Confession: Food

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I am not a naturally skinny person. I am not obese either, but I don't have nor have ever had the metabolism to just eat whatever I want and not exercise. Never have. Unfortunately, I've also never had a small appetite. I learned at a pretty young age that these things needed to be kept somewhat in check. Not necessarily through crazy diets or exercise regimens, but a common-sense watchful eye was necessary.

Like most girls (from what I hear), I also associate eating with emotions; can often get carried into eating when happy/sad/celebrating/bored/emotional, etc. etc. etc. if I'm not careful. {I can also blame part of the emotional-eating tendency to attending an all-girls school for fourteen years. But on the upside, that environment also helped me have no shame in my love of food.} I've never wanted to be a strict weirdo about my diet, who couldn't go along with the flow...like eating a piece of cake at a birthday party or eating pizza at a football-watching party. Those things can be integral in making memories with friends.

Anyway, when I got pregnant, I was going through a difficult time in my life. I'd been eating more (and worse) than normal. My husband had started school and was out of the house a lot. Then, when we got pregnant (and were thrilled!), I was pretty sick in the first trimester. It was survival mode; "what is the one thing in the world I can possibly stomach right now?" Unfortunately, the answer was all-too-often not the healthiest option (I couldn't have kept a salad down if my life depended on it).

So when I quit feeling sick, around 16 weeks, I'd already clocked over two months of bad eating habits; ie, eating whatever I "felt" like eating. Add to that working full-time, being alone at dinnertime (or, the need to cook for one), and pregnancy fatigue (however you might define it), and I've been doing a bang-up job of excusing myself for eating junk.

This must stop. It's appalling to me that I am growing a human being and haven't been trying my darnedest to eat as healthfully as possible for this precious baby whose health the Lord has entrusted me with.

What makes me think that it will be any easier (or that I will possibly feel any more well-rested) when I come home from an 8-5 work day in a couple of months with a little infant in tow? Not to mention what I'll inevitably be teaching my children about healthy lifestyle habits, were this to continue as-is.

I've been sort of surprised how many comments I've heard during this pregnancy like, "oh, it doesn't matter what you eat," or "well, you can eat whatever you want." It's only something like an extra 300 calories/day you're to consume when pregnant. That is not very many, and in no way warrants a devil-may-care diet. Shouldn't I be even more vigilant about what I'm feeding myself and my child?

I've been putting off thinking about this too seriously or dealing with it properly until after the baby comes, but that really seems foolish. It's only going to get harder (right?).

Is it hard for any of yall to cook {for one} after a long day at work? Or does anyone struggle with this (or did you during pregnancy)?

And are there any magic tips out there for cooking dinners and staying on top of healthy eating choices (and what if you're working and taking care of a baby)?


p.s. last night's post was not necessarily the catalyst for this one; just a symptom of the problem. :)

7 comments:

  1. Leslie, I am pregnant again, and SO sick right now. I'm in the same boat with eating whatever I can stomach, and I need help too. I'm so frustrated that it seems like I don't care about feeding the baby healthy food. I wish I had advice. But instead wanted you to know you're not alone!

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  2. Samantha8:15 AM

    I've never been pregnant but my cousin and I just stumbled upon a solution to the eating for one problem: I just got out of a long term relationship and her boyfriend just left for a job that takes him away for weeks at a time. So we started swapping our leftovers. We each make a meal like we always would have (something that would feed two with leftovers), eat our dinner, maybe save enough for a lunch or one more dinner and then trade our leftovers! Maybe there's someone you could trade with? Also, I try to do prep work for cooking on the weekends so that when I come home the vegetables are already chopped or the meat already cooked so there's less time until dinner is ready.

    Good luck!

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  3. Hey lady. I cook for one, always have. Daniel is so picky that we don't eat the same things, and he also works late a lot. I tend to make a normal sized recipe (lasagna, enchiladas, etc.) on the weekend. I'll freeze half of it, and eat on the other half for the next week. That one day of cooking makes many, many meals for me.

    I do the same thing for Sylvie. I'll make a box of mac and cheese, and she'll eat on that for a week. It's so nice to have something already made that just needs to be reheated, when you are arriving home at dinnertime. I also do very easy veggies for her - I literally just take some peas or green beans out of a can and pop them in the microwave for a few seconds. She likes this as much as when I really cook them on the stove. I can have her dinner ready in less than 5 minutes most nights.

