Saturday, September 5, 2009

Teaching Tristi to Eat

My relationship with food has always been a strange one. It started back in my childhood (no, really, it did ... I'm not going all Jerry Springer on you) Relationships between my parents were strained and finances were tools. If we had groceries in the house, I knew my parents were getting along. That's as far as I'll go down that road - no need to break out the skeletons - but basically, when I have food in the house, I feel secure. If I have a little treat tucked away somewhere, I feel like everything's okay.

So there's that end of the spectrum.

On the other end, I'm screamingly busy. I'm the extremely lucky mother of four amazing children and I home school them. I'm also blessed to be working as the senior editor for Valor Publishing. I'm also an author and so I'm writing. From the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to bed in the ... usually early morning ... I'm on the go. I'm constantly moving from computer to dishwasher to laundry room to school table to computer ... you get the picture. While the kids are eating breakfast, I'm checking my e-mail for whatever might be going on that day. While they're eating lunch, I'm usually trying to accomplish something I couldn't do with them running around. And then around 4:00 in the afternoon, I realize I haven't eaten anything. I grab whatever I can find, and then the bulk of my meal consumption takes place between nine pm and midnight.

Um ... yeah .... I know that's bad. You did see my before picture, right? I'm in full recognition of the unhealthiness of this situation. I'm also sodium sensitive, which means that I need to consume around 1000 mg. of sodium a day, whereas the average person eats 6000 mg. And my thyroid doesn't work ... and my adrenals are gone ... you get the picture.

Okay, so.

I have a plan.

First off, a comment (and apology) to Shanna. :) It's true that frozen meals do have a lot of sodium, but then I started thinking about the things I tend to grab when I'm about to faint from hunger. When I'm in my groove and I'm preparing my own meals, I eat around 1000 mg. of sodium per day, but when I'm crazy busy and life is skittering friskily all around me, sometimes the only thing I eat all day is a combo meal (coming in around 1600 mg.) So I did a little investigating and I've come up with a plan.

Breakfast: 1 egg (hard-boiled or scrambled) with either a little low-sugar cereal or another grain

Lunch: One Healthy Choice frozen entree - these cost $2.00 at Wal-mart for a food weight of 11.25 oz, which is a pretty decent size. On the average, they contain 16g of protein, between 260-350 calories, and between 5-8g fat. They do also contain around 600 mg. of sodium, but I've decided that's not as bad as what I've been doing.

Dinner: Another Healthy Choice entree.

Snacks: Fruits, vegetables, salads, a slice of cheese here and there, nuts, and my protein drink.

I went to Walmart last night and bought enough frozen meals to last me an entire month. Hence, the experiment begins. Questions to be answered:

1. Will Tristi learn how to eat regularly?

2. Does the fact that Tristi's food is pre-measured, is low-fat and low-calorie, and is very, very easy to make, increase her odds of actually eating?

3. Will the fact that Tristi is turning from empty calories and seeking out nutritious snacks do anything to impact her weight?

4. Does the fact that each entree comes with a little dessert keep Tristi from going overboard in the sweet department?

These are the questions that will be answered over the course of the next month. I shall check in and let you know how it all goes.


Marta O. Smith said...

I know what it is like to hit the ground running in the morning and forget to eat because you are taking care of everything and everyone else first.

You're important, too, Tristi. Maybe for a while you could turn the To Do list upside down so you will be at the top.

Your eating plan sounds sensible, and not too labor intensive. How about letting your youngest put a big sticker on the calendar every time Mommy eats her breakfast?

Sandra said...

Oh, I like the sticker for Mommy idea. And if you get 25 stickers then you get a special treat? That gives you 5 "mess up" days, but enough days to start making a habit.

If you have a to do list, then put eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat dinner, eat snack on there- then you won't forget. Or set the timer, e-mail yourself a reminder something. If this were a medication vital to your staying alive, you would do what ever it takes to remember to take it on time.

Guess what? This is vital to your living. Until I made it ok for me to take care of me, I didn't do it. And it is ok to take care of you. Like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first in an airplane. What good are we as parents if we are not here?

Tristi said...

Stickers! I like stickers! :)

You know, it's the funniest thing. Why do we make it so impossible to take care of ourselves? Why do we feel so guilty about seeing to our own needs? If someone could come up with the answer to that, and the solution to it, imagine how much different the world would be for so many people.

Erin said...

Sounds like a good plan for you.

Kellie said...

Good luck with it! I have a similar problem with forgetting to eat because I'm so busy, and then overeating too late in the day.