When I first learned I would parent a child with cystic fibrosis, I made it my mission to only allow healthy fats for him to keep his weight up. You see, people with CF don’t absorb fats well. Despite taking enzymes to help with absorption, they just don’t have the same ability to gain and maintain weight that you and I do. As a healthy eater, I would never dream of keeping processed food in my house. Butter, whole milk, olive oil, and avocados became Major’s staples. Oh, and salt. All the salt.
At some point, I changed. I accepted my fate as a mother of a toddler who had enough on her plate. The kid wanted an Oreo. And yeah, I know. Plenty of kids don’t eat processed foods and are just happy as clams. However, not worrying about every bit of sugar and corn syrup that goes into Major’s mouth takes one thing off my plate, and quite frankly adds something to his.
I became a bite-sneaker. I remember my very first secret bite. It was butter-laden, salt infused egg noodles. With cheese. (Grandma Bunny recipe). The bite was so good, so addicting. I had another. And so began my love affair with Major’s food.
It turned out that the egg noodles were just a gateway food to the harder stuff. Oreos, cheese shreds, Pop Tarts, ranch. I tried it all. Let me be clear that Major does eat plenty of healthy foods and fats. These were just the things I really went after. The snacks!
Somewhere between spraying Easy Cheese into my mouth and wiping powdered sugar from my shirt, I realized I had to gain control. I didn’t even really like Easy Cheese. I also don’t enjoy powdered sugar – it always makes me choke!
Here are my tips for staying healthy (from one lady to another, I’m not a health or fitness professional):
- Accept that you have a problem, whatever that may be! I wasn’t ready to tackle my extra pounds until Major was one. I didn’t really care until one day, I did. It took realizing that I wanted to be a healthy mom in order to raise a healthy child, and I had to be emotionally ready to accept that I wasn’t doing that.
- Make a plan. Stick to the plan. Try something for a while before moving onto something else. If you don’t, how will you know whether it worked? I did the 21 Day Fix for months until I felt ready to eat a little differently. Even today, when I start to slip I go right back to the Fix.
- Pick one thing if you have to. I’ve always exercised, so it wasn’t overwhelming for me to begin a new fitness program and a new meal plan on the same day. If you are starting from scratch in either area, just do one thing! Even today, when I get off track over a holiday weekend, I will say that on day one I cannot have any takeout. I may not eat perfectly, but I can’t take extreme(ish) measures like leaving the house specifically to get unhealthy food.
- Allow cheat meals. If you really like powdered donuts, don’t ban them entirely. Plan them in as a cheat meal! Just don’t allow these cheat meals to occur daily.
- Find an accountability partner. I check in with a friend daily about our workouts and eating. I can’t say that I have ever not eating something due to guilt of having to report it, but when I do get to say that I stayed on plan, I feel great!
- Accept that you will have days that are less than perfect. I eat things that I regret. But I don’t beat myself up. It’s just food! I move on quickly and plan to make the next meal better.
Trust that you are not alone. Aside from those with crazy metabolisms, everyone has to work to maintain their weight. Some people find it becomes second nature to eat healthy. I still have to choose every day whether to eat healthy. Frankly, I make a choice at every meal. I go through periods where it comes more naturally, but mostly I still feel new at this!
What tips do you have for getting or staying on track?