Friday, October 7, 2011

Teenagers make you old

Oh, how I have wished a thousand times that I had recorded my older boy's voice before it changed. One day, my sweet little boy was talking to me. The next day, a croaky little man. There were other malevolent changes that weren't as obvious, initially.

First, girls stopped having cooties.

Then NPR News was "slanted."  (Because I happen to like NPR News.) Followed by the proclamation that there  should be no gun control.  (I'm ambivalent on the topic, but don't allow guns in the house because there are too many small boys.)  Soda for breakfast became perfectly healthy, despite all the carefully pronounced evidence to the contrary.  In fact, if I said the sky was blue, it was most certainly olive drab.  Last but not least, the prevailing theory became the end would justify any means, if the aforementioned "end" happened to be unsupervised internet access.

We won't even delve into the difference of opinion on what constitutes a valid career goal and corresponding educational aspirations. Suffice it to say that "Living off the Grid" is not what I had dreamed of while playing endless Mozart to my Harvard-bound infant.

I know some people (*cough* Madam Smallworld *cough*) enjoy the teen stage, but so far, I'm not digging it.  Don't get me wrong; I still love my teen, but I don't like how his feelings about me have changed.

I long for the days when everything I said was accepted as practically biblical truth. (Yes, I know that it was wrong to tell him that sharks weren't allowed near the beach.)  I long for the days when he knew he could count on me for protection, love, and acceptance, no matter what went on outside the house.  I long for the days when he knew that Mommy always had his back.  I long for the days when he understood that I loved him more than life itself.

I need to get this right.  I'm grateful that I have a "village" of wise friends I can draw from constantly when I'm not sure of myself.  If you have teens, what philosophies or guiding thoughts help you be successful in maintaining a good relationship with him or her while still propelling the child headed firmly between the goal posts?

I realize that part of the problem I am having is that those goal posts are really not set by me.  They are set by God and have to be ultimately chosen by the child, as he enters adulthood.  So a better question for me to ask is how do you keep your parenting efforts in perspective, given that your child must ultimately hike his own hike?  How are you "there" for your child, when your child wants to move away from you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Almost 3 years ago, I declared war on my state of obesity.  I even raised an army to help me fight it!  I invented a Biggest Losers group for my homeschool mom friends.  Many hills have been captured since then, by many a great soldier.  (Gives a whole new meaning to the moniker "Queen of the Hill!")  At least 3 of us lost 50 pounds apiece.  But then I got stuck -- I needed to lose another 22 lbs. from the low that I reached.  Oh, if it were only 22 lbs. now.  But I got too comfortable with the level of success I had, then became disheartened that I hadn't gone further, then got sick, and then had a hard time getting my head wrapped around the effort again.  
So recently, I've been meditating on the old saying about insanity:  "Doing the same thing over and over, always expecting a different result."

I always tend to blame something other than myself for not losing, as though I wasn't a participant in all in the number on my scale -- just a victim of unseen forces that want me to fail to reach a healthy weight goal.  I'm the Queen of Denial, as they say!  "This diet isn't working for me."  The real story is always that I haven't gotten desperate enough to do what I know it takes -- consistently -- to change the number on that scale.  

So I jumped back on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet on Sunday.  My reason?  I can say over and over again that I just want to be more moderate, make better choices, vague things like that, but then nothing happens!  At least, nothing beyond a week or two because anything I lose winds up being a wash within a pretty short time frame.  I believe that is because it doesn't really address my root problem -- the WHY of my overeating.  I eat for comfort, boredom, self-reward, self-pity, to signal the transition to a different part of the day, etc.  Mostly because it is the thing I CAN control in a life that so often seems to just happen to me.  But I can no more go cold turkey on quitting eating what makes me fat than an alcoholic can!  I can't even think straight about food, because I'm a carb addict.

I never realized that about myself until the first time I went on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  After about 3 days, I would have chewed your leg off if it had sugar in it!    It had never before occurred to me that my food choices could have been driven by something other than normal likes and dislikes.  By Day 4, I was in physical pain of withdrawal -- very similar to flu symptoms.  I had to take Tylenol!  That all passed by Day 7 or so, but I seriously suffered whenever my cravings were triggered, sometimes by a commercial, something I saw, etc.  Maybe you've been there.  The people that write restaurant commercials know what they are doing!  Bacardi commercials probably do the same thing to alcoholics.

 By the time I got to the end of the 2 weeks, I was literally afraid to start adding good carbs back!  For one thing, I had lost 12 pounds and didn't want my weight loss to slow.  And I was afraid of losing control.  So I stayed on Phase 1 for 3 weeks and then begin to add 1 good carb back a day.  I had a whole new appreciation for food and, since I was able to step back from my drug-of-choice, could look at the right food for what it is:  gift from God to sustain us.  The things I wanted to eat were not processed and were not baked.  They came from the ground, or they came from an animal -- mostly skipping the middleman!  I have never had such appreciation for food in my life.  It was like my taste buds were Lazarus, raised from the dead.

So the question I have asked my fellow soldiers to ask me when I'm not working at this Health Thing successfully is this:  "Do you want it badly enough to do what it takes?"

And I'm posting that request here, in hopes of gathering even more accountability partners!

My plan?  I know the South Beach Diet works for me and it works for the long-term.   I also know that DAILY exercise is an absolute necessity -- not just for the exercise, but for the chemical changes it makes in the brain that helps ward off eating for the wrong reason.  (I am afflicted by Seasonal Affective Disorder.)  I am now shooting for every single day of the work week.  If I can manage a weekend exercise, then I'll allow myself the day off -- the NEXT week, though.  No more borrowing from the future.  I know that drinking water is a crucial component.   It prevents my inclination to overeat, and I know now that I've often confused thirst for hunger.  It also keeps my blood sugar constant, making me less likely to *snap* and eat a box of donuts! 

So, if you have a Weight Loss hill to conquer, think back on your goal weight.  What would it feel like to be at that weight?  What did you look like the last time you weighed that little?  What would your husband/wife think?  What would it do for your long-term health?  What things could you do if you weighed that that you cannot do now?  

Is it worth doing what you know will work and doing that with all your might?  Today, I'm sure that it is worth that.  Tomorrow, when the going gets rough and there's a Chili's fried stuffed jalapeno commercial, you may have to remind me.  ;-)