Caught a bit of Oprah yesterday (a rare indulgence that is still often interrupted by a chattery baby!) and was utterly flabbergasted! Between her and special guest, Kirstie Alley, I could scream! Here's why:
--"you're not a number...it's not what's on the scale or the dress size"
--"my new thing started later, so I could eat what I wanted to for longer...and, generally, it's not the good stuff"
It was ridiculous! All these kinds of statements do is give women a soft out from having to get real about their health!...not that I would EVER consider Oprah or Kristie to be pillars of the lifestyle. First of all, the number of the scale and your BMI are good indicators of where you are (healthy weight range or obese). Your cholesterol levels and blood pressure are also important health factors. Good or bad, though, your "numbers" do say a lot about you...poo-pooing them is just another way to DENY where you're at. Now, I understand not all of us need or want to be size 2s or weigh 110 pounds. But here's the conversation that starts: "Gee, Oprah doesn't use a scale to measure her weight but judges by how her clothes fit. Hmmm, I can still fit into my yoga pants, so I can't be THAT big". Riiigghhhtt! Easy to say, when you wear nothing but flowy maxi dresses and tops to hide in!Over the past 15 pounds, I've been wearing the same pants!!! The only difference is that they fit loser, I don't have a muffin top, and I'm in a healthier weight range, lessening my chances for all types of diseases, including diabetes and cancer!
Next, isn't it the story of American women..."starting my diet on Monday, so spending the weekend gourging on all kinds of bad foods that I won't ever be able to eat again ever"? Both of them are missing the point here! Notice, it's back to the usual restrictive eating habits that DON'T LAST FOR ANY OF US. The kind of talk that makes it seem like punishment to live healthier. It is NOT! Living healthier does not mean restrictive "dieting", as we'll discuss throughout Project Supermom. With all the experts at her disposal, I was so disappointed to see this kind of talk, from two female role models, still going around. Shame on you, Oprah!!
Talk about an "innocent" misstep that can really add up! You take the kids to McDonalds for a treat or because you're out and about, and despite all your good habits and best intentions, you splurge...just this one time (yeah, right!)...and order yourself a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal to put down along with the kids. You deserve some fries, right? WRONG!!! While there is nothing wrong with splurging here and there, these unplanned nosh fests can really undermine your efforts.
Okay, so, since avoiding fast food places forever and ever is not an option, what can you do? Plan for the splurge, if you really need to have all that garbage that bad, by eating right the rest of the week and day of your treat, splurge, and get back on track. Otherwise, get a small treat for a snack like a small fry or cone. Or, just pass! Hard to sit and watch your kids shoveling food down their faces, while you sit idly by? Throw a piece of fruit, protein bar, or a bag of pretzels in your purse to enjoy and treat yourself to an iced tea. Yes, there have been plenty of times I have sat at Burger King with a bowl of homemade tuna salad and some whole-wheat crackers, while the rest of the table ate trays full of processed, fried, salty "food". Not only did I eat food that actually made me feel good and energized, but I avoided those empty, yet high, caloric bombs. You aren't missing anything but feeling guilty, defeated, bloated, all with a nice case of indigestion.
Oh, and while we're on the subject of what the kids get to eat, drop the habit of finishing off nibbles left on their plates. We both know it's more about stealing a bite or two of hot dog, chicken nugget, or some other treat (definitely not the steamed veggies, in other words), than actually preventing "waste". You don't need the extra calories!
Sometimes, little changes can really start to add up, especially when it comes to buring off a couple of extra calories here and there. Small changes can give a nice boost to the metabolism, whether or not you're already working out and/or counting calories.
A couple of very easy changes to make...park further out in the parking lot and take the stairs, whenever you can, instead of elevators or escalators...let's also throw in those mobile sidewalks you see at airport concourses. Dragging kids, bags, coats, etc.? Great, even more calories you can burn! Too cold to hike in from the far reaches of the parking lot? Guess what your body has to do to keep warm for those extra few seconds? That's right...burn a few more calories!
Some extra calories burned off here and there, and presto, a few more pounds come off the scale! Really, whenever there's an opportunity to implement these changes, jump on it! There's really no good reason not to, right? Even if you are left a little (or a lot) winded now, it won't be long before you're breezing up a flight of stairs. So, I'll leave you to it...giddy up!
Oh yes, let's postpone until...until when?...you're in plus-sized clothes, your doctor reports that you have diabetes, your kids go to school, after the holidays, when you're on pills for high cholesterol, after this next vacation, or when the stars all align, just for you, and everything is "perfect" and "easier"? There will always be "something". There is no time like the present, my friend, and you know that! Talk about needing to live in the here and now and not in the future...sheesh!
We've already talked about ways to find the time to take care of yourself, and we'll continue to talk about small changes in lifestyle to help this happen...a piece here, a piece there...these changes simply become your new habits...your new lifestyle is born. It is just that easy! I ask you, why does making the decision to do what you KNOW is the right thing, have to be marked as such a monumental task? You just need to commit to your mind and get out from under your excuses, fear, and lack of motivation. You can do this...it is important...YOU ARE WORTH IT!
