When I was a little kid, my friends and I would all follow the same routine that my kids follow to this day. Go to school…come home for an “after school snack”, do very little homework…play…dinner and then go to bed. We’d wake up and do it again.. Every day. Same routine.
There’s nothing wrong with following the same routines. We do what feels right, what makes us happy and often (but not always), what is in our best interests. I think I had the same bagel with cream cheese and jelly every morning for probably 8 years straight. Creature of habit – right here!
From time to time, I remember my mother would encourage me to not eat the junk food de jour for my after school snack. She’d try and get me to have a piece of fruit or something less damaging and while I’d appease her with a roll of the eyes, my health choice wouldn’t last for more than a day or so and then it was back to the routine (frosted cherry pop tarts…mmmm!).
“You are what you eat” she’d tell me. Really? I don’t think so mom. It’s hard to convince a teenager that his 150 pound frame was actually a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup or a bowl of Captain Crunch and because the evidence wasn’t easy to see, I doubt my friends and I never bought that line for one second.
Well, it turns out that mom might have been on to something. I may not have literally turned into a Snickers bar, but something was different about my 43 year old body compared to when it was 16. You know what I’m saying, right? I don’t have to spell it out do I? I’ll spare you the details, but let me just suffice it to say right here, right now that mom….you were right. All that crap I was eating hasn’t done me any favors – and I’m only referring to what I can actually see with my own eyes. G-d forbid what is going on inside my arteries and poor little innocent cells that make up my insides.
So, at 43 years old, I made a decision in January 2013 to actually eat well. I’m not referring to some diet to lose weight. I mean eating more healthy…less crap. I decided to stop eating the things that were highly processed (farewell pasta and breads) and high in sugar (good bye diet coke and desserts). In the absence of those foods and some other evil choices, I replaced them with real foods – eggs and veggies for breakfast, salads for lunch and a reasonable dinner. The junk was replaced with fruits and vegetables. And anyone who says it is easy to change their eating routine is lying through their teeth…it was HARD for those first 3 weeks! But after that, the changes I noticed were undeniable. I was feeling better, less tired, stomach was “quieter”, and I was sleeping better. The 15 pounds I lost was a side benefit, but nonetheless a nice bonus.
Ten months later and this new routine is still alive. I have evolved into green smoothies for breakfast
(which look disgusting but actually taste great). After those first hard three weeks, I began to lose the craving for those things I had decided to give up and it became easier to stick to my new routine.
I think I know how this plays out – my kids are going to listen to me about as much as I listened to my parents, but I have two things going in my favor if I want to teach my kids how to eat healthier; 1) I can set a good example by eating healthy myself, and 2) I am the one who goes to the grocery store, so I can choose to not bring that crap into our home, right?
Thanks, mom. I should’ve listened to you earlier.