    Another go-to meal that I have that is quick, easy, and healthy is a giant bag of frozen veggies from Costco. I'll stir fry them and add them to curry and rice, or I'll add them to oriental flavored ramen noodles. Both of those are meals for one, as I just grab as many veggies as I need for one serving.

    I wouldn't say that I actually cook much on weekday evenings. I knock that out on the weekend when I have more time, and I do a lot of reheating during the week. Another thing that would eliminate after work cooking would be the crockpot but I haven't personally found any recipes that I like for it.

    I am not a chef and I don't have all the secrets. My little family never sits down to a meal together at our house. Sylvie and I do, but Daniel isn't normally around. That's our routine around here and it works for us. You'll find a routine that works for you, too.

    One last tip (the hard part for me) - don't buy junk food and it won't be around for you to eat. If it's in my house, I'll pick it over the healthy food every day of the week!

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  4. I totally resinated with this post. During the morning sickness phase I created habits I then had to correct(during my morning sickness phase it was french baguettes from Panera that I could choke down--not so great). I have a 6 week old baby and a husband that travels and I would say that it is hard to eat healthy when you are pregnant and even harder with a baby but I have found a few trick that have helped me.

    I try to have a plan and do the prep on sunday--if i dont have healthy options in the fridge and easy to grab then the wheels totally fall off the bus during the week. But if I have my fruit cut and in tupperware it makes it easier to grab and snack on at my desk or where ever. If I can jsut prep and have a plan through the first of the week I usually use that momentum for the rest of the week. Also when you are totally pooped from growing a baby it can seem like so much effort to cut fruit or assemble a salad so do it all at once ahead of time and it seems like the easy choice to grab the container out of the fridge.

    I need to have a plan so that when i come home pooped from work or now when I am sleep deprived I make my decision making simple. At the beginning of the week (sunday nights work best after going grocery shopping) I make a list of possible healthy quick meal options and post it on the fridge. its my go to.

    While I agree that not bringing junk into the house is the best policy, post-partum people were amazing at bringing meals...and brownies. I have found that organizing my pantry and fridge so that when I open them I am presented with healthy options first and have to dig past healthy options to get to the junk is a helpful strategy.

    And don't be too hard on yourself. Get out and take a walk around the block--the exercise and fresh air will help you and the baby.

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  5. Leslie, I'm expecting my 4th and have the same issues! Plus, I've retained 10 pounds from each of my other pregnancies, so I started out with this one weighing more than I did when I DELIVERED my first. Talk about depressing!

    I am trying to eat in moderation much more specifically this time and eat healthier snacks such as baby carrots and almonds ... instead of chips and peppermint patties. ;)

    I also hope to get back to walking more quickly than I have the other three times after I deliver. Seems like it's taken me two months to start even light exercise in the past, and I just can't let it go that long this time.

    My "treat" these days is fresh fruit dipped in fat-free Cool Whip ... if you have a sweet tooth, it's nice to have a small bowl of blackberries, strawberries, grapes, etc., with a dollop of fat-free CW, or just to dip fruit or berries in it. Same with sugar-free jello (which in the old days I wouldn't have TOUCHED) with a little FFCW on top.

    Let me know if you discover any other great tips!

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  6. I have no tips. I got pregnant at the most "down and out" time of my life...I was the largest I have ever been and didn't change to much about the way I ate before Maggie Lynn came and after she is here. Do not believe in the while nursing you burn extra calories deal either cause those extra calories that you are burning do not help you loose weight. (I guess I did have a tip) I will say that I ate poorly and still do not eat super great and Maggie Lynn is fine. In fact she seems to be healthier than all the babies that she comes in contact with...so I would not stress about it sooo much. I feel like there are far more important things to stress about in the first little while anyway. You can teach her all she needs when she actually starts eating food! She will get the nutrients she needs...You just may not!
    Love you!

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  7. While not pregnant, I definitely deal with major food temptations. I have constant access to sweets and then stock my pantry at home with Cheez-its, so do what I say, not what I do...
    A good tip for healthy eating for one is CANNING (or freezing). Make a batch of soup, pasta sauce, etc with fresh ingredients and then pressure can it if you want to keep it at room temp or freeze it if you want to make it easy. This way it's home cooked healthy meals but pretty quick to prepare. Also, frozen veggies are a lifesaver.
    Good luck!!!!!

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