Is it just habit, or addiction?

So we’ve had some set backs but also made progress too. Last weekend, when I shopped for groceries, I didn’t buy any juice at all. I’d limited the juice to a bottle or two a week and only 100%, but I realized that the kids were replacing what used to be lemonade or sweet tea not with water but juice. Even 100% juice drinks are heavy in sugar and calories. We had originally agreed that we’d have juice for breakfast only but soon I was seeing it come out for snacks and dessert.

I fully realize how difficult it is to not only give up a favorite drink but also to give it up to just water. I am a soda addict. Maybe smokers and drug addicts could argue, tell me there’s no way anyone could be addicted to a soft drink, but it’s how I feel. I grew up a Pepsi drinker, back in the days of the glass returnable bottles. Was up to a 6-a-day habit after I was married. Hubby preferred Mtn Dew so we bought it by the cube. After I had kids and wanted to get rid of the baby fat, I switched to diet – not Diet Pepsi, but Diet Coke. No calories, right? And yet all if the same sweetness. I don’t think I ever drank as many of those in a day as I did Pepsi, but there was rarely a day I didn’t have one with lunch, another with dinner, and another later, just because.

Two years now it’s been since I gave them up. All of them, cold turkey. No diet drinks, no full sugar drinks. No energy drinks either. If I am thirsty, I have water. I make juice for breakfast and lunch so water is an accompaniment there. I enjoy two cups of coffee a day too but that’s pretty much it. But I’m used to it. The kids are not. Four weeks ago I took away all their favorite drinks and gave them water! Not my best move perhaps.

However, after weeks of begging and prodding and reminding them, the water bottles are getting emptier an emptier. Twice this week, two of the kids drank all of their water! It helps that it’s hotter than Hades outside, but it is progress. Now if only the heat would break enough for us to go running again.

I think that sometimes we can give things up easier if there are no distractions. For me it was the Diet Coke. It had to be out of the house. For the kids, maybe it’s the sweetened drinks. When nothing else is available, they are drinking their water. And maybe that will form better habits down the road.

Back on track… almost

Back from vacation and we’re almost completely back on track. Still could stand to increase our water, but since that’s been our biggest hurdle all along, I won’t complain too much.

We’ve been getting to the track in the evenings and I think we were all more than a little surprised by how fast we’d gotten out of shape. Even though we hiked several miles each day on vacation, in terrain that’s vastly different than what we’re used to, and even though we walked a lot in the evenings, it’s still not the same as heart-rate raising controlled formal exercise. In other words, nothing beats a good hard run.

Food has been good. Tonight’s dinner was a mixture of all sorts of fresh veggies (onions, green peppers, kale, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes) served over buckwheat groats, white beans and bowtie pasta. Could have left it there as a vegan meal, but I topped mine with a dollop of sour cream at the table along with raisins. The kids did pick through it, eating mostly the pasta and beans, but I know they picked up the flavors of the whole mixture too.

I had to really bite my tongue to keep from grinning the other day though. My youngest asked when I would make him some kale chips again! I love these kids! My older two didn’t much care for the chips but they do try every new thing I put on the table. I’ll take that any time.

End of Vacation

We are getting ready to wrap up a week off. Off work, away from home, and we strayed off the plan a bit. It always surprises me how fast that sugar rush can hit and fade. And how quickly you want more.

I thought I had the food mostly controlled. We brought water bottles, fruit, veggies, and had meals planned. What I didn’t account for was the grandparents. We’d invited my husbands parents on the trip and they brought enough soda, chips, crackers and powdered drink mixes for all of us. I had to put the kids on a one soda a day limit, and insisted on water the rest of the time. It’s a good thing we got plenty of exercise – hiking, shopping, sightseeing. That hopefully made up for some of the junk we consumed.

I did fill the fridge after coming home with produce, local fruits and veggies, plenty of good, healthy snacks. It’ll be a sort of detox this week, from the food and electronics too. Hopefully not too painful! But as we go through this together, we are also considering ways to cut back on such indulgences. Maybe we’ll turn off the cable? Maybe we’ll plan more “active” vacations? We will definitely be eating better!

