Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 2: Clean House or Clean Mind? by Liimu

I have had people suggest in the past that I clean my house of all junk food, both to make it easier on me and to encourage my kids to not eat junk, ever. Personally, I don’t think that’s realistic. Junk is everywhere in our society. It just is. You can’t drive down a highway in the US without hitting a McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts. You can’t watch a television show without seeing an advertisement for Dairy Queen or Chuck E. Cheese. In 2009, over $4 billion dollars was spent in marketing to children by the food industry. Amidst all that unhealthy noise, I would like my kids to feel like they can still be healthy, active and overall in good shape without having to be completely sheltered from it. I want them to learn how to have it in moderation, how to increase their activity to counterbalance it, and feel comfortable making a choice to have it one day and not the next.

It seems to be working.

The girls have an account in their cafeteria and the first year they were there, I randomly monitored it and found that not only were they abusing it – ordering chips, rice krispie treats, ice cream every day, even an extra lunch one day that was eaten in favor of the one we had sent with them to school, which was deposited in the trash! We had a sit down and a conversation about it and I explained to them the importance of eating healthy and said that if they needed more snacks, I’d be happy to pack something. They said that would be good and I did pack them each two snacks every day – one healthy, one not as healthy (e.g., string cheese and a bag of baked Doritos).

Last week, I got a notice from the school that their accounts were low. I thought they had high balances at the end of last year, so I got worried. When I went in to check, how thrilled was I to find that all they’d been ordering was milk to go with the lunches we’d sent them? My honest opinion is that they are making healthy choices because they are armed with the right information and given the freedom to make choices. Plus, they are not forbidden anything, they are just encouraged to make good ones. So heartwarming to see.

The same applies to me this week. I would love to work out for two hours every day, it’s not always possible. And I would love to either be surrounded by nothing but healthy options or be able to succumb to every craving (the yummy looking oatmeal cookies at this meeting, for instance). Not an option.  Instead, I either forego the items or put them in the freezer to have on a high-activity or cheat day (like the birthday donuts from Sunday).

Monday through Wednesday this week, I had meetings that kept me from getting to the gym where food was brought in that could have derailed my efforts. I have made some very healthy conscious decisions to counter that challenge:

(1) I brought food with me all three days so my food has been crazy clean.

(2) I have kept up with my water – I am currently on liter #3 today, and managed to get four liters in yesterday and the day before.

(3) I have been meditating in the evening and throughout the day to keep a positive mindset, knowing that a few days off from working out can be a good thing if I keep my mindset right. Not only will it give my body some much-needed rest, it will fuel my efforts tomorrow and Friday because I will go even harder in the gym when I finally get back there.

Like I encourage my children to do, I’m doing what I can to counterbalance the lack of activity. Bringing my food and foregoing the junk the meeting facility offers, drinking my water, and logging my food. On Sunday when I ran five miles, I let myself have a bite of an Auntie Anne pretzel because I knew I had run the calories to offset it. I like to think that they are following my lead.

So, I will just keep being the best possible example to them for how to make healthy choices with regard to eating right and exercising, not to mention staying positive. I can’t always control the course of my day or the temptations I’m faced with, but I can certainly arm myself appropriately to ensure the best and healthiest possible outcome for me.

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Blogger Jamie L said...

I totally agree with you re: letting your kids make their choices (armed with good information from you!). I think it's empowering for kids. I do that with my 4-year-old and already see it working. I've never been a proponent of juice (my daughter eats plenty of fruit and doesn't need the extra calories), but of course my kid loves it. So I started to tell her that she can drink juice -- but then she'll have to give up a "not-so-healthy" snack later in the day. Instead, my daughter now always turns down juice (even when I'm not around) so she can have her 100-calorie bag of cookies or small ice cream cone after dinner.

11:04 AM  

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