How is it that going with a healthier lifestyle somehow means being on a "diet"? DIET IS A BAD WORD...and, generally speaking, judging by the rising obesity rates in this country, it is not an effective long-term solution to weight and health management. The word diet just conjures up all sorts negative things like the dread of no longer being able to enjoy certain foods or the apprehension surrounding how successfully you can stick with the plan. Then, there's the real big bummer of not being able to participate in food celebrations, because you're on a diet. And, depending on your plan, ugh, the food you do get to eat may not be as savory as you would like, and you've had to immediately convert to eating it. Any wonder why people pack back on all the lost pounds, plus some extra, after this sort of punishment? Diets are too restrictive, for long term success. Yes, it may be great to use pills, premade meals, rice cakes, cleanses, shakes, starvation, and whatever else to drop 10 pounds in a week, but you can't rely on these means forever...more importantly, you don't LEARN anything from doing this!
So, get it out of your head that, since joining Project Supermom, you're gonna recommit to some New Year's resolution diet plan you promised to see through this time. We're not dieting here! We are making better choices about the foods we eat, and that includes not only the nutritious stuff but also the junk food that inevitably finds its way into all our lives. Let's change our focus to small changes that we can make, over time, that can also sustain us over time. When you look at a lifetime filled with primarily healthy choices, a slice of pizza or piece of cake is just a speedbump in the road, not a complete derailment. Food is not the enemy..."dieting" is!
You're very determined aren't you?
Mother to two beautiful boys!
Benjamin Alexander & Mason Joshua
Thank you, Jayney! I am very dedicated to Project Supermom...writing is a fun and new outlet for me, and the subject matter is stuff that I'm passionate about. Thanks!
If you don't already, find ways to swap out for lite or low-fat options on some of your foods. Especially with food that is mixed with other foods, seasoned, dipped, or whatever, you may not even be able to really tell a difference in the lower-calorie, lower-fat option, but your waistline will! Notice, I did NOT say go fat-free!! You actually need a little fat in your food to fill you up, and I've found that lite versions mostly pass for the real thing...fat-free stuff?...not so much!
Experiment with foods and brands to make the swap and still feel content with the flavor. Here are some great places to start: mayo, milk, cheese (shredded, string, block, sliced), cream cheese, butter, bread, waffles, syrup, crackers, chips (lite meaning baked here), salad dressing, sour cream, cottage cheese, peanut butter, and yogurt!
I am becoming a different person. Starting this blog, Project Supermom, and writing and planning and organizing and learning and thinking about it has almost made me feel like I've FINALLY come out of the closet!
I am that girl who has always done what I was told...done the right things...done what was expected...followed the path laid out in front of me, because I was supposed to. Being good at what I was told to do and meeting and exceeding those expectations is simply what was expected of me. So much of what I have done has been to fulfill the role my parents expect of me, and that has gotten me so much, in my life. I have been afraid to step off that path, because to stay in their good graces, it almost seems that I can only be the person they want me to be...they are just fine with that girl, but it's not feeling like they would be ready to get behind the woman I'm becoming.
I am bursting at the seams with Project Supermom and a future with it! My friends tell me, I have to be brave and do what makes me feel happy, just like I talk about in the Project. But, I am afraid of going down this new path...the kind of fear I felt, hanging off the side of a double-black diamond ski run, recently. I knew I could get down, but for some reason, I was literally frozen in fear...my whole body was shaking...I was bawling. My husband was below, trying to talk to me down from the ledge, as he so often does. I finally eased up on my skis and started to go. Tensely, I made my first cut, then the next, then the next...and wondered why, as I got to the bottom, I'd made it so HARD? Project Supermom seems almost like my first "step". Otherwise, all of this remains my little secret, at least where my immediate family is concerned. If this leads to more, I don't know what I'll do, for fear of losing their support. That fear has been an underlying theme my whole life. But, I think I am more me, now, than I have ever been. I am certainly more proud of myself...I want them to be a part of that...I wish they were...I am afraid...
Please do not ever think that Project Supermom, with all our talking about nutrition and exercise, is focused on nothing more than defining happiness as you being a skinny-minnie! We talk about nutrition and exercise here, because I believe that ratcheting up your efforts here will result in you having more energy to put into your day, to put into yourself...that it will result in you feeling better about yourself...and, sure, seeing some weight loss, especially if it was a desired part of your journey or something that was way overdue, hasn't ever seemed to hurt!
While I'm not sure I fully agree with "big is beautiful", because of the added health risks, unnecessary inconveniences, and drag on your system, I also don't think being a Hollywood-starlet bucket of bones is necessary either. Despite your current weight, you're reading this blog to find some ideas on improving your LIFE...how to be a healthier, happier you for the rest of your life...staying motivated to eat right and get some daily exercise can be tough to stick with and get excited about. So, yes, we'll talk lots about all that, since being healthy is a huge building block help on your journey. But, do NOT for one second dismiss the Project as not finding any value in you, until you're a svelte size-zero...we are talking about a lifetime good habits not about being skinny!