Thursday, September 12, 2013

Never Give Up

I was touched by this version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider that was done for the new hit DVD series TreeSchoolers made by my former boss and mentor, Rachel Coleman and the team! I am honored that I was once a part of Two Little Hands Productions, and value all the work they do to enhance learning for children with all abilities. 

As I have been pondering and researching how to cope with failure and not being perfect, I was absolutely touched by this video, and cried. Yes, yes I did. Having personally worked with the creators of this series, I am 100% sure that they were inspired to create this video. (I wanted to add that it was 'just for me' but I know it isn't ;)

In the past couple of months or so, there have been various things that I have given up on and some that I have wanted to give up on. Remember my exercise now program/regime? Yup...I was flushed out by the rain.

Not too long ago I read about a healthy meal plan where a person should consume 5 meals a day including breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner, keeping in mind that all proteins and carbs needed to be balanced. Having this kind of diet had several benefits, including:
  • Creates a higher metabolism
  • Helps maintain balanced eating
  • Creates smaller portion size, resulting in less calorie intake
  • Benefits cost savings of not eating out all the time
At the beginning of the month and in focus with one of my Happiness Project goals, I wanted to incorporate healthy eating into my life. I had done this diet before and decided I was going to do it again. With this meal plan also came all the extra time to make the meals ahead of time. It also meant spending more money on healthy food. Did you know that buying a bag of Cheetos is cheaper than buying two apples?

I created a calendar and outlined the menu, with the intention of updating it every two weeks. The first planning process took several days locating different healthy menus of small portioned items. I found some great websites including: 

When I presented the outline to my sweetheart, he was all for it, and we set off to Costco and bought our weight in food, food, and more food. The bill was almost catastrophic. In fact, I felt so guilty for how much we were spending on groceries that I let my sweetheart play his Xbox game for two days straight without interruption! 

The first two weeks of the meal plan were exciting. I would come home, make dinner, and pack lunches for my sweetheart and I everyday. The fresh fruit was amazing, and the dinners and lunches were innovative and outstanding! I ended up cheating on my calendar as I realized that I had to buy several different ingredients to meet the demands of the diet curriculum. I am sure there are websites dedicated to making food that has similar ingredients so that the "dieter" doesn't have to buy so many different things.

Over time, I started to feel overwhelmed with how much time I was spending in the kitchen. Typically, spending time in my kitchen doesn't bother me. In fact,  cooking in the kitchen is a space for me that is peaceful and wonderful - ah creation YUM! Cooking new food and experimenting with new recipes is something that I find calming.

However, I found that once I started this program, making food became a chore - one that I didn't like so much anymore. I dreaded coming home knowing that I was putting off everything else in order to keep us healthy and fed. I tossed in the towel for a couple of days, and my poor sweetheart was left to fend for himself, and we both ended up going out to eat (something I wanted to avoid because we are trying not to spend so much moola eating out).

This situation caused a lot of unhappiness for me. During the third week I noticed that I would get mad at my sweetheart...where was he in all of this? Why didn't he help me cook or pack lunches? Why was it all up to me? Now, that is not fair. This wasn't HIS was mine. So, why did I get so upset. 

I realized my irritability was stemming from the idea that by not accomplishing what I set out to do, I had failed. I felt like this could be the start to a new eating pattern for our family. Our consumption of good food wasn't lacking necessarily, but I knew we could do better. When I couldn't keep up with it, I felt like a fool for trying. 

It is in situations like this that I have to remember my commandments #6: let it go and #10 don't be so hard on yourself. So I botched up the meal plan...that isn't so bad. So I wasn't able to be super-wife and super-dieter. My expectations for this meal plan were not clearly defined. I knew I wanted to eat healthy, but to what extent? In this moment, I realized that I needed to be better at defining my goals and being clear that if they don't work out accordingly, it is OK to adjust. 

For example: making meals every night may not be that realistic for us right now. Both my sweetheart and I are working professionals. With our commutes, we typically don't get home until about 6:30 p.m. with little time to do multiple things. Sometimes we have other things we need to do like grocery shopping, car maintenance, laundry, working out, catching up on visiting and home teaching, reading books, working on unfinished projects, etc. I found that my meal planning process took about 1 - 2 hours total for completion. Finding meals that take less than 30 minutes to prepare is tough. At this point, it might be realistic for me to make a meal if time permits, and not get so bent out of shape if I can't. 

I have since started the meal plan once again, but made some adjustments to my perspective:
  1. I defined the purpose of the meal plan. I thought the purpose of the meal plan was to gear us up for creating healthy eating for our future family. This is still true, but to an extent. The meal plan is to help us stray away from eating crap all the time - bottom line. Its purpose is to also help us save money. With that in mind it has been easier for me to be flexible on eating a PB&J sandwich as opposed to preparing chicken, rice and asparagus meal.
  2. I have not restricted my time to only cooking. This has helped me not feel guilty for not being able to follow through with the plan. Only cooking when I can has helped me be more creative with what we can eat that doesn't require 1-2 hours.
  3. I nixed the calendar. At first, I thought using a calendar and having a menu would be a good idea for us to plan everything out. I found that it created unwanted noise into meal planning. It is better for me to be flexible in what we will eat so as to not stress me out when I couldn't make that amazing chicken meal that I wanted to at the beginning of the week and failed to do because we had to get an oil change instead of cooking until the wee hours of the morning.
  4. Grocery shopping as we need. Costco is a great place. I love what they have to offer. It is not necessarily conducive for everyday cooking for two. We save more money by purchasing what we need, when we need it. Even though my sweetheart does not like shopping, we are saving moola in the end when we approach our shopping this way.
With these small adjustments, I am hoping this second round goes better, and that the sun will come out and dry up all the rain. The hope is that I can have a healthy eating plan for my future family because of the habits I create today. However, I need to keep in mind my commandment #9 Acknowledge and be OK with what I don't encompass, and what others don't encompass. I can't force my eating patterns on others. 
Regardless, I decided not to give up on the dream of having a healthy eating plan for myself. I am not going to let the rain take me out this time! 

Side Note: What is the difference between Signing Time and TreeSchoolers?

No comments: