly Putty, a video, some outdoor toys and books and art supplies, and checked out. I'll get some of those gold-coated dollar coins from the bank today, too, and put those in some of the plastic eggs. Oh, the older ones will definitely get too much candy in their baskets, but it'll be less than it used to be, and it'll be special. Because they don't get this kind of thing all the time anymore. And I can't wait to see the face my daughter makes when she puts a marshmallow Peep in her mouth! I'm thinking it will be almost like therapy for her oral aversion issues... so sweet she will want to try and eat it, but she will have to work through the texture issue first!

Yeah, I ate 3 little eggs last night. And yeah, I actually did buy that little coconut egg for myself. I dunno if I will eat it on Easter or not, we'll see. I might end up throwing it out. And I dunno how I am going to address my eating plan right now either. I usually make french toast casserole and sausage for Easter breakfast. I am considering making a reduced sugar version of the casserole and some reduced fat sausages. And I usually make a spiral sliced ham and some (artery clogging) cheesey potato stuff for Easter dinner, but the potatoes are not happening the year. The ham, maybe, with some fresh steamed asparagus. We'll see.

My goal for now is to get back on track with healthier choices. I don't need anymore days of crackers and toast. I'll try and get some protein into myself today... beans, maybe a nice veggie soup too. I have to get some produce into this body. And I really, really need to get moving again. So a mile walk is on my list for today, pushing my daughter in her stroller.

Have a happy (and healthy) Easter weekend!


♥ Dee ♥ said...

Wow, I love you.

Okay, can I share, too?

What works for me when it comes to those treats and getting through? Just for Today. JFT I will not eat a chocolate. Let tomorrow take care of itself. JFT I will (insert whatever you need to insert for your journey here).

I did the same wander through the candy aisle as you did, with the mindless grabbing. I ended up leaving the basket there. My son is 15. He doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny. Hell, he doesn't even like chocolate. So who was I buying for? Old fat me. She's gone. I wish I could bury the bitch forever. But she keeps rearing her hungry head.

If I can make a suggestion for your big dinner. Don't try to healthitize your regular dishes. We did that the first year on our journey and man... that was the MOST disappointing dinner EVER. Nothing tasted as good as it normally did, with the gobs of butter and cheese.

The following year we changed it up dramatically, and took the opportunity to try whole new recipes and make new exciting dishes that pleased our new palates, rather than trying to recreate the old dinners and having the dissatisfaction.

Get the kids to recipe surf with you on google and find something awesome to make instead of the potatoes (don't tell them you are ditching the potatoes, or they might not be so enthusiastic about finding the new thing if they know it's a replacement of an old favourite). Get their buy in from the beginning and make it fun and healthy.

Did I tell you I love you? You are seriously my favourite blogger.


Thank you for sharing. As usual your honesty is refreshing. Most of you have been at this MUCH longer than myself. I just started changing my lifestyle and blogging about 2 weeks ago. But, I like you have been on hundreds of diets and watched my size yo-yo for years. I'm very involved in my faith and food is a HUGE deal for some reason in churches. This weekend alone there will be 2 breakfasts served with pancakes (complete with butter and sugary syrup). And of course the eggs and chocolate. How do I plan to handle this? I'm thinking ahead. Bringing a different meal for myself. Exercising. Roaming those potlucks for gems of health like steamed broccoli or corn. I've already told my family and friends "No candy" and asked for fruits I can't normally afford like Mango instead in my "basket". I'd rather have a gift certificate for a new shirt I will be able to fit into than a chocolate bunny any day!
The awesome part of your blog? You are not giving up and you are getting back on the horse! KUDOS!

elife said...

When I was a kid, my mom used to send me to school with healthy lunches - turkey sandwich, carrots, apple, pickle. Why, because she knew about nutrition and because she was already watching my weight in 3rd grade (I wasn't fat yet, but she was scared I would be).

Other kids would come in with lunches packed with all kinds of yummy treats - cupcakes, cookies, candy. And they wanted to TRADE with me. One girl gave me her 2 cupcakes for my pickle!

My point is: you are an excellent mom and kids will make good or bad food choices for all different kinds of reasons throughout their lives. And if the message they get is you should eat healthy food 90% of the year, with a candy-fest on Easter, I'd say you're in good shape.

Tina said...

That was a truly beautiful post. I don't have kids, but it really reminded me of myself around the "candy holidays." Be proud of yourself.

jilli10582 said...

Getting back on track after being sick is the hardest!!! I was thinking of that as I was reading your posts for the past few days.

When you're sick, it's natural to want to treat yourself, and to pamper yourself as you're recovering. And, of course, you lose some weight being sick, so it seems like a few treats are okay.

And then the treats tend to continue once you're healthy and strong again...

(And by "you," in this post, I mean me, what I do.)

I've found that the best thing you can do is to get back on track 100%, as quickly as possible. Sounds like you have a plan in place to do so, so I hope that you have success!

Just remember how good your body feels when you're off the carbs and sugar, how much energy you have, etc. You can do it!!

Fat[free]Me said...

What a fabulous mum you are - you did well there, it is so hard when you have a family to feed/treat.

I am very impressed!

Vicky said...

I read your blog regularly. You are doing so well. It is so hard. I have been fighting this my entire life. I have tried every diet imaginable. I have lost and gained and lost and gained and excercised and gained and struggled.
I think I will always struggle - one day maybe I will hit on the right combination.....
Happy Easter.

antgirl said...

Great that your thinking on things is starting to change.

Anonymous said...

I love how you caught yourself mid-buying spree, and rethought your actions. Some behaviors are just so automatic, even when we've learned better, and great to see it in action.

I also think it's great how you've taught yourself nutrition and veggie loving, after growing up eating ice cream and pizza. It's not so easy to change eating habits, or to even realize if they're out of whack, or crazy unhealthy.

Mike579 said...

Think of yourself like a child you have to take care of. You would not want to stuff a kid full of poison would ya? LOL

Ceres said...

Have a great Easter! Take one day at a time again, and I am sure that soon you will pick up where you left before you got sick.

bbubblyb said...

Lyn, I definitely could have wrote that post. I've not been to the store yet for the basket buy but I'm sure I will have the same struggles. Thanks for making me think. Hang in there, Easter will be over before we know it. Seems for me every holiday is a struggle with food. I have a feeling it will always be that way but I'm hoping with each pasting one I'll be a little more aware of my actions. Hope you and the kids have a happy Easter. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

You've come so far...good for you. Each year will get easier and better! Glad you're feeling better too.

Cammy said...

Good for you for stopping the madness...and also for starting a new tradition for your kids (and you): a little "junky" stuff as a special treat and then non-junky to round things out. Ahhh, balance.

Happy Easter to all of you!

Twix said...

Guilty as charged! I have done it too! But I agree we have to have a mental shift. :) Have a blessed Easter!

Ria said...

Glad you're feeling better, and good for you for rethinking the Easter purchases mid-shop! I had a few "incidents" with Cadbury mini-eggs last year . . . I've haven't bought any this year, so I think I'm safe :)

Best wishes for a very happy Easter with your family.

Crystal said...

I hate candy holidays because I have a hard time resisting the candy. I hardly ever can do it.

BTW: I tagged you on my blog. If you don't want to be tagged, don't feel pressure.