Vacations make me nervous!

Well, we’re off to the mountains to hike, relax, and be tourists for a few days! While vacations normally make me happy, the atmosphere and timing of this one is making me nervous. We don’t have our habits down for our food yet, and water has been lacking lately. Luckily, we aren’t planning too many times of eating out so hopefully we won’t do too badly. If we can at least keep away from the soda and too much sweets, I think we’ll be fine.

Looking forward to getting outside a lot, though. Fresh air, lots of new scenery. I’ll fill you in when I get back!

They’ll sleep well tonight!

One of the best parts of this project by far is the exercise / activity time. My kids are unfortunate enough to have 2 parents that work full time jobs. They’re old enough that they can fend for themselves for most things, but we still come home for lunch so that they’re not alone all day long. However, it’s not like I can just let them roam the neighborhood all day either so they spend a good part of the day inside. That’s what led to the idea of exercise time in the evenings.

We have been heading to the local middle school to use their track some evenings. We run laps, walk the small hill that separates the track from the softball diamond, jump in the sand pits, or play basketball. My middle child can run 2 miles already with barely one stop for water! My youngest prefers to sprint, and usually can get 2 laps in before he heads off to the sand. Hubby, our oldest, and I just plod along 🙂 Sometimes we’ve got wings on, other times we’re just putting in the time.

We have a new way to burn off some energy too — the pool! We get a discounted membership through my husband’s job so we pay one price and have free admission all summer long. The park where this pool is located has many activities, in fact, including miniature golf, paddle boats, a driving range, a nature trail and a fitness center (which wasn’t included in our membership but is available in higher levels). Just last night we headed over there, swam for 90 minutes or so, then ate our dinner of sandwiches and watermelon on a picnic table before heading home. It was the perfect summer evening.

And yes, we all slept well last night! That’s the best benefit of all.

Water / Work in Progress

Water is going down much easier this week.  Might be because it’s very hot and humid right now?  Whatever the cause, it was great to see 4 of the 6 water bottles I’d filled Sunday night come back to the sink empty last night.

However, the early summer vegetable soup I made was not a hit.  Maybe it was the broccoli, the kale, too many vegetables?  I refrained from adding pasta, but if I did that, plus some white beans, it would have made a fabulous meal (to me).  The kids picked out the potatoes, made sandwiches.  Sigh.  At least lunch is done for the rest of the week.

It’s always a work in progress.  I remember turning up my nose at my Mom’s soups and casseroles, the side dishes of squash or greens.  I will never forget the acorn squashes coming out of the oven, halved on a tray, one half per plate.  The look of horror on our faces when we realized we were supposed to eat that.  I eat that now.  I’m hoping my kids will too, later in life.

2 week review

I had a sit down discussion with the kids today. I figured it was time, especially after watching everyone sliding last week. Gosh, I have heard others say that Moms rule the house, but I always felt like my husband and I had equal control here. It really became apparent though how little he gets involved in what the kids eat when I got too busy to be there! That’s OK, he does a great job keeping us going on the evening activity so I’ll take what I can get.

The discussion today served to remind the kids that they need to drink their water, fill their plates with fruits and veggies at every meal, and do a better job of limiting their time on the media. I reminded them about how we all want to finish this project healthier than when we started so hopefully they’ll remember.

Today we visited the farmer’s market again, and brought home tons of goodies. Fresh bread, pork chops, ground beef, locally raised shrimp (who knew you could raise shrimp in the Midwest???), peaches, strawberries, raspberries, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers, rhubarb, green onions and cabbage. I made a fabulous dinner — green chops, coleslaw, grilled red potatoes, green beans, and skewered shrimp. There was hardly a drop left.

We took today off from exercise, but are planning a nice long hike in the woods tomorrow. Gotta get an early start so we can beat the heat a bit. Then we’ll head for the local pool to cool down before we head home. So far, this has been a great summer. A little rain would be nice though!

I have to admit, though, hearing my youngest say “Hey, Mom, remember those kale chips you made before? Can you make those again???” made my whole weekend. Never in my life did I ever think I’d hear any of my kids say that!