Changing our diet this drastically isn’t just changing how we eat… It’s changing how we think about food, how we relate to food, how we relate to each other through food (hello, no more bribing,) and how we see food simply as a nourishing blessing and not as a reward.
Easier said than done.
I’ve realized over the past three days how reward based I am. I’m always like “if you do this we’ll get this.” Or “after this we’ll go get this.” Talk about unhealthy. Now every minute is met with a higher level of consciousness. We have to mentally get ourselves out of emotional lows, not just snack ourselves out. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for treats and special occasions in this life, trust me, but I am saying that limping through life holding on to the promise of the next “fix” is no way for my kids to live. Or me.
Our days are different now. It’s weird to be out with the kids because normally we would get snacks here or there, or a “treat” at every corner. Something that makes my brain buzz and my dopamine flow. A drug. Something that gives me a quick fix and makes everything all better. Except that’s why we’re here in the first place.
This is not a diet. This is a way of life. And I have to remember there is no short-cut to lasting change. Brielle’s health for the rest of her life dependents on it. And it is so worth it.
Our day yesterday: Her breakfast sat untouched except for the bacon all morning. And she said she was hungry. I said “look at all the yummy breakfast you still have to eat. Once that’s gone we can talk about other food. Or you can wait until lunch.”
She waited until lunch. Which was realllllly problematic because I asked her to eat chicken in her quesadilla. No bueno. And I served avocado and black beans on the side. Talk about yummy. It makes me want to cry that this food, so obviously delicious and wholesome is so heartily refused by my daughter.
She said: “I ate a bean, how much more do I have to eat?” No Brielle that’s not how it works. You need to eat your lunch. “How much though? How many more bites??” Brielle you can eat as many bites as you want. It’s your lunch. Just enjoy it and eat it.
No eating was done. But there was lots of irrational crying and whining. I packed her lunch and we piled in the car to go to gymnastics. I never thought I would be that mom carrying around my kid’s uneaten lunch. But there I was, browning avocado and all, ready to say “here it is” to the first person who dared say they were hungry.
By 4:30 everyone was famished. Perfect time to ask them to eat something outrageous. I fried up some eggs and added it to some whole grain brown rice. Then I told Brielle what I hope was not a bribe: “We are going to American Hertitage Girls tonight, and there will be an award ceremony with snacks after. If you eat your dinner you will be able to have snacks. If you don’t eat your dinner you won’t have snacks.”
The train was in motion. Snacks! She took some bites and then said “how many more?” It’s those kinds of questions that happen all the day long that will make a mother crazy. So I finally said “six bites.” And took a spoon and scooped out six adult sized bites into another bowl. This is very different than six tiny Brielle-sized bites. She ate it all. Which is a huge huge huuuuuuge deal. Big pieces of scrambled eggs, down the hatch.
And then, as promised, we went to her sweet little girl’s club where in true American form, the social bonding agent of the evening was refined sugar and trans fats. (I can say that with almost certainty.) They had two treats each and were happy as clams. Until about 10 minutes later when they were both complaining of a tummy ache.
A couple observations about our journey thus far:
The more Brielle branches out food-wise the more confident she gets. And not just with food. It translates into so many areas of her life. I think she felt inadequate when she would sit at the table, not being able to eat what the rest of us were eating. Now she realizes how capable she is. She is gaining confidence and it’s coming in strong waves. She ate a taco with beef and she felt a swell of pride “I can do this!” and then eggs, “Wow, I actually like this!” And then fish, “I hate this so much!” But at least she tried it.
And she feels more loved. I can tell. What I don’t give her in jelly beans I give her in hugs. What I can’t give her in donuts or ice cream I give her in reading books and cuddling on the couch. She feels the love. She feels the attention and care for her little body and she sees what we are trying to do. She knows it’s for her good. She feels loved.
This post is all over the place for so many reasons. I’m just trying to get it all down so it’s here. But also, my emotions are all over the place. It’s been a crazy few days. So full of growth and realization and new experiences. I never thought changing one aspect of our lives could ripple out and effect so many other areas. And I have a feeling it will just keep going.
Very very excited.