Out of Town and Unprepared

March 14, 2012

The weekend before last we went down to my parents’ place for my son’s fifth birthday party. My sister and I have talked with my parents about our new eating habits ad nauseum; they are both interested in what we have to say but don’t see our new lifestyle as being practical or sustainable.

Poking around their cabinets, I see exactly what they mean. I forget just how much tasty, convenient stuff is on the shelves in grocery stores. And my mom has always had a knack for “doctoring up” store bought foods. She was the master of “semi-homemade” before Sandra Lee ever set foot on the stage.
 
I brought dinner for the party Saturday night because my son made a special request, but I woke up Sunday morning hungry and unprepared. Now I am not a stickler about what the kids eat at Grandma’s house when I’m not around. If she wants to feed them cookies all weekend… whatever. She’s the one that has to watch them bounce off her walls all day. But it didn’t even occur to me that I would miss the routines I have established for myself over the past year.

My mom was ready for guests. I found plenty of cereal, bagels, muffin and pancake mixes.  But nothing had an ingredient list that worked for me. It made me recognise just how foreign my eating habits have become.

It’s true.. once I start eating sugar, I just can’t stop!

I chose a bagel and it left me snacky by 9:30am. I added a bowl of cereal, but was ready to eat again when my dad started fixing our waffle brunch an hour later. I ate a large Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream but was already jonesing for more when we got in the car to drive home that afternoon. We only made it forty minutes down the road before I was directing Jeff to pull into McD’s for a “snack”. Oh and did I mention the leftover cake I grazed on every time I walked by the kitchen?

And it’s just that simple to fall back into the downward spiral.

The strange thing is that I went into this “lifestyle change” with a goal of 80/20 (eat right 80 percent of the time and don’t sweat the other 20). Even as I type “lifestyle change” in quotes, I laugh at myself. Like Chris Farley doing air quotes on SNL’s Weekend Update, I use the phrase “lifestyle change” as if it is a concept that I pretend to strive for but don’t really believe in down deep. Those quotes that I used without thinking reflect that subconscious belief.

It never occurred to me that the 80 percent clean eating habits would become the ones I enjoyed. That the 20 percent wouldn’t feel like an indulgence. I always figured people who ate right all the time managed it because either they were lucky enough to have grown up ingrained with good habits or they exercised a  major feat of willpower each and every day. I just never believed down deep in my heart that people didn’t eat fries nonstop or swill Coke all day because it just didn’t taste good to them. Inconceivable!

But the paradigm is shifting. I no longer view a tasty Marie Calendar meal as a treat. It’s a salt pie that sits in my stomach and makes me feel bloated. I eat McDonald’s and feel like crap immediately afterwards. I drink a Coke and can’t wait to have some water to wash the syrupy taste out of my mouth.

While I am happy that these foods no longer have such a powerful hold on me, it also feels like I am severing a bond with humanity. Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic… but seriously. Food is such an important part of community. To turn my nose up at something my mother puts on the table is unthinkable. I never want to do that, and I don’t want to teach my boys to behave that way. And for the record, I still enjoy everything my mom prepares. But it’s unrealistic to expect breakfast, lunch, and dinner from scratch when I go visiting family. At the same time, my body just feels so much better eating real food. I can’t go a whole weekend eating out of boxes anymore. It’s not a welcome break; it’s no longer a treat.

So I need to learn how to be better prepared. I am sure I can live off of oatmeal for at least a few days….

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: